Sunday, September 29, 2019


Here in Phoenix, Arizona, you learn to forget about the seasons of the year. There is blazing hot summer, a dry heat but still blazing hot.  Then we get to Fall.  In the Fall the temps here get lower but not by much.  Winter is a cooler season but we rarely need a coat.  I have a coat in my closet.  Every now and again I will give away my coat thinking I won't need it and then I will have to buy another one again for a surprisingly cold winter.  Hats and scarves?  I have maybe one of each.  Those are other things that I buy to give away.  In the middle of summer when I am cleaning out closets, it's so hard to imagine that I need a hat of scarf in the middle of summer.

Our Spring here in Arizona starts sometimes in February.  You enjoy it before the heat sets in. It's a strange dynamic.  I think we can identify something in the air that feels like a new season before there is evidence of that season.  And it is not by what is being sold in the seasonal department of Target or Walmart!!!

I have been thinking of the Pumpkin Spice revolution.  I don't really care either way.  I'm not a proponent of PSL (Pumpkin Spice Lattes).  I had one the other day because it was a rainy cold day and I felt tired and out of sorts.  This was the kind of hot beverage I needed because I needed a balm for my spirit.  However, there is something about a new season that gives us... hope; something to look forward to.  I think that Winter can be hard sometimes because the season does not end with Christmas.  Once the bright merriness fades away, we are left feeling cold, like a fireplace losing it's fire.  I sense the same could be said of summer which precedes Autumn.  The highlight happening at the beginning of July and now we are ensconced in the mundane of work and school and there is nothing to break the monotony. 

Then comes Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The major holidays are on their way.  Already plans are being made.  I am saving my pennies to buy Christmas presents and decorations for my children.  I am getting ready for Harvest Festival and cooler days.  I am looking at boots to buy.  I know I don't really need them but I can't get out of the New York tradition of putting away my summer sandals and getting my winter shoes and clothes ready.  This year has been lighter than last year.  Last year was like holding on to a boat in the storm.  We are forging our new traditions with less pain than there was.  I am praying for new opportunities and this Autumn, I am hopeful. 

Sunday, September 22, 2019

His Eye Is On This Sparrow

Why should I be discouraged?
Why should the shadows fall?
Why should my heart be lonely?
And all for heaven and whole.
When Jesus is my portion,
My constant Friend is He,
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me.
I sing because I'm happy.
I sing because I'm free.
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Civila D. Martin and Charles H. Gabriel 1905

These are the words of the song that has been with me for so many years.  When I was a kid, we used to play these conversation games.  I find that they are very helpful in developing and expressing yourself.  One of the questions was, "If you were an animal, what animal would you be?"  There are many versions of this.  I have always thought that if there was some sorcerer who would change us all into our spirit animals, I would turn into some kind of cat.  Since I was a kid I always thought that there was a little feline in me but it's all said in fun.  I am currently something much better... a human.  

That being said, I never thought much about being a bird.  Whenever anyone would offer up a bird as an adequate animal, I never saw the value of it.  The bigger cats are cunning, hunters, and beautiful in their ferocity.  The smaller cats are graceful, discerning and fearless, regardless of size.  How would I not be a cat?!  A bird!!!  A bird can fly but is vulnerable.  Where do birds even lie on the food chain? A bird?  Me?  No!!!

The first time I heard this song was at my mother's memorial.  My mother was a popular well-loved woman.  She had a wake, a memorial, a burial.  She was well-remembered to say the least.  At the memorial, I heard this song sung by my cousin, Debbie.  I was not in the space to hear the words but it haunted me.  I heard it again much later.  I was watching some show. I really can't remember what it was now but this young boy came out and sang this song and I couldn't stop thinking about it.  

This song starts off with a question, but it is really more of a challenge.  Why should I be discouraged?  Well, I'm not always discouraged but the premise is why should I be discouraged... EVER!!!  Why should I allow myself to wallow in the shadows that fall?  Should I even think of being lonely when I have all of heaven and God Himself with me?  Have I forgotten?  Have I lost track of the Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent Creator of the Universe?  I have to keep my life in perspective.  

