Wednesday, December 30, 2020

TV Shows and Memories

 We have been talking about Santi/James.  We have started watching "Seinfeld."  This was his favorite show.  I love "Friends."  Man, we used to run home for Must See Thursday on NBC.  Every episode reminds me of his favorite parts.  He would talk in Seinfeld sometimes.  We had seen this show several times in our lives.  I remember going to college when this show first came out.  I missed most of the first season the first time around.  If they gave "Seinfeld" in reruns, we always chose to watch it.  

It seems like I lived a different life.  The music was different.  I remember waiting for the bus after coming out of rehearsals or a late class.  He would always pick me up from college or work.  It didn't matter if it was far from home.  Santi lived in Brooklyn and I lived almost at the end of the Bronx.  It would take him hours to get back home after making sure I got to my house.  He would get out of the train station and walk me the three blocks to my house and to my door.  He made sure I would go in.  Sometimes, we would sit out on the steps and just talk.  Sometimes, my dad would come out and hang out with us.  We used to live out the Beach Boys song.  

"Wouldn't it be nice if we were older, then we would have to wait so long.  And would it be nice to live together, in the kind of world where we belong. You know it's' going to make it that much better, when we can say goodnight and stay together.  Wouldn't it be nice."

We were so impossibly young.  I was only 22 years old when I met him.  I had just turned 22 years old.  He had just turned 22 years old.   We were two babies, so immature.  I went to school and had weird part time jobs.  He worked in the Village.  We would spend the days just wandering the city.  We would run to my house to watch Seinfeld in a home that didn't have cable.  There were no cell phones back then.  We had beepers.  It watch the show and it just brings back the time.  For a brief moment in time, I am back with him.  The children aren't even a gleam in our eyes.  I can't even fathom who I was then but when I stop watching, I wonder what I am doing in this house in Arizona with my two teenagers.  It would seem that just yesterday I was waiting for the bus on Bedford Avenue with Santi, waiting to go home and watch the show at 9pm.  

I'm laughing as I watch this show with Janet, my little girl.  This is a new incarnation of this show.  I'm thankful to have a window into the memories that are conjured up by this show.  It's better to have them than to not have them.  I wonder what would happen if we started watching "Little House on the Prairie."  Would I remember my mother and father?  Would I be able to remember fighting with Joanne to watch this show?  I don't know.  It's funny the things that conjure up memories.  God wouldn't have given us memories if He didn't mean to have us remember, right?  Thank you, God for these warm moments in this short life we have.  Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

My Soon-to-be Teenager

 I was hanging out with Geoff when he asked me how we were going to celebrate Janet's birthday.  JANET'S BIRTHDAY!!!  In about three weeks, Janet will be thirteen years old.  Never mind that there are some days she can pass for 24 years old.  She is tall and statuesque.  I don't make it any better when we play with make up.  She's a kid!  I played with make up when I was her age.  I would go to Diana and Debbie's house and play with their eye shadows and eyeliners. I loved the royal blue and pink.  Man, it seemed just like yesterday.  Back then, the only way to wear eyeliner was on the water line.  And now I'm singing Madonna's border line because water line and border line are enough alike for me to feel it.  

I digress.  It is almost painful thinking about Janet turning into a teenager.  I will not have any more children in the house.  Where did the time go?  I blinked and they grew up.  There is a fear in having them older.  Who will they become?  Will they love Jesus?  What have I done?  At the end of the questions is this thought: Have I been a good enough mother?  I had to stop there for a moment.  That last sentence was like a punch in the gut.  I pray for them fervently.  I tend to pray for those with requests and I have a consistent list of people that I have been praying for, but I end up usually praying for my dear sweet babies.  I pray that they never leave the path set out before them.  I pray that they always follow God.  

