Friends taking a look at the blog!


Coming Out. No, it's not what you think.

First and foremost, no - I am not gay (to quote the Seinfeld episode "not that it's a bad thing!")  I am coming out to say that it is one year ago, today May 6, that my divorce was finalized. Now I know most of you would say, "Why say anything at all?" Well, the purpose behind this blog is not to give the details of my divorce but rather to offer up hope to those who possibly have gone through this or are going through it now.


This picture was taken one year ago today. I had put on a brave front and off I went to the court house with a dear friend to hold my hand. I originally thought I would go by myself but was relieved to have someone just be there for me.  After the proceedings were over (quite quickly I might add) I truly believed I would have looked different or would have been a mess. Neither came true. But what I kept to myself was that I felt alone and scared. Not a great feeling when you are trying to help others be strong and fearless.

To quote Reverend Clara Moore Woodson (grandmother of Chazz Woodson:)

"My prayer for you is that you have enough disappointment to build you up. But not enough to tear you down." 

When I read this, my first thought would be, "Why would anyone want to pray for disappointments? Who would want to feel pain and despair?" But now, one year later - I get it. I had a wonderful friend who said it was going to be one year later that I would start to feel better, that every day would be a step closer to healing. I can tell you now, I wanted to punch her lights out. Beat her to a pulp. Hello? A year? Yep - it really was  a year. A year of firsts. Like when you lose someone close to you and the first holiday comes up without them. It is always the day before that seems worse as you begin to think, "What am I going to do without that loved one here to celebrate the holidays?" It is the same feeling. 

But it does come with a price. I will not mention any one's name but I have had quite a few comments and advice that I wish were not given. Please understand, I truly believe NO ONE wants to go through divorce. Please do not say "I could NEVER, EVER  go through a divorce after sooooo many years of being married!" "Why, what happened?" "Was he cheating?" "I thought you two were the perfect couple!!" "Is that why you lost the weight?"  I can tell you very plainly, and to the point, either you grow old together or you don't. That's it. I am truly blessed to have  wonderful, supportive, non-judgemental friends and family that have been there for me to either listen to me go on and on or let me just be with them. Instead of grilling the person going through this - how 'bout just asking them, "Are you ok" or "Do you need anything?" Anything meaning a hug, coffee or even better, a mango martini.

Ok - off my soap box. This blog was to meant to be a ray of hope to anyone going through this. I sometimes (ok, often) will smile to myself to where I was a year ago and where I am today. I made me a priority. That's right, me. That is one thing I wish I did a long time ago. Not to be mistaken for neglecting my family, I believe I did not do that, but I made time for me. Doing that now, it has been life changing.

This picture below was taken last night at my daughter's Senior Salute from high school. Funny that I had the same shirt on last year. My heart was so filled with joy, pride and hope for not only myself but for her and for all my kids. (They will always be kids to me!) I am beyond blessed to have their love and support and no one makes me laugh more than all of them. Wonder where they get their sense of humor?? Hhmmmm....

Ton o'blessings until next time.


Journey. Not the band.

What started out as an innocent picture began my journey.

My friend Marilyn came down to South Florida and wanted to meet me.  She is one of my wonderful friends that I have been blessed to “meet” on Twitter.  I actually thought I looked good and didn’t hesitate going down to meet her for a drink.  The shirt I am wearing was so tight that it was cutting off the circulation in my arms. The Capri pants I am wearing was the stretchy kind of “jeans”  (like in Nacho Libre.)   It was hot out that day (or it could be the 54 additional pounds I was carrying) but all in all, I thought I didn't look half bad.  Then came this picture. Marilyn showed me on her phone after it was taken and I went into serious denial. "Oh, it can’t be that bad, it must be the shadows, I’m turning a little - isn't that supposed to make me look thinner?" And then she tweeted it to the Twitter world.  Please don’t get me wrong. I am in no way angry at her as I thought it was a “lovely” picture until I got home and went on twitter and saw the “actual size.”   Oh......... my........ gosh……………

I think the first thing I did was cry. Everything I tried to justify went out the window.  I knew I had “hit bottom.”  The next day, I bought a pair of running shoes. Whatta  joke.  Me running? The only running I did was to the bathroom during commercial breaks while watching football on my couch.  But off I went, around the block. Praying to the baby Jesus that if He was going to take me, He’d better do it now. My ankles, knees, feet, arms, shoulders, ear lobes were hurting. I thought - fughetaboutit - I ain’t doing this anymore. Hurts too much. Then I looked at this picture again. So the next day - went a little bit farther. I pretty much was shuffling at that point. Not pretty. No really - not pretty.  My biggest problem was that I was making deals with myself like - if I “run” I’ll be able to eat that (whole) pizza because I exercised that day. Stuff like that. Let’s see, did that work? Um……

Then came my friend Jo who doesn't have a mean bone in her body says as sweetly as possible - “um…. you want to try Weight Watchers with me - you know, not that you need it or anything (obviously she had her big ole blinders on) and we can do this together!” She was so excited to do it - how the heck was I going to say no.  I, of course, thought she didn't have to lose anything but she wasn't comfortable in her skin and I sure as hell wasn't in mine. So I agreed.

