A New Chapter


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It has been a while since I have possessed the capability to string a decent sentence together and hence the result is a neglected site here. There is a valid reason for my lax in posting, you see six months ago (almost to the day) I went into the emergency room at my local hospital thinking I slept on my side the wrong way, and walked away with a diagnosis of pericarditis and pericardial effusion most likely caused by a virus. The easiest way to describe what is pericarditis is to simply tell people I caught a virus and it went to my heart…but it is a little more complicated than that. The best description I obtained is the following  from the Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pericarditis/basics/definition/con-20035562.

In the six months months following my diagnosis (seven months almost since the symptoms started) I have been lucky to find not one but  two support groups on Facebook and have been able to build a decent team to help me through this ordeal. Pericarditis is an unfortunate illness in that there is not much that doctors can actually do for you except give high doses of anti inflammatory medications, prescribe rest and limited activities. If I had a heart attack there is a solid treatment plan and recovery timetable to know when I would be better..with pericarditis you get to hope it does not become chronic…personally I feel like I passed chronic 5 months and 3 weeks ago.

For me, this ordeal has been taxing physically, emotionally and spiritually. I find myself often asking why did this happen to me? How did this happen to me? Is this how I am going to feel for the remainder of my life? It is not easy to find yourself all but bed ridden, unable to walk to the kitchen from your bed, unable to sleep because no position is comfortable, to see your old, busy life become a fading memory. The days that are hardest are the ones when it hits that I am no longer the same mom or wife I was a few months ago. One of my children is a senior this year, it is college touring time..yet while she tours the campuses (alone with a tour group) I am forced to sit in the admissions office feeling guilty. When my child(ren) attended North American National Championships in Montreal for dance this summer I was home supporting from the sidelines..something I never did before. I celebrated my twenty fifth wedding anniversary this summer with little fanfare since we were grounded from traveling extensively (or any place that requires even some waking). While this looks like a pity party, and I admit to some degree yes this is as I mourn the loss of moments and experiences in my life and life of my family …I am also grateful that while painful and somewhat debilitating at times..Pericarditis is not life threatening just annoying. I am grateful that I am forced to slow down and participate in my own life, take care of me for a change…an even more difficult task was learning how to ask for help and to accept the help offered.

Normally, I am the mother who piles 7 kids into my seven seat SUV (yes I know illegal)  making mine sit on the floor. I always have room for one more, because I never mind helping out another person, thinking well if I ever need help they will be there for me. The insane part of my logic is I never asked for help, I always thought oh I do not want to burden anyone else by asking them to drive my kids. When I found myself so ill that things like closing the car door were beyond painful, staying awake for longer than 2 hours impossible because the fatigue was so intense, breathing in the cold air felt like a knife slicing into my lungs ..I knew it was time to ask for help. Much to my surprise I reached out and multiple people offered to help ..the hard part was saying yes I need you, but my husband was in California on a business trip and I was the only licensed driver in the household and I knew all I could say was thank you. We actually moved into a hotel closer to school and dance so I did not have to cook (can we say YAY room service) or clean for a few days. I learned that help is not a sign of weakness but allowing those who love me in and I am not a burden.

So if I can say anything..I am grateful to have a life altering experience that has forced me to slow down and write a new chapter in my life. I mourn deeply the loss of experiences these past few months, the burden my kids have felt watching their mother who once was super woman able to do whatever they needed..now was the one who needed..but I am alive and I am slowly getting better..look I can string together enough coherent (I hope) words to make this post..take some time this week to slow down even for a few minutes..you will never regret spending more time with those you love.

You Will be Remembered…


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Today has been one of those days when my faith is put to the test. My daughter’s fifteen year old friend is dying and the question has long shifted from “if” it could happen to when it will happen. When this dear girl leaves is out of anyone’s hands but God’s but I find myself praying that those around her stay strong and give her the peace and the strength to let go of her pain and suffering.

Twelve months and 17 days have passed since everyone’s worst fears were confirmed by a team of specialists..E’s headaches were not migraines but rather an aggressive form of brain cancer. The power of our prayers and prayers lifted up in E’s name around the world as she underwent surgery to remove the tumor guided us through those first few days.  A false sense of hope comforted those who know E, love E and pray for her well being when we were assured the surgery to remove the tumor was a success and by the fact she was able to return to school using only a cane for balance. Hope began to fade as the autumn drew to a close and winter was upon us. E was back in the hospital we learned, the tumor progressing, robbing E of her balance, her sight and her memory. Cancer is a thief that steals precious time and robs us of our faith if we allow it to..only if we allow it to.

