Wednesday, December 29, 2004

More Adventure Pics!











Just want to share more pictures of our North Carolina adventure. The mountains are beautiful. Coming from the plains of Florida, it was like going to a new country. The view from a mountaintop was just amazing. I felt so small in the scheme of things standing atop a mountain and was mesmerized by the vastness of nature and its breathtaking beauty. Wow! I can't believe I am getting poetic there for a while. I guess the mountain air makes one do that! Too much clean air and oxygen brings back to life those brain cells murdered by polluted city air. 

The mini vacation was great but I am glad to be home. There's no place like home, for sure.

Have a happy and prosperous New Year!!! 

Monday, December 27, 2004

So much to see, so little time!











I am glad to say that we made it back to Florida. Our trip to North Carolina and Atlanta had been exciting and wonderful. I have tons of pictures that I have not uploaded yet because hubby saved them in a memory card.

We spent some time with the family while in North Carolina but we were on the road and up the mountains most of the time. We went to Beech Mountain, Grandfather Mountain, Sugar Mountain, Banner Elk, Boone and Linville. The mountain air was fresh and crisp. There was not a trace of snow on the low lying areas and not much fell in the high country areas either. It was cold enough for snow machines to blanket all the ski resorts though. We went up Grandfather Mountain the first day we were there. It was cold and snowing. The snow felt like someone was throwing sand on our exposed flesh.  The hubby and son went on the mile high swinging bridge but only made it up to the bridge's midpoint and had to go back. Snow, high winds, and swinging bridge do not mix very well. (Duh!) I stayed on solid ground pretending to take their pictures and had my phone on 911 speed dial. 

The ski resorts were full of people from Florida and Alabama! Every time we looked at the license plates at the ski resorts' parking lots, we counted an overwhelming number of cars from the two no-ski states. Well, you can tell who were the Floridians and Alabamians on the slopes: they were the ones who seem to be on their behinds more than their feet. Well, I have no room to talk, really. I spent most of the day at the ski lodge taking pictures, eating snacks, and reading my book. Hubby looked funny all bundled up in the rented ski suit, thick gloves and a beanie. Son looked awkward in thick jacket, waterproof pants and gloves, and of course, a beanie! Hubby went skiing and son went snowboarding. Hubby was quite a skier and though this was son's first time snowboarding, he did very well. I myself, had fun taking pictures of people I did not even know and ate several muffins at the lodge.

We also spent a couple of days in Atlanta. We always pass by the city when going up north but we never stopped before. We always hear about it being the "New York of the South" so we were ready to explore it. Maybe it was because of the holidays but Atlanta seemed to have a much slower pace than we expected. We stayed at a hotel downtown by the CNN center. It was walking distance to all the the sights we wanted to see. We went to Hard Rock Cafe, the Underground, World of Coca Cola, the Olympic Park, Fox Theatre, the Rialto, and the Varsity. We dined at a Brazilian restaurant on Piedmont called Fogo de Chao. I recommend this place highly. It was quite pricey but the experience was well worth it. The waiters were dressed as "gauchos"  (Brazilian cowboys) and they fed us Brazilian barbeque served in swordlike skewers. The salad bar was phenomenalartichoke and palm hearts, smoked salmon, proscuitto ham, imported cheeses, sundried tomatoes, and roasted peppers were just to name a few of the luscious spread! We heard that there is another restaurant called " The Abbey," where the setting is a monastery and  the waiters are dressed as monks but we did not have time to go there. We also did not have time to see the Art Museum (it featured paintings of Van Gogh, Picasso, Seurat and Mondrian!) and the Botanical Garden (it had Dale Chiluly's exhibit!). We're definitely going back to Atlanta. I want to see Margaret Mitchell's house and the "Gone with the Wind" museum. Ah, so much to see and photograph, so little time!   


Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Snappin' Happy











Just want to share some of the pictures I took at the St. Anne's Lights Festival.

St. Anne's of Belleview is a Catholic church in my hometown. Every year, hundreds of volunteers string billions of christmas lights in and around the church. The church and its surroundings look magnificent at night! 

The back of the church has numerous western style buildings that are usually used for the annual St. Anne's Round Up. This time of the year, the buildings are decorated with lights, wreaths, christmas trees and other christmas trimmings.  There is a Santa Booth where kids can tell Santa what they want for christmas and a kiddie train to amuse them. There are also a couple of christmas trains for grown people to ride around in. The best part of the Festival is the free hot cocoa, coffee and cookies building! Oh, did I mention that there is also a Bakery where you can buy all sorts of pastries, cookies, cakes, and all sweets imaginable? 

Enough of the St. Anne's ramblings. I would be out of town for a few days starting tomorrow. We are going to North Carolina to celebrate Christmas with my father-in-law. He lives on Mt. Nebo and the view at his mountain home is spectacular. I am hoping that it will snow while we are there because my hubby and my son are talking about trying the slopes this year. Where will I be while they are out there skiing? Well, I'll be inside the ski lodge, sipping coffee, and reading my new Michael Crichton book. Never been a snow bunny and I'm too old to even try it out. Maybe not old but definitely wiser.

My trusty camera will be with me so I will take pictures while we're there.

Have a good Christmas everyone! 

Monday, December 20, 2004

Lights, Camera, Addiction!












As my subject caption indicates, I am suffering from digital camera addiction. I wonder if someone already discovered and named this affliction. If not, I have first dibs on it. Given the APA and AMA authorization, I'll name this illness after me. Why not? Just like everybody else, I want to be known for something even if it is just a mere cameraitis.

My hubby and I went downtown a couple nights ago. Yup, you all thought I was so sick and in my death bed. I'm sorry but the camera was calling me and telling me all about these lighted houses, the Christmas Tour of Homes, the living nativity, and the downtown nightlife. Yup, I am weak so I succumbed to temptation.

I was also at the St. Anne's Lights Festival last night. Doing what else? Snapping pictures, of course! Well, drinking hot cocoa and eating cookies too. Yup, I am a multi-tasker. I can take pictures while shoving cookies in my mouth. Hubby acted as a cocoa dispenser because I have yet to master the possibility of doing three things at the same time.  

Got a lot more to say but hubby is standing next to me, whining. He wants to go out to get dinner. Gee-whiz! Why can't he learn to cook his dinner so I do not have to get up from my blogging?

Tata for now! 

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Homemade Christmas Card

 I made this christmas card for everyone using my hubby's digital camera program and the picture I took of the living nativity scene at a local church in my hometown. I know the picture needed enhancements because of its poor quality but I am just playing around with the possibilities right now. Just like those popsicle sticks ornaments our kids made during their elementary school days, this card is special because it is my first successful attempt at uploading a pic through FTP.  Yup, I'm trying to use guilt trip. Did it work?

I have more pictures of the christmas lights, living nativity, and christmas scenes from my hometown. I even have a pic of a blue roof house! 