Geez - looking back on this picture - again - I didn't think I looked so bad. (Nice 3 chins I have…..)

We walked into the building and waited on line to get weighed in. Now for all you doubters - it really is a covered area where NO ONE but you and the WW leader can see your weight.  Now, I had “weighed” myself on my wonderful scale at home. No big deal - it can’t be that bad…..  So this woman asks me (with a smile) to get on the scale. I put my right foot on and you’d think I put my foot on hot coals as I took it off just as quick.  I looked at her and asked - “can’t I just tell you what my scale said at home?” She said ……."no."  Ok - here we go. As the numbers were sky rocketing upwards - my head started to spin. I’m an honest person but even to this day - I can’t tell you that number. It made me instantly start to cry. This woman didn't hesitate to say - “don’t cry - that’s why you’re here!” Of course I said “yeah, yeah yeah.”  I sat down next to Jo and we looked shell shocked. Jo looked like she felt so bad inviting me but quickly said (and to this day - I have never appreciated those words more) “look at that number - you’ll never be that again.”  As I type this - tears are in my eyes, as truer words never spoken.

As time went on - so did the weight loss. I got what it meant to portion my meals. What was WORTH eating and how great the (non-food) rewards were, such as smaller size pants!  I did a 5k race (not that I knew I was going to really “run” it) and lived to tell about it. Then came another 5k race with Jo!!

Don’t get me wrong - this 5k race was probably only half way to my goal.  That was the other important lesson I gave myself - why wait to do things if you can try NOW!   At this point my self confidence was shinning more and more. Then came my trip New York where I had a few things on my bucket list and was so blessed to have them come to fruition like walking over the Brooklyn Bridge.

This picture was taken by JD and it so captures my utter joy of completing yet another bucket list item.

In March of this year was the Mud Run that I signed up for in August of last year thinking - I have time to get out of it……..   Not only did I do it - but I finished it. Oh my gosh - whatta feeling. (and yes - it was like “dancing on the ceiling!”) 

Only race I ever did that offered beer instead of water at the finish line!! Oh that tasted so good.

I was doing well with watching what I was eating and exercising but…..wasn’t losing anymore weight. Then at 2 o’clock in the morning - was an infomercial for Zumba.  I found a class near my house that you paid per class. So I dragged my Maria (because I wasn’t going to do this by myself) to a class on a Friday night. This is after the first class we took.

No words necessary.  What I can say - I was hooked but not Maria so much…. I began going because it was actually fun. My Latin roots came out and it was more like dancing than exercising!  I did what I could and faked the rest. Oh who cares. I was there and sweating my arse off.  Then the weight began coming off. Slowly but it was coming off.  I then decided to join a gym where there were other classes to take and low and behold, I hit my goal weight. Down 54 pounds to date.

Today I went to Weight Watcher’s and was brought up to the front of the room and couldn’t even speak. Tears rolled down my face as people who I didn’t know and people that have been supporting me for over a year were clapping and crying with joy with me.   I know I did it for myself regardless of what life threw at me. I also accepted support and love from people that genuinely wanted to see me succeed.  I know this is only the beginning to sustain this weight but, I am confident with the help of others and God - I can do it. My undying thanks to:

my “crew!” - Matt, me, Frank (WW Leader) and Jo.  Can’t wait to celebrate when they hit goal next!!  

It began with a picture and ended with a picture.  Ton o' blessings until next time.


Thank you.

Thank you. Two words that are often taken for granted. Why? Why is it so hard to say thank you for something someone did for you. I was once told that I shouldn't do things just to get a thank you, that it was expected of me to do certain things. I never forgot that and trust me, neither did the person who told me ever forget the words I said back to them.  In short, I said that you should always say thank you. That appreciation goes very far, and not to take things for granted that they will be done automatically. My lovely daughter Maria often reminds me to do things with a glee heart. Not to do things for affirmation.  I do things from my heart - all the time.  I just want to take the time to say thank you to some of the people that have believed in me and have always shown me that they've cared.  I do truly know that there are so many that today I might not write about, but that certainly doesn't mean that they aren't in my heart.

To Lorraine and Kenn - people I have never met. Thank you. You are the light in my life that starts my day. You set the day for me to be positive. Your kind words and support over the past year has been life saving. For never “meeting” me in person and to have the relationship we have is priceless to me. You have become family to me that I will always treasure. Thank you for never judging me and for always taking the time to listen (excessively at times) to my belly achin’. You will always be in my heart. I love you both.