Matthew 10:29-31
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And now one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

In other words, "What am I discouraged by?  What do I have to fear?  God's got this and He is watching me and my life."  

Then I started looking at sparrows.  I have noticed that when I see dead birds in the street, I see more pigeons than sparrows but pigeons are bigger.  Sparrows are so small.  When crumbs are scattered, sparrows get a raw deal. It's the pigeons that are there pecking and clawing at the crumbs.  But those sparrows get chunky though... I want to believe that somehow, they are provided for.  These days I know that I would turn into a chunky brown sparrow.  I already have the chunky and the brown part.  I would be small and vulnerable but even then I will not worry because God is in control and I know that His Great and Merciful eyes is on this sparrow and He is watching me.
two brown birds on selective focus photography
Photo Credit: Adam Muise

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Being In a Pause

I find my day subsisting of great stress and great movement.  What am I doing now?  What am I supposed to be doing?  What am I doing next?  In the lulls of the day, it feels like I'm grasping for the next check point as if these big actions are boulders across a creek.  One false move and I could be drowning instead of just getting my feet wet. 

Instead when faced with small moments- a smile, sitting down for a moment, waiting for food to be heated up, a first sip of coffee, coming home on a cooler day, the first bite of a warm everything bagel with cream cheese... Mmmmmm.  I want to bask in it like a cat in a warm sunbeam.  I think we truly live in the pauses, maybe we even live for the pauses.

There is this strange animated movie called, "Meet The Robinsons."  In this movie, the theme song, sung by Rob Thomas, talks of the 'small hours' and the 'little wonders.' It is true.  Today, in the pauses, I took deep breaths.  I decided to be thankful.  I made it through most of the week.  The weekend is on its way.  I am loved.  I sit in this moment, in my pauses and just for a moment, maybe even for a day, or an hour, instead of just planning or running to catch up or get ahead, I will be in the pause. 
Related image

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


I had a day yesterday.  Have you ever had a day?  Well, every now and again, you get stuck having a rough day for no other reason than it's one of those days.  I'll tell you how I usually handle hard days.  I usually take it home with me.  I replay it then pray about it.  But I let the day haunt me.  It mingles like flatulence and it carries with it an ugly color. 

Yesterday was an exception.  I took my bad day to my sisters and when I sat down with them, they prayed for me.  There was no room for the bad day to haunt me.  Instead there was healing.  I spoke to another dear friend right after.  Someone who just understood to call and ask when I was being evasive.  Aren't you glad that there are people out in the world like that?  Well... this is what I found out.  Using a support system is better than bringing my bad day home. 

Okay.  So... I am so thankful.  I am thankful to God and my friends.  I am thankful to God for my friends.  And I'll tell you what.  If you need some support, you can always reach out to me.  I will hang out with you. 
Image result for if you can't see the bright side

Saturday, September 14, 2019

My Father, The Younger Years

Growing up, my mother didn't work.  It was my father that worked and I spent time with my mother.  My father would wake up early to take the subway to his job in Lower Manhattan.  I knew he worked in an area called "Delancey."  Associated with this locale was "The Bowery."  My father took my to Katz Deli the first time and ordered me a hot pastrami sandwich with spicy mustard.  I didn't like roast beef at the time so this strange meat with mustard, my nemesis at the time, was not going to go down well.  I can remember eating it on rye with tears in my eyes because my finicky self was about to consume the things she loathed.  I have disliked rye bread all my life and now that I'm gluten-intolerant, I'm thankful about it.