I had someone asked what is the story about the blue roofed houses.  So here goes the story: When Ivan devastated my hometown on September 16, 2004, the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA teamed up to provide large blue tarps for residents who had roof damages to prevent further damage to their homes. Approximately 80% of homes in my hometown had a blue roof at one time. There are still a lot of homes with blue roofs now because there is a shortage of roofers and some people are still having problems with their homeowners insurance companies. Fortunately, we did not run into the roofer or the reimbursement problems so we have a regular roof!

I am feeling better. I am still congested but I am up and about and spreading chaos! Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Sweet for the Sweets! Happy Baking!


I've been sick for the past two days. I think it is the flu virus. That is all I am going to say because I want to spare your appetite for the wonderful baklava recipe below.

I am just chilling and drinking a lot of fluids. I am well enough this morning to type, so for those of you who want the baklava recipe, I am more than happy to oblige. For those of you who are baking challenged, send me your addresses and if you can ask, you shall recieve!

No, I am not Greek. I have a friend whose origin is the Mediterranian and she introduced me to foods in that part of the globe and I had been addicted to it since then.  

Baklava Recipe

Makes approximately 35 pieces of yummy baklavas!


  • 1 lb Walnuts - Finely Chopped
  • 1/2 C. Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1.5 C. Butter (3 sticks), Melted
  • 1 Package Frozen Phyllo Dough (16 oz) Thawed (refrigerate until needed or it will stick together!)

(***Buy the Phyllo Dough that comes in two half sheet packages so you will not need to cut them in half as this can get tricky because the sheets are very delicate.***) 

  • 1 C. Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 C. Water
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 C. Honey
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla

Baking Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine and set aside walnuts, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, and cinnamon
  3. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the bottom and sides of a Jelly Roll Pan (15.5" x 10.5" x 1") with melted butter.
  4. Layer 12 half sheets of phyllo dough in the pan, buttering each layer as you go You will have 6 layers when you are done.. (The edges will extend over the side.)
  5. Spread 1 cup of the walnut mixture.
  6. Layer 8 half sheets -- butter each layer. Each sheet will be an inch or so short, so stagger the sheets from corner to corner to cover the whole pan. Spread 1 cup of the walnut mixture.
  7. Repeat 8 sheets and walnut mixture twice. You will end up with 4 layers of nuts.
  8. Layer the remaining half sheets on top -- butter each layer.
  9. Brush the top with the remaining butter.
  10. Trim the edges off.
  11. Cut halfway through the layers using the pattern shown. (Note: Do NOT cut from corner to corner, it will jag the edges.) This is done now since it will be very fragile after it's been baked.

  12. Bake 1 hour or until golden brown.
  13. 15 minutes before the baklava should be done, mix 1 cup light brown sugar, water, and lemon juice in a sauce pan.
  14. Cook sauce over a medium heat, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
  15. Remove from heat, add the honey and vanilla, and stir until well blended.
  16. Remove the baklava from the oven and finish cutting through the layers.
  17. Pour the sauce over the hot baklava.
  18. Cool. Let it sit for at least 24 hours (lightly covered -- do not refrigerate because the honey mixture need to soak in and evaporate a bit) -- longer if you can stand it!
  19. Put each piece into a muffin cup that has been partially flattened for a great serving presentation.
  20. Enjoy your baklava and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Joy To The World! (In Enthusiastic, Not Sarcastic Tone!)










The baklavas had been baked and delivered. I am making another batch for the family and the baking will be done. Hallelujah!

My hubby is home so I've been using his digital camera to snap some pics to share. I only have limited time to devote to learning the intricacies of editing, resizing and photo enhancements right now so pardon my AOL issue picture album.

As you can see on picture #6, I am done shopping. I only have to exchange a Snow Baby figurine for my hubby's aunt. I was told that someone bought the same figurine for her so I have to go back to where I bought it and exchange it (for another one that she probably have already). I am thinking of exchanging it for a gift card so she can pick her own Snow Baby.

I am going back later to beautify this entry.  I have to choose and upload graphics for it and right now I need to get started on more chores. There's no rest for the wicked, they say. I guess I am the most wicked of all because I seem to have a chore list longer than Santa's.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Holiday Humor After Ivan's Devastation

These articles were copied from our local paper.  A lot of people are still reeling from the aftermath of  Ivan in my hometown. These articles show that having a sense of humor after the devastation can relieve the stresses of living in a temporary housing, chasing the insurance company, lining up contractors, and the other aggravations we all have to go through here on the Gulf Coast.  Luckily, my family and our home were spared from a lot of harm. Our inconveniences were minor compared to other people. We are blessed and we are thankful for that.

Holiday letter with an Ivan twist

Can't find the energy to recount the story of Hurricane Ivan over and over again in your holiday greetings? Let us help you. All you have to do is write in or circle the appropriate answers and send copies of this handy form letter off to your family and friends. (And show them Ivan didn't damage your sense of humor!)

Dear friends and family,

How are you? We hope this letter finds you well and happy. Things are slowly, slowly returning to normal here.

As you know, Hurricane Ivan hit ____________ (our area; our home; the whole of the known universe) on Sept. 16. It was a Category 3 storm, but felt more like ________(a Category 4; a Category 5; riding a Tilt-A-Whirl full of thumbtacks during an earthquake).

We spent the night _____________ (out of town; in the attic; crying hysterically into a flashlight) and when we ventured outside the next morning, it looked like _______________ (all heck had broken loose; an angry giant had stomped through; the Bikini Atoll).

We were without water for _____ days and without power for _____ days. By the end of that stint, we looked like we needed _____________ (a good night's sleep; a stiff drink; an "Extreme Makeover") and smelled like ______________ (onions; rotten onions; a box full of rotten onions).

Sadly, we lost ___________________________ (almost everything; everything that wasn't nailed down, everything that was nailed down "" including the nails). But we managed to save _______________ (our photos; our pets; a pile of random objects not fit for a yard sale). Most importantly, we _________ (have each other; have our faith; are related to a roofer).

We still _____________ (have a blue roof; have trees in the yard; can't flush the toilet), but it is getting a little better all the time. We're living _________ (in a trailer; in my sister's guest room; in fear of the 50 percent rule). We hope by the new year, we'll be ableto _______________ (get the check from the insurance company; move back into the house; throw out the last of the MREs).

To get in the holiday spirit, we strung lights _______ (over our debris pile; on our ROE/right of entry sign; around our insurance adjuster; plugged it in and suspended the whole mess over a full bathtub). For those of you still doing holiday shopping, our wish list includes ________ (clean towels; shingles; that check from the insurance company).

Despite the hardships, Ivan did draw our community together, tearing down the literal and figurative fences that kept us apart -- although we didn't really need to know about the neighbor's __________ (12-foot compost pile; ongoing "project" car; sunbathing habits).

