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Finally I follow my dream and start training for my first marathon

Okay everyone this is it!

After having surgery on my foot in February I am now starting my training to complete the Philadelphia marathon in November of 2008.

Philadelphia seems like the best one to run as my son and his wife and my grandson live there and it just seems a great way to visit my grand-baby and get a good marathon in!

So this is my journal of my journey to the finish line!

I started the training today with a 15 mile- 1 hour on the stationary bike. Tomorrow I will be my first 30 minute run in my neighborhood instead of on a stair master.

I will let you all know how that went!

I will also post this on my training blog.

So Here I go! Wish me luck!

Mom’s day off!

My site was nominated for The Blogitzer!

"Those that don't remember the past are doomed to repeat it!    

(Source unknown)


March 1


Today I decided to temporarily postpone my life!

I put everything on hold!

Laundry, chores, kids and hubby!

Why, because if I don't learn to take care of myself first, I will never learn to be able to take care of anyone else.

I know I got the chance to sleep in a little bit ago, but this time I actually set time aside just for me!

It's so funny how we go around trying to love the world but never take the time for ourselves!

We think that if we take time for ourselves the world would fall apart, the kids would disown us; that we will be on the nightly news as the most selfish person because we did something just for us.

Think about this, with all the things you do in an average day, how much more could you accomplish if you weren't on the brink of exhaustion all the time?

Can you imagine actually enjoying car pooling the kids to soccer because you just spend an hour just reading your favorite book?

Or maybe you actually got 8 hours sleep last night?

Don't give me the, "I don't have time for that", routine! The time is there you just need to allocate it better! One of the keys to financial security is to remember to always pay you first, then everyone else.

Why can't we do that with our time?

I don't see the people that pay themselves first broke; on the contrary they are some of the most financially successful people in the world. So if it works with money, why not our time?

Yup, I was selfish today! I got up and took a nice long shower. I got my hair and nails done and I even got to read the paper while the news where still news not ancient history!

I didn't clean, I called for pizza and it was so wonderful!

Because when I saw Mel and the kids, I was refreshed and was able to truly enjoy them!

I was able to listen to what they said without having my mind on the million things I had to do next!

I was able to really savor the time with my hubby without doing the rubber neck dance from exhaustion!

Did my kids disown me, my hubby divorce me or the world fall apart?

Guess what? None of the above happened!

The world was still standing and my Mel and kids enjoyed me more! I am glad I learned that lesson the other day!

Okay so I discovered that I wasn't the glue holding the world together once again, but then again who would want to be? I guess some lessons need to be reviewed to get them right!

I can't wait until next month when I review my lesson learned and cancel my life for another day!

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

My site was nominated for The Blogitzer!

February 27

Heart-shaped diamond


I was reading a book today where the author expressed how sad she felt because her daughters would exercises for 3 hours none stop if they indulged in too much of their favorite foods!

I was shocked at her choice of words!

She was sad?

She should have been downright horrified and instantly gotten help for her daughters who were obviously on their way to developing serious eating disorders and image perceptions challenges.

The real question is where does it stem from?

We as women should be ashamed of ourselves!

We complain about the negative image that society portrays of us.

The way Hollywood only goes after the young, seriously underweight actresses to make them superstars!

We are upset with fashion magazines because the models they use are seriously under weight (underfed too, if you ask me!)

We don't approve of the fashions that are out today, that make us more self-conscious of our weight.

Yet who keeps all these industries in business?

Women, who else?

We spend millions, no correction billions of dollars a year on fashion magazines, movies, the fashion industry and ridiculous weight loss products!

Yet we never speak up to make sure that we are portrayed in the media as the real women that we are!

Wake up women of America!

We have nothing to be ashamed of!

The average American woman weights 144 pounds and is five feet, four inches tall!

The average fashion model is 6 feet plus and 115 pounds! We shouldn't expect to live with these unbelievable and plain dangerous goals!

Not to mention that the fashion industry is rampant with eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse and most of these girls have serious image issues as well.

We as women need to ask ourselves, what are we teaching our daughters?

Are we always on diets? Expressing how unhappy we are with our bodies?

Using food as a coping mechanism?

Running to buy the latest fashion issue only to feel depressed afterwards and starting our crazy cycle of destroying our self-esteem all over again?

And we are paying for this?

Women of the world the revolution has started!

Throw away those harmful fashion magazines! Get rid of your scales! Refuse to be told how to dress, how to look and most importantly what you have to have or be to feel good!

Instead educate yourselves about good, healthy nutrition, proper exercise and real body image.

I know a woman who is about five feet tall. She has to weight as least 160 pounds. This woman should feel depressed and bad about herself according to society standards, right?

But she doesn't! She is the most beautiful, elegant woman I have ever met!

Her husband adores her and she is really active in her community. Her beauty isn't superficial! It comes from the inside out!

Beauty isn't something you buy from a store or get from a plastic surgeon.

Beauty is something that comes from within ourselves when we are at peace with who we are.

To make my point I also know this other woman. Try as she might to lose weight, buy all kinds of new expensive clothes, jewelry or get different men in her life, she is miserable.


Because she just doesn't "Fit" into her skin. She doesn't know who she is! She is so busy trying to be everyone else!

The latest movie star, her friend, even her ex-husband's new wife!

None of it works!


Because if we don't know how to be ourselves, how do we expect to be good at being other people?

No one can be you, like you!

Women, know thy selves! Stop trying to be someone you don't know or probably wouldn't even like if you did!

No one can make us feel bad about ourselves unless we give them permission! So stop letting them,


We are precious creations! Each one unique and special! There is no one else in the whole world just like us!

The time has come to develop our own special self and stop trying to be a bad imitation of someone else!

Stop being a Cubic Zirconia!

Instead today vow to be a wonderful, incredible diamond in the rough with imperfections and all!

Just rearing to discover all the individual facets that you possess!

One at a time they will add up to a priceless one of a kind gorgeous gem!

Remember after all, diamonds are a girl's best friend and you should be your own best friend!

So women of America love thy self!!!

Okay I'll get off my soap box now. I need it to finish my laundry anyway!

Wooden Box

Queen of her laundry pile!

Woman carrying pile of laundry


February 26


Oh my goodness, can someone please explain to me why dirty dishes, dirty laundry and unpaid bills multiply so quickly,

But money doesn't?

I swear every time I turn around for one second the empty sink, empty clothes hamper and empty bills holder gets full!

On the other hand I think about it and my wallet and checking account get instantly empty.

How am I supposed to live like a queen on a pauper's budget?

Do you people know how expensive tiaras are nowadays?

And another thing queens are not supposed to have dishpan hands. Or have to do the royal dirty "Undies".

You know it can make a queen want to run off and conquer other kingdoms; other kingdoms with less dirty stuff and more fun. Like maybe Walt Disney kingdom. I mean they have room for all those princesses why would they not have room for an extra Queen?

I could ride on the floats and wave to all those happy little children. Happy little children whose laundry I would not have to worry about! Then I could eat the royal hot dogs and sip on the royal lemonade. It would be so much fun day in and day out!