My father worked for Bunker Ramo.  He would bring me old stationary to write and draw in.  He understood my love for writing even then. Looking back and remembering who I was, I didn't understand my father.  He could be harsh.  He was logical.  I didn't understand his logic.  He would tell my mother in his precise and fine Spanish to speak to me in Spanish.  He would demand that I only speak in Spanish and he would correct it quickly when my verb tenses were off.  I didn't speak English first.  My first words that were written down were, mama, no.  My father loved poetry.  He loved the lyrical nature of literature.  He would make me memorize Bible verses and poems.  I would recite words I had no idea of what they meant.  Now that I think of it, I would ask him the meaning of words and he would tell me their definitions without looking.

My father to me was a stocky man,especially when I was little.  I had no idea of height nor I got the sense that he was short.  I knew that he worked hard. He would come tired in his dress shirt and suit.  He wore professional dress all of his life.  Even his hang out clothes were button down.  He never looked good in t-shirt.  He would wear socks with his sandals.  Black socks with sandals.  These were all forgiven back then.  My mother and I would conspire around my father.  She was submissive to him in a way that I marvel at now, but she was more real to me.  She loved mysteries and puzzles.  She was sweet and kind.  She was well-loved.  An extrovert of the highest kind, she could talk to anyone about anything.  My father, sweet man, was an introvert, highly intelligent and highly logical.  Sometimes when I talk to my son, I can see my dad there.  He has his exact eyes down to the astigmatism which means that both my father and my son has to wear glasses all of the time.

I think I have mentioned this before but if I had to choose a parent to live with, I would always pick my mother.  She was my best friend and my hero.  I loved her in a way that bordered on worship.  And she loved me.  My father was the man who was not affectionate who could be harsh and demanding who worked all of  the time and was older than the other dads.  He slept too much for my liking and showed me love by surprising me with random gifts and with limited time.  One day, he came home and brought me a beautiful Dorothy doll from The Wizard of Oz.  She was complete with basket, Toto and ruby slippers.  She was so beautiful.  I didn't understand why I got it, it was just because.  He would read to me with his halting English accent, so mangled that his English was hard to understand.  He couldn't say the s sound without saying the e before it, even if the s came at the middle of the word.  Cinderella was really Esinderelia.  He would pronounce the ll correctly and he would roll the l sound so it was neither y nor j sounding.

It's hard to recall my father prior to my mother dying.  He became more real to me after she died so in my mind there is a division of time: before my mother's demise and after my mother's demise.  Here is one thing that my father had that I utterly respected.  He could be a hard man but he loved God.  He would cry singing songs with his horrible out of tune voice.  He would cry anytime he had to talk about God.  Every. Single. Time.  It was embarrassing for me as a child to see my father cry this way.  Now I think about the work that God had been doing in his life.

My father was an electrician.  Why did he wear a suit to work each day? We owned our little house in the Bronx and it was paid for.  My father dutifully changed out his car ever 5-7 years.  I was sent to St. Frances of Rome, the Catholic school when PS 21 was so much closer.  I didn't understand then that my father worked in technology, not just electronics. I didn't understand that my father made good money for an immigrant coming from Cali, Colombia.  I didn't understand then that when he was harsh, he was protecting and preparing me for a harsh world.  My father understood that the lessons I didn't learn in love at home, the world would teach me, without love or grace.  I didn't appreciate this then but as I teach and parent my own children, I often ponder the wisdom of my father who I love so much still.  How blessed am I to have had a dad like him!

Thursday, September 12, 2019


Let me take a minute to talk about fashion.  These are the clothes that you choose to wear.  It's a big deal.  When I was about 12 years old, I reinvented myself.  When my mother died, I had long hair.  I had gotten it cut when I was about 8 years old an by the time my mother died, it was long again.  Here's the thing, my father couldn't deal with my long curly hair, so we cut it.  We cut it short.  It didn't work.  So by the time I was 12, it was long enough to do the half short, half long style that was popular back then.  My father bought me a royal blue wool coat and boom!!!  I was a new version of myself.