Until next year, wishing you the best,

__________________________________ -- Jahna Jacobson
©The Pensacola News Journal December 13, 2004

Ivan flavors family's Christmas cards

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Sharla Gorder is known for her creative Christmas cards -- and this year inspiration wasn't hard to find.
The Gorder family -- Ted, Sharla, and sons Taylor, 10, and Myles, 9 -- is shown jeans-clad and barefoot, twisting in hurricane-force winds and clinging to a palm tree.
"I always try to do something appropriate to where we are and what we're doing," Sharla Gorder said. "There has only been the hurricane, so it just seemed like the thing to do."
She called on friend Monica Hoskins, a photographer with MRH photography in Gulf Breeze, to help bring her vision to life. Hoskins had the family sprawl out on the lawn, then tried several different poses. Later, she and her husband Jim created a composite photo using a shot of a wind-blown palm from Pensacola Beach.
It was fun to be a part of the Gorders' annual tradition, Hoskins said. "I always look forward to her Christmas cards."
Sharla Gorder said she'll send out more than 200 of the laughter-inspiring cards to friends and family, some of whom suffered enormous losses in the storm.
"I was so excited when we pulled it off," she said. "We're trying to have a sense of humor about it."
-- Jahna Jacobson

Some give cards in the shade of 'blue'

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Two greeting cards created by local artist Nancy Nesvik are capturing the spirit of a post-Ivan holiday season.
One shows Santa flying over a city dotted by blue roofs; the other is seashell Christmas tree with a reminder that no storm can take away our memories and traditions.
The "blue-roof" artwork was inspired by "the reaction people from out of town had seeing the sea of blue and not knowing what it was as they were flying into town," Nesvik said. "Of course, two months ago none of us knew what a blue roof was."
The cards are a fun way to share the blue-roof experience with out of town family members, said Nesvik, who has been designing her own Christmas cards for about 15 years, tailoring the artwork to the each year's major events.
Scrapdoodle, a Pensacola stationery store, sold out of the designs at the Junior League's Marketbasket holiday sale in November. So far, about 4,000 of the cards have sold throughout Pensacola, said Scrapdoodle owner Joeanne Leuchtman -- and more are on the way.
The cards really hit home for Pensacola resident Michele Carter after she got a bird's-eye view of all the blue roofs on a recent flight into Pensacola.
"I have a lot of friends who live away from Pensacola, so this is something they haven't experienced," Carter said.
Leuchtman said her store's proceeds from the cards will be donated to the United Way. The store also donated 800 cards to local organizations for them to send out or sell as fund-raisers.
-- Jahna Jacobson

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Winter Flowers In Sunshine State










I took a break from all the holiday hustle and bustle. I walked around my garden today to see what survived the cold temperature. I had not been in my garden for a while. I was shopping, decorating, baking, and doing all the holiday related errands. I was surprised to find that a few of my flowering plants are still blooming. It was a spiritually uplifting  experience.  I am glad I took some time to smell the flowers for they will all be gone soon.

I know people were trying to view this entry while I was trying to upload pictures. I had very funny e-mails and some very funny comments about the "very large picture."  Yes, guys, I was trying several ways to upload pics but some of the results were hilarious. I tried using the digital camera's program to cut and paste and I got these grainy humongous pictures. I tried another program and I got these almost grotesque pictures. Oh well, you guys just have to be patient with me sometimes. LOL. Haylee, I thought myself that that entry was mind blowing! I had pictures gone wild! Barb, it's OK, you were not hallucinating. It was my pics that were on acid. LOL. Just remember, I am not laughing AT you, I am laughing WITH you! I had so much fun experimenting with ways on how to put pics on this entry. As you can see, I ended up with the AOL issue. There's always a next time. And next time, I will succeed.   

Happy Holidays To Everyone!

Some Chores Done, Others Not On Priority List!



I have been real busy. Hubby came home on Friday night so I picked him up at the airport.

I am glad to report that the tree is up and decorated and I even hung some lights outside. I am still working on decorating the inside but I have to rest a while.

Hubby and I spent the whole day running around on Saturday trying to buy the the last of the christmas gifts. I think we have everybody covered. It is just so hard to shop as the holidays approaches, the people out there are frantic. They are everywhere! I am glad I can stay home now to finish baking goodies.

I am baking Baklavas for J's teacher, Mr. S. He can't get enough of them the last time I volunteered to chaperone J's class to the Greek Festival so I  am making him a big batch. I already baked some peanut butter chips and chocolate chips cookies for the neighbors and some of the kids' friends. Some had been delivered with the cards but I need to sit down and write down more names so I can calculate how much I have to bake. 

I also want to thank Lori ( Lori's Laurels) for teaching me how to put graphics on my J.  Lori,  you are a wonderful person! I am indebted to you and your generosity forever!

Thursday, December 9, 2004

Lessons My Mother Taught Me


Lessons My Mother Taught Me

My Mother taught me LOGIC...
"If you fall off that swing and break your neck, you can't go to the store with me."

My Mother taught me MEDICINE...
"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they're going to freeze that way."

My Mother taught me TO THINK AHEAD...
"If you don't pass your spelling test, you'll never get a good job!"

My Mother taught me ESP...
"Put your sweater on; don't you think that I know when you're cold?"

My Mother taught me TO MEET A CHALLENGE...
"What were you thinking? Answer me when I talk to you...Don't talk back to me!"

My Mother taught me HUMOR...
"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT...
"If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up.

My mother taught me ABOUT SEX...
"How do you think you got here?"

My mother taught me about GENETICS...
"You are just like your father!"

My mother taught me about my ROOTS...
"Do you think you were born in a barn?"

My mother taught me about the WISDOM of AGE...
"When you get to be my age, you will understand."

My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION...
"Just wait until your father gets home."

My mother taught me about RECEIVING...
You are going to get it when we get home.

And my all time favorite thing- JUSTICE
"one day you will have kids, and I hope they turn out just like YOU...then you'll see what it's like."


***** Hope you enjoyed the above wisdom only a mother can impart to a child. LOL.  I swear I will write something original one of these days. There are just so much distraction at the moment that I need to focus and write something noteworthy ( and journalworthy, of course).

*****I found the christmas decorations and I will decorate the house sometime this week. I have a TO DO list that is getting longer everyday and not a lot have been crossed out of it lately. 

*****Happy Holidays to one and all!

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Bear with Me...Just Venting

They say that blood is thicker than water. Maybe that's why we battle our own with more energy and gusto than we would ever expend on stranger.  David Assael, Northern Exposure, Family Feud, 1993


I am frustrated. Just had an argument with my teenage daughter. The mother-daughter kind of trifle.I wish she'll grow up fast enough so I can rest.  Don't get me wrong, she can be a wonderful girl when she wants to but she is so stubborn and unwilling to compromise that I have to stay away from her until I can collect myself. Grrrrr!!!!!!! This girl is my pride and joy. You will know that she has given me so much to be happy and proud about if you read some of the older entries I wrote about her. I love her dearly but we have our aggravating moments.