Wait come to think of it I guess I would get bored just sitting around on my golden throne all day long with nothing to do! Those little kids have parents and I trying to hug them would probably get me in trouble with security!

Besides just think too, when our youngest son Alexi graduates from college in a few years we will have so much money and time we won't know what to do with it! HA! HA! HA!

Yeah right, golden throne in Aruba here I come! Dishes, laundry what's that?

Gee, but who will eat my chocolate cupcakes then? Or roll their eyes at my silly jokes?

Okay, I think Queen-Dom can wait! After all time goes by so fast that in reality before we know it they will be grown with a family of their own. I think for now I will just put the throne away and enjoy being the cinder-mom in my home. Minus the evil steps and all that drama!!

Hey guys, what do you say we go barefoot, get some paper plates and eat some yummy cupcakes? I bet Queen Elizabeth never had it this good!

Cupcakes with cherries

Mates for life




February 23


Today I saw the most beautiful mourning dove.

Since I know that Mourning doves mate for life and never go out without its partner I scanned the area to find its mate.

I soon found it looking down from a tree at its companion.

As the dove on the ground walked around enjoying itself, picking seeds out of the snow, its spouse kept an attentive eye over it.

It's seemed silly but I got a little misty eyed thinking about how a supposed dumb animal could care that much or be that loyal.

A little while later they switched places so the other dove could go out and enjoy itself while its mate kept watch.

We humans could really learn a lot from God's creatures. Here these two doves let each other enjoy their space but at the same time quietly offered support and protection if the need arose.

I wondered how much better our relationships would be if we used the same philosophy?

Nowadays every time you turn the television on we are swamped with yet another TV show where sarcasm, insults and put-downs are all the parents exchange with each other and the kids!

What good can come of that? So many times negative, hurtful things are said in the name of humor. Yet in reality no one is laughing, because being mean isn't funny!

Respect, love and kindness are the building blocks of any healthy and happy relationship; but I guess at times it is easier to say these negative things to make ourselves feel better. I think if we focused more on making the other person feel better, we would realize that we grow as a person and as a couple.   

Maybe if we did start doing this we humans would be able to mate for life as well! Or at least have deeper more loving relationships with those around us!

After all I don't think you see too many mourning doves in divorce court do you?

Unless of course, they're hanging out outside eating seeds and enjoying the beautiful day together!

Who would have thought that we could learn so much from such a small little bird?

Loving senior couple

Time out for me

Woman puts feet up in the sun



February 21


Today was the best day of my life! I actually got to spend most of the morning sleeping because my hubby and kiddies were out playing basketball.

Not only that, after wards I woke up to discover I was still alive and could enjoy the rest of the day! I also discovered that the sun was still in the sky, the trees were still standing and my family was still around!!

Sometimes we as women have this thought pattern that if we so much as think of taking any time for ourselves the universe will seize to exist as we know it!

Some of us were raised on this amazing guilt trip that we must "sacrifice" and be some type of "martyr" or "doormat" in order to prove how good we are as wives and mothers.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

In order to be good as wives, mothers, friends and just plain human beings, we need to take care of ourselves, our needs, in order to be functional for others!

I think sometimes we thrive on that crazy "they are doomed without me" energy!

The reality is if we as moms and wives have done a good job, then our families are going to be quite self-sufficient!

And this is a great thing! So for today just relax and take care of the most important person in the world! You!

Just remember sometimes in life the very simple things brings us the greatest pleasure, like a little extra sleep or a bit of time just for ourselves.

Hmmm, a soft sheet, warm bed, isn't life grand?

Woman asleep in bed with stick headboard in the middle of a desert

Queen of the road




February 17


Someone explain to me why a perfectly nice person any other place, when you put them behind the wheel of a car they turn into psychos from the underworld?

I am not the most patient person in the world but I am not about to start hollering bloody murder to a total stranger because they, horrors, actually got ahead of me in traffic!

For Pete's sakes! Who cares whose first?

Have we ever stopped to think that the driver in front of us might have just been told they have cancer?

Or their spouse is dying?

Maybe they got fired or they are in an abusive relationship they can't escape?

How about that simple fact?

Maybe that unknown person that just got in front of you in traffic has never been first in anything!

They have never won anything or accomplished much.

They are just average people with average problems probably living mundane lives!

If you think I am being melodramatic let me tell you a story. When I was still a trooper I was on the side of the road in the middle of a traffic stop. Suddenly a car comes speeding down the road and almost clipped my fellow trooper who had come down to back me up. We wound up in a 20 minute chase to get this "nut" off the road! We finally got him pulled over, we took him into custody and got him to the station for booking.

The man was obviously not all there. He seemed so out of it, yet he did not appear drunk or high in drugs.

While I was searching him for the booking process I noticed a crumpled piece of paper in his fist. I asked him nicely to open his hand so I could see what it was. He started crying uncontrollably. He slowly opened his hand; balled up inside was a picture of a smiling baby of about 9 months.

He slowly told me that his only son was fatally ill and was taken off life support that day. All of a sudden the "nut" became a grief stricken father!

The other trooper was a little surprised, he was not married and did not have any kids yet!, when I asked the gentleman if he had any family that could come pick him up. There was no way I was going to send this man to jail.

He even apologized to my partner, he was so grief stricken to get home to his wife, he had not even seen us on the side of the road or realized we were following him!

This happened over twenty years ago and it will remain as a lesson to me that we never know what challenges people around us are facing.

Another thing, have you ever noticed that if you let someone go ahead of you in traffic, they start letting others go ahead of them too?

Goes around, comes around, Karma is an amazing thing!

So if you are blessed enough to have a halfway decent life why not let someone succeed at something today, even if it's something as small as just being ahead of you in traffic?

Who knows you might start a chain reaction of one good turn deserve another.

Honestly unless you are in the situation this poor man was in, is rushing around really worth all that stress and anger?

Who knows, you might even actually have a smile when you get home tonight instead of a headache!

Wow, I never noticed that there was a park there!? See driving slower does have its benefits!

Want to go for a walk, Buddie, Boy?

Cupid’s arrow



February 14


Happy Valentine's Day!

Yeah, Yeah I know it's a silly holiday created by the chocolate industry to spruce up sales during a slow month.

Hey, anything that will get my hubby to treat me extra special, an extra day out of the year can't be bad in my book!

My hubby is pretty good about treating me special anyway.

As a matter of fact he proposed on St. Valentine's Day!

It was so romantic we were in Atlanta and he picked a nice restaurant, unfortunately he didn't make reservations so we couldn't get a table!

So he walks me over to one of the balconies that overlooked the whole city. It was gorgeous! Atlanta's city lights were twinkling like gems on a black velvet drape.

He seemed nervous and asked me to take in the view!

It was so intoxicating I was totally lost in the moment, until his voice snapped me out of it, "Well?"

"Well, what?" I asked.

"Don't tell me you didn't hear I word I said?" He replied with a look of total dejection.

I couldn't lie to him. I was so into the view I had totally tuned everything around me out. I had a knack for doing that at the worse possible moments!

"I'm sorry, but you told me to take the view in and."

"Oh, man, I can't believe I have to say it all over again! How could you miss it?" He said totally frustrated.

