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Because sometimes the only thing left to do is..run.

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I started running when I was 21 years old, not out of desire, but out of neccesity. I was about to enter the police academy and needed to be in the best cardio shape for the physical demands. I would run several miles almost every day.

While actually in the academy, I ran more miles than I care to remember, including some in grueling heat, and weighed down with gear and heavy combat boots.

After I graduted and was a full fledged cop I discovered something strange, I actually missed all the running, so it became a regular habit for me to keep logging the miles.

Running has always helped me to be a better police officer. It helped me earn a spot on the Special Ops unit and as the only female I had to do twice the running to keep up with the much stronger men.

During my divorce, running kept me sane. I knew that no matter how bad life was, a run would always make it, or actually me, better.

I am not the fastest runner, I was built for distance, not speed, yet I have managed to place top two in my age division three times, which is pretty darn good for someone that really was not allowed to be in any sports as a child.

I ran a half marathon in 2001 and while I got violently ill after the finish, it was by far one of the best experiences of my life and I set my sights on running a full marathon.

When I started getting ill more and more after running or working out I started to realize something was not right. Dozens of doctors had different options from don't workout, have no idea what it is, its all in your head or you are getting old time to hang up the sneakers.

I will not bore you with the details but fast forward 12 years, and I finally came to a conclusion; I could either be in pain and not run, or run and be free for at least a little while. I ran.

My dream has always been to run a marathon and since I grew up in Massachusetts, the Boston marathon has always been an iconic part of my life. 

On April 15, 2013 when the bombs went off at the Boston marathon finish line, it was as if a part of my childhood had been violated. I was angry, upset and horrified that someone could bring such evil to an event that meant so much to me. It made me think for a split second that there really was only cruelty left in the world.

But then something beyond words happened.

A city rose from the darkest of shadows and showed the world how to overcome adversity and shine in the glow of goodness.

We saw strangers risk their lives to help the injured, Law enforcement officers go days without sleep to bring the responsible parties to answer for their cowardly attacks, and we saw average, ordinary people became extraordinary heroes right before our very eyes.

The City of Boston and its people exemplified the spirit of the marathon. These people, my people, went the distance, step by step, small deed by small deed, act of kindness by act of kindness, showing the world that nothing can keep us from finishing what we started.

While many of the injured have months, even years ahead of them to heal, recover and regain their lives back, I know that they will endure, and prevail in the end.

Its the Boston way.

My journey to finishing a marathon is something that I will accomplish no matter what traditional medicine tries to shove down my throat. 

The reason I know I will accomplish this goal is because, now every time I go for a run, every mile, every step I take, I take it for those that died and those that might not be able to run for a while, if ever.

I know I cannot bring them back or make their injuries disappear, but the least I can do is honor the runner within them, by not letting anything keep me from the joy of the run, because sometimes the only thing you can do, is run!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Being Bitter or being better!

 (Since nothing you receive makes you happy, you will go back to having nothing at all!)

                                     The Old man and the Fish

 

 

   It seems everyone feels the need to make New Year resolutions that we all know very rarely get followed through to fruition.

We all want deep down inside to be more productive, more successful, healthier, richer etc., but ultimately our humanness gets in the way and we fall short of our deepest desires.

When I was a young girl, growing up in a miserably, dysfunctional existence my dreams and secret desires were what kept me going day to day.

The ability to dream of a brighter future gave me the strength to survive another day in the hell that my life was at the hands of my mother and her cohorts.

With that said, some people that struggle in life, have a sense of karmic entitlement where they are owed a perfect life after enduring hard times.

This could not be further from the truth and honestly there is a reason for this reality.

2012 for me and my family was the biggest roller coaster ride of my life next to 2000.

In the year 2000 we lost my mother in law to Cancer. While devastating, she was in her 70's had raised her kids, seen her grandchildren, great grand children and lived an amazing life later on, that of set her suffering earlier on. We were able to cope and knew that it was the circle of life.

In 2012 we lost our daughter in law to Cancer. Sarah was 32, beautiful, had two amazing babies and her whole life ahead of her. it didn't make sense. It wasn't the circle of life and Sarah had not had a chance to be fully repaid Karmically for the hardships she endured as a child.

All my personal accomplishments, winning Mrs. Woman Petite World, winning Ms. U.S of America, working in films, winning a road race and others, were washed away and meant nothing with our Sarah gone.

My husband and I put our life in storage and I moved to PA. to assist my son with his two, now motherless, boys.

Let me make this clear, this decision was NOT a sacrifice, it was a no brainer, what family does for family.

Nine months after the loss of Sarah and moving in with my son, while my husband remained behind still working, 2012 comes to a close.

I feel that I truly did have the option to become bitter, to be mad at God.

To be upset at mothers that use their kids as pawns agains their fathers.

To be hostile towards spouses that take each other for granted and do nothing but complain about their partner to anyone that will listen.

I could be angry at parents that ignore their kids or act as if they are a burden.

I can be steamed at people that waste their lives complaining about all they should get, but never do anything to work towards their goals.

I could really be bitter and all of the above that I have meantioned, but I can't, because then everything Sarah stood for, lived for, would be wasted!

I have decided to be better.

To enjoy everyday just a little longer.

To appreciate people a bit more.

To realize that for all the crap that life has handed me, it has also blessed me with so much more.

I can chose to focus only on the darkness or I can focus on the rose pushing through the winter's chilling, death's grip and still manages to bloom.

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Rose blooming December 18, 2012 in PA.

While I truly believe that everyday is a new day to make resolutions. To try harder, love deeper, hold on longer, and forgive and forget with true humility in our hearts, I also feel that 2012 has given me the biggest lesson of all.

I have learned that the reason we don't get a Karmic pass after suffering is because, no matter what we have, whether we are pauper or prince, our true joy, our inner peace or contentment does not come from anyone other then ourselves.

It is so easy to sit there and blame everyone else for our unhappiness, but the true question is what are you doing to make yourself happy?

If all you do is point out the faults in your spouse, then I guess that is all you will see.

If all you do is complain about what you don't have, then you miss out on the joy of what you do have.

Remember the old saying, "I was sad because I had no shoes, until I saw a man with no feet".

We as a people need to start taking ownership of our own happiness and need to stop playing the blame game.

I of all people have learned this, now more than ever.

I can keep airing my dirty laundry, my illnesses, my hardships etc. to get pity and to try to get people to take my "side", to feel sorry for me, or I can realize that the last thing I want in life is to be pitied!

I want to be strong.

I want to be a positive light for good.

I want to be that person that when others walk away from me they leave with a spark from my light of hope.

As difficult as 2012 was, it was by far the year that I grew the most as a person, woman, mother, wife and human being.

I will never take anything for granted again.

I have learned that cyber friends, were at times more there for me that people that were a few feet away.

I have learned that kids I had known for years, were now adults with compassion, loyalty and a loving desire to help.

I have learned that some people seriously go out of their way to make themselves miserable and unhappy no matter how blessed they are in life.

These people are the wife from the story of "the old man and the fish", no matter how much they are given, they will never be happy and will not stop until they have nothing or no one left.

They have grown so used to being unhappy, and contentious, that when they have love, and stability in their lives, they will stop at nothing until they leave only chaos and carnage in their wakes.

What an absolute waste of a life and of God's gifts.

I have lastly learned that negative people have no place in my life or in my inner circle, because nothing I do or say will change their outlook on life. Misery loves company and that is one party I refuse to attend.

With that said 2013 for me will have only one resolution.

I will be better, not bitter.

Whatever I accomplish or lose in 2013 will be my own doing or my own fault. I have no one to blame or praise for this, except myself.

I will also remember to give the glory to God! Whether it is good, bad or indifferent.

I will also remember to be grateful for the amazing man, who while far from perfect, is the man who truly accepts me, for me, warts and all, my husband!

It is my desire that everyone I know will have that Epiphany that will be a turning point for them, happen to them without having to go through great loss or suffering, as it has happened to me.

I don't profess to mean that this will result in me suddenly achieving astronomical success or untold riches, but it does mean that what ever I do achieve, receive, earn or accomplish, I will be humbly and eternally grateful for it and will appreciated every second of every day.

