Unhappy 4th of July

My thoughts during the fireworks last night:

I wonder if they’re scared.

I wonder if anyone explained to them about the fireworks.

I wonder if they think the noise is bombs and they are not with their mommy and daddy.

Are they crying and screaming for their parents?

My dog is terrified. The kids must be too.

Why are we here celebrating this year?

What does “land of the free” even mean anymore?

Fourth of July was once my favorite holiday.

The Best Is Yet To Come – An Ode to 2016

Heart wrenching news, 

tremendous loss, 

political, financial and social instability.

Sadness, fear, anger and uncertainty.

It redefined so very much.
Amazing vacation memories, 

gutsy and brave new starts, 

renewed faith, 

happy, healthy, thriving children,

unwavering love and devotion,

old friends, new friends.

So much to not be taken for granted.

So much to be grateful for.
Speaking up, 
acting out, 

spreading kindness, 

seeking peace, 

choosing joy, 

stepping up,

stepping out

venturing into unchartered territories 

where dreams live and priorities are clearly and joyously redefined.

✌️ ❤️ 😊

Most of us are just sick of it ALL. (Insert your ALL)!

Here’s my solve:

POST THE SHIT OUT OF HAPPY STUFF! Kids, dogs, flowers, signs! Choose Joy (I forgot that for a day or so).

Make SOCIAL MEDIA social again. It’s not called Political Media

Spread love; STOP sharing the hate

PULL THE NEEDLE OUT SLOWLY. I made a couple of political comments because, frankly, they were way too fucking offensive to let slide by.

DEFINE & KEEP YOUR BOUNDARIES = unfriend or unfollow as needed.

HUG ALOT! And do one ACT OF KINDNESS A DAY. Hope is necessary!

KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT and because that’s really really really hard for me…

KEEP PRAYING. The Serenity Prayer is my go-to.

USE YOUR TRIBE. Call, text, drive by. Don’t let depression win!!!

FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT! If you think all this is bullshit then try it. 

✌️ ❤️ 😊 #peacelovejoy

I Used To Be Cool (The Mamalogues 2016)

I drive around in a Chrysler Town and Country with a bumper sticker that in one, single solitary, sentence describes my existence.  I Used To Be Cool.

How cool you ask?

Well, I drove a Mazda Miata for years to start and I had two car seats in the back of a grown up Convertible up until the point the latest pee stick showed two lines and that was the end of that sweet ride.

In my culture you go to college to earn your M.R.S., find a rich guy, get married at 21.  I wanted none of that shit so while my friends were planning their weddings– “She Went To Paris Looking for answers to questions that bothered her so….”

I went to the Louvre and beheld the beauty of The Winged Victory.

I ate Tapas at Plaza Mayor and danced with the gypsies in the caves of Sevilla.

I went to the top of the Spanish Steps in Rome and before I realized the Italian guy was going to grab my perky 21 year old boobs (they do that there) I swung a right hook into his jaw, eyes rolled back in his head and dropped him like I was Rhonda Rousey…. On a good day.

Then another steamy Italian grabbed my hand and said “crazy American run for your life”. We ran holding hands communicating only through our joyous laughter until he stopped and bought me a gelato.

Sigh…I used to be cool.

On the beach in France I pulled my top off and went topless just like all other girls–and 80 year old grandmas.

I hitchhiked in Brussels because we met these cute guys who liked to dance, stayed out too late and we missed our ride.

I crossed Checkpoint Charlie from one side of Berlin to the other and left my name written on The Wall. I remember crying for joy the day that Wall came down. I saw firsthand what building walls can do and it left an indelible imprint upon my soul.

I used to be cool.

I swam. Topless again.  In Greece and met a Danish guy who had a motorcycle. He showed me the island and slept on the floor of our hotel room until morning. Then he jumped into the ocean and swam out to the ship he was working on that week. His name is Patrick. We are still friends. He met a beautiful Colombian girl and they live in Georgia with their two little boys. He still has a motorcycle. And that shipping company he used to work for?  He bought it.

Sigh…We used to be cool.

Sitting in a café in what used to be Yugoslavia I pulled out a pack of Wrigley Spearmint Gum- you know the green packages from back then. I had a guy offer me his jeans (Levi’s 501) for a pack of American gum. I gave him the pack; he kept his jeans. He wasn’t so cute and he had bad teeth.