"Miss what? I'm sorry! Okay, look, see you have my total attention!" I said as I turned my total focus on him.

It wasn't until then that I noticed he was holding a small present in his hands. I looked straight into his eyes and he had the most serious look on his face. He took a deep breath and slowly went down on one knee. My heart just about popped out of my throat! Now I definitely knew I wasn't going to hear a word he said because my heart was playing a marching tune in my ears!

"Honey, as we over look this beautiful city I want you to know that I want you by my side as we forge ahead conquering our dreams and building a beautiful world of our own, will you marry me?" He asked as he took out a little black box, containing the most incredible diamond ring, out of the blue bag he had been holding.

Tears misted up in my eyes and before I had a chance to say anything a little old lady passing by with her husband yelled out "Go on honey say yes!"

My hubby turned around totally shocked to discover that several people had stopped to see the outcome of his proposal.

"That is one nosy woman!" my hubby mumbled under his breath. I cracked up laughing and answered yes in agreement to my husband's comment!

The people that had gathered cheered and my hubby put the ring on my finger and kissed me. He then hurried me out of there because he really isn't one to be the center of attention.

"Thank goodness you said yes," he said," or I would have felt like a total fool!"

"Actually", I said teasingly, "I really didn't say yes to your proposal, I was just agreeing with you about that lady being nosy!"

He looked at me totally dumbfounded.


"I was just kidding!" I said as I laughed out loud.

"You better be after you made me have to do that over, I can't believe you missed it! Talk about a space cadet!"

"Hey, I'm your space cadet now!" I replied pointing to the ring on my finger.

"Yeah, thanks for reminding me!" He laughed as he pulled me into his arms and spun me around, "And don't ever forget it, you!"

"How could I?" I asked "you proposed twice!"

It's funny how something so simple could make life so special!

I love Valentine's Day! Pass the chocolates, besides don't you know that chocolates eaten while sniffing long stem roses are full of nutrients and good for you?

Okay maybe not but boy do they make you feel special!!

Big pressures, little people



February 13


The kids came home with their reports cards today.

Boy, I had never seen a more nervous bunch of kids than the ones filing out of the school today.

Some looked like they were walking the green mile. You know?

Dead man (child) walking!

It wasn't just the older ones either.

The little ones looked like someone had stolen their favorite pet!

Have we as a society become so success-driven that even our kids are suffering from the effects of "ladder-climbing" syndrome?

These are kids; their biggest worry should be what flavor Popsicle they're going to have after school!

Instead at these very young ages they are worried about what college they are going to go to or if they can secure an athletic scholarship!

I understand that grades are important. I also understand that having sports and other activities in their lives is also good too.

But if your child has so much planned that he needs a PDA just to keep track of his schedule, something is wrong! Childhood is something that is so fleeting!

It is gone in what 11, 13 years? After that High school slowly destroys whatever little amount of self-esteem we have left.

Then it's off to college and the real world!

Is it really so awful to let kids be kids a little longer?

What is this obsession that we have with making our kids grow up so fast?

Then when they are grown and gone out of our homes and our lives, we keep complaining about how much we miss them!

The growing number of children suffering from stress and depression in this country is staggering!

Children are having sex younger and younger. They are also having children of their own younger and contracting sexually transmitted diseases at an alarming rate!

When we see these statistics we act shocked! Why can't they just act their age? What's their hurry to grow up? Yet on the other hand we're constantly lecturing them about how they need to be mature, their grades need to be perfect and to be super-stars academically.

We tell them how if they don't play 4 or 5 sports year-round they won't be good enough to make a college team! Wait I know, we may not come right out and say it per say!

But it's very much implied in our attitudes and the way we talk to them.

Also at the same time the number of life threatening and crippling sports-related injuries occurring amount kids 11 to 16 years of age have skyrocketed in the last ten years!


Because they are being pushed too hard, too fast, too soon!

Think about this for a moment.

You have an average boy age 14 years of age. He plays baseball for his high school. Is that enough? No of course not!

If you want to get scouted for a good college, he needs to play Pony league, Legion Babe Ruth or on a traveling team.

So now you can have this boy playing on as much as three or four teams at the same time! Then after summer baseball is done, we now have fall league! Not enough? Now they also have indoor leagues and the ever increasing baseball camp, pitching camp, fielding camp, catching camp, running-the-bases camp and eating sunflower seeds right camp!

Some people might say, what wrong with that? It's good for him, gives him character. I'll tell you what's wrong with that!

It actually gives that 14 year old boy a 75% chance of suffering a career ending injury before he graduates high school! 75% chance!

Not only that studies show that they have a higher risk of burn out, depression and mood swings.

I don't know about you but is that really worth the price?

I won't be a hypocrite, our son Jose dreams of playing baseball professionally someday.

But a few summers ago I finally had to call my husband on the carpet. Jose got a serious injury during one of his games. The doctor was specific that he needed ten days to heal, yet he was back on the field in less than four days!

My husband has the ability to make a mountain crumble! Yet he was trying to make me believe he couldn't make Jose sit out the required ten days?

I wasn't buying it for one minute!

But since I am only his step-mom I bit my tongue.

By the time August came around my son was no longer happy. He wasn't having fun and he was stressed to the max. Can you imagine trying to keep track of four different uniforms, equipment and the schedules of each game?

It was utter madness!

I knew it wasn't his fault either.

I had set high standards for them academically, but my husband had set even higher ones athletically.

These standards, which were already ridiculous, in my young son's ignorance, he took it upon himself to set them even higher!

My son really thought that if he didn't get a scholarship his life would be over.

See this is where we create problems for our kids if we don't separate our life experiences from those of our kids!

My husband came from a poor, inner city family. His father couldn't have cared less if he went to college or not and basically told him he was on his own.

Because my husband didn't have a support system he wasn't able to play sports in college. He had to pay his own way through college while supporting a wife and small child.

After years of hearing this story my son thought if he didn't have a scholarship he was on his own! Why?

Because his dad never took the time to tell him that that had been his life not the one his son was destined to live!

My son had never been told, even though we thought it was implied, that we would be there to help out financially.

We as parents assume a lot!

I finally took him a side and set him straight. I told him that sports weren't everything and if he didn't get a scholarship, so what?

That's what they had student loans for!

I told him that not even professional athletes play year around and we didn't expect him to either.

I also told him it was okay to be just a goofy teen.

He would have plenty of time later on to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders but for now, he just needed to find out what the world was about!

Then I ordered him to go out that night and have a good time with his friends.

He looked at me like I was nuts!

But he got the point. He's still very driven, but now when I tell him it's time to go out, he takes me up on it!

When my kids walked out of school and got into the car it was funny to see them fight over whose report card I would read first.

Not because they were straight A students, but because they knew that as long as effort and conduct were good I would be okay with what the other grades were.

They knew that I loved them and accepted them not because of a letter on a piece of paper but because they were unique human beings, each with very different talents and abilities.

They also knew that I was going to point out all the good stuff before I asked them how we could help them in the areas that they were having challenges in.

The biggest thing for them was that they would get special treats not only for high marks but also for any improvements made.

