Monday, December 31, 2007

A Special Wish for Year 2008


If women solely inhabited earth, would the likes of Smith & Wesson or Brinks Home Security System become bankrupt business ventures? Would Handguns, Explosive Devices, Security Cameras and Auto Alarm Systems become non-existent? Do you think that Child Molestation, Ethnic Cleansings, Rape and other Aggravated Assaults against Children and Women would become unheard of? Read Full Story.

In less than six hours, like it or not, the birth of a new year will be celebrated by many with champagne, fireworks, extravagant parties and so forth. While many of us are busy jotting down our new year's resolutions...resolutions that we may or may not adhere to, let's not forget to keep our men and women in uniform in our thoughts and prayers. Let's not forget to wish, hope and pray for a global reduction in violence in year 2008 and beyond...

Wishing you and your family a safe and prosperous New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Let Your Yes, be Yes!

While I was busy folding some clothes in the laundry room, Furr-ball walks in and blurts,
“Mom, guess what word I hate the most?”
“I don’t know.” I reply. “What word might that be?”
“Because every time I ask you for something good to eat like, Oreos or Chocolate Chip Mint Ice Cream, you always say maybe…and then, I never get it!”

I explain that when a grown-up says “maybe,” sometimes it’s just a polite way of saying no; because that grown up is not really sure he or she wants to say yes at that moment.
“Why can’t you and all those grown-ups just say yes or no?”

She has a point. A point that would have even made Christ proud of her. Didn’t he once caution, “Let your yes be yes, and your no, no?”

If you liked this post, you'll probably enjoy this blog entry.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Survey Says:Why Married Men Wank...


First, here’s a very special thanks to all those who took time away from their very hectic cyber surfing life to vote. Without you, many inquiry minds like yours truly, would remain clueless about why married men need that “special time.” In the interest of anyone who has no idea what this is all about,here’s a recap of what spawned this census. Out of 58 votes, below is a high to low sequential breakdown:

CATEGORY................................NUMBER OF VOTES

1. Sexually Frustrated ..............................21

2. Quick and Easy .................................14

3. Bored/Stressed ......................................11

4. Not Attracted to Spouse Anymore.............06

5. Porn Addiction .......................................06

Commentary to #1: Should you happen to fall under this category, chances are, you are getting zero “nookie” or not enough from your significant other for reasons that are best known or unknown to you. We understand. You are simply doing what you need to do, to take care of numero uno-YOU! After all, didn’t a wise man or woman once caution that drastic situations call for drastic measures? Besides, I don’t believe for a moment that the courts would toss the books at you as long as you keep it strictly one-on-one between you and your one-eyed reptile…know what I mean Vern?

Commentary to #2: On occasion, you’d rather not be troubled with the “emotional or physical demand to give pleasure to someone else at the time,” as one poster noted. It makes perfect sense that at times, “a married person just wants to blast off; fast and furious without any niceties…in peace.” I suppose this is okay in instances when you’re either away from your partner, or she is not available. However, should this become a preferred method of sexual healing, reminiscent of the ever so popular “on demand” cable concept, then, we’re are probably talking…issues. Mucho issues. Seek counsel!

Commentary to #3: Everyone gets bored at some point or another! There are several, more beneficial ways to relieve stress or boredom. Go for a walk. Go hike a nature trail or two. Climb a Mountain. Learn to play a musical instrument. Go volunteer at some assisted living establishment in your local community. Get a pet for crying out loud!

Commentary to #4: Well, what can I say, except that s.h.i.t happens and can happen unexpectedly for varying reasons. Reasons that are perhaps specific to each situation. But unfortunately, this is probably one of the precursors for extra marital affairs. So, beware! Talk to your spouse to see if there are particular steps you both need to take to address this issue. If not, seek therapy and figure things out from there…

Commentary to #5: There very well may be a correlation between viewing sexually explicit materials and wanking. However, its overall percentage in the grand scheme of this survey, leads me to believe that this is nothing more than a natural progression of action and reaction. One could even draw a line comparing the notorious chicken and egg scenario…you know, as in… which came first?

Of all the comments that were posted on discussion forums like NVS and PNP, regarding this ballot, one of my favorites is this…“because he can," just like a male dog likes to lick his pelotas, I suppose.

P.S. If we missed anything crucial, please feel free to note in your comment. I've also added a new category labeled, "Survey Says." Be on the look out for future polls on issues that are guaranteed to tickle your fancy or make you want to put your hands around my neck and squeeze...firmly-;)

Wishing you all a prosperous year 2008!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I'm Too Sexy For My...

I've been honing my paparazzi skills and not too long ago, Daddoo was willing to be my first victim. So what do you think? Is this a good time for me to quit my day job or not? Go ahead, worship my photography skills already. All "zero kiss @ss" comments will have to face the wrath of my favorite button-senorita delete-;)

Note: Too bad I couldn't get-Right Said Fred-to perform,"I'm too sexy for my..." in the background-;)

If you liked this post, may I recommend this blog.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

How to Detach "Picky" From "Eater"

This is a sequel to "Is Your Picky Eater Driving You to Drink?"

As I warmed up some lentil soup for lunch, I heared,"Yummy! That smells delicious.”
Scrawny asked if she could have some, and I was more than happy to share. I invited her to sit with me at the dinning table.

“What the heck is this?” she asked, with a puckered brow. I tried to reassure her that it was the same yummy smelling dish.

“Try some, it is so goooood,” I teased.
“But…Mom, it looks like diarrhea poop.”
I glared at her and could feel the veins in my head throbbing.
“Is there something else for me to eat”? "Nope," I replied (with all the grace and restraint that I could muster). "Go play outside!"

By dinner time, when she asked for pizza, I popped open that bottle of Moet I'd been saving for a very special occasion; worked on my victory dance...not really. But I did phone Daddoo and asked him to pick up a large cheese pizza from Papa John’s, on his way home from work. Later, everyone gathered around in the family room to enjoy our dinner. Everyone, except… yep, you got it!

She was methodically yanking all visible cheese from her piece. I didn’t ask her what she was doing. I didn’t care. I guess as parents of picky eaters, all we can do, is continue to offer nutritious meals (not necessarily Papa John's), to our children. To eat or not to eat, the choice is entirely up to them. So, if your picky eater is driving you round the bend, don’t blow a gasket. Here are a few home grown tips, that should help reduce pickiness or completely detach “picky” from “eater.”

DON’T GIVE OPTIONS – And I’m guilty, I must admit. It’s only recently that I began to realize that I may have very well encouraged Scrawny's picky eating habit. “Would you like eggs and bagel; cheerios or waffles?” used to follow, “Did you sleep well last night?” If you constantly present your children with multiple food choices, you’re sending the message that it’s okay to be picky. Don’t let them think they have a choice. You simply prepare a meal, serve and announce “It’s time to eat!”

SAY NO TO GRAZING LIKE COWS - Try scheduling meal and snack times to control all day long nibbling. This should also give you more control over what they eat and when they eat. Besides, if you allow them to snack freely, they’ll try to regurgitate excuses like, “I’m not hungry" or "I just ate” when it’s time to sit down and enjoy that home cooked meal you spent hours preparing.

TOSS THE 'SHORT ORDER COOK' HAT - I’m still working on this one. Every now and then however, I catch myself sneaking back into the kitchen to whip up bacon and eggs for Mikala at dinner time just because she shunned my Rice, Tuna with Broccoli or whatever everyone else in the family is having.