We all seek reinvention.  We think we know who we are and we dress to fit that part.  Sometimes, we attempt to reinvent ourself prior to an actual identity situation.  We dress the way we think we like.  We talk without talking.  We say something with the way we wear our hair and our choice in shoes.  Our handbags talk so loud. I like to sit and watch people.  If you go to the mall, you can sit down and people watch for hours.  I like to look at shoes.  I think it is because I think that some day, I will find the perfect pair.  I thought I had.  Black flats with sneaker sole.  I could wear them without socks and with almost anything.  I wore them out with a friend and she commented that they were exceedingly ugly.  My issue is that they wear away.  I'm looking for another pair... always looking.

I am a lover of words.  I am constantly considering how much I should say.  In looking at my new identity, who am I?  What am I doing?  Who am I telling people that I am? There is just so much to consider.  Tattoos and nose rings?  Heels an slacks?  Long skirts and sandals?  I don't know  Am I the type who wears dresses?  Am I the type who keeps her nails long?  Will I always change the color of my hair into  differing colors?  I definitely prefer it loose to pinned up.  My make up tells my story.  For example, I wore a very bold eye today but it doesn't matter.  I never see my make up in pictures.  I only see me.   

I would like my fashion to be joy, light and Jesus.  I want people to see me an identify my style as love and I want my clothes to be quiet, so God can speak.  I think He has more interesting things to say.  Can you see my nails if I'm smiling?  I wore sequins, even then I'm reflecting.  Praise God!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


I have trouble making and maintaining adult relationships.  I think this is part of the reason why I feel it is easier to talk to everyone instead of just some people.  This just goes to show the lengths I will go to to avoid meaningful connections.  There are a myriad of reasons why I have trouble doing this but at least one reason is attributed to imposition. 

I have relationships where I just spend time sending memes for hours and this is how we communicate.  I acknowledge well that I love my friend and I agree that sentiment can be easily and cleverly displayed through a meme.  I have one relationship, a very close friendship that is conducted via "Words With Friends."  A play on the other person's behalf tells me that he is alive and doing well.  There are times when I would like to tell someone, "What are you doing?  What are you doing right now?  Forget all that and come to my house and let's watch 'Monk.'"  I would like to invite someone to take me out (because I am always driving) to Outback for some gluten-free ribs and gluten free lava cake.

I admit I have the weirdest notions.  I think it may be the Arizonian dynamic that is so distinct from living in a Metropolis like New York but I don't think it is dissimilar.  I didn't want to impose on anyone in New York either.  I think this idea comes from not having siblings.  My husband had no qualms imposing on his brother when we lived in New York.  I was envious of their tenuous bond.  I remember when I asked how we would get home one holiday.  It was late and cold and it would take us forever to get home.  He told me, "My brother will take us home."  I was so confused.  Had he talked to him?  No.  Was this part of a plan?  No.  How could he be so sure? You know what he told me?  "Because he's my brother."  Sure enough, his brother took us all the way home and I was grateful. 

I sit at home and I draft texts into the void.  Am I bothering someone?  Underneath this notion of imposing is the outsiders view of love.  I tread lightly and am fearful because I don't belong and to belong to a group or to belong I must be pleasing.  I am sad at my own frail human-ness.  I am thankful to belong to God.  I believe sincerely that He welcomes my impositions, each and every time I call to him.  Every prayer, a text to be savored by my Savior. 

So... I'm a bother?  Okay.  Always let me know when I'm being "too much."  I will turn my attention to the One Who love me first and I will impose on Him, God. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019


I wasn't working the day that it happened.  I had been jobless since January to allow me to concentrate on planning a wedding all by myself.  We both loved the Fall.  Our colors were purple and celadon, picture a red grape and a light green grapes.  We planned it on the same day my mother was taken from this earth.  It felt... right, like either way you think of the day, it was a day of love. 

I didn't want a wedding.  My father had died the February of 1999 and he proposed in December of 99.  Planning a wedding without my mother or my father was too hard for me.  I imagined going to Las Vegas and getting married in a little chapel then hitting up Walt Disney World for a honeymoon extraordinaire.