         On the happier front, I collected some funny quotes about children to amuse myself and make fun of the child in above paragraph. As they say, humor is the best medicine. Why cry when you can laugh?

          Here they are. Hope you will have a chuckle or two like I did after reading them.

Human beings are the only creatures that allow their children to come back home.    Bill Cosby, US comedian &TV actor

The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children.   Clarence Darrow, US defense lawyer

Ask your child what he wants for dinner only if he's buying.  Fran Lebowitz, US writer and humorist

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one.  Leo Burke

The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant--and let the air out of the tires.  Dorothy Parker, US author, humorist, poet, & wit
Humans are the only animals that have children on purpose with the exception of guppies, who like to eat theirs.  P.J. O'Rourke, US humorist & political commentator
Learning to dislike children at an early age saves a lot of expense and aggravation later in life.  Robert Byrne
Never have children, only grandchildren. Gore Vidal, US author & dramatist

I take my children everywhere, but they always find their way back home.  Robert Orben

Never raise your hand to your children; it leaves your midsection unprotected.  Robert Orben

The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is that they have a common enemy.  Sam Levenson




Monday, December 6, 2004

You've Come a Long Way, Baby!

I am posting this here to find out your reactions. I stole the slogan from Virginia Slims for my subject heading. I think it is apropos.

How to be a good wife

The following is from a 1950's Home Economics textbook intended for the High School girls, teaching how to prepare for married life.
1. Have dinner ready: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have
a delicious meal - on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him, and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.

2. Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.

3. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too.

4. Prepare the children: Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces if they are small, comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.

5. Minimize the noise: At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him.

6. Some DON'TS: Don't greet him with problems or complaints. Don't complain if he's late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day.

7. Make him comfortable: Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.

8. Listen to him: You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the
moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

9. Make the evening his: Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment; instead try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his need to be home and relax.

10. The Goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can relax.

Saturday, December 4, 2004

Me, Getting Political?

Been so busy. It was J's birthday on Monday. We took him to his favorite Japanese restaurant for his birthday dinner. We had hibachi style dinner. He likes the chef's show. He had seen it so many times but he still laughs at the chef's jokes. We invited his girlfriend to the dinner. She is very shy. She did not eat a lot. My son said later that she told him that she is very nervous and that she never ate at Japanese restaurant before so she was just observing everybody. 

My son is into music. He has a Fender electric guitar which we bought about a year ago. He also inherited a Yamaha acoustic guitar from his sister. We were not so sure about buying the electric guitar because we were concerned that he will play with it for a few days and it will be forgotten. (His sister went through some musical instruments and sports gears and got tired of them after a few weeks). He still spends at least an hour a day playing his guitar and  looks for guitar tabs on the Internet on a daily basis.

Where am I going with this? He has a bowling/skateboarding birthday party today and I made him a red guitar shaped cake for it. I'll take pictures of it and post them later. I decided to make the cake myself after calling around town and it seems like no one wants to make a made-to-order cake anymore. I also went on the Internet and looked in nearby cities and the nearest place that has the service I am looking for is about 7 hours away from where I live. Mom and Pop bakeries are perishing!

Big chain stores are killing small businesses. I will not name the giant one in my town because I know you know which one I am talking about. I long for the simpler days when there are a number of bakeries in my hometown. I sometimes crave for a real-honest-to-goodness-fresh-baked-bread, the one you get from the neighborhood bakery. There are days I do not want a day old corporate bread. My heart also bleeds for small businesses shut down by corporate giants. 


Thursday, December 2, 2004

Appreciation Of The Living

This poem is by an unknown poet. It deeply touched me. I am posting it here to share in hopes that someone will appreciate its sentiments like I did. It is also a tribute to a fellow J'er who lost her friend recently. I am glad she was there for her when she needed to be loved the most.  


The Time Is Now

If your are ever going to love me

Love me now, while I can know

The sweet and tender feelings

From which true affection flows

Love me now, while I am living

Do not wait until I am gone

And then it will be chiseled in marble

Sweet words on ice cold stone

If you have tender thoughts of me

Please tell me now

If you wait till I am sleeping

Never to awaken

There will be death between us

And I would not hear you then

So if you love me, even a little bit

Let me know while I am living

So I can treasure it


***Life is too short. Love much. Laugh often. Live well***


Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Define Happiness

To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.
Gustave Flaubert
French realist novelist (1821 - 1880)


Happiness is a noun. It is defined as follows: 1. a sense of general well being and of everything being right in the world or in your own immediate vicinity  2. a giddy feeling that your heart is lighter than air  3. that toe tappin' energy you get on a perfectly sunny day  4. a deep belly laugh  5. cheerful. 


If happiness had been eluding you lately.  Take refuge in Flaubert's quote above.Have a deep belly laugh (rolling on the floor is optional). There you go, at least you were happy for a moment.



Tuesday, November 30, 2004

My Baby Turns 14 Today










Happy Birthday, J!

Yup. My baby turns 14 today. I am happy but also saddened by the fact that he is growing so fast!

He won first prize for his Science project yesterday. The project is about which skateboarding bearings are faster. He owes some of the ideas from his brilliant sister who pretty much did an excellent didactic approach in telling her little brother about velocity but he put a lot of work on his board and on his written report. I was amazed at how my children take to scientific concepts like ducks to water. Yup, I'm bragging again but I can't help it.


Happy Days Are Here Again

Got this yesterday. I need my picture taken. Funny, I take pictures of other people but I am not very enthused about someone taking mine. Can I be like the Phantom of the Opera? I  like to be mysterious. I like my anonimity in this journal. Should I shatter the illusion? 

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You Know You're Addicted to  AOL Journal When...


If you can't access the site, you have a minor freak out - and a major case of hitting reload.

You found yourself composing journal entries during dates, movies, even at work (during breaks, of course)!

When you're out, you suddenly thinkof a witty reply to a comment somebody made to you... several days ago.

You've downloaded AOL Bot program which has only the purpose of making entries easier to write without going on the site manually.

You consider it a great offense if someone deletes your Journal off their Favorite Site  list.

The first thing you do every day when you go online is check your Journal - even before checking your email.
When your friends ask what's new, you get mad at them because you already wrote it in your J and they didn't check it yet.

You have put more time into J than all your housework.

You have more friends on J land than in real life.

You can't seem to call your friends by their real names - only J names will do.
You have posted about a party or get together on your J... and random strangers showed up.

You've written a private  entry about one of your J friends. (Extra points if they eventually found out about it)

You have written posts to notify people you're going to sleep.

You talk about your J friends to your real life friends all the time... like they're a part of your group.