One of the girls I met on my trip and I met these two very handsome British guys-with good teeth-at a floating bar on the River Thames.  Once again, due to a few extra beverages and some 21 year old infatuations we were catching a ride back to our hotel with two strange guys (hmmmm).

All of a sudden  I really had to pee.  Kristen and I are squeezed into the back of a Fiat and my bladder is exploding.  One of the guys tells us he will stop at his “office”  so I can pee. His office turned out to be what looked like a park but I did not care. I jumped right out, popped a squat and peed right there in the grass. It felt so damn good to pee!  I could’ve cared less where I was peeing. That is until I got back in the car and the cute gent said “Congratulations Yank! You can now forever say you peed in the Queens garden.”

His office was Kensington Palace. His job- bodyguard to Sarah Ferguson.

I used to be cool.

I cried at the sight of Michael Angelo’s David,

fell to my knees in front of The Pieta,

ate an 8 hour meal in Florence,

drank an $18 beer in Munich,

saw the tulips in Amsterdam (a little on the high side),

stayed at the original Cinderella’s castle in the Black Forest, slept under the stars in Switzerland, took a paddle boat out on Lake Lucerne, gambled in the casino in Monaco.

I used to be cool!

I rode on trains, slept on the deck of boats,

walked across borders just to get the stamps on my passport,

put a lock on a bridge,

walked across another bridge in a famous nursery rhyme

while waiting for the strike of midnight on the clock the world knows.

I used to be cool! 

I am grateful for all the experience I have had and all the chances I have taken.

Oh, I also picked up and moved from Miami to LA in my 30’s not knowing a soul because I was inspired by the Dixie Chick’s Wide Open Spaces- and a job.

Two years later I moved to Kansas City – which I could not even find on a map because I lost a bet with myself.  The bet you ask?

If the place has my birthday in their address–I have to take the job.  My birthday is 6/6/67.

Their  zip code-66607. Swear to God!

But you want to know the truth?

The truth is that all of those amazing adventures and experiences you can’t pay for,

All those people, places, things- hot guys and amazing marijuana got me to the greatest and coolest adventure of my life.

Being mom.

Being the person they look at and roll their eyes at. The one they apologize for and laugh AT more than with. The one with all the stories and the map with all the dots on it that I am SO very glad they envy and scream NO FAIR at when pull it out to prove to them that–Hey! I was a me before we were a we!






Cool is over rated.

This- right here-right now-this place-at this moment-


This is the reward, the gift, the pain, the joy, the unfathomable blessing,

the grandest adventure and another bet I lost with myself:

“I am 36. I bet I won’t have kids now”.

Ummm… wham, bam-bam-bam, thank you m’aam.

Yes, I used to be cool.

Reflections On My 49th Birthday

I’m 49 today. Next year I will have lived a half a century. And I’m passed middle age! That deserves a moment of silence and some reflection. The best part of looking ahead is being able to look back and say, “Wow, what a ride it’s been”!

At 19 life was chaotic, scary and uncertain but I had a path to follow and knew if I stuck to it things would be ok. Adventures, graduations, jobs lay ahead and I was going to conquer it all with my fierce independence and sheer grit.

At 29 I was footloose and fancy free. Traveling and shopping; shopping and traveling completely unaware of the adventures my 30s would bring. Moves, marriage and babies!

At 39 I had my last child and stepped into a decade of incredible joy, gut-wrenching loss and betrayal, renewed hope and powerful love. I grew balls and learned so many new things about myself, my courage and my unfathomable love for my children.

As I enter my 49th year I’m still learning, trying new things, dumping old ones and finally making conscious decisions to step away from the not productive and toxic. Boundaries are my friend! 

My greatest joy is in my children, in my relationship and in my lifelong friends near, far and in between. I hope to close my 40s surrounded by love, uplifted by faith, strengthened by hope and blessed with good health.Thanks for coming along for the ride! 

One Death; Hundreds of Times

It was Easter Sunday 1984 right before noon. We were getting ready to go to 12:30 mass at our parish, St Brendan. He reached up into a kitchen cabinet for a pack of Salem menthols. And he collapsed. His body turned to the left and he landed on his back. Eyes open. Pupils fixed and dilated. No respiration. No pulse. CPR. Frantic calls to 911. My brothers running to neighbors homes for help. One neighbor doing chest compressions while I did mouth to mouth. 13 minutes. It took them 13 minutes to get there. It was only a 7 minute drive but there was church traffic. Our life changed forever in 13 minutes.  He was dead when he hit the ground they said. 