To Jason and JD - people that opened up their heart and home to me. Thank you. Your generosity during my visit to New York will forever live in my heart. Thank you for letting me cross off many things on my “bucket list” that included the Brooklyn Bridge and taking the subway BY MYSELF! That trip will forever live in my heart as the massive conversations we had and all the picture taking made me feel extremely special. To witness such love between two people and to allow me into your lives - I will forever be grateful. You both are such talented people that I am proud to call my family. I love you both so much.

To Jo and Liz - women that long time ago went from friends to sisters to me. How do I express just how much I love you both. You never gave up on me and have always been there for me in great times and not so great times. I loved when I moved to Florida, that the very first closest friends that I made, were ex-New Yorkers. I guess we really do stick together. Your friendship has meant the world to me and I will forever be grateful that you allowed me into your hearts and into your lives. The fantastic trips and memories will forever be etched in my heart. I am so blessed to have you both.

To Alicia - my long ago friend who God has placed you back in my life. I know you and I both agree there are no such things as coincidences. Our friendship today is brought forth by God Himself as a comfort to me and I hope to you. I have relied on you these past months like I have not relied on anyone so much. Thank you for always finding the right words to say. Your friendship has been that warm fleece blanket on a cold night. I know you are sick of me thanking you for all that you've done and sorry sister - I'm not stopping. I treasure what we have and look forward to what our future brings. Thank you  again. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself... )

To Dre, Pete and Kurt - my “sons” from FAU. I love you all so much as if I gave birth to you myself. I love that my home is your home.  I love that you call me mom and mean it. Thank you. I will forever be there for you and thank you for being apart of Matty’s life and mine.

To Ingrid - my lacrosse goalie mom who I am so happy to call my friend. I love that our sons Patrick and Christopher played lacrosse together, which feels like a hundred years ago, and that we have kept our friendship going. Thank you for always thinking of me and sending me private messages on Facebook to see how I am doing. Even though we don’t see each other as much as I would like- I know you have a special place in my heart. Thank you for the prayers of support as I have felt every one.

To Adam - Thank you for allowing me into your Fantasy Football world. It is such an honor and pleasure to tweet you and Google chat with you on such important issues as if to keep Cam Newton on my bench. In all seriousness - someone to take the time to answer my questions and concerns and to be a friend to me, I will forever be grateful. I know you don’t see yourself as a huge superstar of the NFL network channel, but I do. Your humor and insight are invaluable. Thank you for always going the extra mile to make me smile and yes, I do know you always tweet me back. Thank you my friend.

To my family (as I don’t want to write all the names down in fear of forgetting someone and getting that back lash -  you know who you are.) Thank you. God has made us family through DNA (and also including your spouses) for the love I have for you all is beyond that. Thank you for always checking up on me and loving me unconditionally. I am thankful for Facebook for allowing us to “see” each other when we can’t see each other in person. I love seeing all the pictures of the good times we've had and treasure that I can see them whenever I want. Your love and prayers mean the world to me.

Last and certainly not least to Maria, Matty and Patrick. Thank you to our Lord for blessing me and giving me the honor to be your mother. You have given me the will to become the person I am today. Thank you Matty and Patrick for being the sons that I am beyond proud of. Thank you for loving me and always allowing me to be mushy with you. Thank you for always saying  “love you Mommy” in front of your friends. You will never know how much that means to me. Most young men would never do that. And to my Maria, thank you for being my best friend and soul mate. I know you've always believed I wanted that third boy (Joseph Anthony) but you're wrong. I now know why God blessed me with having a girl. I treasure our relationship as Mother/daughter but treasure our friendship even more. I love your honesty (well most of the time….) and that you’ll hold my hand where ever we go. Thank you my baby girl for loving me and believing in me. You hold a special place in my heart and please never forget that. And yes, I will wear the “Affirmation Queen” crown proudly. 

Thank you all for allowing me this time to thank the special people in my life. As I start a new chapter in my life, I will always make it a point of saying "thank you" to those who are with me every step of the way. Don’t waste another day, thank someone today. Even the AAA mechanic I hugged for coming out and replacing my battery and getting me on my way.  I want to leave you with this YouTube video. Play it whenever you need it. Trust me - I have this on my desktop just for those special occausions. Until next time, ton o’ blessings to ya.


A “Mother’s instinct?” Well, it could have been…

        As a new school year is under way, I am reminded when Patrick (my oldest) went away to college. As a parent,  you do the best you can to prepare them to be on their own and to have them make the best decisions. Well, that is what I believed we did before he left for school. 

        I am truly thankful for social media such as Facebook to keep in touch with him as well as calling his cell (a bit too often for him) to see how he is doing. As a mother, you know your child when you are on the phone and something doesn’t sound right. I remember one such phone call that I felt something was wrong or that Patrick was not telling me something. I asked if he had something he needed to tell me but he said everything was ok. I then dropped it as you can only ask so many times.