You've created a J community, and people actually post in it.

You've been recognized in real life by a fellow J'er.

You have befriended someone because of their  Journal  pictures.

You have "pity friends" on your list, who you would defriend if you could.
Instead of doing housework,  you post pictures of it  on your Journal.

Your pets all have their own AOL Journals.
You've stopped being friends with someone in real life because of something they've said on J.
You have consoled yourself after a horrible day thinking "At least this will make a great J post"

You're jealous of people who have more friends and / or comments than you.

You have written a really great, solid post - only to be disappointed by the lack of good comments.

You're guilty of commenting excessively to get more traffic to your journal.

You've deleted a post a few minutes (or hours) after you've written it, because it seemed lame in retrospect.

You give shout outs to all your J friends on their birthdays.

You have an additional, secret journal that hardly anyone knows about.

 You have gotten mean anonymous comments (bonus points for figuring out who it was via their IP)

You've been reported (or reported someone) to  AOL J Abuse.

You've been featured on  AOL J’s   Editor Picks.

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends who are J addicts.

You Know Who You Are

I must be from Florida because I get these and I actually laughed out loud about some of them because they reminded me of some people and  events I treasure.  


You Know You're From Florida When...

You use "fix" as a verb in this context: "I am fixing to go to the store".

You know what "cow tipping" is.

You find 100 degrees F "a little warm."

You know the four seasons as: Almost summer, summer, still summer, and Christmas.

A carbonated soft drink isn't a soda, cola, or pop ... it's a Coke, regardless of the brand or flavor.

You own at least five pairs of flip flops

You know someone who's been struck by lightning

You're more scared of the freaks who live down the street than gators

Your backyard is sometimes a swamp

You're officially sick of Disney

You shrug off hurricane warnings

You've been permanently blinded by fat men in speedos

There are only two seasons - hot and hotter

You've drank a flaming alligator.

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from Florida.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Life is such a Paradox

We are like sculptors, constantly carving out of others the image we long for, need, love or desire, often against reality, against their benefit, and always, in the end, a disappointment, because it does not fit them.  

Anais Nin
US (French-born) author & diarist (1903 - 1977)

We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are.

Anais Nin
US (French-born) author & diarist (1903 - 1977)


These quotes are reminder to parents. Parents are sculptors. They carve their children's images. They try to teach their children norms, values, virtues and other good things to know hoping that these children will grow to be good, solid people. Parents often get disappointed with their children because their children grow into people that their parents did not expect them to be.

One of the hardest thing for a parent to realize, especially the mother, is children can not be molded in their likeness (they have minds of their own) and that there is a thin line between parenthood (motherhood) and co-dependency. It is normal to wish your children success in life, to dream that they will be professionals someday, and to be protective of them when it is warranted but it is not normal to live vicariously through them and be disappointed when they do not meet your high expectations. Knowing when to let go of them and when to hold them is easier said than done but it can be done.

Children should be able to make their own mistakes and be able to learn from them. Micro-managing children make them co-dependent.  It makes them afraid to make decisions because a lot of the decisions in the past had been taken care of for them. Parents should know when to start making their children responsible for their judgment.

Children should be able to pursue their dreams with their parents' support and blessings ( So what if they change their minds every month? Be supportive. Tell them to reach for the stars and be all they can be!). Most parents dream of having a doctor or a lawyer in the family. Alas, not a lot of children want to be a doctor or a lawyer anymore. Some want to be engineers and others want to be animated movie producers. Just tell them be the best engineers or producers they could be. If your children did not turn out the way you want them to be, love them anyway. They need it and if you can be honest to yourself, you know you need to love them and you need their love too.

*****What about the picture? It does not make sense, you say. What does raising children have to do with a lake and tree canopies? Nothing. Yup, it has nothing to do with my entry above. My husband took it last week when he was in Lawton, Oklahoma. He loves to fish and take pictures of places he visits. He is a road warrior. This picture reflects my husband's interests as well as his personality.  That is another journal entry, so I will leave you to ponder on what I mean by that.***


Saturday, November 27, 2004

Apple Of My Eye

This is my son. He is a looker. He is also very smart. He grows in leaps and bounds. I can't help but feel very old when I look at my children. Yup, they make me feel like a proud old woman all the time. I can't believe that my son is taller than I am now and he is just in middle school! I believe I'll look like a midget next to him when he gets to highschool. Enough of my bragging (though I think you would too if you have children).

Friday, November 26, 2004

One More To Be Thankful About

This is a picture that my daughter and her bestfriend had taken during her Thanksgiving trip to Baltimore, Maryland. They had it printed on T shirts with the caption ,"God help our children."  They both have killer sense of humor and seem to be happy and comfortable with each other. They attended the same highschool for four years. They are now going to different colleges but still very fond of each other. They always joke around about getting married after college.  I think they are cute together. They are both very smart. I think they will have beautiful and smart children if they ever get married and decide to procreate. I am too young to be a grandmother so I am hoping that they will not get serious about a relationship until later and that they will hold on their horses until they both have their college degrees.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Everything is in Flux

If you would attain to what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you are pleased with yourself there you have remained. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing.
Saint Augustine
Carthaginian author, saint, & church father (354 AD - 430 AD)

There is always room for improvement in someone's life. It is natural to feel displeasure about where you are in life. One needs to examine life regularly and find out what one need and want at that period.

Everything is in flux. Including needs and wants. One needs flexibility in life above all. One should not be afraid of changes for they are essential part of life and living.

Contentment makes one stagnant. Most creature want comfort, stability ,and status quo.  As St. Augustine said in the quote above, "where you are pleased with yourself there you have remained."  Contentment has a way of making one complacent.  Who would want to leave a comfortable and stable environment?  Not many. He admonishes that one have to "keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing."  He wants everyone to leave their comfort zones and keep growing.  Growth is a change that everyone needs. One can stunt their growth by resisting the changes in their life. Other people in someone's life can also inhibit the growth of an individual, like an overprotective mother who will not let her child explore the world. 

I want to explore this subject because I am an overprotective mother. I have come to terms with a lot of issues involving my daughter's independence but there are still some that remains.  I realized that she needs me to gently push her out of the nest so she can explore the world with my blessings but somehow I still get really anxious about her going away from home.  She needs to add experiences to her life, to walk where she has not walked before, and to advance to the next level of growth.

She went to Maryland to spend Thanksgiving with her bestfriend and her bestfriend's family. This is the first long trip she had taken on her own. I was a bunch of nerves before she left. I can tell that she was very nervous too. I think partly because I unloaded my fears on her before her trip. Thank God that she is a very optimistic and resilient child. I talked to her last night via IM and on the phone today. She seems to be fine where she is.