I like to think that there is some beauty in this horrible tragedy. We are blessed to be part of a small school that is faith-based, a place where our girls are allowed to pray, to cry and express their faith in a community where they are loved and accepted. Our girls are there for E, there for her sisters, there for one another. Even the girls who do not know E intimately are bonding with their friends and realizing they need to support and lift up their friends and schoolmates who in these final days are struggling to find an answer to why this happened to a beautiful snowflake like E.

I like to think God gifted this small community with someone so special as E to help them to see the beauty in a moment. E is like a snowflake…unique and like no other, formed in Heaven and sent to Earth for a short time..her presence was a thing of beauty ..she is one in a billion and a part of the fabric of our community..her faith and her strength blanket us like the fallen snow. Like the snow, she was not meant to stay with us for more than a season, but her season was the best one of all.

I can’t help but to think of these lyrics ..

“Hold on to spinning around
Confetti falls to the ground
May these memories break our fall

Will you take a moment, promise me this
That you’ll stand by me forever
But if God forbid fate should step in
And force us into a goodbye
If you have children some day
When they point to the pictures
Please tell them my name
Tell them how the crowds went wild
Tell them how I hope they shine….

Singing, long live all the mountains we moved
I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you
And long, long live that look on your face
And bring on all the pretenders
One day, we will be remembered”
Bless you my little friend on your journey ..the world will be an emptier place without you..but you will long live in the hearts and souls of those who knew you

The Princess Trap


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Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 9.37.36 PM   Tonight’s premiere of Say Yes to The Dress Atlanta really pushed a few of my buttons. Actually just one bride on the show for some reason made me stop and think. Before I go on, this show and the original Say Yes to The Dress are my guilty pleasures. I love this show, you see brides choosing a dress for their big day, not too much fake about that (well except for the ones who really are there to get themselves on television by any means) and as an expert people watcher..I love to hear the brides stories or watch the mothers who just can not let go. However ba

ck to to this episode…tonight we met a bride named Tessie who at age 21 is engaged to the love her life, her boyfriend from high school. Tessie came along to the salon with her parents, sister and an entourage to help choose her gown. Tessie stated she wants to transform into a princess for her wedding.

Ok this is not a new story with brides…on every single one of these wedding shows you come across a bride who wants the whole princess experience. Like Tessie on SYTTD Atlanta most of them do not have Princess Diana or Kate Middleton as their ideal princess, usually  Cinderella is tops. They want the full ball gown along with the bling and I get it..every woman wants on her wedding day to be the most beautiful woman in the room.  She wants all eyes on her, she wants her moment of royalty.

Say Yes to The Dress’ format includes little snippets of interviews with the bride, her entourage and the shop’s employees during the bride’s dress selection and this was where I had my little epiphany..after trying on a few gowns in her price range that included a knock off of Duchess Kate’s dress, the stylist decided what Tessie really was looking for was not to be a real princess but rather a fairytale princess. Good old Cindy enters the picture once again. The bride Tessie finally decided on a big ball gown style dress that is all fluff and frills that brought out the water works and they showed her interview ..she said (and I am para phrasing not quoting here) I am so happy, I love this dress, this is what I have dreamed my whole life about, getting married to the man of my dreams, it is what every little girl wants.

Ok hold the phone…getting married is very exciting (and very stressful) BUT as the mother of girls I am really hoping that getting married is NOT the lifelong dream they are harboring. I feel like if waiting for prince charming to come and whisk them away is my girls main dream then I seriously did something wrong raising them. I think in this day and age every child, male or female, should strive to pursue their dreams…love weddings?..become an event planner, design gowns, get involved in the industry. Do not dear daughters dream of weddings and happily ever afters at such a young age. Dream of being strong, loving and independent women who leave their mark in this world.

I want my girls to develop strong girl relationships, to pursue their educations to the fullest, to dream about visiting exotic places, and to become strong confident women so that once the right man comes along my daughter is ruling queen to his king, not a fairytale princess waiting for her prince to rescue her. When the time is right and my daughters choose to get married, I pray they leave Cinderella in Orlando where she belongs



In Pursuit of a Dream


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ImageI think I am going to milk my California vacation for it is worth, especially the pictures, we only took like 700 of them. The other day I was saying I had two posts in mind to publish, well I actually got one published and the content of the other has completely left my mind, just as I suspected it would.

I am noticing this blog is nothing more than a hot mess with absolutely zero focus. Once upon a time in the beginning there was a focus, I was here to bitch about my family, you know let the world know how they did me wrong and crap like that. Well that material is still there, it just was not as satisfying to write about after a while and really to be honest, the material just kind of sucked the life out of my soul. So to compensate for the lack of bitching I have just let me adult ADD take over and write about any old thing that pops into my head and the result has been this hot mess.