        I was in the den on the family computer when I noticed that it was running very slow. Knowing about computers, I decided to “clean up” storage space by deleting old videos, songs and pictures that I knew the kids didn’t want. As I opened the picture file, I viewed them as small thumb nail files. I started to go down the page deleting photos, when my heart stopped and I couldn’t catch my breath. There in front of me was a picture of “someone” in a mirror with just his mid section showing with a tattoo on the side of his hip. Now it didn’t take long to figure out, it was Patrick.

       The tattoo was of a bird with many colors. I just started to cry. How could he do this! Doesn’t he know you can’t “erase” a tattoo? Why didn’t he tell us? My first reaction was to call him immediately and scream at him, but thought I better not.

       It was only a week later that Patrick had come home from school for a visit before Christmas break. As he walked in the door, I wanted to pull his shirt up and go “what‘s that?!” But I didn’t. As we were settling in after dinner, I asked to see Patrick in his room and closed the door. His face said it all. He knew, I knew something was up.  I had asked him if he had something to tell me. He thought about it and said, “…….no.” I asked again but said, “maybe you have something to show me?” Well, he turned white and said, “…..what? No.” I told him that it was my “motherly instinct” that he was hiding something from me. That God gives us mother’s instincts to go on and that I surely knew, there was something he had to tell me. 

        At that point, he lifted up his shirt and there it was. 

                      I just shook my head and told him we have to tell Daddy but it was going to be ok. I asked “why didn’t you tell me?” He replied “I knew you would have had a fit.”  I, of course, kept to myself how I really found out as I do believe that it was a mother’s instinct from God to find that picture on the computer that day. Reactions were mixed and everything seemed to settle down.

        A couple of days later while at Barnes and Noble, Maria was singing Christmas songs with her school choir. I had walked away during a break to go look at magazines. What made me look at tattoo magazines can only be described as God whispering in my ear. I picked up one that can only be described as “what horrible, horrific, scary tattoo” can you get on your body. As I looked at these tattoos, I thought, “oh my gosh, they are stuck with these for the rest of their lives!” No tattoo removal would work for some of these large scary tattoos. All of a sudden, I started to cry thinking Patrick could have had one of those. Stuck with something like that or something like this:


        Now, no disrespect to the tattoo artist, as this is very detailed but ….. would you want your son to have this on him for the rest of his life? Well, I walked out of the building and called Patrick immediately. He was probably in class, and it went to voicemail. I was sobbing saying ”I’m not happy about the tattoo but I'm happy that it’s a bird - it’s the “Holy Spirit” bird - right?” “I mean, you had happy thoughts when you got it - right?” “At least you didn’t get a ’dead baby head’ or devil tattoo - right?” As I was sniffling along and making no sense what-so-ever, I thought it best to  hang up.  I forgot that I put my phone on silent and missed Patrick‘s call back. There was a message from him.  As I listened to the message he opened up with, “Mommy - it’s 1 o’clock in the afternoon and are you drunk.” “What is wrong with you?” “Ok - fine, it’s the ’Holy Spirit’ bird if you want it to be, talk to you later, love you.”  

        I was looking around to see if “Candid Camera” was on me. I felt so stupid. Why did I react that way. He was eighteen at the time, had his own money and made the decision himself. He  was brought up to respect people and love his family which he did both very well. I called him back and he answered the phone. I told him I was not drunk and told him what I saw. That he could have really gotten worse things and that as I was not thrilled with his decision but it was something I could accept. 

        Now we laugh about it as I still tell him, don’t keep anything from me as my “motherly instincts” can come out at anytime and I will find out.

P.S. - don’t tell him, I think it’s kinda cute as a matter of fact.  Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time.


Marco Island - the perfect vacation? Almost.

     Every year since 2004, I have visited Marco Island Beach, Florida around the end of July or early August. What started out as the annual Century 21 Convention that was always held at the Marriott, turned into the annual “girls trip to Marco!” Only a couple of times did we bring our families to the convention in those early years as the Real Estate market was booming and so was the money. Don’t get me wrong, those trips were great, but, as the market tanked, so did the convention.

     There were four of us that would go no matter what. We knew that money was tight and we had to make this trip as cost efficient as possible to tell the husbands that it was still worth it for us to go. Not that they would complain but, still it was a nice time to get away from it all. All the crap about work, contracts, buyers, sellers, deals falling through, short sales, etc! I know I have friends that do not believe in going on “vacations” without their spouses, but to that I say, rubbish. Now, now, I believe in the sanctity of marriage but sometimes, you just need your girlfriends.

     One of the “girls” could not go because of other trips that were planned at that time, and we had to “fill” that spot. Need-to-say it was filled quickly. We knew that we would keep to our “well oiled machine” vacation and whoever came would fit right in. 