Yes, I will have two teenagers in the house and I look down the road to five very short years and already they will be adults.  I think to the things I have been putting off like braces and contacts.  It is about that time that their bedroom furniture needs to be changed to teen furniture, whatever that looks like.  I mentioned to Geoff just today that he hopped on this ride at the right time.  I meant it sarcastically.  He just smirked.  He's familiar with teenagers.  He has more of an idea than I have of what is to come.  I think it helps them to have him alongside of me.  They are not as worried about leaving mom behind in the dust by her lonesome.  He gets me out of my shell.  We don't feel as isolated about having to quarantine and I have been thankful to have another adult around sometimes.  

There are prayers for the upcoming year no matter what the year brings.  I tend to imagine the worst case scenarios then worry about the worst that is to come while still living in the present.  This is all wasted energy.  I just need to trust in God and His plan.  Praise God.  May He prepare my heart to raise my children.  May He help me in the ways that I need.  May God bless this coming year, for everyone, you included, Reader.  May God bless you this coming year.  And when you think of me, please say a quick prayer for this mama who is the mother of two teenagers, one of them a TEENAGE GIRL!!! 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Resolutions for 2021

 I have been reflecting on the last year.  I was watching a movie and was thinking about how strange it was that people were not wearing masks.  When it all began back in March, I really and truly thought that I would be back to work in a week.  I was getting ready for a change.  I had change on the brain.  Well... there was change alright!!!  I was reading back on post from the start of last year and I admit that I was in a fog that I hardly remembered.  This past year, I was just holding on for dear life.  This new upcoming year may be a year of change.  It is past due.  I know that it is coming.  Change is a little scary for me.  I'm hoping that this is the good kind of change, if I can wrap my mind around it and not overthink absolutely everything.  Yes, I'm an overthinker.

Last year, there were no resolutions.  I only resolved in holding on and not losing my mind.  This year, I have too many resolutions.  I think about the people who choose not to follow resolutions.  That is telling in itself.  I am resolving to be healthy.  I am resolving to make changes.  I am resolving to have an open mind and to try different things, like... waking up early. I'm laughing because it seems impossible.  I am a real night owl.  But I think it better use of my time to wake up early and get my workout out of the way.  I am literally planning on climbing mountains, so I better be more fit for the mountains that come.  My children and Geoff bought me hiking sticks and a back pack with a bladder so... I better come correct.  

Covid has touched my life.  I have lost friends, family and my immediate family has contracted covid.  I have had to wear a mask in my own home and in my car while driving.  I know that wearing a mask is uncomfortable.  I feel terrible telling my children that they can not attend something because we need to social distance.  We are being responsible.  We are trying to limit the spread of the virus and attempting to live on for the next year.  Yes, it has been hard.  Yes, I have been praying.  Yes, I don't always know what to do.  There are moments when all that can be done is to pray.  Prayer is not for God but for me.  So as the next year comes, I resolve to pray more and for more people.  I will pray.  Praise the Lord.  Thank you, Jesus..  

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Christmas Eve Eve 2020

 As you may already know, I love Eves.  I love the day before Friday.  I love the potential of what is to come.  I know that we are quarantining but I still love it.  Coping mechanisms: I tend to prepare for an emotion that may come once an event occurs.  I go for the worst case scenarios. But just because I suspect the worst does not mean that the worst will come.  I, the human that I am, eliminate God in my equation.  God changes everything.  Thousands of people but only a few fishes and loaves, just add God into the number and there will be extra fishes and loaves.  It doesn't make sense doesn't it?  Same here with my life.  It doesn't really make sense but... God.  

I woke up this morning and I made coffee.  Janet usually makes my coffee but it's best she stay in her room. Apparently, she has been putting too many grounds so, today I had a great cup of coffee, with chocolate gluten free cookies, right before I made fried eggs and french fries in the air fryer for David and me.  Such a Puerto-Rican thing to eat!!!  I discussed the menu for Christmas with David and I bought tickets for World of Illumination for New Year's Eve.  Nothing like a full belly and plans to change your perspective of things.  

In my head, I have to have a traditional Christmas with baking and cooking.  I look around and tell myself that I need to clean the house.  I do need to clean but I have spoken with the children and they say that they are good with staying at home and hanging out making our simple Christmas favorites.  They make it easy.  One day, heck, one moment I could kill them the next moment I want to hug them.  Either way though, I am blessed.  I am blessed beyond measure.