I pray that everyone of you has an amazing and, as my baby girl Sarah would say fabulous 2013.

And never forget nothing is impossible to a willing heart!

 

 

 

 


Its the little things we miss the most!

When you lose a loved one to a disease everyone thinks of the bigger picture, as far as that loss is concerned. We thing of the loss of a second income, the handling of daily chores, paying the bills, food shopping, doctors appointments, car pooling kids etc. while in reality these are a big part of the loss, I've noticed its the little things that are missed the most. 
Angel girl

When my daughter-in-law Sarah passed away in March, I had a calendar on my home office desk. Four months later when I was packing my house to put everything in storage, so I could move to another state to help my son out with the kids, I noticed my calendar. It hit me like a ton of bricks that my life had come to a total stand still, while rushing by me at a hundred miles a minute.  I sat down at my desk and started sobbing. It wasn't all the things I mentioned above that I missed. 
What I missed was her musical laughter, her caring ear and her loving heart. I missed the fact that my son and his boys had rarely sat around the dinner table to eat, like they had when Sarah was with us. I missed the sense of joy in their house. Sarah was the brightest woman I knew, yet she had this way of doing the silliest things that she would laugh hysterically over. She was like a gilded butterfly fluttering through the house, making banana muffins, thinking of ways to re decorate her house, art projects with the boys and more. When you were with Sarah there was never a dull moment.
The other thing I miss about Sarah is her backbone. She was the kindest person around but she never yes'ed anyone to death. She would stand up for what she believed in and knew exactly who she was. She did not have to become a chameleon just to fit in or be liked. this was the number one reason I loved her so. She knew who and what she was and made no apologies or excuses for it. 
the most important thing I miss is her sense of loyalty. Sarah would never betray anyone or their trust. She was the one you called to bail you out of a jam in the middle of the night and if she didn't go get you then she would definitely send my son. Its a shame that more women now a days don't understand the true sense of worth and some no longer understand the concept of loyalty. Some women sadly will betray you at the drop of a hat and will find the most trifle excuse to explain it away. Sarah was never like that.
Even though Sarah was only 32 years old she became my mentor and best friend. thanks to Sarah I learned to appreciate my husband more and understand what true devotion was, something that is sadly lacking in the world today.
My hopes in writing this post is to let families know that we must remember and celebrate those little things with those left behind. We cannot let the stress of bills, or the anger of the loss, bring our lives to a total stop as my had been up to the point of seeing my calendar.
If we do allow this to happen then we are doing a disservice to the memory of our loved one, if every thing they stood for, fought for or created is left to crumble and fade away into a distant dusty memory.
I still don't know where this new road will take me. My life is still in storage in two states. I no longer have my own home, I had to give away my beloved dog. I have put my life, career and dreams on hold as the world seems to rush by and mostly my marriage is now a long distance relationship.
I know one thing for sure had it not been for Sarah's guidance and for her being my sounding board, my marriage would not be as strong as it is today.
I know without a doubt that my marriage will survive and be stronger now, because I will never take my husband or his kindness for granted. Ever. I will also strive to be more loving, patient and loyal above all. I will remember that Sarah is no longer physically here, but I cannot destroy what she has left for us emotionally.
I hope that this will some how help people to slow down a bit, appreciate each other more, live life a little bit more, and hate a little bit less.
Nothing is guaranteed in life, but one thing we can control, is how we treat those around us and how we make the most of the littlest things!


A folded shirt by any other name is still a folded shirt?

All things unknown, are strange, until we take the time to learn them.

Ordinary wmn 2011

When my daughter-in-law Sarah and my son Eric were expecting their second child, I was thinking of asking them if they needed me to go down to help out during the transitional period when the new baby came home. They already had an almost 2 year old son at the time and I figured they might need the extra hand.

Imagine my surprise when Sarah called me to ask if I could go and help.

Okay admit it, not too many people really want their mother-in-law to visit, never mind to stay for a while!

It is true that I had been blessed with two extremely amazing mother-in-laws. My first husband's mom was great to me and I got along well with her.

My hubby Mel's mom, was well, simply, the best ever!

She became like the mom I never had, and I made a decision to be as much like her as I could.

To my surprise my grand-babyTony was more in a hurry to meet me than we thought. He was born almost three weeks early and arrived exactly 2 hours after I did to the hospital!

Because he was a premie, he had to be in the hospital a lot longer than expected.

I quickly got down to the chores of taking care of Tiki, the two year old, and maintaining the house.

I have done more laundry in my life time with 9 kids, who played all kinds of sports, than a small nation. So I consider myself a bit of an expert at the deed.

Sarah always commented on how she was amazed at how quickly I could get through a pile of clothes. Little did she know that I had tackled bigger mountains of dirty ditties!!

For those of you who know me, I an the queen of systems. The assembly line system for lunches, and cleaning and, well laundry.

My way or the highway!!

So when I got to folding clothes I noticed that Sarah had a different way of folding her clothes.

I folded pragmatically over once in the middle and then a few times more to the size that I needed to fit the drawer.

Sarah on the other hand folded retail style, in thirds then over once or twice.

I thought what a waste of time, Ahahhhaaa! My way is so much better!!

My way was so much better that I felt the need to re-fold all the clothes in all the drawers just so they would all look the same!!

After weeks of this, one day I caught myself in a hurry and absent-mindly folded the kids clothes Sarah's way! Horrors I had been drawn to the dark side!!

When I went to put the clothes away, was when I noticed what I had done. What the world??

I was almost tempted to re-fold them "my way", when I realized that by putting the clothes away folded Sarah's way, it was easier to see what the item was and who it belonged to without having to unfold it.

I chuckled to myself when I came to the conclusion that even a laundry guru like me, could learn a new thing or two!

Growing up I was told by my mother, in no uncertain terms, that only her way was right. When I became a teen=ager and cooked better than her, cleaned better than her, and was more organized, it did not matter, she made sure my self esteem believed only her way was right.

I had insisted that when I grew up, I was not going to be that petty! Yet in small ways, without realizing it I had started to adopt some of those annoying set ways!!

Never again!!

I took all the clothes out of the drawers and refolded them my baby girl's Sarah's way. It was ironic that when I was done, the clothes fit better, and did not take up as much room! Not only was Sarah beautiful, kind, but so smart!!!

Duh, who knew!! Okay well Sarah did, but you know what I mean.

I continue to fold clothes that way in my own home now and while it might seem like a small thing I am grateful that I never became so narrow minded, as to believe that only my way is right.

Now that my youngest son is in culinary school, I love picking his brain about what he's learning and new techniques he can teach me!

In life, we are truly never too old to learn new tricks, the trick is never beliving you are too old to learn!!

Ahh, there goes the time to the dryer, folding awaits!!
I wonder what other new, amazing things I can learn today??




 


When the boys of summer become men of life!

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"Youth is wasted on the young"

                                     George Bernard Shaw

 

When my youngest son graduated high school this past month the realization hit me that I no longer had anyone to go see playing on a team until my grandsons start in a few years.

I really enjoy watching sports live and even more so when I know someone on the team.

My husband did point out that we live near several little league fields where I could just walk down and watch a game any time I wanted during the spring and summer.

I told him that I did not want to be "the creepy old lady who no one knows lurking around the bleachers during the games!"

The funny thing was that I was having this conversation as we were driving on our way to my hubby's own baseball game.

While I sat on the bleachers with the only other wife that goes to watch the men play regularly, I had a sudden realization.

When boys are young they play sports for a few reasons, one, they see it as a way to a better way of life; two, their parents make them play to get them out of the house, or lastly because they really like to play.

Boys take for granted their stamina, their energy, their flexibility and most of all their health. Boys also take for granted the amount of free time they have in which to play said sports.

As boys of summer become men of life they must focus on college degrees, career development, getting married and making a living.   These newly developed men slowly come to the realization that the things they had taken for granted before, suddenly become a treasured past time that must be etched into their tight schedules in order to be able to continue to participate in their beloved sport.