They also knew that even if they hadn't improved enormously, consistence would be rewarded too; their rewards?

An afternoon of being a kid! We would all go roller-blading or maybe to the arcade!

We might even go out to eat somewhere special with miniature golfing after!

It was just a few hours of no schedules, no pressures, just us having fun and being young! Of course you know who the biggest kid is right? Yeah, you got it, ME!

My kids’ biggest fan!


February 12


Jessie had a basketball game today. I swear to goodness as I sat on the bench cheering my daughter's team on I felt like I was sitting with the Step-ford families.

You know that old movie where the husbands replace their wives and children with robots? Robots that would do anything they asked? But, mostly they sat quietly until their services were needed?

Like machines, no emotion or expressions?

Okay, I admit my daughter's team isn't exactly the Boston Celtics.

But I firmly believe that anything that is done to the best of someone's ability should be praised.

As I looked around me half of the parents weren't even paying attention to the game!

They were either talking to each other or on cell phones.

Not for nothing but what could be so interesting that it can't wait for 40 lousy minutes?

I have to admit I am an obnoxious parent!

You know the type, the one that gets to the recital two hours early to get a front row seat. You can't miss me I am the one with the video camera, digital camera, 35mm camera, tape recorder and steno pad crawling on her belly in heels to get a closer shot of whatever kid happens to be doing something!

Yeah I know it's a compulsion I have but I can't help myself!

You see my parents couldn't have cared less about me, never mind taking pictures.

The youngest picture that exists of me was when I was four years old and that one was taken by a neighbor!

But this isn't the reason I'm compulsive with my kids.

In my life I never had anyone there for me at any of my important events.

My adoptive mother was very strict and never let me do anything.

The few times that I did participate in anything, she was rarely there.

When I was small before I was seven she would go to all my school functions etc.

For some strange reason when we came to live in the United States she kind of lost interest in raising me.

Once my niece was born, my mother kind of forgot about me and focused on her own flesh and blood. I guess I wasn't cute or young enough anymore to keep her amused.

I once entered a talent show when I was in sixth grade.

I had to beg her for months to let me go.

She finally did and I won a ribbon for best musical selection. I had picked music from George M. Cohen.

My music teacher was a little surprised that this skinny Latina kid from the ghetto knew who George M. Cohen was.

I have to tell you honestly I lived a very lonely existence and television was my only companion (that and my dog Violeta but, yeah, that's another story for another day) my favorite shows were the old Hollywood musicals.

I had memorized all the songs and dance routines by heart.

When my mother was at work (she worked nights) I would lock myself in my room and watch all the old movies.

I would sing and dance along with the stars pretending I was Ginger Rogers or Dorothy Lamar. In my mind someday I would go and take Hollywood by storm.

But on this particular night I wanted to just take Cambridge, Massachusetts by storm!

I was very quiet and a bit of a bookworm, okay a mega bookworm!

Making friends was not easy for me. So I mostly kept to myself. As a result of my always having my nose in a book I excel academically but it wasn't a great way to make friends in a poor, inner city school!

The other kids would make fun of me and had nicknamed me "Professor Bookworm". Funny thing was that I knew they were trying to make fun of me, but I thought it was kind of cool! (See, I told you I was weird!)

It really didn't bother me.

For me to be in the talent show was totally out of character for me, at least in the real world. In my own dream world I had already won countless Oscars and Grammies!

I practiced countless hours looking forward to the night of the show.

When it was my turn to go on stage my stomach was doing somersaults and my mouth felt like the Sahara desert!

I just turn my back on the audience and when I turned around as the music started I was no longer "Me".

I was James Cagney! I went through the medley of "It's a Grand Old Flag", "He's a Yankee Doodle Boy" and "Over there"!

I know that I must have looked pretty silly since I had never taken a dance lesson in my life, but for those three minutes I was on fire.

The best thing was when I was done, people actually clapped and cheered! I was on cloud nine! I looked from one side of the school gym to the other expecting to see my mother and she was nowhere to be found!

The crazy thing was here were these other mothers, so called "welfare mothers", "single mothers", "Dysfunctional mothers" yet they were here cheering their kids on!

These were the people my mother was always criticizing yet they were here and she wasn't. These ladies were even cheering for those kids that weren't even theirs!

After the show was over I ran home through the darkness so happy with my success and my ribbon! I couldn't wait to see my mother's face!

I knew she would be so proud of me!

When I got home she was already there from work with her boyfriend. I showed her my blue ribbon and when she asked me what it was for I told her it was because I had picked the best music.

At that moment she and her boyfriend started laughing hysterically!

Is that the only thing you got this for? You must be horrible!

She threw the ribbon back at me and walked away laughing with her boyfriend into her bedroom and closed the door.

I turned and ran into my room and threw myself on my bed crying!

I had never been so crushed as I was in that moment. As I cried myself to sleep that night I made myself a promise.

I promised my future children that no matter what show or game or anything that they were in I would be there to cheer them on. I didn't care if they were the best or the not so the best!

I would be there to root for them, encourage them and just let them know how proud I was of them. It's funny because some people say that as their kids get older they don't want them around anymore.

That's a lie!

Our kids may not say it or show it, but they want us there! They need us there. Not just in body but in heart and soul!

I will never be able to explain to you how priceless it is to me to have my kids (Step, bio or otherwise) quickly looking for me, only to see a big smile break out over their faces when our eyes meet, or a simple sly nod from them.

That's all it takes. That's all I need. That's all they need!

In the time you spend talking to someone in the stands or on the cell phone you will miss something that you will never be able to get back, a precious memory of your child.

Just remember this; they grow-up in less than 19 years. Then they are off to college or on their own. This is the time that you will try to get them to call home or write. You want them to visit or hang out with you during the summer. But by then it's too late! Just like you did not have time for them when they were young they now have no time for you when they are older!

Where do you think they learned that from? Remember you will have the rest of your life to talk your head off!

As for me, you can't miss me I am the loud obnoxious parent with the big silly grin on her face.

Rooting for all the kids on the team, even the ones that are so called not so good! Although I will be especially loud for mine!

That's called a proud mama!

Either that or just a frustrated cheerleader! 

My biggest baby’s birthday!



February 11


Today was Mel's birthday! He's really not into birthdays for some reason but we got him a baseball cake!

It was pretty funny it had the little players on the diamond along with little baseballs!

Mel got a big kick out of it except for the overwhelming amount of candles we put on it! We almost set off the smoke detectors!

It reminds me of the time we were trying to surprise him with a birthday cake. We had hidden the cake in Jess' room. While he was watching TV, she came out holding the cake candles all lit and all!

Well she hadn't realized that the cake was on top of a cardboard tray as well as the bottom of the plastic carrying case.

As she walked towards her dad the cake slipped off the plastic bottom and landed upside down on the rug at Mel's feet!

She looked over to me and looked about to cry at how upset she was.

Chris and I looked at each other then at the cake and started laughing hysterically!

My hubby looked at us totally shocked!

Jess looked at the cake and started to giggle through her tears! I walked over and picked up the cake. Luckily it only hit the corner and I was able to scrape the carpet fibers off that side!