I am working, sort of, I have corny Christmas movies on.  I still have my full belly.  My nails are done.  My dog sits by my feet, sweet boy!  I have only one more present to wrap and the menu is set.  In my peace, I thank God.  He is the reason that I can celebrate so I will celebrate His birth.  Praying for you, readers.  May you have God's Spirit which is the real Spirit of Christmas.  Praise the Lord!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

It's a Covid Christmas

 So...  I last reported that I had a cold. I dragged my children and myself to the covid testing center.  I did it because a cold is enough like covid to get tested.  I got the results back yesterday as I was on the golf greens with my guy.  David came back negative.  Janet came back positive.  I was already feeling down.  My dear sweet cousin, David Vega passed away yesterday.  He was the dj for my wedding.  I can hear his deep voice.  I was close to at least one of his sons.  I would hang out with him on family holidays.  Already I miss him.  He had a stroke and then caught covid.  This virus has stolen a lot from me so far.  And just in case you were wondering, my results came back last... negative.  Poor Janet!!!

I think about the meager plans we had made for a pandemic holiday.  We had thought about going to Glendale Glitters.  We were going to go to church for Christmas Eve.  We were going to go to Geoff's for Christmas.  Now I wear a mask in the car and in my house.  Conditions are not ideal.  

Then to make the situation worse, I was driving home from getting tested... again and I went by Geoff's to pick up his air fryer.  I was thinking about finally making some gluten-free Doritos chicken (Doritos is the devil even when I'm just thinking about it!!!) when I saw the trooper behind me.  I was speeding.  Not cute enough to get off with a warning, he gave me the ticket and I felt myself start to descend into a spiral.  I'm usually okay for the children but dealing with teenagers is a challenge.  I mean, where the heck are my sweet compliant children?!!  I have been trying to show maturity and self-control but I want to snap at them and their attitudes.  They are full of ego.  I am lacking the patience to deal with them and I am processing my life.

There are plans and non-plans.  There are prayers going up for everyone.  This vaccine, this world, this virus is... a lot.  I think it is finally hitting me, this Christmas that we are in the middle of a pandemic and it is not fun.  I will not try to predict the future.  I am attempting to trust in God and do the right thing.

I made the gluten free panko chicken and french fries in the air fryer, along with Doritos chicken and barbeque pork rind chicken.  There were a lot of tenders.  It's a good thing I have two hungry teens to eat them all!  I ate a whole sleeve of chocolate gluten free cookies with warm milk.  At some point, I ate not one but two lemon pudding cups with raspberries because they are my favorite.  I am all full, finally.  I have "Love Actually" on and I'm writing.  God is alive and on His throne.  I will not despair.  I will pray.  I will pray for my family who have lost a husband, father, brother and uncle.  I will pray for friends who have lost loved ones.  I will pray for that one student who is struggling.  I will pray for God's will to be done as I try to make decisions and pay for speeding tickets.  Prayer works.  So I'll do it.  Praise the Lord!!  

Friday, December 18, 2020

The Cold

 I remember going home and feeling the slight tickle in the back of my throat.  Ugh!!!  I was hoping that I was just getting allergies but the next day, my face was swollen and I had a fever and a runny nose.  I knew.  I knew I had a cold.  I really wanted to go in but I knew I had to be responsible.  I taught from home and did my work but I could feel my body ache and I knew that I needed to drink liquids and take care of myself.  

I made the appointment to check for covid.  I have been praying that it is just a cold but already, ALREADY, it is disrupting my life.  I was supposed to go to a cookie exchange.  I even bought cookie mix!!!  (I'm not the best of bakers even in the best of times.  If you want something edible then trust me, a mix is great!!!)  I was supposed to serve at church this Sunday too.  The kid I am lucky enough to work with can't make it so to keep everyone safe and room to heal before Christmas, we will go to church virtually.  Monday I'll know what I'm dealing with, hopefully.