As I watched these men warming up, on that warm, breezy, spring night, I was touched by what I was seeing in their eyes. These men come from all walks of life and vary in age, size and athletic ability, but as they gathered on that field slowly the years melted away and the sheer joy of boyhood is once again visible. There was an unmistakeable twinkle in their eyes, a glimmer of mischief and a twinge of anticipation at the excitement of the upcoming game.

I was mostly touched by the look on my hubby's face. I knew he loved baseball as much as I did, but I had never loved and lost. By this I mean I had never had the opportunity to actually play baseball on a team like he did in middle and high school. My Hubby had to put his beloved game aside for family, responsibilities and life.

When he finally took me up on my nagging, I mean persuation, of playing again, I was so happy for him, but I never looked at it like watching my kids playing, never thought it mattered whether I was in the stands or not.

Now that we were practically empty nesters, and watching his face it made me realize that this game mattered a lot more than any world series play off game.

It did not matter that there was only two of us in the stands, that no one would read about it in the paper, or see any highlight reels at 11.

What did matter was that these men, for a couple of hours a week, were able let go of the world, and tap into their youth of days gone by.

Their throws might not go as far, their sprint might be more of a trot, and the side winder might be more of lob, but to these men of life, being boys of summer for a little while longer, makes them feel like they just closed out a winning series.

Do you think we could do a wave of two??


Hello old friend, I 've missed you!

So its been humbling to have to figure out how to lose weight when I never had that issue before. I was always the one that could fit back into her clothes days after giving birth to my kids. I gave birth 4 times and with the exception of the last one, that had always been the norm, me back in my old clothes.

When I had my last son, due to a surgery and stress due to a marriage coming to an end I used food for comfort and it took me two years to take the weight off. But it came off and stayed off until a few years ago.

I was always active as a police officer, as a runner and into martial arts as well as running around with my four kids and the new four I inherited when I got re-married. Once again i was my normal weight and normal size.

Due to a bunch of circumstances and an annoying illness i was unable to workout like I was used to and the weigth came on. When I retired from being a cop and lost my identity in the process more weight came on.

Now I have decided that I can continue to use my illness, my retirement or my life as an excuse for my weight increase or accept the fact, that since I have dropped 3 pounds in two weeks since I have been monitoring what goes into my mouth, that excuse is null and void.

So I have finally taken my life and my body back, by doing what I already knew worked. Eating healthy and being active. It has nothing to do with me getting older, or being ill. it has to do with me losing focus and making excuses for not working out or eating healthy.

So as I embark on this journey, at a time when circumstances has dumped a very sad situation in our lives, I realize that exercise and eating healthy is the most important thing I can do for myself and for my family right now.

So to my fellow travelers on this road of rediscovery and re-affirmation, cheers and let's keep each other on the straight and narrow!


Should I stay or Should I go?

When we think of going somewhere, we assume it includes actual physical movement. Case in point would be when we move from one state to another, get divorced or change jobs.

I came to the realization the other day that movement does not always apply to physical actions. 

We as humans, can at times, become mentally immobile.

We can become stuck in our lives due to fears, insecurities, regrets from the past or refusing to acknowledge that certain changes need to take place in our lives.

I guess I have come to a cross roads in my life that is difficult to understand at times.

This year will mark the milestone of our youngest child graduation high school and moving away to attend culinary school in another state.

In the short span of six years I have gone from three kids in high school, one in elementary school and six of our children at home, to the fact that by later this year it will be just my husband and me.

We have seen the birth of our first three grandchildren with another one on the way. Our three oldest sons have gone from single youth to grown men with families of their own.

I find that these cross roads are somewhat challenging for me to navigate because it is such new terrain. I feel that just as I was getting the hang of being a mom, I have been bumped off that job to that of grandparent and empty nester.

Since I was seventeen years old (Yes I know I was insane to get married that young!) All I have known is being someone's mom or wife.

I would have loved to have been a stay at home mom from the beginning but was unable to as our finances dictated otherwise.

I was unable to fully enjoy motherhood or my oldest children because trying to juggle working as a cop, going to school full time, and trying to deal with all the dysfunctional people around me left little time or patience for my boys.

In my second marriage I was able to finally become a stay at home mom, but it felt like too little to late, because my youngest was already five, his older brothers were in their teens and the damage was already done.

I am consumed with guilt and anger over some of the decisions that I made in my life and in particular for not having realized that a lot of people, most of them family, really had no place in my life.

I also was upset by the fact that just because I was willing to see my kids, all my kids, step and otherwise, as my own and treat them as such; not everyone felt or acted the same way, it was quite evident that certain people treated their "blood" relatives way differently than those obtain through marriage.

The other thing that had caused me to be stagnant in my growth, was being overtly concern with being a support system to people that really did not want to help themselves.

Nothing burns you out quicker that a person who sucks everything and everyone around them dry with their negativity and selfishness, until you feel like nothing more than an empty shell.

Once we realize that those mistakes are in the past and you need to learn from them, or you are trying to figure out where you need to improve is where the question comes in, "Should I stay or should I go?"

Again I am not referring to physically leaving, but how do we mentally move on?

For one thing we need to realize that as much as we hope, dream and pray, we are not going to magically stumble upon a time machine to take us back to the precise moment of our chagrin and afford us the opportunity to change it completely. The quicker we stop dwelling in the past and take action in the now, the quicker we can get back on track.

The second point is that we will never be able to change anyone, no matter how much we hope, dream, pray or barter with God. We all have free will and as some people keep exercising their free will to be selfish and narrow-minded. Once you finally accept this fact, you can start to focus on you and live your life.

In my case I find that figuring out what direction to take when you are almost fifty can be intimidating, especially when for the last umpteen years its always been about someone else.

Learning to stand on your own two feet when you have had to submit to others whims, is quite an intimidating proposition. When you finally understand that you need to "do you" and get that point across to others, its quite liberating.

While I honestly must confess that trying to start a career in any field is a challenge at my age, it would be an even bigger challenge to not start.

I could continue to rely on someone else's paycheck and hope that all goes well, but the resentment created from the having to ask for things and the other person having the responsibility of giving all the time is overwhelming.

The question, "should I stay or should I go?" refers to the fact that I need to mentally let go of the past and move on to my future. A future that is mine and mine alone. 

A future where I come to the full understanding that I am no longer at the beck and call of my children or my spouse. Where it is finally okay to "do me" and pretty much tell everyone else that they can......go get a life of their own. Which in reality isn't that what we should all be striving to achieve??

I think I will go out and venture out alone into the great, wide world and dig me up a dream or two to conquer, after all staying really ins't much of an option now is it?

Happy travels everyone!








On this day..Let us remember those who should not be forgotten

disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with political agendas, or points of view in favor of or against any current issues in the media. It is my point of view and as such, do not lose track of the main focus of the article, which is honoring ALL our men and women who served , serve or sacrificed their lives in defense of our freedom.



"The saddest loss to the families of those fallen in battle, is if the world forgets their sacrifice.."

                           Ordinarywmn May 2010

Memorial Day May 31

Today, as I usually do on Memorial day, I stop to reflect on the lives lost to defend the freedom we so many times take for granted in our country.

I thought of those I knew, like PFC John F Landry Jr., 20 years old, who was a schoolmate of my children at Lowell Catholic High school, and was killed in action in March of 2007, and I wonder about all those I did not know.

A while ago I was doing an internet search on one of my son's, as he was preparing to apply for a new job and did not want any weird pictures of him popping up!

While I was doing this search I came across a young man from Sun Valley California. I did not know this young man and the only reason he popped up was because he had the same last name as my son and he had served in the military.

The difference was my son was home, this young man did not make it back.

It has been a couple of years since I found this young man on-line and I have never forgotten him.

Are my boys related to him somehow? Maybe, maybe not, but the day I found out he died for my freedom, he became another brother, another son and another comrade in arms, and mostly my hero.

I now felt compelled to write about him, in hopes that others do not forget Felix either.

Sgt. Felix G. Gonzales-Iraheta was only 25 years old when he died on May 3rd, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq.

Sgt. Gonzales-Iraheta died from wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire.