Mel started laughing too and commented how he hoped that there were no dog hairs on his piece! Once again we were able to turn an event, that if it had been my childhood, I would have gotten beaten severely for that in fraction.

Thank God life had taught us better!

Mel later said that was one of his best birthdays!

It's funny to me how this man goes out of his way to make sure his kids feel special on their birthday but feels self conscious about celebrating his big day.

A lot of times we as people find it easier to make a big deal over other people, but have a hard time having the spotlight on us.

But we need to remember that our birth was a glorious miracle produced by God with our parents.

We should never down play the importance of the day. We should dedicate that one day a year to take the time to celebrate ourselves, our accomplishments and our hopes for the year to come!

Don't be shy to wear a silly hat and toot your own birthday horn!

Happy birthday baby!

Second Chances


February 10


I really wonder at times what possesses humans to get married and try to live with one single human being for the rest of their natural lives.

It just seems sometimes that I must have been out to lunch when our creator was handing out some of the required tools needed to survive on earth.

It seems lately I have been reflecting a lot on why I would commit to entering a second marriage when at times I felt like I hadn't figured out what went wrong with the first one.

I know that getting married at 17 years of age was not the best decision I had ever made.

Having a child so young was a close second.

But at that time the prospect of staying in my abusive home with my mother seemed even bleaker to me.

I know my first husband and I had some things in common when we got together. I can also say that there were some good times when we were together; but somewhere along the line, I took one path and he took another.

It kills me at times to realize that I lost 15 years of my life in that marriage.

Reflecting on all the many would-as', could-as', should-as'. I think of all the opportunities I let slip through my fingers trying to make that marriage work.

I also think of all the precious time I lost with my boys; time I will never have back again because I was worrying about my everyday existence.

I would purposely work extra shifts to make more money and to avoid being home so I wouldn't have to deal with the arguments.

Now I would do anything to go back and do it over.

I would love to have my boys little again and hold them in my arms.

To be able to stop counting down to the time they would be grown and gone, and instead play with them again. Tickle them. Kiss them. Smell them. Love them.

I can't lay all the blame on my ex-husband, because I know I hurt him just as much as he hurt me.

If I had spent more time focusing on the good in the marriage then I would not have lost so much time with my boys.

The irony of all this is that if I had realized that then, well maybe the marriage would have worked out.

Now in my second marriage I do realize it.

That's the reason I think maybe I was meant to live alone.

Because I can't act like I don't know!

I know now that it takes two people to make a good marriage and two people to mess it up.

I had an argument with Mel today over something I don't even remember now.

I do remember thinking how angry and hurt I was and how much better life would be if he changed or if he did things differently.

Now thinking back, I realized that I have to do things differently too!

I keep living my life at times as if I was still a 17 year-old inexperienced young girl.

At times when my husband gets upset over something insignificant I can feel my insides cringe like the frightened little, abused girl of my childhood.

My husband is not abusive by any means of the imagination!

He would never hurt me, or anyone in our family. His only big faults are that he sometimes gets loud when he gets upset and is very stubborn! This is a negative trait he learned from his childhood. Traits he has been trying really hard to overcome because he understands how negatively they affect our family.

I have to remember that I am not that young woman anymore.

I am not helpless or out of control. I am smart, I have a life, a job, most of all I am alive and in total control of my life! What does this mean? It means I have the power to change my life anytime I DECIDE to!

90% of the issues in my current marriage have occurred as a direct result of trying to live my life today, as if I still lived in yesterday.

I once heard someone say," You can't drive a car forward effectible if your eyes are on the rearview mirror!

Can you imagine trying to drive 65 miles an hour down the highway while keeping your focus only on the rearview mirror?

We wouldn't get very far before we crashed, got hurt or killed ourselves!

Yet this is how most of us try to live our lives! Then we sit there and wonder why we aren't getting anywhere?

Why our lives aren't satisfying? Why we don't have all the material things in life we desire or the type of relationships we wish for?

Life isn't going to get better unless we decide to get "better".

Think about this, if every single person we knew changed to be exactly how we wanted them to be, it still wouldn't make a difference!

You know why?

If we don't change ourselves, we wouldn't notice the changes in them!

We won't appreciate it, acknowledge it or even bother to admit that it's happened.

So it won't do us one bit of good!

Funny thing about change is that once we start to change, magically everyone around us starts to change too!

Listening to my husband's voice as he talked to his oldest boy Jose made me remember all the wonderful reasons why I did make the commitment to try marriage again.

It also made me realize that my marriage now is only as good or as bad as I chose to say it is.

I think I will decide to have a good marriage! What other options do I have?

Divorce again and try again?

Sorry spouses aren't like shoes. You don't keep trying different ones on until you find the one you think is just right. You have to do that before you get married!

That was the mistake I made in my first marriage. I never stopped to think about the fact that this person would be in my life forever.

There are two reasons why finding out after marriage doesn't work.

For one, no matter how good that shoe is new, sooner or later it going to start getting worn, old and not looking quite so good.

This happens in all marriages. Think about this, everyone we know have qualities that irk us. Bosses, friends, co-workers all have habits that can get on our nerves.

Yet we go out of our way to ignore their quirks and focus on their good qualities.

Why can't we do this with our spouses? Well as we see fifty percent of people do, the other fifty percent?

They decide to throw out the spouse with the bathwater.

Again, I am not going to be hypocrite, since I too went through a divorce. But if I had applied this theory in my first marriage, focusing on the good, compensating for the bad, I know things would have been a lot different. Would this have made my first marriage successful?

I could spend the rest of my life kicking myself over my failed marriage.

Instead what I need to do is use those mistakes to help me succeed in this marriage.

Sadly people that get married a second time have only a thirty percent chance of success. Third marriages have only a ten percent chance of success.

Now I see why "disposable spouses" don't work.

We need to take time to reflect on the fact that when we point our finger at someone else, four fingers are pointing back at us. We need to deal with our issues, change ourselves, instead of trying to change everyone else.

The other reason it doesn't work to figure out your spouse after marriage is no one likes to buy a pair of shoes that have been overly used and damaged because the fit is not right.

I do not mean that because of some archaic religious view. I mean it from an emotional baggage point of view. When you marry someone you have to deal with the issues, your issues and the issues of any prior spouses that made an emotional impact on both of you! That is a lot of baggage to deal with on top of dealing with the new family, kids and everyday life!


The funny thing is my favorite pair of shoes is my old falling apart slippers.

No matter how ugly they are, or unfashionable they may be, boy do they fit just right!

I know no one else would be crazy enough to want to spend good money for my worn out slippers.

Yet I can't image getting rid of them for anything in the world.

That's how I feel about my Mel (minus the old and falling apart comparison!).

At times I used to think about how much easier it would be to start over on my own, but then I realize that I like my old broken in hubby so much better.

Another thing I realized was that my marriage was a three-way deal. It went from me to my husband and from both of us to God. I really don't want to be the one to have to tell the Big guy, that after I prayed to find an eternal companion and married him through a religious ceremony, I wasn't willing to put my selfishness aside long enough to make it work.