ASK NOT FOR OPINIONS - Each time you say to a picky eater “What would you like to eat?” chances are, it’ll never be that healthy, nutritious meal that you had in mind in the first place. You are the parent. You get to decide what to feed your children without seeking their input.

CUT BACK ON JUNK – Bear in mind, you are the one who is in charge of the foods that enter your house. Not your kids. By having zero or fewer junk foods around, they'll have no other recourse but to eat what’s available. Hopefully, the choices would be nuts, more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products instead of Pringles, Cheeto Puffs or little Debbie snacks.

P.S. Should none of the above steps work for you, Trade in that KID for a PUPPY-;)

If you liked this post, you will love the "Half and Half Rule"

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I Need Money for a Sex Change!

Every now and then, in most uncensored message boards, an unfamiliar poster stumbles in to start a totally outrageous thread. At times these posts are crude, derogatory, outside the norm, or downright hilarious. And what could be more side-splitting than the initial post? How about those graceful, full of wisdom commentary that eventually follow from veteran members of that forum? Here are some rejoinders that had me rolling on my carpet(literally), not too long ago.…

Darlin69: I need money for a sex change. I have $8,500, any donations will be great. Please help my dream come true. Email me or you can send your donation to 2722 University Blvd West, Apt 34.

Ladymars: LMAO I just "emailed" you some cash. Are you gonna be a guy or a girl?

Bigmoney: Here you go. Get a brain change too!

Rebca: Hey!!! If this is a guy, wanting to be a girl, I can help him out for a fraction of the cost of a surgeon! (Just let me sharpen my knife....)

Ladymars: LMBO. Someone get the chainsaw-quick!

HMK: Rebca, you could just go to the food court at your local mall and get a "Spork" to do the job. That way you wouldn't even need to risk your cutlery.

Sunshine: If you’re a man wanting to be changed to a woman I can help. I have a 9 volt Black & Decker and a bull castration kit. You make a tiny slit in the skin and wrap that animal around the testicle and rev that drill up and boom your it !!! LMBO

Whatever became of darlin69? To this day, no one knows-;)
If you enjoyed this post, you'll probably like this blog entry

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The "Half and Half" Rule

At any given time, most children would opt for that high fat, high sugar, or heavily refined carbohydrate food rather than its healthier alternative. Therefore, one of the toughest challenges that we face daily, just like most parents with young children, is how to get our youngsters to eat more of the nourishing food items.

If you’d like to gradually wean them off the less nutritious stuff, this home grown “Half and Half” concept might very well do the trick! It is simple. It is effective. If it can work for us, I believe that it can work for your family as well. The following is intended to be a general guideline. You can be as creative as you wish. Here's the drill...


  • A single serving of Eggo waffles or Pancakes-for example- equals two pieces. Replace one of them with whole wheat, multi-grain or whole grain brand.
  • *If they want Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, or Captain Crunch, no problem! Be sure to combine in equal proportion, with other whole grain options like Bran Flakes, Quaker Squares, Raisin Bran... etc.


  • The top or bottom half of their peanut butter and jelly (PBJ), grilled cheese, ham and cheese or other preferred sandwich, should be made with whole wheat bread.
  • They want French fries? Fine. So long as they are willing to have an equivalent serving of some fruit or veggie i.e. sliced apples, grapes, banana, baby carrots or other healthy finger food.
  • As for chips or crackers, most children would not touch the unsalted type with a 10-foot-pole. In the absence of a reduced sodium assortment, simply combine regular(less than 120 mg of sodium per serving), with unsalted variety before dishing out.


  • If Rice or Pasta such as (Spaghetti )is on the dinner menu, overall quantity prepared should consist of half (brown rice) or( whole wheat pasta )and half of the usual ‘enriched’ variety.
  • Be sure to sneak in a few leaves or a decent portion of baby spinach into their garden salad for added nutrition.

In the event of an occasional fuss or resistance, gently remind them of the only other possible option. The new “100% WHOLE GRAIN, ALL THE TIME” Rule, and watch the magic of compliance unfold-;)

Note: Do not forget to add those whole wheat or whole grain products to your grocery shopping list unless of course your child has an allergy to wheat!

If you like this post, you'll probably find this blog entry useful.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Special Treat for Juice Junkies

To most parents, grandparents, guardians, or care providers of young children, the following conversation between me and one of my youngsters may sound familiar to you. If not, trust me…at some point, it will!

Kid: Mom, can I have some juice?
Mom: You’ve just had some juice
Kid: Can I have some more?
Mom: Not right now
Kid: Why not?
Mom: Because you’ve had enough
Kid: Can I have a little bit more?
Mom: Nope. Now run along!

This dialogue could go on until you give in just to preserve your sanity from the sniveling that’s bound to ensue or choose to stand your ground like that oak tree in your backyard and still deal with the sniveling that's bound to ensue.

Apple Juice. Grape Juice. Cranapple Juice. Any juice. You name it, they love it. Juice may contain a good amount of vitamin c; nonetheless, it’s also loaded with a greater amount of excessive sugar and has diminutive nutritional value. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kids who drink large amounts of fruit juice often suffer from diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, and even flatulence. So what’s a parent to do? Become the juice Nazi and yell, “There would be no more juice for you,” whenever a child asks for some? Parents are urged to limit juice intake to 4 - 6 ounces a day for children up to 6 years old, and to no more than 8 to 12 ounces for older children. But, I’ve got a better idea...

If you’d like to cut back even more without having them scream blue murder, below is a cool fix that’ll most certainly pacify every “juice junkie” in your household!

The Scoop...
1.Fill up a plastic ice cube tray with juice of choice

2.Freeze slightly to slushy consistency (20-30 minutes)
3.Remove tray; stick a toothpick into each cube
4.Freeze until solid-about an hour; serve and enjoy 5. Quickly store leftovers in a plastic container or zippy bag and re-freeze


  • Pick up a plastic popsicle tray like the one below from walmart or other grocery stores, if you do not have an ice cube tray. Then follow steps 1, 4 and 5.

Wishing You All a Very Merry Christmas-:)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Is Your Picky Eater Driving You to Drink?

Odds are, you’re not alone. Although no one can say for sure if picky eating in children is an inherent trait or an acquired habit. Nonetheless, many experts agree that “when it comes to food, young children are notoriously finicky.” As parents, it’s bad enough that we constantly worry that our children don’t eat enough of the right foods. Toss a picky eater into the equation and the challenge shifts from trying to get them to eat something healthy, to eating anything – end of story!

I love to cook. I love kids who love to eat. And I know they are out there! As a mother of three young children, I’ve had my share of sleepovers, birthday parties, family get-togethers and other social activities that involve food. I’ve seen kids who graciously devour whatever you put in front of them without the tiniest whimper. Unfortunately, not one of those kids happens to be mine.

YEAR 2004...
Scrawny, loves macaroni and cheese! But when it comes to pizza, the only thing she wants on her slice is plenty of sauce - NO CHEESE PLEASE! She likes spaghetti too- just keep the sauce and whatever else happens to be in it-to yourself. Her idea of eating a hot dog, is a plain white bun; extra ketchup, zero weiner. She would eat waffles with a whole stick of butter, if you let her. However, should you dare to spread the thinnest film of butter on her toast, you might as well pass it down to the dog and spare yourself the migraine!