Sgt. Gonzales-Iraheta was married with two small daughters, he had a mother, who loved him deeply, and when his father had a stroke, Felix stepped up to help the family financially.

Sgt. Gonzales-Iraheta, when he was only eleven years old was responsible for rescuing his younger brother, Sesar, when a strong current was dragging him under water. Without thinking of his own safety, Felix dived into the deep river and pulled his brother out and saved his life.

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This selfless act was an early indicator of the type of young man Felix would become, because Gonzalez-Iraheta, better known as "Gonzo" around the barracks, had already led members of his unit to the safety of a bunker that day in May, and was fatally wounded when he left to make sure no one else was in danger.

Once again Felix was more concerned about the safety of others, instead of his own.

Gonzales-Iraheta is an America hero.

While to some narrow-minded people this hero does not fit the image they have of what a hero looks like.

No blue eyes, no blond hair, no milky skin. He was born in El Salvador not mid-west America.

His parents came to this country in search of a better way of life. They worked hard, and built a piece of their dream in a small tight knit community.

When his mother was notified of her oldest son's death, she stated 'That she was at least glad that he had died a hero saving other people's lives."

His family didn't threaten to sue the government or protest at military funerals.

This amazing woman, who said her son was her right hand, took his loss with grace and dignity. The same grace and dignity that her son, Sgt. Felix G. Gonzales-Iraheta, showed on that day in Baghdad when he laid down his life for the men in his unit.

Ironically, this young man, who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country, had he made it back alive would probably have been profiled in certain parts of the country because "He didn't look American! He didn't look legal!" 

It is very easy for some people to say that it is no big deal if a cop asks you for your green card as part of a "routine" stop, but I wonder how those same people would feel if they had been in the hell holes of the world risking their lives for our freedom, only to be told "they don't look like they belong!" when they are walking the streets of the country they protected?

You think they would be upset?

Minorities have long been a viable resource to the armed forces and according to statistics are over represented in military ranks and contrary to popular belief 98 percent of those in the military are not poor or under educated; they come from average income homes of over 40,000.00 annual income and are at least high school graduates with some form of college credits.

When I hear someone say that the only reason some people go into the military is because they had nothing else, I have to resist the urge to be not so motivational and more hard core educational, if you get my drift!

I am an American. I served my country as a police officer, as a proud member of the Mass. State guard, in the Red Cross, PTA, Boy Scouts etc.

Do not insult my college educated intelligence by telling me that when you single someone out because of their "look" that it is not profiling!

A large amount of illegal aliens in this country are blond, blue-eyed people from Europe, and other regions.

I know, because I ran into them as a police officer, yet if we were standing next to each other and I was not in my uniform, guess who would be asked for identification and proof of citizenship?

I am not using Sgt. Felix G. Gonzales-Iraheta or Memorial day as a visual aid for any political agenda.

I believe that everyone in this country should obey all the laws of the land, from immigration, to paying taxes, to not using insider trading to make yourself rich, to buying under age kids alcohol, illegal drug use or drunk driving.

My point is that "American", no  longer means a certain look, a certain genetic make up, gender or cultural heritage.

And the most important point is that our freedoms were defended, protected and continue to be protected by heroic people, like Sgt. Felix G. Gonzales-Iraheta.

Some might think they do not look American, yet they are a thousand times more American than those people protesting at military funerals. They are more American than those burning our flag or the group saying that 911 was God's punishment for our way of life.( Who I might add is run by people that would never be asked for their green card cause, well, they sure look "American!".)

What ever side of the immigration battle you are on has nothing to do with my point.

My point is that when Sgt. Felix G. Gonzales-Iraheta was saving his men, I do not think the MP's stopped him to see if he was American; I think the unified color of green and the red, white and blue flag that he wore so proudly on that uniform proved his patriotism and nationality; and If that was not enough proof, then maybe the red blood spilling from his body, as he breathe his last breath, so far from home, from his loved ones, to save his men, sure as hell is proof to me!

Sgt. Felix G. Gonzales-Iraheta is buried at Arlington National cemetery and was awarded a bronze star,a purple heart and posthumously promoted to SSGT. for his acts of bravery.

  Fggonzalez-iraheta-gravesite-photo-march-2008-001

I want everyone to know what an amazing young American he was; I also want his family, his mother, his wife and his daughters to know that we, the American people, will never forget the great price they paid to protect our land, our home, and our United states of America.

  Iraheta

Go quiet into the deep night...rest easy my brave warriors and orahhhhh~!!




Just when I thought I had it figured out.....

A blast from the past- originally posted October 28, 2009

 

 

"What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore---

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over---

Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags

Like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

                              Langston Hughes

 

 

When I was in seventh and eighth grade two things were my reality, one, my home life was dismal, to say the least, and two, books were my only escape. 

As a result of these two facts I was called a "bookworm",  or"professor", among a few other choice words I will not enclose here.

I found these labels funny because while I was always deep in a book, I was not the best student in class by any means of the imagination. It was not that I did not have the potential.

The fact was that I found out as an adult that I actually was quite bright but had undiagnosed ADD, sadly the biggest challenge for me in school was my home life.

My mother kept me out of school anytime she or her friends needed to run errands, as I was the resident translator.

The extended absences had me falling further and further behind, causing my grades to slip and my mother to punish me for being lazy.

It was a vicious cycle that caused my self-esteem to slip further and further and I really thought I was stupid. 

Add to the mix my dysfunctional home life with my mother's boyfriend, their drinking and, well, you get the picture.

While school was an escape from the chaos, it was also disruptive.

I attended school in an inner city neighborhood, where race issues ensued, gangs prevailed and cliques were the norm.

The ironic thing was that with all this going on, an environment that it would have been very understandable for teachers not to care, it was the total opposite.

My teachers, and school administrators, were my life line.

They were good, kind, caring people, who at times were placed in harm's way because of their caring nature.

In fifth grade I saw one of the sweetest, nicest teacher punched in the face in front of the whole class by a drugged out mother because her son had been expelled for selling drugs.

A male teacher was punched and kicked by an out of control male student for being reprimanded for assaulting a female student.

You would think that with all this going on teaching was the last thing on these teachers' minds, but teaching was the most important thing to them.

The school personnel was predominantly white and there were a few of African American decent. There was no Latino representation among the staff.

I only point out the racial make up of the teachers because I was blessed to not know what racism, or stereotyping was, well at least by the school personnel, the students and outside the four walls was a different story.

these teachers opened a wide, new world for me! One of hope, and dreams and possibilities.

They prepared lesson plans for an overcrowded classroom with 25 inner city kids struggling to survive, and taught us with the same dedication as if we were all college preparatory students heading to the best private high schools and Ivy league universities.

I learned about history. Not the condensed, homogenized version, but real history.

I learned about Paul Revere falling off the horse, drunkard fools dumping tea in the harbor, how amazing Pocahontas really was and that there really were intelligent, famous people who happened to actually look like me!

I was introduced to classic works of literature by some of the greatest writers of our time. I learned to write poetry and to understand it when I read it.

I learned that even bookworms can earn presidential physical fitness awards and that even the tiniest planet had importance in our solar system.

These incredible people, helped me discover my voice. I was given a speech to give for our eighth grade graduation and I just about thought I wanted to die.

They walked me through it, coached me and even bought me lunch as we rehearsed it over and over.

On graduation day as I stared into the packed auditorium, minus my family who showed up 45 minutes late and missed it, I slowly discovered the power of the spoken word.

As I got more and more confident and the smiles and encouraging nods from those loving teachers gave me courage, I felt a transformation begin.

I felt a small stirring within my soul. It was ever so tiny. Like a butterfly gently brushing against my chest.

But as I spoke it grew a bit stronger, until the very end of my speech where I felt a lightness come over me.

I would love to say that I escaped my personal prison that day, but I cannot.

While I did go to a private high school for three months, I was so far behind, it was a lost cause for me.

These teachers were not as understanding and had no time for an awkward kid from the other side of town.

I soon wound up back in public school and my surroundings consumed me. I became a statistic.

High School drop-out, teen-age mother, welfare recipient and working for minimum wage with an erratic, semi-alcoholic husband. 