     Around a month or so before we were scheduled for our trip, we start the “count down.” We either would text message each other how many days till Marco or leave voicemail messages. And why does it always seem that right before it's time for vacation, stuff happens. This year was no excuse.

     Helen, one of the original four, calls Maureen (original four) the Sunday before we are scheduled to leave in the morning (as in 7am.) She says that she is going to the emergency room because she has this lump on her throat and is not feeling well. In the past, my dear friend Maureen would call me usually while I am driving over “Alligator Alley” (75 North,) to tell me that she forgot something and has to go back home, or that Helen didn’t wake up in time so they are going to be late coming over to meet us at the local Naples Walmart. Of course it's  a big fat lie just to get me upset, and I am embarrassed to say, she gets me every year.

     I am at church, thanking God in advance of the great trip I am about to take with my three other friends when I get back into my car to see that I have a voicemail from Maureen. She opens with “this is not a joke, repeat- this is not a joke.” My heart skips a beat and I proceed to listen to the rest of the message that Helen is indeed at the hospital and I should quickly go meet her there.

     God bless emergency rooms. Unless you are dying on their floor, you ain’t gonna be seen right away. This was no different. On the positive side, at least Helen was ok enough to wait. And wait we did. Three hours later and my arse hurting from the “little kids” chair that Maureen made me sit on, Helen gets into where the doctor will see her. We are like little kids misbehaving. Who’s going through the drawers, who’s checking out the cute EMT’s coming in, etc. Of course, we stand in faith that Helen is ok and that she’ll be in the car in the morning bright and early. Um……no.

     Maureen text messages me at 6:45am that Helen is not coming and that she is still pretty sick. The medicine that they gave her made her nauseous and she just did not want to make the trip. I was devastated. Now we are down to three.

     Now Margaret came on time at eight in the morning to pick me up and I was determined that we are still going to have a great time. I felt bad that Maureen drove over by herself but knew I would be driving home with her on the way back. (Margaret had to leave a day early.)

With a quick prayer of thanks and protection we get over to the west coast of Florida in no time. We buy our food and drinks for the week and off to the hotel we went.

                 No, we did not open them up until we were parked at the hotel and had our arses on the beach. I did though, pack a mean cooler that day. The weather was great as it always is on Marco Island. The sunsets are beautiful as this was taken from our balcony.

                 Even though we are “away” from  family and work, that still doesn't stop us from working. Emails, contracts still need to be dealt with and this was no exception. The hotel had a business center where we would go every day to finish work and quickly go back out to the beach. 

I love those times that it’s late, I mean really late and you have those “talks.” I had that special time on the rocking chairs on the deck at 1 a.m. (well, I think it was 1 a.m.!) with Maureen. It’s really those times that you appreciate your friendship. Doesn’t matter what you look like or how you sound, a friend will just listen. For that, I am so appreciative for that time with Maureen. And please, do not call her “Mo!” She hates it and I wouldn’t dare dream of doing it. I hope I listened as well as she did. 

When you are “our age,” (doesn’t that sound horrible,) it is so much fun to just sit on the beach and people watch. That is what we did for five days. The weather was great, we had our food and coolers always packed and like usual, was the down time that we all needed. I would never want to take that time for granted. You come back ready and relaxed to take care of your family. 

On our one night out - it is a ritual that we order “mango martini’s.” It’s not a trip to Marco without them. 

               Loved the picture so much, it has been my new profile picture on Facebook, new background picture on my blog and last but not least, my Twitter avatar. This is what it’s all about. Smiling and laughing and just being with friends. Don’t we all deserve that? Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time! 


Living vicariously through my children’s vacations? Not a bad thing!

              Let me start off with the fact that I did not grow up poor.  I am the youngest of three siblings that lived with a single Mom. I didn't have my Dad in the picture till much later in life. With that said, growing up I was in awe of friends who would say that they go away every summer or go on these vacations around the country. Now my mother did the best she could and looking back the only “vacation” I remember, was going to my Aunt Na’s  house who lived on a golf course. I would go and my cousin and I would chase down golf balls and throw them farther or hide them! She had the best house. One of those houses with what seemed like a million floors (I think four floors in all.) Never did my family go on those long drive vacations to the shore, or “Hershey Park” or anything like that. We had growing up “Playland” in Rye, New York that constituted my big vacations. Going to an old amusement park. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t know any better but always in the back of my mind, I knew if and when I had children, I would want them to experience vacations in a much bigger and better way. And I did.

      When we moved to Missouri, little did we know that Missouri had a ton of attractions, museums and a great Zoo - which of course, was free. My oldest son Patrick had to have made a record for the youngest guest to go through the Budweiser tour before the age of three! Now, now - we always brought friends visiting to the tour and had Patrick in tow. We would drive back to New York when the kids were little,  stay and visit with family and stay in hotels . Our favorite time as a family would be our trips into New York City. 