Wait correct that, it was a four way deal. Add our kids to that mix. Because we have been as honest as possible with our kids about why we got divorced the first time they came to understand the reasons and were able to heal as best as possible.

There is no way that a second divorce would be justified emotionally or realistically because as much as Mel and I have going for each other. The love and respect, the similarities in our likes and dislikes, our religious views and much more; the only way this marriage would not work would be through our own selfishness or just plain stupidity.

I for one (and I know Mel feels the same) plan on staying right where I am! It is nice to know that when the chips are down you have someone to watch your back. As an old cop you never go anywhere without back up! Also as any cop knows you better know you can trust your backup with your life, literally!

Well, Mel is my partner, my buddy, my lover, my biggest pain in the butt but also the one person I trust with my life and the life of my kids unconditionally.

A true partner, true Cop's cop.

The silly arguments and struggles are nothing compared to the good times!

Besides when all is said and done if I did live by myself whose clothes would I steal on cold winter nights anyway, who's debit card would I "borrow", who's blanket would I steal at night, who would help me coach the Red Sox and Celtics to another world championship, who would I cuddle with?

Besides Mel's the best at warming my side of the bed at night!

Yeah I know! I am spoiled!

Aren't I lucky?

Unexpected wonders



February 8


Boy did I have the killer headache today! I don't mean like in, killer wave dude, either! The throbbing war drum on top of my head had totally ruined my day.

I get migraines once in a while and when I do, watch out, it throws me for a loop!

Problem is my family thinks that moms are androids and don't get aches, pains or ill in any way!

I baby them to the point that it's a bit sickening, you know, bed rest, meals in bed, the whole bit.

I get sick? The only way they would notice is if my body started to rot and decompose.

Then again they might think that Sadie had just left one of her infamous landmines or that Jose had farted! (He does that a lot!)

I was thinking of maybe doing an Oscar winning deathbed scene to see if they would nurse me, but the last time I tried that they all laughed at me and told me Julia Roberts did it better! Maybe next time they should have her wash their dumb socks!

So instead, I decided to sit in the dark and pretend I really wasn't here! I decided to travel to somewhere over the rainbow.

It was kind of cool for a while until someone took a slalom slide down the stairs and I think broke something! (They do that a lot too!)

The commotion totally ruined the peaceful rainbow thing.

Just as I was determined to never come out of my room again because no one would notice, I heard a small knock on the door.

I had to listen intently because I wasn't sure if the knocking was coming from the door or from inside my head.

When I hear it again, I mumbled something to let whoever was there, know that I was still alive. Slowly the door opened and it was I think three of my kids, although after the rainbow thing, I wasn't sure if maybe I was just seeing munchkins.

They came in so quietly I was sure they really weren't my kids especially when none of the boys tripped over their big feet! They brought me some Chamomile tea and toast.

"How are you feeling?" one of the munchkins, I mean kids asked me.

I was suddenly feeling a lot better even though the tom-toms in my brain were still trying to send me a coded message.

They gave me a kiss and told me if I needed anything else just to let them know.

They left the room just as quietly as they had entered. As I sat in the dark sipping my tea and nibbling on my toast I was wondering when the aliens had landed and replaced my kids with clones.

Suddenly I hear the bathroom door open and someone do the butt slide down the stairs again.

"Stop making noise," one of them yelled loud enough for the whole neighborhood to hear them.

"Mom's not feeling well!"

Aw, my kids were back! I guess they like me! They really like me! Okay Sally Fields I'm not! But they do like me or wait maybe they were running low on clean underwear! It did not matter I think I'll keep them dirty undies and all!

Yummy, this tea is good!!

The speed of light


February 7


Oh my goodness! Did I feel old today! Chris and Jess were rummaging in the attic today when I could hear giggles coming from upstairs.

This could only mean two things, either Chris farted or Jess was making silly faces again.

"What are you two up to?" I asked.

The two of them came running down the stairs chasing each other.

"What is this?" They asked. I looked to see what "that" was. Chris was holding an old 45 record in his hands. I took it from him. I looked at the label, "When I need you" by Leo Sayer.

"It's a record", I told him.

"What's that?" Jess asked. I looked at them with total disbelief.

"What do you mean what is that?" I asked. "It's a record album; you put it on a record player." "What does it do?" Chris asked again.

"You take this and you put it on a record player. It has an arm with a needle on it. You bring the needle down and the record goes round and round and music comes out!" I said with a smile.

Chris and Jess looked down at the record then looked up at me. They looked down at the record again then at each other. They busted out laughing hysterically.

"No, stop kidding, for real mom, what is it?" Chris asked.

"Is it a Frisbee?" Jess asked me.

"No, it's not a Frisbee and no, I'm not kidding!" They kept looking at me funny.

I scratched my head for moment and finally said, "It's a music CD from back in the day!"

"Oh, why didn't you just say so then, Man, these things are weird looking!"

They ran off tossing my beloved Leo back and forth like a Frisbee.

Boy I felt old. It had never occurred to me before how really fast technology was moving. I remembered when I was growing up that 8 track tapes were a big deal!

Now if I showed one of those to my kids they would probably think it was a brick or something!

From there we advanced to cassette tapes, VCRs and of course the big one, personal computers. We saw an old movie one day and my kids wanted to know what the big room full of bleeping noises and blinking lights was.

They just about fell out of their chairs when I told them that "it", was a computer!

Not a room full of them, just one!

Now we seem to be going at warp speed pace towards smaller electronics and better gadgets to make our lives easier.

The funny thing is between my beeper, cell phone, e-mail, PDA and answering machine I am so busy returning something to someone I don't have time for anything else.

We humans seem to have a knack for making more work for ourselves in the name of convenience! A few years ago we had a power outage. It was the best thing that had happened to our family in a long time.

No TV, no video games, no computer or radio.

We sat in our living room by candlelight and did something we don't ever do enough of, we talked!

We told stories about our youth, the past, our dreams and hopes. Even though the lights were only out for a few hours we did more bonding in that small time than we had all year.

Sometimes I think our ancestors had it right. They did things the simple way. You know early to rise and early to bed. They worked hard and, played hard.

Yeah, I know, some argue that the life expectancy was a lot shorter back then with all the diseases and all.

But think about it for a moment. What is better? To live eighty years in front of a TV never really even talking to the people that are supposed to be closest to us?

Or forty years working together, talking and learning from each other?

If you talk to your child for an hour what do you gain?

If you play computer games for an hour what do you gain? See my point?

I live life even more fully when I listened to my son Alexis tell me all about what he did in school.

I learn new things. I see the world through his eyes. I experienced it just like he did because he shared it with me and more importantly, I listened.

How much bonding am I doing with a square box that sits in my living room?

I guess that is why our family loves camping so much. Because every year for 2 weeks we are one. No interruptions!

It's only our kids and our family enjoying each other and God's awesome earth. We count down the days until it's time to go again. Surprisingly even the older kids still enjoy it as much as we do.

Don't get me wrong.

I would be a hypocrite if I said I didn't use any of today's modern conveniences. I am a tech junkie just like the worse of them! But in all honestly I would rather experience it firsthand instead of just watching it on TV or playing it on a computer.