I like it that my daughter has a sense of adventure. I admire her courage in leaving her comfort  zone. I am glad she is assertive and willing to take chances. I am happy that she is always willing to take a step toward maturity and self reliance.  I am delighted that she seems to instinctively know what she needs and wants at each stage of her life. I am proud to be her mother.

Motherhood is Fun

Parents were invented to make children happy by giving them something to ignore.
Ogden Nash
US humorist & poet (1902 - 1971)
The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children.
Clarence Darrow
US defense lawyer (1857 - 1938)
Sooner or later we all quote our mothers.
          Bern Williams
My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.
Mark Twain
US humorist, novelist, short story author, & wit (1835 - 1910)

These are wonderful and funny quotes about being a parent that I gleaned from the Internet. Quotes like these make my day.

I particularly like the last two because I now only not look like my mother, I sound like her too.  I also was a handful when I was young. I think my mother enjoyed my indiscretion more than I did, and still does.

I never thought I will ever quote my mother but I often do. At my age, I consider my mother a prophet and a sage.  That is in contrast, extreme contrast in all actuality, with my frame of mind before I had my own children. How edifying motherhood is!  To quote my mother: "You will not know how I feel until you have your own children."  She was right. I did not emphatize with her then because I did not know how a mother feels. I used to say something sassy or roll my eyes when my mother says something profound.  I wish I had a tape recorder then so I could replay them now because I am sure that I will be in awe about their prophetic wisdom.  Thank God to repetition, I commited some to memory. Now, my children are the beneficiaries of this inheritedwisdom.  Of course, right now they think it is just psycho-babble from an overprotective mother but soon they will find grains of truth in them. 

I desperately wanted to forget a lot of things I did when I was young. Though my mother has a list of them that she can produce at the speed of  light. I suspect that she is keeping this list to send to my children in case of her untimely demise from my smart mouth. I think she enjoyed my childhood troubles a little more than I want her to. This enjoyment causes her to recall my transgressions a bit too vivid and too often, much to my chagrin.



Sunday, November 21, 2004

It's easy to get mad with those you trust

This is an excerpt from the book,  The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares. (p.137). A teenager is talking to her mother.

"I am mad at Dad," Carmen announced, half into the quilt.

 "Of course you are." 

Carmen flipped onto her back. " Why is that so hard for me to say? I have no trouble being mad with you."

" I've noticed that."

Carmen's mom was silent for a while, but Carmen could tell she has something to say.

"Do you think it's easier to be mad at people you trust?" her mom asked very softly.

I trust Dad, Carmen was about to say without thinking. Then she tried thinking. "Why is that?"

"Because you trust that they'll love you anyway."


It is so easy to get angry with those you love and trust the most because in the end you know that they will not hold your anger against you. They will not carry a grudge and will forgive you no matter what. They love you unconditionally.  Likewise, it is easy for people who love and trust you to forgive your transgressions because they know you have good qualities which more than make up for your ocassional peevishness.  

As a mother of two teenagers, I learned that I am an easy target for my children's anger because they know I love them. They can be ugly with me and they can unload their angst on me because they know I will still be there when their explosion abates.  Once this realization hits me, I no longer took any of my children's anger personally. It took me a while to learn this lesson.  I still am not very adept at it. What I mean by that, is my response to their anger is still not on auto-pilot, I have to think and breathe deep, then think about the proper response.  I no longer get angry when they are angry because I know now that I do not have to personalize their anger.  They are venting their fear and anger on me because they know I will understand and I will not reject or abandon them for it.

Teenage years is often a very hard and confusing time for a lot of children.  They come face to face with challenging situations everyday. Some of these situations call  for hard decisions.  Some of them involve negative feelings such as rejection, discrimination, and jealousy.  This is the time when they begin realizing that life is not fair and some people are not fair.  It is also the time when children have to try things they never tried before and they have to make difficult choices. They feel embarrased about a lot of things. They feel guilty about their bad judgements. They are their own worst critics and some of their peers help in adding destructive criticisms to the mix.  On top of  these challenges and barrage of negative feelings, their desire to be independent make them shy away from seeking their parent's advices and opinions.  Teenagers often get angry at the most vulnerable times of their lives.  They want you to care. They want you to help them fix what is bothering them but they do not want to ask for your help because that will make them feel inadequate and immature.  

 My children are my teachers. They taught me a lot of things about myself and the lessons are ongoing.  Someday, if Iever become a wise old woman, I will owe a lot of my wisdom to my children. Motherhood is a life transforming event. I thank my children everyday for making me want to be a better person.  I am far from being enlightened or evolved. I am a continuous work in progress.

Friday, November 19, 2004


Things I am Thankful For

My Family

     I am thankful for a wonderful husband and my amazing children. I can't begin to enumerate the qualities I admire about my family. My husband is ever patient, forgiving, and loving. My children are my pride and joy. They make me happy and proud everyday.

My Friends 

     I do not have a lot by choice. My friends are the pick of the litter. They are awesome people. They are evolved. I like it that I can tell them anything and everything about me. I love them for their listening skills and big hearts. I am grateful to and for everyone of them. Though I need to work on getting in touch more often, I am glad they do not hold that flaw against me.

My Family's Health 

      I am thankful that at this time, none of the members of my family is ill. Everybody seems to be healthy and enjoying life. I pray that I will be able enjoy this blessing next year. I am thankful that my daughter is not bedridden from her ailment and seems to be functioning very well.

The Blessing of Abundance 

      I  am ever thankful for the blessings we recieved this year and for the past years. I am glad that my family do not have to suffer from the stresses of financial problems. We are lucky and blessed to be able to send our children to private schools, take vacations, eat out often, pay our bills, buy what we need, and have some money left over to get what we want. 

Ice Cream and Cheesecake 

     I am thankful for these comfort foods. Whoever invented these foods have my everlasting gratitude. My family have a tradition of going out for ice cream during the summer months.  Cheesecake is also a tradition in our family for the holidays. I love cheesecake. I never had a cheesecake I did not like.

Walk on the Beach and Sand on my Feet    

     Thank you for the beach and the sand. These things make me happy. I used to live in Hawaii and now I live in Florida. I love walking on the beach and feeling the sand on my feet. I used to get out of my work clothes and walk our dog at the beach behind our house in Kailua. Those were glorious days! 


Thursday, November 18, 2004

Humor: The Best Medicine

Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.
Erma Bombeck (1927 - 1996)

I love Erma Bombeck. I read all of the books she wrote. She made motherhood less stressful and funny. She is the queen of sarcasm. I like to laugh out loud. I like people who see the funny side of life. If you really think about it , most of the things that happen in your daily life are humorous. Why cry when you can laugh? Granted, there are some things that are not funny no matter how you look at them such as losing a loved one, most events are hilarious especially if you have an overactive imagination.