And the testing has changed.  The last time I went, they just stuck a cotton swab up my nose and twisted.  I made sure to not blow my nose too much.  I was ready with my boogies handy!!!  I want to be cooperative.  They didn't ask for boogies though.  They asked for half a plastic vial of saliva.  I knew I would be there a while.  My daughter was done in a minute.  I think I was working on it for 20 minutes.  Holy Dehydration, Batman!!!  My mouth was dry and then they said not to eat or drink anything.  I was thinking of mouth watering things to help.  Steak made just right with a loaded potato or pernil and arroz con gandules... Yum!!!  Oh great!!!  NOW my mouth waters!!!

I think it is in my head but looking at the social media pictures of the snowy places has me feeling more cold than I am used to.  I think I have a coat in my closet... I have to check.  Surely it is an old fashioned outer garment but I guess this is the winter where we use coats.  Let me get a cup of tea to warm myself up, or better yet, a hot chocolate bomb!!!  I saw one online and now I can't unsee it.  I think of all of the calories and all of the sugar but after having like five candy canes (surely an exaggeration).  I find that I don't care as much.  I am in a Holiday frame of mind and wild horses couldn't drag me out of it.  I am thankful.  I am thankful for healthy babies(my babies), a boy who graduated from high school and a man with warm hands and a warm sweet disposition, my man.

An Aside: I'm watching "The Little Mermaid."  Am I the only one who thinks Ursula is gorgeous and ahead of her time?  She may be my favorite villainess.  

I am thankful.  Praise the Lord for this quiet and somewhat careful and isolated Holiday Season.  Even in these times, we are reminded of God's love for us in coming to earth to become a Man who died for our sins.  Thank You, Jesus.  

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Christmas Movies

 Please note that I did not say any thing about my favorite prescribed, canned Christmas movies that can be found on a certain card company channel.  I love those.  Why?  Everyone wants to know why.  I will tell you why. 

They say that the plots are predictable and formulaic.  Yes!!!  Listen, I'm a teacher.  I get adventure and surprises every day.  I would love nothing more than to follow a predictable plot while I am doing 70 other things.  It is easier to follow when they are so predictable.  I don't get lost.  Yay!  Do you know how many times I have to rewind a regular movie?  More than once... in a scene!!!  

Let me tell you something about happy endings.  They all have happy endings.  It is a Christmas miracle!!!  Real life does not always end in happy endings.  It's good to see what happy ending look like sometimes.  It keeps in mind that eventual happy ending forever when Christ comes again.  Until then, we can see various wholesome happy endings ala Christmas channel corniness, which I love.

All of the heroines have flaws.  I love the flaws.  They are all different and all of them represent us.  It is a time to let down our hair, confront our faults and compare how we are like those women.  All of them represent something that we have and I'm good with that.  It's also good to know that even with their flaws, these women find love.  They are loved.  It reminds me that I am loved, so loved.  It's a warmth to remember this at Christmas.  

These are our grown up animation shows that we would see over and over again.  These movies are our Rudolph, and Frosty shows but different and grown up.  The small towns versus the big cities we actually live in.  The snow we remember as kids versus our sunny warm days living in warmer climates.  These days can be scary.  I can take a little predictable.

You can yum yuck the Christmas things but there is always something we love that other people don't like.  Some things we admit to and some we let go but I'm good with the corny Christmas movies that sometimes lend out a bit of the Christmas Spirit that can be hard to grasp on to.  Go ahead.  Be corny.  Listen to the Christmas songs and keep the tree lighted.  Frost the cookies and hang the stockings.  Life is short.  Remember the reason for the season and be grateful.  Praise the Lord. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020


 I had to look it up.  Advent means coming.  We take for granted when we hear Advent that it commemorates the coming of Jesus down to earth to save us from our brokenness.  Advent happens all the time.  Even now we wait.  We wait for the second coming promised to us, we wait even though it may not happen in our lifetimes.  I mean, we wait for a lot of things.  We wait for love, we wait for death, we 

I think a lot of us this year is waiting for the coming of the new year.  I think we hope that it will be a better year.  2020- I think that the hope was for it to be a better year.  The beginning of a decade.  Even the name held so much promise!!!  I was talking about it with my students.  They were talking about the issues that they had with this year.  I remember telling them that this year was not so bad.  There was a lot of things I didn't know how to do.  I had to learn to parent and teach in a different way.  I have to do my job differently and I had to be okay with just being okay and not being great or excellent.  HOWEVER, this year was still a lot better than 2018.  