Santi wanted a wedding.  He wanted the reception and the whole nine.  I had taken almost 3 years to plan this wedding.  It was so close to the date of the wedding when it happened.  Santi had taken the day off because I was having trouble finding just the right centerpiece.  I had bought floating candles and I had trouble finding the right bowls as the centerpiece. I remember getting up that morning late.  There was a strange feeling in the air.  We took the bus to the IHOP by White Plains Road, but it was closed.  I can't remember the store across the street.  Caldor's?  K-Mart? Walmart?  I have no idea.  It was all closed. 

We went to Bay Plaza and the supermarket was closed.  We had taken a bus.  On the bus there were people that looked shell shocked.  There were people who had dust on them and there were hushed conversations.  We didn't put it together.  It was only until we got to Bay Plaza and asked one of the Jamaican gypsy taxi drivers that we realized that the Towers had fallen.  We didn't wait.  We got into one of the taxis and went home. 

I sat in front of the television then and watched, over and over again as I watched the tragedy unfold.  I stayed planted in front of the television as a type of penance for being stupid and self-centered.  I waited by the phone and waited for updates.  WTC was around Pace University and where I had worked.  It was my stomping grounds.  I'm still not in a position to talk about who I have lost and what was lost.  There is a struggle in describing getting my marriage certificate at the court in lower Manhattan and being in the city for the first time after the tragedy.  I cried as I got out of the subway.  My bridal shower was not well attended.  My bachelorette party was very well attended.  There was a pall over the wedding that dealt with love in the midst of tragedy. 

They asked me about that day, the students at my school.  When I look at their birthdays they were all born after that day.  I remember sitting my children down and explaining to them the importance of 9/11.  I explained that we are New Yorkers and as such, we need to remember.  I cried when I told them.  I have only been able to talk about it once in the years that I have worked at the school.  Even now, talking about it with my friend and co-worker, I teared up today.  So... I remember. 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

The Funny

I like funny.  I like funny shows.  I like funny stories.  You have to understand something about funny.  It requires intelligence.  As my daughter and I finish Monk, I have to consider the shows that I  have liked and why I have liked them.  My favorite shows are funny shows.  Ironically clever shows that deal with tough topics.  Among my favorites are: Suburgatory, Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies, Friends, Seinfeld, Super Store... I can go on.  But I don't like comedies.  They are too formulaic.  Unless they are Snatch type funny.  I love the movie, Snatch. 

I find that  like funny men too.  In fact, reflecting on my limited dating experience, I found in common that I liked funny, intelligent men.  None of them were what I wanted.  None of them clicked exactly.  It was like wearing your shoes on the wrong foot.  As a child, you don't seem to mind.  As an adult, it is unbearable.  And I'm very picky about my shoes. No cheap shoes will do for me either.  I want the good stuff or nothing at all. 

I saw a quote today.  It goes like this:
"Everything you do right now ripples outward and affects everyone.  Your posture can shine your heart or transmit anxiety.  Your breath can radiate love or muddy the room in depression.  Your glance can awaken joy.  Your words can inspire freedom.  Your every act can open hearts and minds."  David Deida

I don't want to just radiate fully and completely the joy of the Lord, despite my circumstances.  I want to be funny and intelligent. It's like going the extra mile.  I can do the extra mile, can't I?  That's all. 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

I Am The Dream

There are days when I am at work and I am in thought.  I look around.  There is no one around who would have predicted that at my age, I would be working in a high school and living in Phoenix, Arizona.  It is like I am waking up from a dream.  How did this happen?  There are some days when I am happy to ask this.  There are some days that I am not so happy to have asked this.

I carry with me my history.  Today someone said, "There she goes, the Puerto Rican Powerhouse."  In New York, such a statement would not matter.  Here it does.  There are not a lot of us around.  I consider this a compliment as there is another Puerto Rican from the Bronx that I work with.  I am thankful to work with him.  He reminds me of home.  We have people in common.  However, when they talk about me, it is clear that I am the one that they are referring to.