Just the other day, she asked me if we could have pizza for dinner.
“We’ll see.” I replied. My rationale was something like this….
She really didn’t eat much of those Eggo waffles for breakfast.
It’s too crunchy, and the syrup doesn’t taste the same” she complains.
“The same as what” I ask.
You know, like the other one.”
“What other one?” I show her the bottle. The bottle of syrup she’d personally handpicked from Wal-mart.
Well, it just doesn’t taste good- yuck!” She grimaces and sticks out her tongue. I eat the waffles and offer her a bowl of raisin bran cereal. She picks out all the raisins. I ask why.
I don’t like raisins in my cereal anymore; they look like bugs” she says.
“Fine, just eat the cereal- for Mommy please?”
Well, all right.” She takes a couple bites; pushes the bowl toward me.
The milk doesn’t taste right. Is it soy milk or regular milk?”
“Are you hungry or not?” I growl. And that was the end of breakfast!

To be continued in...Click Here

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Superbad, is Totally Super Bad!

So, here I sit. No, I am not broken hearted, and I am definitely not sitting on my toilet seat waiting to let out a few logs. Trust me. Hayden had somehow managed to talk me into coming over to watch another potentially stupid @ss movie with him and some of his 9-5 buddies. Why? Well, for starters, his opinionated, “waiting to come out of the closet” buddy, (Rudy) said, “Dude, “superbad, is muy excellente. This is the same old pinhead who previously finagled hayden into taking me to see Napoleon Dynamite on our first date! However, I am curious. Curious enough to find out, "If the entire flick is about two 18-year-olds, running around yelling as many vulgar slangs for genitalia as possible,"according to a totally reliable movie buff.

The Verdict? ...

Superbad, is waaaaaaay super bad! No joke. Within the first half hour, you will be bombarded with excessive sexually crude rants...enough to make Howard Stern Cringe. Sure this movie was able to squeeze a chuckle or three out of me. However, in spite of its sporadic sprinkles of clever humor(including flashbacks of young Seth as a penile graphic artist), I'd have to equate my superbad experience to pissing and flushing over 60 minutes of my life down the toilet. I'm talking 60 minutes that I could never get back! So, mi amigo, consider ye warned. Save yourself a trip to blockbuster; keep that dinero in your wallet!

Need detailed reviews? Check out,

NOTE: Metal Chica is a fictional character with a natural gift of the gab. Through her often exaggerated tales of inconsequential gibberish which are (unfortunately) based on real experiences, we'd get to understand what makes this 23-year-old single female tick or ticked off!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Fine Art of Crying on Demand

Does anyone remember Amber? You know, that chica from ‘Big Brother 8’ who seemed to boo hoo all the time about everything? Well, when it comes to the fine art of crying on demand, I know of a very special someone who could give Amber, together with her “tears manufacturing factory” a run for her money, anytime!

Seriously. Whenever this kid is hungry, or asks for a bite to eat and you don’t respond pronto, to her request, she cries. If it’s way past her bedtime and you (heavens forbid)happen to be anywhere in the vicinity of her bedroom, jibber jabbering… she cries. Under no circumstance are you to accidentally bump into her; whack her on the head, or step on her feet even during play time. Under no circumstance are you to make fun of her, snap at her, or tell her to “shut up,” rather than “hush“ or “be quiet.” She will bawl. Guaranteed! Don’t you dare raise your voice by any decibel higher than what she’s accustomed to(even if she’s being disruptive or excessively boisterous.) You might as well save your apologies or all subsequent consoling pep talks until her crying spell has come to a complete stop. Okay, I think you get the point by now…

This morning, at about 4:30 am, I heard Furr-ball whimpering all the way from my bedroom. As soon as it dawned on me that she was probably having a bad dream, I climbed into her bed and tried to soothe her with a firm hug(which of course woke her up).
“Are you all right mama?” I whispered.
“Noooooo.” She replied as she continued to sob.
“Does your tummy hurt?”
“No mommy, I had a horrible nightmare.”
“I’m so sorry baby. What was it about?”
“Mikala won’t let me go on www dot webkinz dot com.”

What? Yeah, my sentiments exactly. I told you she cries about everything. ..even in her dreams-:)

P.S. As I’m recounting this story to other members of the family(over breakfast), I can see the tears quickly flooding her eyes, ready to stream steadily down her face. And I believe we all know why-;)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Kleenex Moment

I have an announcement to make. I want you, my dedicated guest to know that Today is a very sad day in my household. I have just been given the boot from one chore that never fails to brighten my day in spite of all those daunting challenges that most stay at home moms(like yours truly), get to grapple with. People, my kindergartner literally said to me, mom, you are fired! I am talking…tossed like a smelly, worn out, pair of gym shoes.

After indulging in our mid afternoon, after school snack with Furr-ball, and her older sister, Scrawny, she announces (like clockwork of course),
“Mom, I am going to make some Frankfurt Burger.”

TRANSLATION: I am going to the bathroom to poop, please stick around in the immediate vicinity until I’m done so that you can wipe my butt.

Minutes later, out of the corner of my eye, I see her sprinting toward me.
“Hey, get back in there!” I order. “I haven‘t wiped you yet.”
“But mom, I know how to wipe myself now.”
“Yep.” She proudly replies. “I am a big girl now.”

So here I sit, broken hearted and teary-eyed. Boo hoo, hoo- that very special apron string has been severed- boo hoo, hoo. Hey Tito, pass me a tissue! Wait! Make that a box of Kleenex. Grazie -;)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Land of The Free Ride

Once, Daddoo and I were in the market for some investment properties. We found a government subsidized condo that seemed like it would yield a decent cash flow. The current landlord scheduled a showing for us. The minute we stepped into that unit, nothing could have prepared me for what I saw...

An elegantly furnished living room with top of the line stereo system! A big @ss TV that was about the size of the vanity mirror in my bathroom! I couldn’t believe it. How could anyone whose rent bill was being footed by the government afford such techno luxury? To me, this was clearly an abuse of social services. To this day, it still irks me to know that there are able bodied people out there who continue to take advantage of a system that’s supposed to provide temporary assistance to those who are in actual dire need of help. The choice to sit on one's rear end and live on government hand-outs rather than becoming a contributing member of society is no way to live a life of dignity. So, get off that train! Let's stop turning this great Land of the Free, into Land of the Free Ride!

Friday, November 30, 2007

"Who's Gonna Feed Me?"

I've always wondered why God chose to bless me with not one, or two, but three daughters...

Yesterday, after having to sub as a 2nd grade teacher in a class with -a ratio of 9 boys to 3 girls- by the end of the day, it all made perfect sense! There is no doubt in my mind that I would be behind bars, if some of those boys were mine. So for now, I have finally decided to sign up for an upcoming Language Tester Trainee program in New York. But first, I had to break the news to the children...

“Girls, Mommy may have to go away on a business trip for a few days.” I announce.
“I don’t want you to go Mommy." Exclaims Scrawy. "I’ll miss you!”
“Who's going to take care of us?" asks Kid Sid.
“That would be Daddy," I reply. I'm sure he can handle it."
“But, but, Mom, Dad can't cook." Blurts Furr-ball(with a look of panic on her face). “Who’s gonna feed me?”