I think about 2018.  I lost a lot that year.  I shudder to think of it.  This year in comparison, I learned to go with the flow.  I gained a boyfriend and new traditions.  I lost weight.   I gained steps and adventures in hiking.  There were times that I was stressed and felt lost it was okay because I was not alone in being stressed and lost.  And here is the thing that I am so grateful for: I was never lost and alone and I never will be. 

As I rethink this different Christmas season, as I reflect on Advent.  I want to spend some time thinking on what is coming in the next year.  There will be changes.  It may require adjusting and being flexible.  I hate moving so... already I'm dreading it.  I wonder.  I wonder what doors will open. I wonder what doors will close.  There is peace.   I have God who came to earth.  I have God who stands beside me, even in the storm, even in the shadow of the valley of death.  I am thankful. Praise the Lord.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Best Practices

 I am sitting down and feel the places where I have held tension.  We put our bodies through stress through a million different ways we hold ourselves, we brace ourselves.  I stretch even a little and I can feel it in my lower back.  I feel it in  my shoulders and the base of my neck.  I move my head from one side to another and I hear a crack.  I breathe in.  Here is the thing.  I know better.  I know that I should be stretching.  I know that I should be drinking more water.  I know that I should take deep cleansing breaths in and out.  In these winter months, I should take a walk now and again to stave off the lack of light during the day.  Lack of light makes people prone to depressive episodes.  Depressive episodes allow the devil, that snake, to come and whisper from his stockpile of lies to further defeat you.  Misery truly loves company. 

I push my shoulders back and take a breath.  "I love..."  I breathe out.  "You, Lord." I breathe in.  "A-lle..." I breathe out. "lu-jah"  I breathe in.  Why don't I do what I should do to keep myself well?  Why do I forget to take care of myself in these small ways?

When I was in high school, I wore a uniform.  Even with tights, I would feel the New York City cold.  I knew that if my legs would get dry then the skin would become itchy and uncomfortable.   I would forget to put the lotion on even though I had plenty.  Even now I forget and I have a plethora of lotions in my room.  I sit here thinking of all of the things that I should do but don't because I don't want to or I forget.  I don't follow best practices when it comes to me.  I realize I will not be able to do them all and there are some I have learned never to go without but I need to be better and do better at taking care of myself.

The same holds true for spiritual principles.  I have a devotional app that includes a Bible.  I am able to listen to the Bible and read the devotions in the morning and evening.  I don't always do this.  I will go a few days and then as I go over what I need to do, I will eventually remember and catch up.  I am always behind.  I sabotage myself and I don't really know why.  There is a selfishness in taking time to take care of yourself, but I will do it for a series, or a movie.  I will pick the empty and wasteful time over the more productive.  It is almost like picking empty calories over the good calories.  I did that for years and now I am counting calories and eliminating sugar and carbs.  If I had been doing it all along there is a possibility I would have to do it so rigorously now.  It is true, sooner or later you should take care of yourself before it becomes a need, both physically and spiritually.  

Take care of yourselves, Friends.  

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Silence and Waiting

There is a lot swirling around my head these days.  I have not been really active in any decision making. I know that transition is coming.  I had spoken about transitions last year.  I'm still in a holding pattern.  It takes me a while to process things and to make decisions.  I would even say that I have very poor decision making skills.  Me?  I like to wait.  

This brings me to "Hamilton" and some thoughts.  This musical/play/movie has obviously affected me.  I have seen it several times.  The song that affects me most has to do with the antagonist, Aaron Burr.  I think I appreciate Burr's story almost as much as I appreciate Hamilton's.  I am reminded of Salieri and Mozart when "Amadeus" came out.  "Wait For It" is the song that I keep thinking about.  Burr and I have something in common.  We wait.  I was taught that good things come to those who wait.  