But the stirrings remained. The seed had been planted and as much as I would have found it easier to let it die, I could not. 

It would have been a slap in the face to all the time and effort my teachers had spent on me.

So I fought against the norm, I earned by high school equivalency diploma, went to school to become a medical assistant while working and raising three boys.

I got hired as a police officer, graduated from the academy and went on to a very productive career in areas outside the normal realm for women.

But my biggest quest was for knowledge. I wanted a college degree.

I had started and stop going to school a couple of times due to the pregnancy of my last son and then my divorce.

When I got remarried I inherited four additional kids and their educational needs came first.

Now many years later and with all my life experience, people wonder why I am in school working on my degree.

They tell me I do not need it. I have my own business that while small is growing and my law enforcement skills are in demand in the private security sector, why bother?

I bother because just when I thought I had it all figured out, I realize I do not!

I bother because even though my teachers may never know, I will know and I refuse to let all their hard work go to waste.

My teachers instilled in me the importance of education,

"Silver and gold may fade away,

But a good education will always stay."

One of my teacher's wrote in my yearbook.

He was right!

While some of my teachers have already passed away and the others I do not know where they are, one thing is certain, when I walk across that stage to collect my bachelor's degree, my Master's degree and when I received my Doctorate's, not only will my family be there for me, but so will every one of those teachers!

I KNOW that if it had not been for God sending them into my life as my safety net, things would have been a lot worse for me.

I would never had found the ray of light that showed me the way out of my darkness and brought me into the amazing world that I live in now.

The light that I bask in now and spread like rays bouncing off a prism to any one around me..

So for all you educators out there who might think you are wasting your time, or should have gone into another field...

I want you to know, you cannot save them all....

But you did save this one....

And as a result of that, you saved my children and my grandchildren and so on.

Thank you for what you do and for caring enough to help someone like me figure it out!

And no, this was not one of my school assignments so I could try to be teacher's pet!

 


Good Lord, what were you thinking?

So today I woke up and had a...what would you call it? Oh Yeah, Good Lord, what were you thinking moment!!! So many things have changed in my life in the last 10 months, but at the same time I feel like nothing has changed and I am sliding backwards!

No my dear readers I am not losing my optimism, I might have lost my mind, but hey you cannot miss what you never had, right? (Insert wink here!)

What I am losing is my ability to understand why everyone assumes that their lack of planning results in my emergency!

I guess what it is, is  that in the last 10 months I had made a commitment to achieve a lot of the goals I had put on hold to raise my large family. My youngest is 17 years old and does not need mommy hovering over him every second of the day and all the other ones are pretty much on their own. So its my turn now.

the funny thing is that people will tell you they want you to go conquer the world, but then when you do, they are like"Where are you going? Don't leave me alone?"

Really now you tell me this, after I am half way up the summit!

Sadly a lot times people will actually turn around to go back and hold their loved one's hand, for no reason! Because as soon as you return they are like, "What you doing here, give me my space!" You see my frustration!

The "what I was thinking moment" came to me not because I was thinking of success and my goals, but because I was thinking of the fact that why did I even turn around the first time? 

If after years of putting everything on hold to ensure the success of my children they have chosen not to succeed, that is not my problem!

The reason it is not my problem is because what might be viewed as success to me, is not what they view as success to them!

If a child wants to go through life by way of the rough, painful road, there is nothing a parent can do, but watch and pray that they find their way out in one piece.

If a child knows in their heart that the decision they are making is wrong, but refuse to admit it and continue to go through with it, again there is nothing a parent can do, no matter how painful it is to watch that child make a mistake.

With this said, I do not understand why children expect parents to drop their whole life to accommodate their every whim, and if we do not get in debt up to our eyeballs, cancel long awaited vacations, or run to be their yes people, then we are bad parents and not being supportive.

the reality is that as much as adult children profess to being independent and wanting to make adult decisions, they still turn into a spoiled two years old, if mommy and daddy do not agree with every decision they make.

Part of being an adult is realizing that just because you have the freedom to live your life any way you want, does not give you the right to have everyone bless your decision and agree with it!

Hello adulthood!

the hard part for parents is to realize that they are not obligated to continue to put their life on hold forever, because of decisions made by their adult children.

I love my children and while the.., I won't call them sacrifices, but the things we have done for them, a lot won't be known to them until after we are dead, if ever.

I, as a parent did not do what I did for my kids to have them place me on a pedestal or worship me as a martyr.

I did it to give them wings, independence and a chance at a happy life.

If the child chooses to live a life different from that ideal, it is okay, but do not expect me as a parent to continue to course my life through your mistakes.

Just as you are now free to chart your own course, so too am I free to explore my own uncharted territories.

I do not expect you to understand where I want to go now any more than I can understand where you are headed.

the funny thing is that I am okay with that! i still love my kids, I am very proud of all they have done and continue to do...But its my turn now!

I have washed enough clothes to build a mountain, baked enough cookies to feed a third world country, corrected enough homework to have earned my PhD by now and have spent my share of long nights with a sick child pacing the floor praying for their recovery. So now its my turn.

I have postponed my first cruise for 39 years to ensure that my kids went on exchange programs, private schools, dance lessons, music lessons, sports camps, colleges and every party they were invited to. its my turn now.

I have traded my career for PTA, cub scouts, girls camp, walk-a-thons, fundraisers, paper mache planets, coaching soccer and gymnastics and for cheer leading competitions.  its my turn now.

I have planned my vacations around softball tournaments, baseball tournaments, soccer tournaments in places not exactly my first vacation spot choice just to ensure the child had a fan in the stands. Its my turn now!

I have attended enough plays, recitals, programs, games, meets, competitions and tournaments to write an encyclopedia about them! its my turn now!

I do not say this with bitterness or resentment, because my kids do have considerate hearts at times.

My boys drove all the way from Philadelphia just to see me in my first play and I cried my eyes out for their thoughtfulness! It was also totally cool having my cast mates comment on how sweet my boys were for doing that!

My daughter always knows what to give me as a gift that means the world and unclogs the tear ducts.

As a parent, as a mother, the things that mean the most are some times the things that are lacking, the random phone call just to say hi, not to drop a bomb shell about another drama in your life. The announcement that you are coming home for a holiday and I do not have to pay for you flight. The fact that you actually remembered my birthday and can actually take care of yourself.

My kids for the most part do this, but the outcome of my "what was I thinking moment" was this...

Its My turn Now!

No I will not cancel my movie shoot to go be there for you on your  day that you did not bother to take anyone's schedule into consideration.

No I will not postpone my talk show because you need some paperwork filled.

No I will not cancel my trip to Maine because you need the house cleaned!

No I will not return my new speakers because you forgot to fill out your financial aid forms and now need money for something or other.

No I will not drop everything to answer you phone call every minute of everyday! its my turn now.

Wow glad i got that off my chest!

But the reality is that my family is close, I love my kids dearly and we do have the kind of relationship where they get where I am coming from so guess what world..

Its my turn now!!

make sure you do the dishes, feed the dog and do your own laundry..i am on my way to a book signing!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh freeedoom!! So sweet!

Thank goodness for "what was I thinking moments!"

Last one to the top of the summit is a lazy egg!


On this day....

I thought it appropriate to repost this from September 11, 2009, because its message is a pertinent today as it was when I wrote it, and even more so on September 11, 2001. (ordinarywmn)

 

Members of the MA state Guard, Topsfield fair Parade 

While I know that for a few people the date nine eleven has taken on a fuzzy sheen, kind of like looking at something through a full glass of water. I personally cannot believe it has been eight years since the horrific attacks on our nation and by the same token it seemed like just yesterday. I write out the numbers nine eleven because the magnitude of events that happened that day do not merit a numerical shortcut.

The memory of waking up to actually seeing the second plane hit the tower will be burnt into my memory forever. As a retired law enforcement officer and an active member of the State Guard, I felt useless and unable to ease the suffering of a lot of my fellow brothers and sisters in blue that day. I also felt that I had somehow let the people of this country down because I was not able to do something to prevent such an unmentionable act of cowardice.