My husband was shy when I met him. He said I made him come out of his shell and helped him bring out  his silly self. He said I was a wiseass and it was catching. My children always thought I am the serious one and Dad is the funny one. It used to be the other way around. I would always crack jokes to make him smile because he used to be real quiet and sort of sad. (His parents got divorced and he was away from home).  Our courtship was based on humor. We always had a goodtime together because we can make each other laugh.  There were times when someone would say something and all we had to do was look at each other and we were rolling on the floor laughing the next minute. I guess I lost my sense of humor right after I had my daughter . I thought that being silly and witty was immature and I needed to start acting like an adult by being prim and proper because I have a child to raise. My husband used to say, "Where did you hide the funny woman I married?"  

The funny woman is back. I am my old self again. My daughter think I lost my mind because I used to get angry about things she says but now, I just laugh out loud. Am I doing it to annoy her? No, I genuinely see humorin our interactions. Thethings we used to fight about are so insignificant and mundane. Besides, when you have a choice between anger and laughter,  I think you are a fool if you choose the former.

I want to work on being a humorist. I want to follow Erma Bombeck's footstep and make light of things that are challenging, like raising teenagers. It seems like a lot of the books that are geared towards helping parents raise their children are written in the dry, ivory tower tone. Maybe I'll start by writing humorous short stories, essays, or poems. Writing a book right now is just way too ambitious for me as I am always wishing for more time in a day already.


Child Apppreciation

I wrote this poem a while back. I was feeling appreciative of my daughter because she got a full scholarship for college. I made a list of all the things she had done in the past that made me extremely proud of her. The list was quite long when I got done with it.

Raising teenagers can be difficult and challenging at times. Sometimes these difficulties and challenges can lead one to make mental notes of  their child's transgressions and focus on them solely. I was in that rut once and I still fall in it every so often. I am trying hard  to make strides toward appreciating my children everyday. They deserve it. They are great children and I am not just saying that because they are mine.   


Thank You

Have I thanked you lately

For coming to my life?

For providing me with good memories

And lots of things to be proud about?

Have I told you lately

That my love for you will never fade?

For it is  unconditional

And it will be there no matter what?

Thank you, my child

I will always love you 

And I will always care about you

Keeping Mum

Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.
George Washington (1732 - 1799)
Reveal not every secret you have to a friend, for how can you tell but that friend may hereafter become an enemy. And bring not all mischief you are able to upon an enemy, for he may one day become your friend.
Saadi (1184 - 1291)

I have been looking at quotes to affirm my beliefs lately. I think it is because there are so many lessons in life that I want to impart to my children and it seems like they are learning them from experience instead of from me.

I admire my daughter's honesty with her friends. At the same time, it breaks my heart when these very friends uses her honesty against her. I think she reveals too much of herself too soon. It is refreshing to meet someone like her. She is so much like her father. You know where you stand with them at any given period of time. No pretenses and false honesty. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and speak their minds without apology. My daughter is often direct and to the point that she comes out as a tactless person at times. Those who knows her well will gladly defend her and will tell off anybody who says she is without tact. I can't be prouder of her. A lot of her cohorts are not ready for someone like her. Some of them plunder her mind and twist her words. I have seen her reel in pain many times because she trusted her friends and bared her soul to them. I do not think that her blatant honesty is a flaw. As you can see by the quotations above, people like her had been around for ages and sages have warned them that being too honest can backfire. I think her honesty is a liability only because some of the people she trusted had betrayed her confidence. I think she is ahead of her time and will reap the the joys of having this virtue in the future. I used to be like her, I valued freedom of speech and been candid to people. After a few painful incidents I started being selective of those I will divulge my extreme opinions and the intimate details of my life. Sometimes I think of the change in me as loss of innocence but I also think I changed to minimize the traumas of dramas in my life. This suits me just fine but I want my daughter to retain her honesty because someday she will meet someone who is worthy of this amazing trait.      

Unlike my daughter, my son is sort of tight lipped. He seems to instinctively know how to look and listen first before he leaps. He also has a way of keeping people at bay by not divulging a lot of information about himself. I do not think it is a sign of maturity rather, it is an inborn characteristic. Where he got that gene, is a conundrum to me. I see that this approach to life has a lot of merit. He has a lot less stressful existence and seems to keep relationhips longer. Is this a male trait? I don't think it is because my husband is the most forthright person you will ever meet. I think my son is guarded in a positive way. I do not think he is heeding the philosophers of past either. I think some people are lucky to have that disposition. I envy my son's candidness when time seems to be appropriate and his silence when he feels that it is warranted.

Am I partial to any of my children? No, I love them both immensely. They are like night and day in temperament but that what make them more lovable. Their individuality. I love my daughter for her blatant honesty and I love my son for his cautiousness. 

Am I contradicting myself? Maybe, Iam. Isn't that what life is all about? Contradiction and  paradox? Isn't it wonderful that when you explore a topic that you think has only two sides, you realize that there are hundreds of school of thoughts related to that subject? (That is not sarcasm, it is downright enthusiasm!). Why is it when you pose a question, you get no answer but tons of other questions? Ah, the curse of the thinkers. That is why thinkers procrastinate a lot, they can't make up their mind on which school of thought they are going to expound on. Schizophrenics have more peace of mind than those who can't help but think! Or are some thinkers schizos? And the vicious cycle begins!!!!     

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Youthful Indiscretion?

You are young, my son, and, as the years go by, time will change and even reverse many of your present opinions. Refrain therefore awhile from setting yourself up as a judge of the highest matters.
Plato, Dialogues, Theatetus

I remember being young and knowing-it-all. I thought my convictions at the time were absolutes. I hated listening to the opinions, suggestions, advices and admonitions of my parents, teachers and anybody who is older or in a position of authority. I thought they were old fashioned and out of touch with the feelings of the youth of my time. I got easily offended by people implying that our generation was the worst ever to come out in centuries. Being a teenager in the late 70's and early 80's was not fun. It seemed like most adults thought we were drunken louts on pot and LSD, and into free love and promiscous sex.  I often got loud and obnoxious, often disrespectful, when I hear someone predicting that our generation will be the death of many lofty ideals.  I did not respect authority figures and I did not think that adults had any idea what our generation was all about. I thought that my cohorts were wonderful but misunderstood.

My friends and I listened to heavy metal rock which was believed to be the devil's music. The loud, clanging sound of  heavy metal rock only compounds the adults' abhorrence of the often suggestive and rebellious lyrics. We often talked about how the adults of our time do not know we also listen to classical, jazz, folk, rock n' roll, country, international, opera and big band music.   We laughed about how adults think we were bizarre and self-destructive but to the contrary, we were intelligent and reflective. 