You know maybe I don't feel as old anymore. I may not be able to beat my boys at video games, but I can beat them up the mountain when we go hiking!

That's okay, wait until my kid's children think CD's and MP3's are weird and our computers are outdated!

What goes around comes around!

Although if my kids had seen my beloved Leo Sayer they would have definitely though that he was weird too!

The good Samaritans



February 2


I was driving on the highway earlier today when I noticed a car with two young men broken down on the side of the road.

They had their blinkers on and it was quite evident that they had no clue what to do. I instinctually pulled over after having spent 15 years as a police officer, to see if I could be of assistance.

(I don't recommend women do this routinely as your safety might be at stake! Play it smart!)

As I got closer I noticed that it was two teenagers and that they had a flat tire. I also noticed that they were a little shocked to see a woman pull over and ask them if they needed help.

There was a sight of total mayhem around the car as various parts of the jack were spewed all over the side of the road.

I had to stifle a chuckle as they explained to me that they had a flat and had no clue how to change it.

I couldn't resist. I quickly knelt down in my high heeled boots and skirt and expertly changed their tire in no time flat!

(No pun intended, okay maybe it was intended!)

The look of disbelief on their young faces was priceless!

"Wow, dude, you just had a chick change your tire man. You should be ashamed of yourself!"

"What? You didn't know how to change it either!" His friend replied.

"Yeah but it's your car, dude!" I raised my eyebrow and again resisted the temptation to laugh out loud.

"A chick?" I asked. They both turned towards me and turned beet red.

"Sorry Ma'am!" The kid mumbled.

"You just saved my butt! My dad told me that if I was late one more time he would ground me until I was old enough to collect social security!"

"No problem." I replied, "But just remember one thing," I said as I walked back to my car," Never underestimate the power of a chick!" I got in my car and started to drive back out onto the highway. As I drove by the two young men I slowed down and yelled out the window to them,

"Now don't forget to return the favor someday!" The two boys smiled and waved back.

"Sure thing dude, eh, Ma'am!" I heard one of them say as I drove away.

I peeked in my rearview mirror and saw them jump into their car with big smiles on their faces. I hope they do remember to return the favor someday I thought.

It reminded me of the first time someone had said that to me. A long time ago, when I lived in Malden, Massachusetts, I was returning from church in my 1984 Ford escort with my 4 young boys in tow. It was a bitter, cold winter day. The temperature hovered somewhere in the low's ones. With the wind blowing strongly the chill factor was around 15 below zero. I was about 2 miles from my house when I suddenly got a flat tire. I tried to drive on it slowly to see it I could make it all the way home but it was evident that I wasn't going to make it.

My oldest son Derek, who was only 9 years old at the time, tried to be brave and act the part of the man of the family.

His dad was still home in bed nursing a hangover from the night before (That's another story for another day!)

"I'll take care of it mom!" He said to me as he reached over and popped the trunk open. Tears welled up in my eyes to see his desire to help his family in our time of need.

I got out of the car to walk back to the trunk. He was already looking for the jack when an older gentleman pulled up behind us.

"Got a flat huh?" he asked.

"Yup!" answered Derek without even stopping long enough to look in his direction. I reached down and touched Derek gently on the shoulder.

"Why don't you get back in the car, Hon, I'll take care of this." I told him.

"Naw, that's okay, Mom. I know what to do. We learned this in boys scouts!"

The older gentleman looked at me and smiled. I smiled back.

"Let's see what you got there!" He asked my son.

"Why don't you get back in the car Ma'am I think your son and I have it under control?"

The cop in me didn't want to trust this stranger or be a helpless woman. But the mom in me won out and I went back to the car. I could hear the gentlemen telling my son that it was too cold to change the tire on the spot. Instead the gentlemen took a can of "fix-a-flat" out of his car and put it into our tire. Suddenly our tire started to re-inflate itself.

"This should hold you until you get home!" He told Derek. I got out of my car and walked back to him.

"How much do I owe you?" I asked him.

"Nothing," He said as he smiled at us. "Just remember to return the favor someday, if you get the chance!" Without another word he turned around, got into his car and drove off past us with a wave and a smile. Derek and I ran back to our car. We blasted the heat to warm up as we drove home. We talked about how nice it was for that man to have stopped. We also offered a small prayer that Heavenly Father would bless him for his kindness to strangers. My boys to this day will pull over if they see someone that needs help. I wonder if they remember that it came from the value lesson they learned from a total stranger, that day a long time ago.

I took another peek in my rearview mirror and smiled. Even though I had returned the favor I felt like I had gotten more out of it then what I had given. I wondered if those two young men will ever tell anyone they got their tire change by a chick in a skirt and high-heeled boots!

Crossing cultural bridges





          "The past does not equal the future!"

                             Anthony Robbins




February 1


Happy Chinese New year!

Yeah, I know, I am not Chinese but I look at it this way, if you're one of those people that love to make New Year's resolutions, but have a hard time following up on them, then you can start over again today!

When I was a young girl we used to go to this Chinese restaurant in Central Square, Cambridge. It was owned by these two Chinese brothers. My adopted sister had the annoying habit of always making fun of people. She was talking in Spanish to my adoptive mother about the fact that one of the brothers wasn't very good looking. I on the other hand thought that for an old guy in his thirties, (yeah I know I was only ten, what did I know!) he looked kind of good. Anyway imagine my sister's horror and my amusement, when he spoke to her in perfect Spanish. That will teach her! Needless to say because he heard me speak kindly about him, we became friends, in the "restaurant regulars" category.

I always got extra cherries in my coke and extra fortune cookies at the end of our meals! I never realized that he had been watching me all along trying, very awkwardly I might add, to learn how to use the chopsticks that came with our order. One day he came over and asked my mother if it was all right to teach me. My mother the supportive parent she was told him to go ahead but that he was wasting his time because there was no way I was going to learn how to use them! Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence mother!

Anyway he very patiently spent half an hour showing me how to use them. Before long I had gotten the hang of it, much to my mother's chagrin, and would always use the chopsticks instead of the fork.

They were really nice people and in my mind became like the uncles I never have.

Funny thing is years later my ability to use chopsticks, as insignificant as it might see, became a valuable networking tool.

I was working as a community organizer with the city of Lowell and I was working with the growing Southeast Asian population in the city. They are a gentle, loving and kind culture. The particular segment of the population I was working with were older and most of them did not speak English; and I obviously did not speak Khmer or Laos.

At one event I was attending when the dinner came I started to eat with the chopsticks.  One of the older ladies who had survived the Khmer rouge slaughter of her whole family reached over and hugged me, smiling.

I was taken back and she softly said in her hard earned broken English, "You eat like me, so sweet!"

This lady was instrumental in introducing me to a large section of the Southeast Asian community and was very helpful in making sure that her people had the services and information they needed to better their lives.

Once again it all started with something small that was passed down from a long ago friend. The lesson I learned was that we need to be willing to learn from each other. I have made some wonderful friends from so many different countries. I have shared their cultures, their food and their stories.

Had I not made the effort to reach out to them, it would have been me who was missing out!