I know that all my thoughts on that day were of course without merit as I could not have prevented those planes from destroying our idyllic look of our nation that day. I also could not have saved all does people, who by the way, from the illegal immigrant to the head of security of the Trade center, all have equal value in their families eyes and in God's heart.

One amazing thing that did come out of that day of sadness was the realization that we as a family were closer than we thought. I will never forget how even thought my older boys were spread out all over the place on their own, within half an hour they had all made their way to our living room, huddled on our old couch just like when they were little, watching in disbelief at what some unknown enemy had done to our extended family,which is what we should consider other Americans, in the quiet of morning.

I remember how when I picked up my younger children from school and told them what had happened, as sad as they were for the victims and their families, their next thoughts were to whether my husband, I, or their older siblings would have to go to war. We are of Latino decent, but first and forth most, we are American Citizens and as such we have instilled a deep sense of patriotism into our family. They understood at that moment that defending our country was and always will be very important to us.

As much as I wanted to be in my car on my way to help in the rescue effort at ground zero, I knew that my place on that day and in the days to come had to be with my family. This had to be one of the most gut-wrenching decisions for me because I knew I had the expertise in search and rescue, and later in search and recovery,but I knew that keeping some sense of routine and normality in our home was pivotal for our children. My hubby, being a state trooper was assigned many extra hours at the airport among other duties and me being home ensured the kids that as uncertain as life was outside our home, some things stayed constant inside its walls.

I have been to ground zero since and was at the Cape in Mass. at the site of a small memorial to one of the victims and my heart still cries, but what would really be sad, most of all, is if we forget what the numbers nine eleven mean and turn them into just another fuzzy history lesson to be marked on calendars as a day to do something.

We should always honor the memories of the fallen and the thousands still living who must deal with health issues, mountains of paper work to get assistance, and the thousands more who are still placing their lives at risk to defend our freedoms, whether we agree with it or not, they still merit our support.

We should keep the spirit of nine eleven alive in our hearts every day by doing what we can to help out, reach out and continue to live with honor as all American citizens should.

"Go quiet in to the good night"

Ooorrahhh, PFC Landry, gone but not forgotten.


Where do I go from here and will my GPS get me there?

I was doing my psychology homework today and started reading about Levinson.

He was a theorist that believed we humans function in what he calls life structure phases. He believed any time we start something new we go through three stages, the novice stage, the mid-era and lastly the culmination stage. In basic terms we at first really do not know what to do. Half way through it we kind of know what to do then we get to the "oh, yeah baby, I got this" stage.

What intrigued me about this theory is what he describes as the instability we feel when we are not sure of what we are doing.

After we finally know what we are doing we enter a stable phase.

Pardon the psychology lesson but this got me thinking if we humans live our lives in cycles or stages "where go I next?"

My whole adult life up to this point had been first about taking care of adults in my life who refused to act as adults. Then when I got married it was about my husband, then my kids, after my divorce it was about my new spouse and his kids.

I do not regret what I did and I truly enjoyed every minute, well almost every minute, I spent being a mom.

The thing is how do I transition from being so-and-so's mom, to being me, my own person, my own entity?

The cool thing about this trip of self discovery that I am planning is that I am actually looking forward to it!

I am not sad or melancholy and mostly I am not looking back in regret.

Another thing I read in my psychology class was how we humans have the capacity to keep learning new things all the way into our late seventies and beyond. Not only that but we humans are designed to keep learning new things, if we do not keep learning we stagnate and stunt our own progression.

The theory that you cannot learn something because you are too old or that you cannot teach a new dog, old tricks is false!

Just checking to see if you were still paying attention! I actually typed it that way because it was two in the morning and way past my bed time!

Anyway what I meant to say is that you can teach an old dog a new trick!

So now that I cannot use that as an excuse where do I travel to in my quest for knowledge?

My son Eric tells me jokingly that I am just a confused house wife who cannot make up her mind about what she wants to do with her life! Now I can tell him it is not my fault it is human nature to keep discovering new facets to ourselves!

When I refer to my "GPS" that I need for this trip, I mean my "generally positive state"!

In order to discover new things, explore our full potential we need to keep a positive outlook and healthy self-esteem. We need to believe in our abilities to excel or at least learn new skills.

Imagine learning to play a piano in your forties or how about ballroom dancing in your golden years? Maybe finally getting around to earning that college degree if for no other reason than to say that you did!

In the place where I am in my life right now even with the bills, financial pressures, time constraints and commitments I am still able to travel deep within myself to discover me and the exciting worlds that I could never have imagined before.

I can write a book even if I am the only one that reads it. I can paint a picture, plant a garden, run on the beach and enjoy the warmth of the sand in between my toes.

I can re-learn old lessons with my baby grandson.

I read another part in my book that said the challenge with older people is that they have too much life left at the end of their script! How sad but so true!

We plan for college, career, marriage, and kids. Then what, retirement?

Okay but what are we actually going to do in retirement? Or a better way to look at it is how am I going to live my life to its fullest potential every single minute of every day once I do retire?

And why call it retirement? It sounds like we are checking out of life just because we have stopped going to a work place.

It should actually be called reinvigorating!

Reinvigorating our minds, our souls, our communities, our being, ourselves to conquer new worlds!

How exciting is that? I am still not sure what destination my life holds for me but one thing is certain I am going to focus on enjoying every inch of the journey!

It is not about the final destination because once we reach our current destination we need to find another destination to work towards to keep ourselves growing!

Just as Levinson pointed out we learn something new, get okay at it and then totally rock at it!

The thing to keep in mind is not to get ourselves all stressed out because we are trying something new!

Also there is no such thing as a final destination on this earth unless we want to sit around and get rusty.

So me and my "generally positive state", "GPS", are embarking on a journey that will be amazing, exciting and even if it is not, I am still going to learn something new each day and isn't that the best part of living life?

Tennis, anyone?

 

 

 

 


Translation please…re-assessing the past!

 

In today's day and age we are bombarded with so many negative issues. The economy, unemployment, wars, etc.

Is it any wonder that so many people are depressed, overwhelmed and just plain tired of the battle?

But what happens when we add past transgressions to the burden as well?

As you, my amazing, faithful readers might have noticed, I have been out of cyberspace for a while, a long while at that.

While a minor illness played a part to an extent, the bigger picture was a state that I call "What-the-heck-have-I-done-with-my-life-and-oh-my-goodness-I-ain't-getting-any-younger-itis"!

I have been known to come down with this dreaded illness every few years or so, but this time it really sent me into a tail spin!

I felt I was at a crossroads in my life's path. My beloved hubby Mel is nearing a place where he could feasible retire from police work in a couple of years when our youngest son graduates high school.

I guess for me that has been the challenge. I retired early from a career in law enforcement that I loved, a lot more than I realized, to be a stay at home mom to my blended brood of 9 plus kids. That was many years ago.

My hubby has repeatedly thanked me for what he calls "my sacrifice" of giving my career up to ensure some sense of balance to our children.

I really did not view it as a sacrifice but have now been wondering if it really was something that I needed to do.

Our family, as some of you know, is a blended family, who came together at a very challenging time.

I was faced with having to declare bankruptcy, signing over my home to my ex (who was MIA and let it go into foreclosure) and a mountain of divorce related debt that years later I was still trying to pay off.

Add to that, two teenage boys who were hurting emotional and as a result were acting out and getting into a lot of bad situations.

On my hubby's side he had gone through a nasty bitter divorce and as a result there was a lot of animosity between his ex and him.

He had the four kids who he adored but were constantly being used as pawns to "get him back". My hubby was like the walking wounded and he had shut down a lot emotionally.

Trying to bring a family together under these circumstances was the last thing on my agenda. But God and our hearts sometimes have other plans for us.

After almost two years of trying to anchor our fragmented families into one, while having two full-time high pressure careers going, we knew something had to give.

This decision wasn't based on the fact that I was the woman and therefore the stereotypical choice. It was a logical decision. I was the one with the time already vested so I could retire early and still receive some form of small pension. I was the one with the organizational skills to run a home with so many members, somewhat effective and I was the one who at times had the clearest picture of where this family could go.