I am kind of at a cross roads right now, trying to figure it (whatever “it” might be) all out. So much that made sense in my life is now kind of changing, I am kind of a new girl with new interests and priorities. For years life was all about getting stuff done, getting through one day to the next, but now well I am seeing things a little differently.

I guess I am tired of wishing I could do the things that interest me and am excited to start doing them. If you know me well, those words are shocking. I get stuck in my own little ruts, I never give myself any credit and the monster living inside a/k/a fear always destroys whatever initiative I feel to break out of the mold. I guess what I realize is my whole life I lived by the “rules”, my rules for getting ahead, doing the right thing, not ending up like my mother. While those rules got me out of poverty and away from the toxic surroundings I grew up in, they also held me back from branching out and pursuing what it is I love.

I can not explain to you why I love to cook, or why I get a huge a thrill when I successfully convert a recipe into a gluten free masterpiece for my daughter. I do not know why I feel so comfortable behind the lens of a camera capturing images but I can tell you I am beyond thrilled when others like my photos on pinterest or here on my other blog.

So as my babies continue to grow up on me and move on to pursue their own dreams, i know it is never too late to get back in touch with mine..it is scary to think about this but now it finally feels right

California Dreaming


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Today I actually have 2 posts in mind..the topics do not really relate to one another so let’s see if I can actually get them both written and published before I forget what I have to say.  I just got home from a much needed vacation to California.  I am a weird traveller, I HATE to fly with every fiber of my being, but I love to go to places that are far away and not accessible easily by car.  I also have this tendency to not believe that we are actually making it to our destination until the plane touches down on the tarmac. Literally, I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop and it never does but this crazy DSCN1999routine repeats itself every time..irrational and insane are my middle names.

We landed in San Diego on a day the locals considered somewhat cold (62 degrees for a high) and I considered simply gorgeous. I left my house on a miserable and cold morning with the thermometer registering a balmy 21 degrees outside so 62 was beyond acceptable to me! It is amazing how a little rest and relaxation coupled with a change of scenery can be enough to recharge the batteries.

We made the most of our limited time in San Diego by hitting the usual suspects for tourist spots…Balboa Park, The San Diego Zoo, La Jolla Cove and then we drove up to LA and Anaheim..gotta say after hearing so much about them, I also had In and Out Burger on the bucket list (and yes it was totally worth it…even found out about their secret menu)

How amazing is it to this east Coast girl that I found myself walking in the Pacific Ocean with the sun beaming on my face in late February? Back home while we strolled in the sun they were bracing for yet another winter storm and I simply thanked my lucky stars we were in the sun..and in 62 degree weather! My favorite moment of our California Adventure had to be watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean from the cliffs overlooking La Jolla Beach. Yeah I was sore and tired from all the walking we did during the day, but the experience is one that I will cherish for as long as my memory allows. I even snapped some pretty amazing shots with my handy dandy camera.  we ended our adventure with a trip to the house of Mouse..




Semi Homemade Wonton Soup


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Semi Homemade Wonton Soup

on a cold day after the blizzard, what to make? Soup is always a good thing.. This soup is semi homemade at its best..a box of unsalted Swanson’s chicken stock, a package of frozen asian dumplings (these are Pork Gyoza from Trader Joe’s) scallions, 1 large clove of garlic thinly sliced, some fresh ginger, mushrooms, salt and pepper..I cooked 2 cups of water with the sliced garlic, 3 sliced scallions and brought to a boil and then added the ginger (about a tsp fresh) and the chicken stock and mushrooms along with the salt and pepper and cooked the mushrooms until they were just tender and then added the frozen dumplings in a few at a time and cooked for 4 minutes until they softened…the dumplings need to be added just when you plan to eat them as they will get soggy if left overnight..this soup was a little spicy but very yummy and filling

The Power of Prayer


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Nine days ago a friend and schoolmate of my daughter was just any other kid with homework, friends and basketball practice. Nine days ago, the flu was still traveling through the school. Nine days ago, kids were still talking about the semi formal and wishing the freezing temperatures would warm up just a little. Nine days feels like it happened a lifetime ago.

Four days ago we found out along with the rest of or small school community that one of our own was in crisis. What started off as a “migraine” soon turned into something no parent even can fathom hearing, our young friend had a brain tumor.

Today, we waited and prayed as we held our collective breath waiting as our young friend went into surgery to have the tumor removed. Time passes slowly when you feel powerless and today was no exception to that rule. Prayer, faith and love are powerful allies in these moments and remind us that we are in God’s hands at all times.