P.S. when it comes to keeping that tummy full, I'm proud to mention that I'm yet to meet another kindergartner with such unwavering priority like my Furr-ball-:)

If you liked this post, you'll love Papa John's Pizza Vs. Disneyworld.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bubble Art

There's just something about the simple act of blowing bubbles or watching them float lazily away that enthralls the mind of a child. Who would have thought that such an inexpensive thrill would turn out to be a potential cure for the summer time blues and a bizzare art form? -;)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


This is an excerpt from "Embrace the Wonder," a collaborative book/music project in progress...

Forty miles to the east of Phoenix, there is a land of beauty and legend known as the Superstition Wilderness. Somewhere in this vast and rugged land, many Arizonans believe there is a hidden treasure of gold. For over a hundred years, the legend of the Dutchman’s Mine has spawned intrigue and given rise to treasure hunters who fantasized and dreamed of the old west.

It’s a fact that the Dutchman used to venture out into this wilderness with his mule and return with his sacks filled with gold( few pieces of which are still around today and whose chemical composition matches no known gold mine in the world.) This is what gives hope to the faithful.

Many seekers return day after day; some have abandoned civilization altogether in order to live out there among the saguaro cactus and rattlesnakes until they find their treasure. But it's not just gold they seek. They long for simple times and dream of days gone by. Days when cowboys rode tall in their saddles and slept outdoors under the stars of the wild frontier.

As for me, I’m just a city slicker looking for some adventure. Each time I’m out there, I search with child-like exuberance. Didn’t we all at one time dream of finding some treasure such as a pirate’s buried chest or a dinosaur bone? Isn't it every child’s fantasy to unearth what’s lost or hidden?

The Dutchman found his treasure and left few clues to its location. He wanted us to look for it. On his death bed, he not only confessed to killing two Indians who were mining the gold when he first came upon it, he also offered riddles and drawings which no one has yet deciphered to date. In town, you could purchase several varieties of treasure maps that will only leave you five dollars poorer, standing under the hot sun scratching your head. Occasionally the streams give up a small nugget or enough gold dust to pay for a few drinks at the saloon near by, where you could feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Out front, horses are tied to posts, and men-with six shooters on their sides and spurs on their boots walk through the swinging doors with the earth still under their fingernails from a long day of searching.

One day, I headed out past Weaver’s Needle, a towering smooth rock that gives some reference when you’re out wandering through the mesmerizing landscape. It was well over one hundred degrees and there wasn't a single shade tree in sight. I’d never been out this far before, but something told me to go on. I climbed hills and descended into valleys; moved rocks and chipped away at boulders to no avail. Then suddenly, a reflection caught my eye. A hundred yards up the side of a rocky outcropping, I could see a metallic glimmer. I climbed furiously, slipping and sliding back two steps for every three I took forward. My heart pounded with anticipation. My eyes burned as sweat dripped down my face. Somehow, I managed to get there. A few swipes with my pick axe, and the shining element was loose. In my hand lay a nugget the size of a nickeL. But it seemed as big as the gold of El Dorado. This child has found his buried treasure at least enough to keep him coming back to dig for whatever is hidden by mystery and buried in legend. I’ll be back next weekend just like everyone else, who is trying to discover the old minier's secret. However, a part of me hopes that the mother lode is never found. I don’t need the gold that badly. It’s the adventure I seek. The mystery of the past and the promise of the future, which keeps man’s dreams alive like that of a child. That’s the real treasure. So let the Dutchman have his way. Let the search continue...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What's With Grown-ups and Bathrooms?

After picking up my younger two from school yesterday, as usual, I asked , “How was your day?”
“Fine.” Replied Furr-ball. “I had lots of fun.”

Silence. Silence. Silence…

Turning to Scrawny, who apparently seemed pissed off for some reason, I asked, “Well, what about you?”
“My stomach was hurting all day.” She replied.
“Did you need to use the bathroom?”
“No!” She screeched. Then she grunted like some wild animal and blurted, “What’s wrong with you people? What’s with grown-ups and bathrooms?

Silence. Silence. Silence…

I just stared and zipped it! Apparently this kid had something she’d like to get off her chest and here is her story-in her own words…

First , I said to my Teacher during reading, Ms. Hingle, my stomach hurts. She said,
“Well, go to the bathroom.”
So, I went to the bathroom and just sat and sat…nothing happened! Then, while we were in the computer lab, my stomach started hurting again. I walked up to the teacher, and said,
Mrs. Brooks, my stomach hurts. She said,
“Well, go to the bathroom.”

Scrawny’s question of the day
Why do grown-ups always think that kids need to use the bathroom every time their tummy hurts?

I am handling this as a rhetorical question. You should too…unless of course you reeeeeeeeeally happen to have an answer you’d like me to relay to her-:)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Light Jacket

Daddoo and I like to go for a brisk walk after dinner. And each time, Furr-ball would huff and puff until we either give in and let her tag along or pay her off. Usually, a handful of coins is enough to do the trick.

A few days ago, as we were about to head out in a windy fiftyish Northern GA temperature, she asked, "Can I come too?" I handed her a dollar bill; told her we’d be right back and asked her older sisters to keep an eye on her. Half way down the driveway, I heard, “Mom, heeeeeeeeeere! Take this!” We turned around to find her waving the dollar at us.
“That’s yours” I replied. “Go back inside.”
“Nooooooo mommy, you keep the dollar; I wanna come."
"Fine." I said. "Go get your Light Jacket."
But when she came back out...

I remember thinking...
She needs hearing aid or I need speech therapy -:)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Semantics of Eating Vs. Snacking

For the past few weeks, I must admit that my attempt to bribe, coerce, or trick the children into eating more high fiber or whole grain breakfast seems to be counter productive. If it isn't General Mills Cheerios, Golden Graham, or Lucky Charms, forget it! If the label does not read Hungry Jack Pancakes or Eggo waffles-blueberry to be specific- they want absolutely nothing to do with it. So, I was a bit taken aback this morning (and pleased) when Furr-ball asked if she could have a bowl of oatmeal.
“Mom” she announced proudly, “I am going to be good today.”
“Yep. I am going to eat healthy foods and clean up my mess.”
“Excellent” I said. Who could argue with that?

Three hours later...
(after she finally figured out where I'd been hiding her halloween stash)

So, what happened to eating healthy today?
Furr-ball: Mooooooooom, I’m not eating. I am just snacking.

Guys, methinks I may very well have a brilliant defense attorney in the making. If you happen to stumble upon a pre-law, after school program for kindergartners, please email me-;)

If you enjoyed this post, you'll probably like this blog entry -;)

To Stand Alone

NOTE: The "Embrace the Wonder" series features excerpts from a collaborative book/music project in progress. John Droese is the main author. However, there are other contributors whose stories would also be featured in this category...

My mom kept telling me that it was an important part of my recovery process. It was my first day back at good old Killian High school since the diagnosis. Six weeks of chemotherapy...the doctors say remission and I was supposed to pick up right where I had left off. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t very happy before all this cancer stuff. I had never been asked out by a boy, or to sleep over at a girl friend’s house. Why would they?