This was taken on the top of the Empire States Building and was the spot that Billy asked (told me) I was going to be his girlfriend some twenty four years ago!

      We drove down to Florida to visit with friends and go on their boat and clam dig. The kids loved staying in hotels and running around and all those dinners out.  When we moved to Florida, we made the big trip to Disney. That was always a dream of mine as a child, as it was new back then and looked magical. I knew I wanted the kids to experience that.

That smile says it all. In fact that smile never left her face. Not sure if the boys had the same great time as Maria and I did!  I remember walking down the street in Magic Kingdom and I started to cry. I didn’t want the kids to see me cry but got so overwhelmed with the feeling that God had blessed us to be able to give to our kids what I didn’t have. I sat in that moment and could still “go back” to that moment even now.

    Then came the skiing trips. We had the opportunity to go with Liz and her family skiing. Those trips were a blast. Living in Florida, you never get that experience of snow and cold weather let alone being able to ski! The kids loved it and even today, we are trying to plan another ski trip this winter because it really has been too long!

The boys took to snowboarding as Maria was skiing down “Black Diamond” runs before the age of ten!  I remember we went tubing and as I was being pulled up the hill, again the tears came. Thankfully, no one saw but I can remember clear as day, the crisp snow flakes hitting my face and the sky filled with stars and having that quiet moment with God, thanking HIM yet again for HIS blessings. 

    What I am trying to say in this blog, is that I’m not boo hooing about not having the kind of trips my children have had.  I am so grateful and appreciative  to have given them these great trips that I did not experience as a child. I am blessed that my children get it. Get the fact that these are blessings (that and I have a tendency to remind them “how many trips did Mommy go on as a kid? - none - that’s right!) They, too, are blessed with wonderful friends who have brought them away on their vacations on yachts, beach houses, deep sea fishing trips, etc.. The great thing about those trips, they appreciate it even more and enjoy telling you all about it when they come home.

       You make the trip what it is. Even trips to our local beach, we make it fun. We even stood over night in a hotel on the beach that was twenty minutes from our house, just because! I hope one day my children will do what we have taught them to do when they have children of their own, appreciate God’s gifts no matter how big or how small. I hope you take some time out today to remember your childhood vacations and remind your children how blessed they are to have their vacations as well!  

     Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time! Now pass me the sunscreen - I’m off to Marco Island. 

Marco Island 2010 with the girls. Annual trip that will take place next Monday! Stay tuned…….


Divorcing my BFF - Liz? Not gonna happen.

    I recently read a blog that went over a check list of what someone might look for in a best friend. It really intrigued me. I never thought of a check list for a best friend. Looking over the list, I quickly checked off  yes to all 10 attributes in reference to my friend Liz. Things on that list included; honesty (does these jeans make my butt look big - um…yes,) ability to laugh (apple martinis help,) comforts in time of need (see apple martinis,) agrees to disagree (Republican vs. Democrat,) to name a few. I wanted to give something to her to let her know she means the world to me now and forever.

        This is my letter to Liz.

Dearest Liz,

                 I can not believe it is almost eleven years that we met at Maria’s house for the MOM’s meeting. It seems like yesterday. I knew I liked you the instant we met. Loved that you were an ex-New Yorker. Weren’t we all? Was so excited to get to know you and off you went during that summer to New York and I wouldn’t see you until school started. Ugh. I was teaching Religious education (CCD) at church with someone that I really didn’t like and knew I didn’t want to teach with her again.  I was walking into the parish school and you were walking out, when we bumped into each other and started chatting (the start of many, many chats to come,) when you suggested that we teach together. You said you like to do arts and crafts (which you know I hate!) and I would do more of teaching scripture. Frick and Frack as we were known, was born.

       Matty and Katie’s 1st communion picture in 2001. They look like a little bride and groom!

         How we talked everyday. Special friendships are a rarity, but I knew this was the start of one for sure. 

         Then came 9/11. Even though we were only friends a short amount of time, it was strange (not a coincidence) that we called each other 4 days after the attack and said, almost at the same time, we have to go to New York and do something, anything. 

       Everything about putting that trip together went perfectly. We were set to go November 1st. We had the parish school make rosaries for which we would drop off at Ground Zero for whom ever wanted them. It was great to have “our kids” make a poster for the fireman to let them know we care and that we will pray for them as well.  I was deathly frightened to fly considering what had happened on 9/11. But not you - you were as cool as they get. Then we get the front row of the plane with the bad breath dentist guy who kept saying “if this was your last five minutes on earth until you died - who would you call first?” Are you freakin’ kiddin’ me??  I wanted to throw the guy out the emergency door! Then you said you had to go potty. Oh no you are not leaving me, and to make matters worse - I look behind us to think two guys in the back, look like “terrorists.” Yes, it was stupid, but my head was spinning from being on the plane and flying! You said if you didn’t come back in five minutes, to take the 50 rosaries and go choke them! Nice…….