Is this my legacy?  I sit as students around me are considering Nazi Germany in the novel, Night by Elie Wiesel.  There is laughter as the teacher reads how the author describes his time in the concentration camps.  I would like to yell.  I would like to tell them to learn from others, learn from history.  We don't know what will happen in the future.  This reality may some day be our reality.  I want to tell them to learn as they represent within them the possibilities of their ancestors.

This thought made me remember Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise."  There is a line that states, "I am the dream and the hope of the slave."  I know what she meant when she wrote that.  There is every possibility that this refers to me as well.  Aren't all of us slaves?  I think a more apt way of thinking about this line is that our generation, and our future generation has the responsibility of contributing or taking from this world we live in.  I am the dream and the hope of those who have come before me.  At some point, there was an ancestor that had the hope that one of her daughters would be educated.  This is me.  There is someone in my lineage dreamed that a descendant would be useful.  This is me.  There is someone that came before me that would have hoped that a daughter would be a light in the dark places and would raise children who could be lights in dark places.  I pray that this would still be me.

My hope is in God.  When I finish fighting in this war, I pray that I will go home to be with God.  I want to believe that my ancestors prayed when they were tempted to think of their future generations.  I want to believe that they prayed for me.  Psalm 37:25-26 states, "I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not see the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.  He is ever merciful and lends; and his descendants are blessed."  I will pray as someone who came before me prayed for the salvation of my offspring and those who come after me. When I am tempted to be ungrateful, I think of my parents, foreigners from different lands who came or who was brought to this country for more.  They are gone but I and my children remain of them and I am (present) their dream and their hope.  I pray that I can make them proud.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Holding On

My daughter and I are watching through Monk.  I have decided that I like the show but Monk, his character, drives me nuts.  Right now, he is arguing to keep the parking garage where his wife died 10 years ago.  He has trouble letting go of things.  He is adamant about keeping this parking garage because it is the last thing that his wife saw before she died.  He would rather keep this parking garage instead of building a playground because he can not let go.

There is this movie called, "Exit Through the Gift Shop" about the artist, Banksy and how he befriends this French shopkeeper, Thierry Guetta.  Thierry has some issues and they talk about it on the film where his mother died when he was young and since then, he has been taking pictures.  It's almost as if he is afraid of forgetting moments because life is fleeting.  I understand this need to hold on.

My father had trouble after my mother died.  He felt the need to hold on to things long after he should have let go.  He held on to her clothes and the things she would keep in her junk drawers.  He found it hard to let go of her things.  My husband lost his mother the same year that I lost my mother and he had a similar issue.  He would definitely hold on to things.  He was a collector.  I find myself holding on to things as well.  Not all of the time but enough.  I have a drawing of Sonic that David drew when he was like 7 years old on my refrigerator.  It brings me to a simpler time.

Matthew 24:35
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."  Everything will disappear.  All the junk that we collect will pass away and should pass away but here is the hope that we have.  The hope that we have is that God and His eternal words can be trusted to be relied on.  And here is the thing, we don't have to hold on.  We could get rid of everything and it will be okay.  We can rely on God to sustain us.  Praise the Lord!!!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Meal Prepping Momma

I have to keep this post short because I'm in the middle of meal prepping.  Yes, I've said it.  I am meal prepping.  I have a new role in my job and I am in the classroom more than the office.  I used to be able to run out and get a bite to eat.  I am finding that this is not the case now.  I have a limited time to eat.  If I don't bring my lunch, I don't get to eat. 

The first week, I don't know what I was thinking. Last year, I started bringing leftovers when I had them but I found that I wasn't exactly prepping my meals.  When my husband was alive, he would make me lunch but it was more a collection of snacks, not really a lunch.  Awww, just thinking about it makes me wistful.  He would put almonds with a hunk of cheese.  He's use anything as a lunch container.  He would throw in a yogurt and those little crab apples.  Sometimes he would throw in an orange and a Kind bar.  It wasn't really a true lunch.  It's our thing now, mine and the children's, to buy meat and make it over the weekend to add to salad, pasta or rice.  It's easy to pair some breasts with a vegetable steamer. 