I was a shy 16 year-old girl with terrible skin. To make matters worse, I was thirty pounds overweight (the treatment made me lose twenty of that and I didn’t complain). The way I saw it, you were either important and everyone noticed you, or you weren’t. I guess that explains why no one made fun of me or tried to befriend me. I was not important enough to be noticed. So, I became invisible.

Well, on that day, I became visible to the naked eye...

The minute I stepped into homeroom, everyone started staring at me. I took an empty seat near the door just in case I needed a quick get away.

The word for the day, was WIG! It seemed to circle the room in the hushed whispers of the beautiful. I used to have long and curly blonde hair. But the cancer had to disarm me of the one thing I didn’t hate about me. I had bought a wig to try and have some dignity. Little did I know that it would turn out to be a bad idea...

Mr. Clark tried to kick things off by asking everyone to welcome me back to class. I thought, Isn’t that sweet! Not one get well card. Not one single visitor while I was in the hospital. And now, I’m supposed to believe that they care? Mr. Clark was jotting down some Algebra problems on the board; I could feel my vanishing beginning, when John Turner quickly yanked off my wig. I couldn’t believe it!

"Hey look! It’s Kojak’s sister." He smirked. All eyes were on me. The room seemed to spin in slow motion as it filled with laughter. In the sea of faces, I could see it. I could see it clearly. They didn’t care about me. They were having a good old time at my expense. They were thumbing their noses at me because they didn’t have it and I did. At that moment in time, I wished the cancer had been stronger. I wished it had put up a better fight and won the war. I wished it had taken my life because, I wouldn’t be such a laughing stock!

As Mr. Clark tried to quiet the class, I saw Billy Cross (one of the popular kids) raise his hand. For a minute, I thought maybe he was going to stick up for me. But all he wanted was a bathroom break. I grabbed my wig, threw it back on and put on my best game face. I couldn’t let them know how much I was hurting inside. I couldn’t let them win. I closed my eyes as tightly as possible and tried to hold back the tears. Suddenly the room grew silent as if it were taking a deep breath. I opened my eyes and followed everyone’s’ stare. Standing in the doorway, was Billy. He had shaved his head.

That was it. I lost it! The tears started streaming down my face. The floodgates were open and I started crying uncontrollably.

On his way back to his seat, Billy leaned in and whispered. "Why don’t they know? Why don’t the strong, the healthy, the pretty, the rich know? Unless they use their gifts to protect the weak and not punish them, they are the ones who are alone." Reaching up to grab my wig, he said, "You don’t need this. You don’t need to stand-alone. I will stand with you."

Before heading to my next class, I glanced around the room and realized that each and every one of those kids is really no different from me. I realized that as individuals, we all have one thing in common. We all have one form of cancer or another. Fear! Self centered meanness! Hatred! Jealousy! I also realized that there are times when we must stand together in order to fight or beat our "cancer."

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Price of Silence

On my way out to pick up a few grocery items this morning, I dash into the guest bathroom for that infamous last second "pee pee" stop. And guess who is in there, standing over the toilet bowl, plunging away…scrawny!
"What exactly are you trying to do?" I ask.
"The stupid toilet is plugged up."
"Did you do it?"
"Then leave it alone, I’ll take care of it when I get back."
"But, Mom, what if someone needs to use the bathroom?"

Uh-huh, I thought. You are so busted Kiddo! The elusive power dumper in my household (other than yours truly) has been caught! Red handed…finally...almost. Now, the question of the day is, should I, or should I not? Blowing the whistle sounds like fun. However, as a fair businesswoman, here’s what I’m thinking…
-Delegate, delegate, delegate. It’s time for someone else to start folding the laundry, putting the dishes away and ensuring that the family room is tidy and toy free… at all times. And I have the perfect candidate in mind. Wish me luck-;)

If you enjoyed this post, you'll probably like this blog entry -;)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

No “ Ho, ho, ho” for Santa!

What? Did anyone else see that mini image link on yahoo homepage sometime today?

Crap! Thanks a lot Don Imus… was my initial reaction. But once I ultimately figured things out, (all by myself thank you), by actually reading the full story, my pulse rate promptly settled back down to its totally awesome range. Hey, what can I say, us Americanos, just happen to love the resonance of "ho, ho, ho," and prefer it, to its wimpy alternative. In all seriousness, "ha, ha, ha," does not even have the same connotation or reverberation like "ho, ho, ho." For the freaking love of Mother Teresa, "ha, ha, ha" is something you would say to:

-Numere Uno- that gullible kid who constantly falls for his father's "pull my finger," routine.
-Numere Dos-that truly fortunate dude who always finds himself amid the stink trench of some lactose intolerant soul.

If the Aussies don’t want their "Father Christmas" to use "ho, ho, ho," because it could potentially frighten children (what a load of horse crap)and is too close to "ho", a US slang term for prostitute (puleeze) what do I care?

However, there is one train of thought that haunts me…

1. If Christmas is really about the birth of Christ or rather a celebration of his birth and
2. Ha, ha, ha, is an onomatopoeia for laughing or laughter (methinks)...

Shouldn’t the Aussies be concerned that:

Some religious extremist group would soon begin to launch protest grenades because, “ha, ha, ha, merry Christmas,” sounds a bit like know, as in, Thou shall not take the name of the Lord in vain? My opinion, someone in Sidney, Australia, needs a job, a real job or a life…or, like, right now!

NOTE: Metal Chica is a fictional character with a natural gift of the gab. Through her often exaggerated tales of inconsequential gibberish which are (unfortunately) based on real experiences, we'd get to understand what makes this 23-year-old single female tick or ticked off!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pick me a Winner

We were waiting for the light to turn green, when out of the blues, this elderly lady pulls up right next to us. At first I thought, no freaking way! Maybe it's just an itch somewhere in the vicinity of her snout. Never in my entire life had I been presented with such a totally awesome opportunity to witness a "mind boggling" display of reckless tactlessness from the female specie. In public! In broad daylight!

I tried to look the other, but I couldn't. Instead, I just sat there gawking; totally grossed out and mesmerized at the same time. Meanwhile, she continued to dig... meticulously. I'm talking deep, deep, deeeeeeeeep into her muzzle.

Hayden tried to get her attention. He honked our horn. He rolled down his window; stuck out his head and yelled, "Pick me a winner!" But Grandma would not be distracted. I mean, this Lady...or should I say NO Lady, was getting down and I'll bet in her mind, everyone else can pucker up and plant a wet one on her geriatric backside.

"Do you think she heard me? Hayden asked.
"I don't know. Maybe we're being ignored."

As the very loooooooooong red light turned green...finally to my relief, Granny honked twice; gave us the middle finger and sped off. Guys, I kid you not...that old Lady totally shot us the bird and all I could think of was, where is that freaking camcorder when you need one?

NOTE: Metal Chica is a fictional character with a natural gift of the gab. Through her often exaggerated tales of inconsequential gibberish which are (unfortunately) based on real experiences, we'd get to understand what makes this 23-year-old single female tick or ticked off!

If you enjoyed this post, you'll probably like this blog entry.

Freelance Language Professionals Needed...

Do you speak Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa?

Are you available for a two 4-day all expenses paid trip ( plus $1000.00 incentive) to train as a Freelance Language Tester? The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages(ACTFL)is looking for native speakers of Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa for their tester trainee program.