            We get to New York and God so had His hand on this trip. How was I to know that when we visited my mom, and took a picture, it would be the last time I saw her alive. And you were there. We laughed and of course, she made us something to eat. I will always treasure that moment that you were with me and my mom.

         We get to the city and again, God lead us to Ladder 6 where they greeted us so warmly. They embraced our gift and even let us stay to  help them cook dinner!

            We were truly blessed to have had that time with all of them. Then came time to donate the rosaries. We walked and walked and couldn’t find the main area to donate them when we stumbled upon a side entrance for a church and ended up at the rectory. We were greeted by this priest who said, "are these the rosaries that we were waiting for?" We had no idea what he was talking about and said, um…yes?  He said he was so happy to have them and that he would make sure that they were distributed amongst the workers and that HE felt blessed that we gave them to him. You can’t make this stuff up.

             Then came the trips together. The family skiing trips to Snowshoe and our trips to Marco Island. Boy could we drink, I mean talk and talk until the sun came up. Did we ever have not have something to say?

           Then like all true friendships, ours was tested. What seemed like forever, we didn’t talk as much and too much time went by. Again, it seemed like we both at the same time knew it was time to talk it out. If we wanted this friendship it was time we made it work. And we did. So yeah, we’re back to where we were with talking every day and going to the beach and those coffee breaks at Starbucks. Then you meet me for lunch and with this grin, tell me you’re moving out of state. What? You can’t leave me. But, I knew what you were going through and what you needed most was a friend. Someone who understood the pressures of moving your family from one state to another!

          Well, that Saturday came and Billy and I went over to your house to “help pack” but in reality, it was to say good bye. Billy was great to give us some space after he bent down to hug you and then it was my turn. My eyes still tear up thinking about how I just didn’t want to let you go. Why does it make it easier to just say, “call me later - ok?”  

             Thank you again for allowing me to officiate your wedding renewal vows ceremony. What an honor and pleasure it was. It also was a great party to remember and a send off that no one will soon forget.

                            Now, my Maria tells me, “with Liz gone, I know someone you could be best friends with!” I was a bit confused and thought, she just wants me to have our friendship here and now in Florida, but what she doesn't understand is that you are and always will be my best friend whether you're here or not.  I miss and love you my friend and you know - I'll call you later.

All my love,


Casey Anthony verdict - how could something positive come out of this?

       It's four hours and twenty minutes since the world heard the words "not guilty" addressed to Casey Anthony. Not that I'm counting but......

        I thought it was ironic as I sat with my computer on, with the tabs of Facebook and Twitter up and both time lines were busy with status' and tweets of people generally just wanting justice for Caylee Marie Anthony. As the time got nearer to the reading of the verdict, my Twitter page crashes and my Facebook freezes. Seriously? I have been watching, reading, tweeting with other trial watchers with all different opinions and this is the moment we all have been waiting for! I was truly blessed to have met some wonderful people during these past few weeks that have had similar views to my own. Don't get me wrong, there were other people that had different opinions but again, we all got along.  I was able to send a text message to my friend who said she would text me when the verdict was going to be read!

          As God is so good, my Twitter page and Facebook page refreshed and the world was right again. The feeling before the verdict was read was like being at the dinner table with your friends and who is talking over who.  At one point, we all just stopped and prayed for justice. OK some were praying for other things ........(like the electric chair for Casey,) but all in all it was a moment I won't forget.  This was so similar to "where were you when the OJ Simpson verdict was read." I was working at a YMCA in Missouri and was just about to go into a class, towel wrapped around me while looking up at the screen in the girls locker room. Was so shocked by that verdict that I could not teach. Nor did my class want to participate so we just water walked for an hour and tried to reason that verdict. That never happened. Still to this day - I do not understand. 

               I still feel and will always feel, aren't we blessed to live in a country that allows us to agree to disagree.  Right now, I know people are gathering to pray for Caylee, Cindy, George, Lee Anthony and even Casey Anthony. We are not here to judge but if you were on Twitter or Facebook lately - we certainly can voice our opinions. My son Matthew has had a hard time with me regarding my personal time/feelings about this case. I'll go as far to say, he just didn't get why I was "obsessed" with the trial. Obsessed? Nah. Just a mom who couldn't fathom having a two and half year old girl one day and gone the next and possibly having something to do with it?  I am thankful for my Twitter family and my Facebook family that continue to respond to my status' or tweets regarding this trial. So happy to have made such wonderful new friends and how much fun it was to "introduce" old friends to my new friends.  I want to clarify a point that upset me a few weeks back. Some one on Twitter made a comment, how could we laugh or make fun or admire (#YummyYuri) when the trial was all about the death of a two and half year old girl. To that I would say, we never forgot that point, nor will we ever forget that point but you have to find that down time to keep sane. There was never a point of disrespect towards Caylee, to the contrary - I saw more love, prayers and even peace come from a child we never knew.  