I have been pairing my ground beef, steak or chicken with pasta or rice mainly.  Such a carby lunch!!!  And when I say pasta, please understand that I mean gluten free pasta, not necessarily healthy pasta.  This week, I'm attempting to pair my meat with organic spinach and veggies.  I'm scared that I'll still be starving by the end of the day so I will be bringing some fruit and nuts to nosh on in case it is not enough food.  Cause if I'm still hungry, I will end up eating Doritos from the Dollar Tree by the end of the day. 

It's not about dieting for me.  It's about eating healthier and making the most of our time.  I am going to the gym with my son to spend some time with him.  We have a shared interest.  So... there you have it.  Let me know if you have any ideas.  I'm willing to try things.  That's all for now.  Happy Labor Day and enjoy your week.

Sunday, September 1, 2019


If you have not noticed, I enjoy make up.  I have a relationship with cosmetics.  I remember the first cosmetics that I bought for myself.  I had loved this red lipstick that my mother owned.  It had a certain smell and it was in a metal lipstick case.  My mother loved fancy red lipstick.  My mother didn't own a lot of make up; not the way I have in my bathroom or in the little make up kits that I  have in my room.  It was in 8th grade and for the first time ever, we were allowed to wear make up.  I had been experimenting with make up but didn't own any.  I had an idea of what would work for me.  I remember going to Woolworth's.  There was one that was not far from Bay Plaza in the Bronx.  I bought a navy/purple eyeliner and a jumbo shimmer light blue eye shadow pencil with a sharpener. I know I bought a lipstick. I remember the morning of graduation pictures, the pencil was harder than I was used to and I struggled to put on the eyeliner and the eye shadow went everywhere.  I bought that particular shade of eye shadow to match my light blue graduation gown.  My father looked at me as I was leaving and in his broken, accented English he said, "My Beauty."  Just thinking back on this memory brings a warm feeling to my heart and a tear to my eye.

Back then, there was this Chinese store.  They sold the rubber bracelets that we would buy and wear in different colors like Madonna.  They sold electric blue soft kohl eye pencils for a dollar.  They would sell cheap lipstick in differing colors that I would buy whenever I got a dollar in my hand. I would wear the eyeliner on my water line as was the fashion. My friend, Diana, she had a fancy eye shadow palette.  We would layer on different colors like fuchsia, royal blue and purple.  When I went to her house, we would experiment with eye shadows and with eyeliner.  We didn't even need to put on concealer or foundation.

I went through a non-make up period in Junior and Senior year of high school.  I liked to wear a red cheek gel and this gold glitter lipstick that smelled and tasted like candy.  I laid off of the make up because of Walter De La Vega.  He made a comment about how I didn't need make up and so I took a break.  My first fancy lipstick was L'Oreal.  I don't know if you ever bought a L'Oreal lipstick but its just so fancy.  It has a smell that reminds me of my mother.

Make up is such a part of my life.  I would involve my husband and my father in my love of cosmetics.  I know that my father could care less about make up yet he would come with me to Bergdorf Goodman to buy my setting powder from Guerlain.  My husband never minded coming with me to Sephora and Ulta to buy my cosmetics.  Anything shimmery, metallic or glittery was what I liked.  Now I go to the stores with my little girl.  My son can't be coerced to come with me no matter what I do.  I'm afraid that Janet will be just like me.  She is known to take the lip stuff that I no longer want.  She has her own style that isn't quite like mine.

I'm not a fan of foundation.  I'm experimenting with serums and primers.  My routine includes Maybelline's concealer, a gold highlighter and blush.  On a daily basis, I will put on eye shadow, mascara and lipstick or lip gloss but I like to keep it to a minimum.  Concealer and mascara is Maybelline.  I like fancy brands but I don't need to buy fancy brands.  I buy what I like and I limit my trips to the expensive stores.  However, cosmetics will always have a part in my life.