With that said I went from rappelling out of helicopters, knocking down doors and arresting the bad guys to PTA meetings, baking cookies, sewing costumes and being the soccer mom.

 

To say I was in culture-shock was an understatement. I had never really been the homemaker type and when I say this I am not being disrespectful or condescending!

Being a full time mom is by far the hardest, most under-appreciated and demanding job in the world!

I had always place my value and self-esteem on the size of the pay check I was bringing home to my family. When the amount shrunk, so did my confidence.

When people asked me what I did for work they quickly turned away or changed the subject when I told them I was a homemaker. Ironically these same people would return, with renewed interest if they found out I was a retired cop.

Gee, wasn't I still the same person you shunned two seconds ago?

Invariably the rudest questions in the galaxy would be asked, "Why would you leave such an amazing career for this? What if your husband divorces you?";or my all time favorite, "Why would you do something so stupid?"

Excuse me; do I even know you for you to talk to me that way?

Really, honestly people could you be any more ignorant?

I would get so angry to feel that the average person thought raising my kids was such a colossal waste of time and that there must be something seriously wrong with me for making such a choice.

In my mind I thought that by being there, full time, my kids would grown up to be "normal", happy adults; who would learn to overcome challenges, no matter how bad, to become successful people, not some social psychologist nightmarish statistic.

This is where my "illness" mentioned above kicked into overdrive.

I had this vision of 9 college graduates, owning homes with white picket fences, 2.4 kids, a mini-van (okay maybe not a mini-van, I do not like mini vans) a SUV, with a dog, happily married forever.

They are professionals, cops, doctors, lawyers, nurses, oh my! The American dream!! Right?? Wrong!!

Instead I have three aspiring music rappers, a budding fashion industry insider, a dancer/singer/actress, who informed us that she is marrying a famous pop singer, he just doesn't know it yet!; an aspiring professional baseball player, a fledgling film director/screen writer/producer, a wanna-be criminal psychologist who hasn't even started going to school for this, even though he's in his mid-twenties!!

Oh, yeah and a future professional soccer player, who despite the fact that he is of Latino heritage, can't seem to pass Spanish class!!

Where did I go so wrong?? Honestly I left my career for this??

This way of thinking people, is what is really wrong with America at times!! And the reason my "illness" flairs up!

My hubby and I created free thinkers! We always encouraged them to follow their dreams, no matter how far-fetched the world thought their goals were.

Now that they were doing that, I was feeling like a failure for not spawning what I thought was "normal".

My hubby once again was the voice of reason.

We took a bunch of so called "broken people", my hubby and I included and somehow with God's divine intervention, turned us all into a family.

We are a Latino family with 6 kids who graduated from a college preparatory private high school, with the youngest still there.

The other two boys got their GED's and some form of specialized training.

All our kids have attended or are going to be attending college in some shape or form.

None of them have children out of wedlock, no teenage pregnancies, no one is incarcerated, or on drugs, no drug dealers, no car thieves, no junkies, no alcoholics, no welfare mothers or fathers, no deadbeat dads or moms, no Department of social services involvement, no probation officers to report to, no unemployment slouchers, no spousal abuse or neglect.

Oh yeah and they aren't illegally in the country, they pay their taxes, one has served in the military and while we are on the subject, we can't go back to the country we came from, because we are already here!

No I did not lose my train of thought I mention all of the above because according to main stream American media and TV, isn't this the only things all us Latino people are about? Apologizes to my readers who are progressive thinkers and understand how ridiculous stereotypes are!

Our only married child dated his wife for 8 years before they tied the knot in their late 20's.

They now have an amazing 8 month old baby boy who is loved and taken care of by two hands-on parents. My son works hard so his wife can work on her Master's degree and take care of their son. My grandson's eyes light up every time his daddy walks into the room because dad is very involved with his son.

One kid plays baseball at his division 2 college, one daughter played softball at her college and another daughter is on the competitive traveling ballroom dancing team at her University!

Another is working on his own cable access TV show with his brother and is a regular on "You tube" and news websites, video blogging about hot button topics like the economy and breastfeeding! Did I mention he was 20?

The rappers have their duo album out, (self financed) and are working on their individual albums.

One kid works for a major clothing chain and has already worked up to assistant manager and is earmarked for upper management at the ripe old age of 24. Oh, yeah she's female, Latina, single and with no kids!

This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as where these kids are headed!

This summer my son, who has already written various screen plays, did I mention he is only 20, will be directing and producing one of his short films with the help of his siblings.

The younger daughter will be recording her debut album, (did I mention she sings too) which is being produced by her older brothers.Does this mean they are superstars and wealthy? Far from it. They are striving to get there and struggling along the way!

So as I sit here feeling like a failure because none of my kids have graduated college yet, or have claimed their corner office yet and wondering what we did wrong and why did I leave my job behind; something has become really clear.

The kids have become everything we wanted them to be, just not in the cookie-cutter way we thought they should as dictated to us by mainstream stereotypes!

So I guess the real question here is, now that the kids-excuse me our adult children, are creating their worlds, what am I going to do about mine?

Do I sit and wallow in self-pity because I am not the head of the state police?

Do I sabotage myself by not writing for weeks on end because I feel that my words are of no value, because I am writing about family instead of firearms?

Do I refuse to finish my stories because there is no publisher waiting with a fat check, yet?

Or do I reassess the situation and forge ahead onto my next mission.

I can say without a doubt that so far our family has been mostly a success, so why can't I go and pursue my dreams now?

The answer is yes! I can go out and pursue my own dreams!

But I can't go forward if I am always looking backwards!

As a matter of fact if I don't get going quickly, pretty soon my kids will be on me letting me know that I am slacking!

So with all this said, I am here to say I am back!!

Stronger, faster, better...no wait that was the Bionic man! But I guess it applies to me as well!

To all my beautiful readers thank you for your kind thoughts, words and prayers. You are all really extraordinary in all you do!!

And to the rest of the world watch out! Cause ordinary woman is back in the extraordinary saddle again!!!

Now if only I could find my glasses I would be all set!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Time in a bottle!

This past weekend we went to the wedding of one of my ex-husband's nephews.

Even though I have been divorced from my ex-husband for almost 15 years and have been remarried for 12 years, I never stopped seeing him as "my" nephew.

My ex-husband and I have come to terms with our differences from our past marriage and have for the most part mended the bridge.

We are very friendly and have no awkwardness when we are in social settings together.

His family has also come to terms with the fact that they do not have to pick sides anymore and that it is okay to be friendly with me, without feeling that they are being disloyal to my ex.

With that said I had a really weird surrealistic experience during this wedding.

I felt a lot like Rip Van Winkle. A lot of these people, who at one time had been our friends and my family, I had not seen for almost 15 years.

Just like Rip Van Winkle woke after a twenty year slumber, I too felt like I had been dead asleep for 15 years when it came to this part of my past.

To say it was bizarre to see "kids" who were small when I got divorced and moved away; fully grown now, was a small understatement.

Even though I am happy with my life now, there was still this weird feeling of the what if?

As I looked around the room and saw all the families that used to be part of my life, there was a sense of loss and wonderment about what had I missed?

I was also surprised at times by the couples that "made" it and even more surprised by the ones that did not.

I felt a sense of sadness at the memories that I was not a part of, the birthdays, anniversaries and births that I had missed.

What got me the most was that it took my ex-husband and me, that long to get over ourselves and move on.

Had we done that sooner, as we should have, then I would not have felt like I had been asleep for 15 years; nor would I walk around wishing that time could be held in a bottle!

Regrets are a funny thing because I always have regrets about all the shoulda, coulda, wouldas, even though our lives have turned out great.

I wonder at times if maybe things would have been easier, less painful, less complicated for my boys and myself if we had stuck it out.

But if all I do is keep focusing on the regrets then I will miss all the memories being created in the present.

The main thing that I am grateful for, is that I did get over it!

Otherwise I would still be missing out on amazing memories with all these people who I still care about and love.

I now have the great times I shared with my boys, their cousins, my husband, my ex-husband and his awesome family!

I also have the future to look forward to, like new grand nieces and nephews, more weddings and other milestones.