These are times when I know my faith is severely tested. I ask myself how can it be that someone so young, so full of life, so filled with faith and hope can have something like this happen to them? I turn to God and I ask why? These are the times when I have to listen closely because the answers are not quick and clear but rather revealed when the time is right.

Yesterday was my turn to drive the afternoon carpool and I am about to sound weird, but I actually enjoy my ride with the kids. I am blessed to have such wonderful kids who laugh, yell, cry and communicate with one another on our rides home, however yesterday there was an unspoken understanding that we were not talking about what was happening to our friend. Driving over to get them, I found myself thinking at first about all that was happening and then I found myself thinking about a dear relative who died this past September. Out of the blue I found myself thinking about Mary’s travels and how she visited the Holy Land and drank from the River Jordan. The image of Mary in the photograph was as clear as if I were looking at it in front of me and I wished that I had some of that water to share with the family of our friend.

I always have my iPod playing in the background during my drive over to school, it is the only time before the kids pile into the car with stories about their days, tests and drama happening at school where I get to do something just for me.  The thing about my play list is once I start it, unless a song is mistakenly in there twice, once it plays that is it until I start it over again. A few of my favorites played away while I drive along deep in thought, and then when I started listening the lyrics on my iPod hit me loud and clear..”When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom ..let it be” and I began to cry. I do not cry often, but I knew in that instant “mother Mary” our dear aunt was with me, telling me that everything was going to be alright. It truly gave me the chills, but I know I was able to hear her when I opened my heart and listened. I reached out to anyone I know who could remember the Our Father and asked them to open their hearts and pray for a young person they do not know, to send her love and prayers and I am grateful to my friends and family who shared their faith with us.

Today we have good news, our friend did well during her surgery. The doctors believe they got all of the tumor, but only time will tell. It is all in God’s hands now. This beautiful young person has a long recovery ahead of them but they will do just fine

While it has been a trying time for all who know this young lady, These past few days have made me realize just how trivial all the nonsense of day to day life is. People need to be kinder to one another, people need to forgive one another’s faults because you just never know how it can all turn on a dime. My daughter’s friend was playing basketball 9 days ago, acting like a normal 15 year old ..today she is undergoing surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital to remove a brain tumor. PLease find room in your heart today for forgiveness and love because in the end nothing else matters but the love of family and friends. I wish you all love and blessings and want you to know that I firmly believe in the power of prayer for our voices were lifted up to God and He heard us. I believe our love and blessings will help to carry this lovely young lady and her family through some uncertain times. God Bless

Election Poetry…


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Twas the night before the election and all through the house

political ads were blaring from every TV and click of the mouse…

The hate was spewing from the left and from the right

the candidates giving it one last shot in a race sure to be tight

So I in my independent stance

need to decide to whom I will give a chance

Abortion, higher taxes and a democrat in the senate that is why you support Lizzie

Economy, jobs and reform are reasons to support Romney

Ah but what about the others Barack Obama and Scott Brown

not without a fight will they go down

So my friends get off the couch and put down the remote

does not matter who you support just get out there tomorrow and VOTE



The Spelling Police…


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I am not used to getting many comments here on my little site. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I rarely post. Let’s be real here, life has this rude way of interrupting my creative side, I really would love to post more often, but my kids might have other things to say. However when there are comments, even from the people I bribe to read my site, it is very exciting in a weird and geeky way. So where I am going with this is today I took a look at the site and saw there were actually comments in my spam folder here on WordPress.com. As usual most of them were just from sites trying to get me to buy their services by letting me that my blog is not getting as big of an audience as it should and blah..blah.. blah..but there was one and it appears to come from Indonesia (since Indonesia is the only country highlighted on the little map today) calling me out for my spelling. OKAY…so here it is

“certainly like your web-site but you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very troublesome to tell the reality then again I will certainly come again again.”

HMMMM is the reader trying to say that my spelling sucks or the proofreader here on WordPress is at fault? I mean I would NEVER spell anything wrong at 1:00 in the morning while I am in the midst of a full blown attack of insomnia…NEVER…Maybe it is just me, but I am not sure if I would put something like this on a person’s blog…and what is this crap about reality?  You know my reality might not be pretty and it definitely shows signs of insanity but it is my reality. This is when I remind myself that comment was in the SPAM folder and is probably a thinly disguised ad for some service that will attempt to rip me off if I click on the link..but still a comment is a comment so time to get vigilant about my spelling ..

So I am going to admit that I am suffering from yet another brain fart and posted this on my other blog that I maintain about my son..the infamous boy..I have blogged here hoping maybe someone other than the spelling police will actually read this ..and remember kids comments are a precious gift to the writer..be gentle and COMMENT



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