As a mother of two teenagers with many teenage friends I can emphatize with how they feel about grown ups and authority  figures.  I think maturity and experience has changed the way I feel about older people.  I now respect thevery people I used to hate when I was younger. The "lectures" are no longer annoying but full of wisdom.  I realized that I was not a good listener and I was very sensitive when I was younger. I only heard what I want to hear and I took a lot of things negatively. I jumped to the conclusion that I was a part of a war--- the war between youth and adult. I now realize that there was no war, only miscommunication. The adults were trying hard to impart wisdom but the message was not received as intended  while the youths were trying hard to get respect resulting in sullen and often explosive assertions.  

My daughter's bestfriend visited a few weeks ago. He made me think about the miscommunication between adults and youths and how easy it was for me to forget my not so distant past.  It was a few days before the election but Florida residents had early voting priviledges. I asked my daughter's friend if he voted already and he answered in affirmative. Then I  jokingly said, " I will ask you who you voted for but I might have to choke you afterwards." I then proceeded to tell him about the joke my husband and I heard from the creators of the film, Team America.  The creators were asked about a certain dialogue in the film relating to why a movie character is implying that American youths should not vote.  They said that SOME American youths are immature and prone to making bad decisions so their votes are better not casted.  I knew I pushed his button when he started telling me in a passionate tone that most young people are better informed than adults and that Daily Show's, John Stewart is an astute political commentarist.  I realized I waged a war inadvertently a little too late. I felt really bad because I did not mean to offend him. I was merely telling him about something that made my husband and I laugh.  I know I inflamed him because he thought I was disrespecting him. I, not only, committed conversational suicide, but also, slayed a youth in the process that day. I realized I was on the same boat not long ago and I should have known better. 

I respect my children and their friends. I joke a lot about what they may perceiveas an adult negativity towards youth but I honestly love all of them. I know that my children and their friends are smart and responsible. I also know that someday, their children will go through the youth versus adult phase and hopefully they will be more tactful than I was and more gracious than I have ever been. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Going out of Town

I am really anxious today. I am doing my countdown to the day I'll be going to Virginia to train for my job. I'll be gone from my family for three long weeks. I'm already agonizing over the seperation. I'll miss my husband and my kids so much, it is going to be really hard on me the first few days that I am away. This is the first time I'll be away from them for an extended time. I can't even remember a time when I am away from them for more than my work hours.

My husband said, "Treat it like a vacation." Easy for him to say that because he is a road warrior now and had been in the military. He got used to being deployed for several months in the military and living on a suitcase/hopping on flights in his new job. This is totally new to me. I always stayed behind to raise my children, go to work, and take care of the household stuff.

I am worried about my children. I hate the idea of leaving them because their father won't be home either. Though my daughter is in college and is fully capable of looking after her teen brother, I have my trepidation.Will they eat right? Will my daughter pick her brother up from school on time? Will my son go to bed early and make it to school on time? Will my daughter take care of her brother's school uniform so he will not look like a hobo? Questions ad nauseam. I know, all these are trivial. I also know that the bottom line is: I dread losing control over my children's daily life. I do not like the thought of passing my responsibilities to my daughter. She has not done anything like this before. Two teenagers home alone!  A lot of negative thoughts swirling in my mind right now. Parties, cops, and evil stuff. But I guess I do not have much choice. I would hate to lose this job! Besides, I trust my daughter and my son is pretty independent. That does not make me less anxious, I am stressing like crazy right now..   

Motherhood is Confusing

 I wrote this 2 years ago or so when my daughter and I were in a power struggle. It was hard for me to realize that she wanted to spread her wings. I did not understand her  yearning for independence at such an early age. I was full of fear for her. I was not ready. I was afraid that I will lose her but now I know letting her make her own decisions does not mean letting go. It means respecting her wishes to grow.  



Confused Mother

I want to give you everything you want

But I can only meet your needs

I would like to let you go

But I can't seem to budge an inch

I would like you to learn from your mistakes

But I am always trying to protect you from making them 

Just like you, I am confused

The only thing that is clear to me

Is that I want you to be happy and safe


Monday, November 15, 2004

Pieces of April/ Letter to my Daughter

This is a letter I wrote to my daughter after we saw the movie, Pieces of April  together.   

 Just want to have your feedback about the movie. I like it because it depicts a realistic portrayal of real family dynamics. The mother-daughter trials and tribulations, sibling rivalry, racial issues, generation gap, and the works. I know you saw the movie differently. You might even saw it as a sort of my feeble attempt to dissuade you from being independent.  

Are you April? In some ways, yes.  In a lot of ways, no.

How are you like April? Like her, you have the outward signs of youthful rebellion: piercing, dyed red hair, punk inspired attire, and devil-may-care bravado. You have her open-mindedness as far as respecting people for what they are and who they are.  You eschew the societal hate of people that are different.  You are also full of angst about your relationship with me. And the similarity ends there. 

 What makes you different from April? First, I think you are smarter and stronger than she is and has the determination to succeed in life. I think you are reflective enough to redirect your life when situations proves to be unhealthy for you. You keep your jobs and seems to be serious about pursuing a college degree. You do not to rely on someone to make things happen. You are capable of supporting yourself instead of sucking the life out of someone to augment yours.  I think that is the reason why you attract weak people. Opposites attract. Because they want to be strong as you are or they can feed off you until they find the next strong person they can latch on to. Second, you gave me and still giving me a lot of good memories. The bad ones are very few. I shuck those to youthful indiscretion and experiences you need for your personal growth. You are a person who have to live it to know it.  I realized that my ranting do not hit home until you go out there and experience it. I will never hate you or hold ill feelings towards you. I merely bring out history for present and future perspective.  Lastly, you are not a failure nor a disappointment to me. After all, I named you Jessica, " rich and successful," because I know you will live up to it. You are a young person who is trying to figure out who you are by gatheringpieces of thepuzzle that one day will be "YOU."  I visualize you as a very successful, traditional, and old fashioned adult.  Is that bad? No, it isn't. Someday, you will clarify your values and most possibly go back to those that are familiar and comforting.  I see you going back to church and doing it cafeteria style: picking what you like about it and ignoring the ones that gives you cognitive dissonance. By that time you will know that you can personalize your religion and you do not have to subscribe to every doctrines and dogma. I see you leading a happy and productive life with means to afford the life you want live.

 I love you and I always will.


Bad Habits Can Be Good

How people keep correcting us when we are young! There is always some bad habit or other they tell us we ought to get over. Yet most bad habits are tools to help us through life.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900)

How true! As a mother, I find myself correcting my children's behavior most of the time. I do not want them to form bad habits but the usefulness of some can not be denied. Case in point is my daughter has a bad habit of mouthing off. This very same bad habit causes me admire her- her candidness and I-am-not taking crap-from-anybody stance makes me guilty and proud at the same time. Why? Because I know she has a backbone for one. Another is, I somehow know she will grow up to be an assertive young woman and will not need a knight in a shining armor to protect her. She is capable of taking care of  her own needs and will not be parasite to anyone. Like most mothers, I want my daughter to be independent, someone who is self-sufficient and proud of it.