This week a woman in our town died of cancer. She leaves behind 12 year old twins. Her death made a profound impact on my son because, though I never had the blessing of meeting her, my son did. I was a few minutes late getting him from soccer practice and he walked up to the concession stand with his buddies. They all got stuff; my son had no money. “She just gave me a Bosco cheese stick like all the other kids, Mom. She never asked for money or an explanation. When I started to say my mom is lay…She said “Hi. I’m their mom. She was kind and beautiful Mom. I’ll never forget her”. I believe him.

“He always was nice to me.

Remember when he taught us to dance the waltz in your kitchen?

I’ll never forget him.

It’s 4/22. I’m think of you today.

He would be proud. He would be so proud of you.”

Losing a parent as a kid is a really shitty club to belong to. You know exactly how the drill goes. The memories, flashbacks, the empty place in what must be your soul. You’re different now. “Hey, that’s the girl whose dad died. The boy whose mom died. That’s the family…”  Going back to school you realize I was someone else just two Monday’s ago. Who am I now? How do I belong?

And when it’s been 32 years and you’re 48 years old and you hear the same type of news you’re suddenly 16 again as the memories flood back. 

But you’re not. You’re different now.

Now you are living proof that you will survive. That people are remembered by their kindness and you can say with fervor and certitude, speaking only your truth, that you will, do, must survive. You are their/his/ her legacy and you will be ok.

One day it will be your turn to look at someone and say, “I know. I was you once. It sucks. I’m sorry. I grieve with you and wish no kid would ever have to live through this. But I’m here and you will be here too. Aren’t you lucky you were his/hers? How blessed are you to love so much and have been loved so well.” 

This is why.  Because it’s not one parent. It’s one parent hundreds of times.


a card of a different suit

trump:  a playing card of the suit chosen to rank above the others, which can win a trick where a card of a different suit has been led.

For a person who has always stated that there are no coincidences reading the above definition of the word trump sends chills down my spine.

  • chosen to rank above others
  • Can Win A Trick
  • Where A Card of A Different Suit Has Been LED!

I am not into politics. I can honestly say that I really have not cared that much until now. Like most people there are things I hold dear and that matter to me greatly and things I do not give a hoot about. I look at where candidates stand on the things that matter to me and I punch my card in favor of the lesser of all evils.

This time it is different though. This time I am scared. I am sad. I am questioning people around me that I thought were friends. Normal. Smart. Kind. CATHOLIC. Friends.

To say that I am passionate about my culture, my heritage, my Cubanism would be an understatement. I have dedicated my career, and in many ways my life, to helping erase stereotypes. Nothing gives me greater joy than the opportunity to state, after an unaccented intelligent discussion, that I am Hispanic. Yo soy Cubana. Only to hear “you don’t look Hispanic!”. Well, what does Hispanic look like? What does it sound like? Are you surprised? Many look and sound like me. Have degrees, work corporate jobs, live in the Midwest, marry into Irish surnames, have children who don’t speak Spanish but can Salsa like nobody’s business. Removing the blinders has always been part of the reward.It has brought me great joy and made me some money.

This time it is different though. This time I am scared. I am sad. I am grateful that who I am, where I am from, what I believe is not obvious.

My children- a blondish, blue-eyed doll that looks like a California Beach Baby with legs like a stallion. Thank God. A fair skinned, dark eyed little man whose looks scream GOAL! before they scream Hispanic. Thank God. A red-head with light freckles and a smile that will melt your heart. She goes by Lulu. It could be anything.  Thank God.

Thank God that they won’t get punched or kicked or called Wetback or Spics. Shot for riding their bikes on the path in front of the mansions in our neighborhood because they must’ve stolen something. Pushed and shoved and stabbed with a syringe for the color of their skin.  Thank God that if we have to we can go under cover and be safe.

This time may not be so different.  Is this how the Jews felt? How the people of the Underground railroad felt? The Asians in the camps? The Cubans on the rafts? The Haitians out a sea? The Syrians sleeping in the dirt? Is this how it started in Cuba when one man changed the entire course of my history?

This is not about a wall or keeping people out. This is about what can happen to those of us that are here! To our kids, our jobs, our families, our friendships. Our identities!

These are my thoughts today. I have shamefully sat and felt relief at being able to divorce myself from my identity if it came to that.  How fucked up is that?

trump:  the place where a card of a different suit refuses to be led.