I was mesmerized as I watched the dragon dance I saw once at a Chinese New year's celebration! The colors, the music! It was so invigorating!

Just like the awesome celebrations of the Chinese New year and the Southeast Asian New Year in April, we need to live each and every day just like that! Full of passion, energy and giving it all we have!

Always learning, expanding our horizons and points of views.

Any day we don't dance is a sad day! I read somewhere "life is short, dance naked!"(Just not in public!) Not that I will ever be caught dancing naked any time soon. My kids have already been traumatized enough thank you, but I do dance by myself when no one is home! I am Ginger Rogers to my broom partner who is my twiggy Fred Astaire, you get the idea!

So today celebrate the gift that life is! Rejoice and remake resolutions and this time give it your all to make them a reality!

Now on to the serious business can someone pass the spring rolls, please?

The Power of Conversation!


January 31


Today we were driving to our son Jose's basketball game with Jess and Chris in the car.

Somehow the conversation of creation came up and Chris wanted to know how God could have created all the earth in just 6 days.

I thought about this for a moment and I told him that I thought the way God's time ran was a lot different from the way our time ran.

Mel, my hubby told him that maybe for God one day is really more like a thousand years in our time frame.

Of course Chris, the Einstein of the family, pointed out that from the time the earth was created to the time man first appeared here millions of years had passed, not thousands!

True, I said, but remember the Bible said that he did it in 6 days I didn't think they meant six concurrent days. Did they?

Again Einstein, I meant Chris, replied, "Then how come he had to rest after the sixth day? Wouldn't that mean he had been working straight through?"

"Not necessarily," my hubby replied, "I think that symbolized that he was all done with his labors."

The conversation continued a bit more as we discussed theology and how the different books that made up the Bible had been put together by man not God and that the Bible was a collection of different books written by various authors; not chapters of one single book as a lot of people thought. We discussed the fact that a lot of the books that were available at the time were not included in the final Bible version compiled by King James.

Suddenly Jess who had just been listening quietly piped up. "Don't you guys find this weird?" She asked us.

"What?'" I asked her.

"What we're talking about", she replied laughing, "Most families discuss sports, and the weather, if they talk at all, but we are sitting here discussing evolution, creation and the meaning of the Bible! Isn't that funny?" We all laughed a bit and then realized that it was strange to be discussing such deep topics with our young teens. The thing that got me most was that this young man and young woman had such a deep understanding of the subjects being discussed, that they were able to make valid points. As a matter of fact before Jess brought it up I had totally forgotten how young they were because of the maturity of their conversation. The conversation turned to other subjects and continued just as stimulating as before. Suddenly it dawned on me that our children were able to have such in-depth conversations with us because we were treating them as equals while we talked. Had we talked down to them or ridiculed their views, I don't think they would have been as willing to share their views with us. They discussed not only religion but other topics, such as drugs, peer pressure, sex and how they viewed the world in general.

I felt so blessed that out of all the things my hubby and I had messed up raising our children, the lines of communications wasn't one of them. We would have missed so much if we had not let them express themselves freely.

It saddened me to realize that we sometimes pay more attention to people we don't even like than we do to our own family. That's such a shame!

The other thing I learned was that children will do as we expect them to do.

I made the awful mistake of listening to the wrong people when it came to my two older boys Derek and Eric. They were in a lot of emotional pain over the divorce between their dad and me. As a result of this they started acting out. Instead of seeing it as the cry for help it was, I took it personal.

I turned from being their loving mom into a suspicious militant "cop". This was the last thing my boys needed!

All I managed to do was drive them even further away. They got caught up in gangs, in trouble at school and with the police.

Not once did I step back to see the hurt they were going through. I learned a really important lesson with them. Never to listen to people more messed up than I was.

Sadly it took three years of my boys going through hell before I finally realized that they were only doing what I was expecting from them.

Miraculously once I started expecting them to succeed and do well, they did. It killed me when I thought of all the unnecessary pain we all went through because I was taking advice from people that had no clue.

Because of this experience I decided to never put my kids down or expect anything but the best.

If we treated them as mature teens they, for the most part, conducted themselves that way.

Not once, since then, have we ever had to discuss their conduct or attitude toward adults or authority figures with them. As a matter of fact everyone always commented on how polite and smart they are.

No, they aren't perfect! They burp the alphabet and have farting contests! They leave their dirty socks on the floor and try to give each other wedgies! They fail math and have to go to summer school occasionally; the older ones sometimes disagree with the way we do things, but if they didn't, they wouldn't be normal! The point is that because we allowed them to grow intellectually as individuals and respected their knowledge, they have in turn taught us about life from their view.

My husband Mel always tells them that it's their responsibility and right to be smarter, wealthier and happier than us. To have better professions, houses, families and lives. We have given them the go ahead to surpass us.

My adopted mother, when I was growing up and even as an adult, refused to let me grow as an individual. Instead she would do anything in her power to sabotage me! She never rejoiced in my accomplishments or even comprehended my way of thinking. She would put me down to anyone that would listen and totally tried to destroy my spirit and self-esteem. The reality of it was that I had outgrown my mother intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and financially by the time I was in my early twenties. Looking back I always thought it was I who had missed out because she didn't approve of me. But now I knew that it wasn't my loss at all, it was hers.

She would never be able to share in my successes because her own inadequacies wouldn't let her. I had received VIP treatment to a lot of black tie affairs. I was able to shake hands with various U.S. presidents, the Prince of Wales and other dignitaries. I had been keynote speaker and guest of honor at various functions as well. My mother could have shared in that. But because she refused to let her own insecurities go, she choose to miss out.

As a matter of fact because of her negative attitude and her habit of always talking down to our kids, I had to confront her on it; because of this her biological daughter, who I loved like a mother, decided to cut my family out of their lives. It broke my heart to lose my sister and niece out of our lives but there was no way I was going to stand by and let her harm my kids' self-esteem the way she had tried to destroy mine.

As a result they have missed out on my kids' accomplishments as well as mine.

I still love them and I am grateful for what they had done for my children and me.

I have prayed that someday her heart will be soften towards me as much as I missed them I just couldn't allow that type of poison to destroy my children's dreams. I sometimes would get sad that I didn't have a mom I could have a good relationship with. But now that I am a mom, I 'm grateful that I was able to get rid of the things I didn't like about her and build on the great things she did teach me.

I am also grateful that I learned to do the things I wish had been done for me for my own kids. I always tell my kids whatever we, as parents, do right, add to it. Whatever we do wrong throw it out and learn how to do it better.

In life we always get what we expect. So if we expect bad things, why are we so surprised when we get them?

I am so glad that I have learned to only expect the best from my children and from life in general; am I Suzy Sunshine all the time? Not even close! But for the most part I haven't been disappointed so far!

Had I not learned to throw away the lies my mother and others had sold me as a child, I would never had allowed my kids the space they needed to grow into such articulated young teens.

I was snapped out of my thoughts when Chris brought up the crisis in the economy to which Jessie dove into a deep theory of how to improve the situation.

Gee, I think we have a future President and Secretary of Commerce among us!

I could barely get through pre-algebra in middle school! Whose brains do they have anyway?