A few days ago, I received this email…

"Dear Benedicta,
I came across your name on Nigerians in America, and I wanted to get in touch. I am currently trying to locate individuals who speak one of various languages from Nigeria to do freelance testing work from their homes. I also saw that you are a stay-at-home mother, so this type of work might potentially be of interest. I am especially looking for native speakers of Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba. I need various individuals (5 for Hausa, 3 for Ibo and 5 for Yoruba), so if you know of anyone else who might be interested, please do let me know."

Anyhow, my first reaction was, hmmmmmmm better luck buddy with this new twist on 419 scam because I had no clue that there was any demand for native speakers of any African language by anyone in America; let alone the ACTFL. However, I was curious. And out of curiosity(after figuring out that the potential for kicking the bucket was absolutely zilch since I did not belong to the feline specie), I called her. I wanted some details. I wanted the full scoop.

Later, I emailed her a copy of my resume. Why? She’d asked for it. The following day, I was forwarded a copy of their upcoming training program. I was asked to pick a schedule that would work best for me. But, I was not about to commit to something that was somewhat up in the air with the basic logistics. So, I contacted them and asked for detailed clarifiction about this program. Here’s a Q&A of my communication with one of their consultants.

ME: Who schedules and pays for the flight to New York and hotel accommodations for both workshops?
ACTFL REP: Once you are confirmed in a given training session, you will receive a packet of information from ACTFL in addition to an e-mail with information and documents to sign and send back:
1.You can book your own travel and be reimbursed or you may use ACTFL’s corporate travel agent and have the expense billed directly to ACTFLs account.
2. ACTFL will make the lodging reservations and it will be billed to the ACTFL Master Account. (You will need to present a personal credit card upon hotel check in for incidentals.)
3. Except where a meal is provided by ACTFL, you will be reimbursed $13 for breakfast, $15 for lunch and $31 for dinner. You don't need to submit receipts for meals since reimbursement is on a per diem meal basis.
4.You will be reimbursed for all travel expenses.
ME: Why are there two four day workshops?
ACTFL REP: Phase I: This workshop will be conducted in English. Tester trainees will learn about the ILR(international language review) rating scale and the OPI(oral proficiency interview) testing protocol and procedures. Demonstration interviews will be conducted in English.
Phase II: Tester trainees review rating criteria, learn interview strategies and protocols, and discuss questions and issues that have arisen since initial training. Practice interviews are conducted in the target languages during the workshop.
ME: How soon after the workshops can one expect to begin
administering tests?
ACTFL REP: Trainers who successfully complete all phases of the ILR OPI Tester training will receive a certificate from ACTFL. If you are successfully qualified as an ACTFL/ILR OPI Tester, you will be available to conduct and second rate interviews immediately, as needed.
ME: I understand that there’ll be a training incentive of
$1, that per workshop?.
ACTFL REP: The Honorarium is $500 per workshop which is paid after you submit your invoice after each workshop. ($1000 total)
ME: Would there be paper work of sort i.e freelancer contract, W-4, ACTFL point person contact information etc?
ACTFL REP: Yes, there is a contract (and various other documents), you will have to fill out prior to participation in the training.
ME: After certification, would there be prior warning for all
future evaluation/testing assignments? And how long do they
typically last?
ACTFL REP: Testers are asked each month to submit their availability to conduct proficiency interview tests in their qualified language. Interviews are scheduled during normal business hours (9am to 7pm). Testers are also expected to second rate interviews conducted by other testers. An internet-based tester utility is used for accessing tests and reporting scores. An ACTFL OPI interview which pays $40 per diem, generally lasts 15-30 minutes depending on the level of the person being tested.

If you’re interested in this opportunity, email or leave me a comment. In the meantime, to learn more about ACTFL testing, please swing by and for additional information.

Note: Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, or have a 3-5 year visa to work in the United States – a valid social security number is required. Qualified individuals must be educated native speakers of one of the languages listed above, and should have a college degree. A good command of English is also desirable.

P.S. As for me, I haven't decided yet. As enticing as the chance to get away for a few days from hubby and the kids may sound, I am leaning toward saying thanks, but no thanks to ACTFL. Not only am I an "okuko uku" (big chicken)when it comes to flying, but the thought of leaving my girls home alone with their Dad, who'd probably feed them nothing but (Papa John’s Pizza, McDonald’s happy meals, Captain Crunch cereal, Breyers ice cream)and a host of other junk... for four days, terrifies me-;)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Quell the Smell

Keeping your garbage container free of that infamous “decaying flesh” odor is as easy as A, B,C. Here’s the scoop...

A. Always Toss unwanted pieces of raw meats; poultry and seafood (including fat trimmings and bones) into a Zip lock bag or a grocery store plastic bag

B. Freeze

C. Discard on a Garbage pickup day

That's all folks!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Big Butt

Sometime in Year 2005...

The girls and I are at the dollar store looking at a bunch of worthless crap, when I suddenly hear, "excuse, excuse me." I look up to find a rather large lady-hey, this is me speaking politely...

As I was saying, I look up to find this woman trying to shove her cartful of crapola (and herself) between a round table that is smack right in the middle of the aisle and Furball(who is leisurely browsing at some toys on the shelf).

Hey Jade!" I scream. "Get out of the way so she can squeeze through."
"I'm not in the way." She yells back. "Her Big butt is!"

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Nashville Star

Year 2003...

After performing a handful of our original songs at a local church-a few years back- Scrawny exclaimed, “Wow Mom, "You should be on American Idol!” I told her I was over the hills and explained about the "cut off" age rule.

Turning to Daddoo, I asked, “Why don't they just come up with American Idol for older contestants?”
“Mom," replied Kid Sid(my 10-year-old),"It's called Nashville Star!"

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Little Dirt

This is an excerpt from "Embrace the wonder," a collaborative book/cd project in progress...

A paradigm is your belief system. The way you know things to be. Everything you see or do is filtered through your paradigm, thus giving it meaning. And when you have a paradigm shift, it instantly changes the way you see things.

As a boy, I grew up in a poor household. Mama said that my Daddy left right after I was born. So having to raise a family of four, she did the best she could. I had very old, worn out, hand-me down clothes. And most days, I walked to school unwashed and dirty. To say that I had low self-esteem is an understatement. I had absolutely none! I did poorly in school and saw myself as a loser. What a PARADIGM for a boy my age to see the world!

January 28th, 1974, was a day I will never forget for as long as I live. I was about seven years old and a second grader in Mrs. Chaney's class. On this particular day, she decided that we needed to focus on science. We started off by studying different kinds of rocks, stones, and gems. As usual, everything was moving along… I sat quietly in my corner; content and really didn’t care or want to participate. Next, we transitioned to Language Arts. She asked us to compare other classmates to the stones we had just learned about. We were all silent for about a minute or so. Little heads turned from side to side, back and forth. Suddenly, a hand went up...

"Lisa's eyes are blue like a Sapphire".
"Very good Alvin." replied Mrs. Chaney. She took the Sapphire from her table, walked over to Lisa and placed it on her desk.
"Joey’s hair is ruby red," added another student.
"Excellent." Again, she strolled over to Joey and positioned the Ruby on his desk. This went on until most of the obvious comparisons had been made.