For all the things my ex-husband and I did wrong I am glad this is one thing we did right!

I am also grateful that my hubby Mel is so supportive of me by letting me maintain these relationships without petty insecurities.

So Rip Van Winkle, wake the heck up and smell the sweet aroma of living!!

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Why is it part two?

Posing

I was at my son Alexi's baseball game and it was not going too good for our team. Okay, it was actually a full blown meltdown for our team!

To distract myself from the carnage I started looking around when I discovered something!

It was springtime! The blossoms were starting to come out. The grass was getting greener and the birds were out!

I suddenly noticed this little fellow so I decided to be realllly quiet and try to take his picture. You see when I try to take a picture of our dog Buddie as soon as he hears the digital camera lens sliding out he is gone!

So I was thinking this little bird might be camera shy too!

Imagine my surprise when he not only stopped and looked at me, but then he posed as well!

My hubby was on the bench next to me and commented something about me being Cinderella or something because even the animals would talk to me!

Do not be hating cause the old lady move away from you cause you scared her!

Anyway not only did my feathered friend pose he also moved closer.
I was so shocked.
This made me wonder how many times I had I been so busy noticing the bad ( my poor son's bad baseball game) that I missed the good, as in my little buddy here?

I was grateful for the fact that I was able to remove myself from the moment and really enjoy the gift of nature. I noticed the gorgeous view from the hill top I was sitting on and the beautiful sky!

So just for today take the time to stop for at least one minute and really look around you! You never know what you will find, or what new friends you might make!


Why is it?

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I have been running around crazy lately yet hardly moving at all! I just started a new position as a criminal justice instructor which as much as I tried not to like, I totally love! But by the same token, since my leg is taking forever to heal from my surgery I am not able to do much of anything else.

I have always been passionate about criminal justice as a subject and as something that was just a part of me.

I really enjoyed the study of constitutional law when I was in the police academy and in college, so teaching it, is just a natural progression.
The funny thing is that I ask, why is it that we at time try to fight the things that we love the most?

Families, spouses, friends, careers even silly past times!
    Are we really that afraid to be happy that we need to hide the fact that we might actually enjoy going to school or going to work?

I have always told our kids to make sure they pick a career or a profession that they will be excited about going to everyday otherwise life just gets really depressing.

With that said I have decided to accept my own advise and really seize the day by refusing to hide my inner contentment!

So what if I enjoy a subject that puts my hubby to sleep in two seconds?
I love the constitution and the way its laws gives us rights and freedoms.
Further more I enjoy teaching this to students who are willing to learn and use that knowledge to ensure the freedoms of others!

So today I will enjoy my life, my career and most of all the great freedoms given to me that allow me to enjoy my life as I see fit!

By the way if you get the chance thank a Vet for those freedoms as well!

Can we say USA, USA USA!!! Goodness I love my life!


“Independent, together!”

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When you have raised nine children, you are subject to a lot of children's programs! Also the fact that kids love to watch their favorites over and over again, some shows become ingrained in our subconscious mind, well what is left of our mind!

My husband and I have a running gag about a line from "Rudolph the Red nosed reindeer".  In this part the elf who want to be a dentist tells the rest of the group that they can be "independent together!" My kids always thought that this was an oxymoron, because independence meant going it alone. Funny thing is a lot of adults think the same thing too!

In reality that is one of the deepest lines I have ever heard. Well as deep as you can get from "Rudolph the red nosed reindeer"! 

Being independent together is the fiber that makes families, friendships, marriages and relationships in general work. Notice it does not say co-dependent or dependent. The way it works is simple. You as a member of a group know who you are and what you are about. Then you add the support and acceptance of the group to help you become the person you are striving to become. The group also helps you with moral support, encouragement even chastisement when we stray too far. By the same token you do the same for the other members of the group!

The problem in relationships stem from when we lose sight of the fact that no one is exactly like we are. You cannot expect them to do everything like you do or to your liking. When you forget that concept challenges arise.

Notice I did not say we had to agree with everything the other person did, or said. Just because someone does not become what we would like, does not mean that person is wrong or "bad". We let them be their own individual, independent of your expected desires or concepts, but at the same time keeping the betterment of the group in sight. This does not mean letting your kids run wild. This does not mean not giving input or direction. It means letting an individual be their true self, not a bad imitation of what you want them to be.

When one member of the group forgets this, we get resentments, conflicts and soon we go our separate ways if not physically, emotionally. I feel this is the main ingredient that results in dysfunctional families; especially, if we do not know how to deal with that anger and resentment. Add to the mix drugs, alcohol, infidelity, promiscuity, illiteracy, poverty, low-self esteem or any other overwhelming variables and you have a recipe for disaster!

My kids, at times, refer to themselves as coming from a dysfunctional family. While I agree with them that my parents, grandparents and some of my siblings were and are dysfunctional. I feel that we as a family are not in that category.  Imperfect maybe, but not dysfunctional! I read somewhere, and I apologize because the gentleman's name escapes me right now, the definition of a dysfunctional family.

He said that a dysfunctional family does not know where they are going, what they are about or what they stand for. By the same token a functional family knows where they are going, know what they are about and know what they stand for!

Notice he did not talk about being perfect, rich, and successful or without faults or challenges. Be honest, no one's family is perfect! There are really good families who have big issues. There are really bad families who are supposedly "perfect" and then there are average families like ours. Families who in spite of it all, have managed to produce average, somewhat well adjusted people, who are striving to better themselves!

I never thought that watching a Christmas special about a reindeer would bring such a valuable lesson to my family and me. Then again I guess life's biggest lessons can at times come in the strangest places and formats!

I love that phrase "independent together" and we as a family will continue to use it as our family motto!

I wonder if the writers of that show ever thought that a little line would have such a huge impact on a family's life!

So to Rudolph, the elf and the whole crew from that show lets continue to be "independent together!"

 

 


There, but for the Grace of God, go I!

 

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Today I was going stir crazy, so Mel took me out to eat. It was a long process since I still can't put any weight on my leg. Getting around my own room has become an Olympic event. I had taken so many things for granted! A simple thing like a shoe on the floor was nothing when I had both legs healthy. Now, trying to navigate around it or picking it up is nearly impossible! After dinner I was wiped out and just returned home and crashed.

While I was recuperating a thought came to me of how utterly challenging life must be for people with disabilities. I have never been clueless to this fact. I worked with people with disabilities for a while and saw their struggles.

As a matter of fact I have a friend named Chris. Chris is one of the most amazing people I know. He was born with a condition that requires him to wear braces on his legs, either that or use a wheelchair. Chris' life was hard and to respect his privacy I won't go into details but his spirit is unbelievable!

He lives alone now and manages to travel all over the place. This is amazing enough except for the fact that he does it all on public transportation! Chris knows the transit system better than people that work there! When he isn't working or attending his various appointments, Chris can be found downtown enjoying the world. I tease him all the time that he should just run for Mayor, since everyone knows him and he knows everyone!

The other cool thing about Chris is that he is so independent. When we go anywhere he insists on putting the wheelchair in my car himself. He carries his own bags and will use his walker to navigate around by himself. Add to this the fact that he is a loyal friend, true and true. He calls to make sure I am okay. He worries about my kids in college as much as I do and he always remembers to ask about my crazy dog Buddie. He has a heart as big as they come!

Chris had a slip and fall and wound up in the hospital recently, yet he was more worried about finding out how I was after my surgery!

I know Chris will probably be upset with me for putting him in the lime light, but honestly he so deserves it. I feel that way,even more now. I have gotten a deeper understanding of how really difficult it must be for him to get around at times. He has to consider the elements, the terrain, the stairs, etc, any time he is going to go out! The only time I think about the weather is just to decided what to wear!

I know that in a few weeks I will be back on my feet, but my friend Chris will have to struggle the rest of his life. I also know these two things; one, I will never take my health or mobility for granted again, and two, I now really know how much of an everyday hero my friend Chris really is. Through all his trials and struggles he continues to live life to the fullest extent of his ability!

Chris buddy, I love you and you truly are my hero! Now hurry up and get better so we can go get some tacos!

Sincerely,

Ordinary Wmn