When I was younger, a teenager, I was just starting puberty when I discovered my mouth.  James didn't lie in his Epistle when he talked about the tongue and how it can get you in trouble.  My mouth was always writing checks that I couldn't cash.  Afterwards, I would feel... bad.  I would think about the things I said and I knew that I couldn't take them back.  Was this the person that I wanted to be?  Did I want to be someone who had a big mouth?  My father would recite to me in Spanish, Proverbs 17:28 "Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues." It took me a while but I had to learn how to control my mouth.

I heard this thing that said something like, "Is it kind?  Is it meaningful?  Is it worth it?"  Someone would say something and I would have the words burning in my mouth.  The words were burning.  I finally learned to be clever and quick with my quips only to leave the words in my brain.  I had to learn how to tell myself stop.  Then I had to ask, "Is it kind?"  I would argue with myself.  "This is too good to keep in my head!!!"  "No."  Was the response.  I want to think it was the Holy Spirit telling me no.  

I had this boyfriend when I was much younger.  I won't say his name but he was quiet.  I misinterpreted his silence for deep pensive thought.  I told myself that he was a smart thinker.  I filled in his narrative for him. It turned out that he was not a deep thinker.  He was a selfish man who didn't speak because he lacked the communication skills.  My father had been right, even a fool is thought wise if he keeps his mouth shut.  

These days, I am slow to speak.  I ask myself if this is a good thing.  Should I have a response?  Then another verse from James comes to me. "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."  James 1:19-20

There are times when I feel bad waiting.  I'm a teacher.  I have had better times waiting than being active or making a decision.  Of course, there are times when a decision needs to be had, but for the most part, waiting has served me well.  Having a teen screaming with tears and rage at me.  They curse me out.  My response is to rage back.  But then... I pause.  Stop.  I tell myself.  "Is it kind?"  I thank God for those times when I have kept silent instead of reacting.  My favorite, Psalm 37 teaches me to wait on God.  The only active thing to do is pray.

There have been days that I sit down and say, "I should be doing something."  Should I?  I think there is something there that makes me feel like I am not doing anything but then again, I pray and wait.  God is working in my waiting.  Praise the Lord.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Gluten-Free Apple Pie

 Today I came home and opened the fridge to eat something for dinner.  It was there on the top shelf with just a crumbled aluminum foil over it.  I peeked in and saw a slice, the last slice.  It was the last slice of the gluten-free apple pie that he made me.  

You see, he made it for me like he made the gluten free three cheese mac and cheese for Thanksgiving.  Janet asked for the mac and cheese but he wanted to make sure that I got some.  This pie, this pie was just for me.  I told him that I didn't need a pie.  I told him that I hadn't had pie in over a decade.  He had no idea how to make it but he bought the all purpose gluten free flour anyway.  He took me with him to make sure none of the other ingredients had gluten either.  

On Thanksgiving, I had forgotten to buy the vanilla ice cream.  He went out and found the last carton of Breyers vanilla ice cream.  He made a crumble finish on top.  We had it after we ate and put ice cream on the warm apple pie.  It was delicious.  He didn't keep any of it.  He packed it up with the aluminum foil in the same pie tin he made it in and sent it home with us.  

Today I saw it there, the aluminum foil covered pie crust.  "This was made for me.  This is my pie."  I pulled it out and heated it up.  I made sure to get all the loose pieces of crumbles that had fallen.  There wasn't enough syrup so it was a little dry.  I didn't care.  I ate it with relish.  He called while I ate it.  "What are you eating?"  He didn't even judge me when I told him that I was having apple pie for dinner.  He reminded me how I protested the pie.  I thanked him for making me this pie that I thought I didn't want.  You know what he told me?  He told me next time he would roll out the crust and make sure there was a softer apple.  There would be a next time.  There would be another apple pie, another apple pie that he would make for me.  

I am thankful to God for family, gluten-free pies and the sweet man who made it for me.  Praise the Lord!!!