"Does anyone else have a comparison he or she would like to share with the class?"
I saw Mikey Taylor’s hand go up and immediately thought... Uh –oh. Mikey was the class wise guy; always going for a laugh and even Mrs. Chaney was aware of this.
"Well, well, pay attention class, I believe little Mikey has something reeeeaally important to say. Yes, Mikey?"
"That old rock on the end there is like Timmy, because both are dirty."
Instantly, the room erupted into a buzzing laughter. I dropped my head and stared at the floor. I just wanted to crawl under my desk, never to emerge again. I figured Mrs. Chaney would sense my hurt and quiet the room. But to my disbelief, she blurted, "Mikey, I think you are absolutely correct!" She grabbed the filthy rock and headed in my direction… Then it happened! It didn’t seem like a moment that would change me forever, but it did! Half way down to my desk, Mrs. Chaney stopped and smiled at me. She raised her hand and threw that rock on the ground, breaking it in two. The room was filled with ooh’s and ahh’s as she held up both pieces. Purple light radiated from them and danced around the room revealing the most beautiful crystal formation any of us had ever seen. There was utter silence as we all gazed at this dazzling discovery. Mrs. Chaney finally made it to my desk; handed me the rocks and said, "Don’t be so quick to judge a rock by a little dirt." She then picked me up and added, "underneath that dirty rock, there just may be a beautiful treasure waiting to be discovered, just like Timey!"

As the class began to file out for recess, everyone stopped at my desk to hold and admire the rocks as if they were important and magical. It did take me awhile to crack that hard outer shell. However, I realized that one day, I too would be beautiful, important and discover that magical treasure within me. I never even told her. Mrs. Chaney, you changed my whole world in a single moment. THANK YOU!

-John Droese-

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 Rocks!

I'd have to say that life is not the only thing that's like a box of chocolates. Cyperspace continues to amaze me with all the contagious technology that's just floating around. Yesterday, I stumbled upon, I don't feel so technologically challenged. Hope you enjoy my first slide show.

If you liked this post, you'll probably dig this blog.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Garbage, Garbage Everywhere!

I am angry. I am appalled. Angry at those low-class scumbags who continue to adorn grassy areas of highway medians, sidewalks, and other public areas with soda cans, beer bottles, cigarette butts, fast food bags and other rubbish. I am appalled that the powers that be are not doing more to put an end to this despicable activity. Cherokee! Cobb! Fulton! Pick a county…any county around the Metro Atlanta area. Then take a drive through some communities including those well manicured "swim and tennis" neighborhoods. I am not a gambling woman, but I’ll bet you a fistful of dollars that you will find pockets of areas that are reminiscent of an abandoned "section 8" slum!

I am sure there are garbage control and pick up crew - employed by the county or city - who periodically patrol highly visible roadways to tidy things a bit before they get way out of control. I have seen them and would like to use this opportunity to give them a high five! (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know they are just doing their job-but still…)

Back to the subject, any government official or officials who want my vote, together with the votes of everyone I know, ought to do more! He, She or They, need to address this issue head on by looking for creative ways to effectively fight this eyesore of mini epidemic proportion.

Put up signs at strategic locations that say “LITTERERS will be TORTURED or BEHEADED for all I care. Just do something! Set up a phone line or an online forum so that residents who give a hoot would have the opportunity to get involved. Encourage them to call in license plates of offenders and promptly report every trashing activity they witness. Remind them that looking the other way translates to not doing the right thing. If you must offer incentives such as printable coupons to Kroger or property tax credits, so be it! I think that Cherokee county can set a precedence of “zero tolerance” for littering. Hopefully, bordering counties will follow in our footsteps as well.

Let’s go get those litterbugs and make them pay! Northern Georgia is blessed with natural beauty. We should try to keep it that way!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Tribute to Irresponsible Dog Owners

Did you know that pet waste left on sidewalks, yards, streets and other places can be transported by rainwater via storm drains into streams, lakes, rivers and other waterways?

Did you know that doggie doodie may contain harmful bacteria such as E.Coli and Salmonella, which can cause disease in humans?

Man’s best friend may live in every household in America except mine. There is a good reason. While three out of five of my family members will wheeze, itch and scratch, or break out in hives whenever we’re in close proximity to these furry creatures, there is a more compelling reason that Dogs are not welcomed inside my home or anywhere near my lawn. You may call me crazy. You may call me mean. In fact, I’ll even let you get away with sticking a "Psychotic” label on my forehead! But one thing is for certain. You will find me standing guard by my window or front door-each time I see you or your four legged amigo sniffing its way down my cul-de-sac. Lawn by lawn. My visibility is not intended to be a subtle hint. My visibility should serve as a firm warning that my front yard is a "NO, NO, CRAP ZONE."

Legend has it that some crazy woman once tracked down a pet owner to return a very special present . Trust me, I can give that legend a run for its money. Don’t even think about pulling a “crap and run” hit anywhere inside my property line unless you’re prepared to receive a huge payback package by your front door. And I am not just talking about Dog S.h.i.t!

Yes, there are a few pet owners who don't mind doing the right thing by cleaning up after their dogs. It only takes a poopie scooper and a bag. Still, many continue to allow their precious pets to leave mine fields on someone else’s yard and casually moosie on their merry way. Shame on you! There is an explanation why some of us don’t have a dog. We don’t want a dog! We don’t care for a dog!! And we most certainly don’t want the responsibility of picking up after yours while mowing our lawn!!! I am tired of trying to duck from one pile of dump after another during my leisurely evening stroll in my community and sometimes at public parks.

Guess what? The holidays season is right around the corner and I’d like to kick things off with a very special wish for every negligent pet owner out there…

Each morning, while you’re out and about walking your dog, may you accidentally slip and fall face down into a pile you’d left the day before. May your dog -intentionally- step into the foulest smelling doggie doodie out there and track it all the way back into your home- sweet- home. All over your fabulous carpet! And as far as dog crap goes, may you always reap what you sow. Happy Holidays in advance!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Not my Style

This is an excerpt from "Embrace the Wonder," a collaborative book/music project in progress...

I had never lost my wallet before, but it happened just the other night. After chugging a couple pitchers of tap beer and some tequila shots, I stumbled out the back door of my local dive bar, flat out of my senses. See, Casey and her fancy lawyers had taken everything from me save for the clothes on my back and a pocket full of some worthless change. Climbing out of my twin sized bed each morning was turning into a big production. My car was one speed bump away from total disintegration. Eating out, meant Jack in the Box or Taco Bell. Here I was... a 47-year-old man still living at home in his mother's basement; clinging to a dead end job that offered zero promise of a lifestyle upgrade. So, I began to entertain some pretty crazy ideas. It wasn't like me to drink that much; but I was sitting on the edge, getting ready to leap into some illegal avenue of opportunity. If I could get my hands on a pistol… I thought, the liquor store across the street from the pub would be easy pickings. I could be in and out in thirty seconds with enough cash to set me straight for a while. What the hell was I thinking? It just wasn't me. It's not my style…but it would be easy. I hoped it was just the liquor thinking!

I woke up the next morning with a mother of a Saturday hangover, and those thoughts still on my mind. Saturday night would mean a big score at the liquor store, I kept telling myself. After a quick shower and a dose of aspirin, I realized it was missing! My wallet (with two credit cards and two week's pay) was gone! My heart started to pound as my pulse raced. How could this happen to me at a time like this? I zoomed back to the pub like an Indy race car with a stomach that quivered with fear and nausea. Things were grim right now; what the heck would I do if I were to lose two week's pay?…

Inside the hazy, musty, smoke filled room, I headed straight to the area where I had camped out the night before. The daytime bartender claimed he knew absolutely nothing about a lost wallet. The only other guy at the bar (one of the regular patrons) was hunched over and didn't utter a word. On my way out I realized I only had one option. Tonight would have to be the night. There was no other way!