                   Tonight I will do what I have been doing for weeks. I will pray for Caylee to rest in peace, pray for Casey and her family who have the toughest road ahead of them and pray in thanksgiving for the family I have here in my home and my computer.

                The bottom line, this was about a beautiful little girl who we never knew but has touched our lives in a way we will never forget. Rest in Peace Caylee. 

                        I'm going to hug my kids now, I suggest you do the same. Ton o' blessings until next time.



Answering Machine a blessing? Mona’s story.

         I had a best friend named Mona whom I lived one door down when I lived in New York. We lived on the end of the building and Mona and her kids lived one door down. This made for great times. Looking back, I truly felt for our next door neighbor that dealt with us screaming over the fences to one another.  In my late teens/early twenties, I would often go over to her house and just talk. She has two boys and one girl (which would happen to me years later,) that I was in awe of how she was raising them. Their father was in their lives but I spent more time with her and the kids. She loved to barbecue. My mother would say, as the screen door was open, “there they go again, barbecuing!” I would quickly run over with hotdogs or whatever I would want to barbecue as we really didn’t do that much barbequing until I met Billy. Yes, in the dead of winter, snow piled three feet high, she was barbecuing! She would scream over the fence for me to come over. And I did, every time. We started a friendship that I loved. When Billy and I got married, we of course, invited the whole clan. 

    I loved that red dress. That was her. We all had the best time at the wedding. At the end of the wedding, Billy and I were saying goodbye to our guests and then we looked at each other and said - um, how are we getting back to the house? We never made “those” arrangements. Thank God, Mona forgot something in the hall and saw us and said she would take us back to my mom’s house before we left on our honeymoon. Big dress and all, we all squeezed into the van. She also graciously offered to take us to the airport in Queens, New York. No short ride. As we were getting near the airport, she missed the exit and yes, she backed up on the highway and got off the right exit. Thought I was going to die before the honeymoon even started! 

    Fast forward to when I thought I was pregnant with my first born. I went to the doctors office to make sure I was pregnant, and got the news that I was indeed expecting my first born. Got  home to run over to her house to tell her first. She stood there with tears and we hugged and cried. Didn’t even tell Billy or my mom yet. That was the special relationship we had.

    Then it was time for us to move to Missouri. Days leading up to us leaving were awful. We would see each other on the sidewalk and just cry. The night before we left, we hugged so long and wouldn’t let go. The next day we were off  to Missouri to start a new life.

     I would send “snail mail” to her as I did not have a computer, pictures of the kids or at Christmas time that Christmas photo card with the kids in their Christmas outfits. I loved that she told me the picture was up on their refrigerator. Made me feel that she wasn’t going to forget us.

        We went back a couple of times but then there was a longer break between visits. I had Maria during the summer of 1996 and going back to New York proved harder with three little ones. It was May of the following year when I got a package from  Federal Express, from Mona. I was so excited to open it up and see she had gotten me an outfit for Maria, along with a hand written stationary card. The outfit was adorable and she also included pictures from her daughters college graduation the weekend prior. Looking at the photo, you are looking at it from her eyes as she took the picture.

    Still makes me smile that you know how proud she must have been to see all three of her children graduate from top schools as in Michigan State, Duke and University of North Carolina. Remember there was no applying to colleges online. I remember seeing all the stacks, upon stacks of papers, applications on the kitchen table. She was the super mom who did it all. Drove them with the rental truck to their college dorms, dropped them off and called to tell me how sad, yet proud she was of them.

    In her card she said that she will try not to let so much time go by before I hear back from her. I totally understood. Having three children now - I get it. I called around 6 o’clock that Friday evening and left her a message that said, I got her package and loved the outfit and card and how I loved the picture of the kids. I went on to say, not to worry about not getting back sooner and as I was ending my message, I said to her “I love you so much my friend, and we’ll talk soon!”

                 The next day, my sister called me at one in the afternoon with news that Mona had passed away last night.   I told her that was impossible as I got this gift and card and left her a message last night. My world stopped.    I was blessed to have gotten the chance to attend her funeral a few days later and my heart was crushed to see her children.              

        I was hugging her daughter and told her of the day I got the package and how I left her that message. She didn’t know what message I was talking about as their answering machine light was not on and there was no new messages. It was at that point, we had figured out that Mona had listened to my message  before she passed away. How blessed, how blessed was I that my friend heard the words “I love you my friend and we’ll talk soon” before she left this earth. Don’t you see, you never know when you do something that will affect your life forever. I take that blessing with me everyday. Every day I look at my two boys and one girl and think, would Mona say that or do that for her kids. 

     I love you Mona and miss you more everyday. You would be so proud of the way your children are now as adults. I know we will see each other again and I hope you are proud of the mom that I have become. Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time.