Back at home, on top of my kitchenette counter, my answering machine flashed. One of my friends from work had left me a message, asking me to call him right away. He said it was urgent!
"Did you lose your wallet last night?" Troy asked.
"Yes." I replied. "Why?"

Someone had apparently found my wallet in the parking lot and Troy's phone number was the only available contact information.
"Carl would be waiting for you and expects a cash reward," he warned.

Again, to the pub I went. I hoped that I would at least get my driver's license back. To my surprise, there he was! Still stooped over the bar as if he were permanently glued to it. Now the bar fly had a name. I briefly scanned him mentally and quickly labeled Carl as one of those losers who spent their entire day at the tavern. There is no way someone like that could hold down a job of any sort. I snubbed. Where did he get the money to drink all day anyway? Maybe he finds lost wallets all the time. I sneered. As I approached him, he snapped out of his zone and gawked at me with a smile.

"Are you here for the wallet?"
I told him my name and he handed me the worn brown leather.
"How about a twenty for my troubles?"
"I'd love to. But where the hell am I supposed to get the cash from? "I snapped, as I opened my wallet to show him my emptiness. However, to my disbelief and relief, my cash and credit cards were still intact. My cheeks flushed. My mini ego popped. I felt small as if I were standing beside the ocean. Not only had I judged a book by its cover, I had totally misjudged this man. Carl may have looked a lot worse off than me but he had integrity. I thanked him; pulled out a twenty-dollar bill from my wallet and handed it over.

"Can I buy you a drink?" He asked.
"No thanks." I replied. "You've done more than enough.”
I took a few steps toward the exit and stopped. I turned to Carl, sitting there looking so hopeless with his ragged clothes and uncombed hair.
"Why did you do it? Why didn't you just keep all the money"?
"That's just not my style kid. It's not who I am. I may be a little down right now, but I can't let hard times change who I am."

Through the window, I gazed at the liquor store across the street and mumbled, "Neither can I Carl." "Neither can I."

- Tony Andrade-

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Murder for Hire

Yesterday was a pretty darn good day in my household. The kids didn't strangle each other! I didn't have to scream at anyone to pick up. I didn't even have to confiscate Scrawny's Nitendo DS or threaten her with solitary confinement in the basement for being mean to her little sister. Kid Sid's room was a fire hazard. In fact, it looked more like a refugee camp in a third world country, but I didn't care! Furr-ball tried to re-decorated her bedroom wall with my favorite lipstick...lucky kid, she's still breathing. I was in a bloody jolly good mood! I rushed downstairs to check on our favorite red wine-a 2002 bottle of "Toasted Head" Merlot-it was aging and chilling perfectly in the freezer (just like the force of the universe intended for it to be.)

I asked Daddoo to order a romantic pay per view movie while I sashayed into a lavender scented bubble bath. I then finished off with some Johnson and Johnson baby lotion...(hey, smelling like el babe can work wonders. Trust me, I have three kids to prove it!) Afterward, I climbed into bed; snuggled next to him...thinking, hmmm, maybe another baby, perhaps a baby brother for my girls would not be such a bad idea. But all he had to say... after all my effort was, "Babe, you smell like a diaper!"

Anyone care to take him out for me? Be sure you aim for that puny brain between his toes!

If you enjoyed this post, you'll probably like this blog entry

An Advantage That Counts

Christmas Presents. Birthday Presents. Valentine’s Day Presents. Mother’s Day Presents. While it is great to shower your family members and loved ones with gifts to commemorate special occasions or celebrate one holiday or another, there is no greater way to show them how much you really care than to protect them with the shield of Advantage Term Life Insurance Policy.

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Baby Carrots

I was in the kitchen munching on some baby carrots when Scrawny strolled in and asked if she could have some. I handed her a handful and she disappeared. A few minutes later, she was back asking for more.
“What happened to the ones I just gave you?”
“I ate them all.” She replied.
“You know carrots are really good for your eyes...”
“Mom, you’ve said that like four times. Maybe carrots are not so good for your memory.”

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

High Five for Blogsvertise

Are you a Blogger? Would you like to review or simply mention websites products and services in your blog and get paid for it? If I told you that Blogsvertise does not turn you down because your blog is less than 90 days old… would you hold it against me? If I told you that Blogsvertise would not reject you because your blog has less than 20 pre-existing entries, could you say, “Move over payperpost, there’s a new kid in town? Van Zant once sang, “If you’re gonna go, go all the way." All I’m saying is, if you’re gonna blog anyway, why not earn some cash for it? Swing by today and tell them I sent you!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Home: A Trip Down Memory Lane

This is an excerpt from "Embrace the Wonder," a collaborative and inspirational book/music project in progress...

Some say Home is where the heart is. Others proclaim it’s where you hang your hat. Query Stephen King, he’d probably reply, “Home is where they’ll always let you in.” Just don’t ask my overly animated, “potty humor” obsessed husband; he might regurgitate something like “Home is where I can peacefully pinch a loaf! And in case you’re worn out from all the mutated variations of this ancient cliché, I’d say power up for one more. I intend to whip out a home –grown rendition of my very own…just for you, before this story is over!

Seriously. If home were remotely close to any of the above-italicized descriptions, why then do I ultimately live in the house of my dreams, with a family of my own… yet long for that place? Why is the need to reminisce often strong when I am alone? Why do I feel this void inside my soul?... Then it struck me again like a new idea to a blocked artist! But this time, there was no room to entertain second thoughts or the usual excuses. If I wanted some answers, I had to go back! Back to that place where the child once played hide and seek under the moonlight….

I grew up in “the land of the red earth;” a small town nestled somewhere on the west coast of Africa. I was raised by a single mother in an era when polygamy was rampant and the culture did very little to hold fathers accountable for child support. There were some rough times as I recall. Luckily though, my (gentle, kind, and independent) mother had an entrepreneurial hunger that ensured I always had food on my plate, clothes on my back, a roof over my head and a big mouth to complain about all the other things that I didn’t have. Perhaps watching episode after episode of “Soul Train” made me feel like I was missing out on a whole lot of fun! And like most children my age at that time, I too fantasized and longed to travel abroad. I dreamed of going to America!

Right before my 18th birthday, an extended family member from Texas came home for a brief summer visit. The scoop? His wife had just given birth to theirgetaway 3rd son and they were desperately looking for a live-in help. To me, this was the perfect and several weeks later, I was good to go. So, with a suitcase full of my meager belongings, and a heart full of golden dreams, I hugged my mom and waved goodbye to all the friends and relatives I was leaving behind...

Outside Houston Intercontinental Airport, Mrs. Osaje and the boys were waiting to pick us up. By the time we arrived at their apartment, I knew the household routine like the back of my hand. I would take care of the children while both parents were at work. Somewhere in between, weekend and evening classes were a top priority. Upon my graduation years later, I immediately landed a job as a Child Psychologist at a local shelter working with emotionally handicapped children. That’s where I met my husband, John.

“I can relate to the call of the unknown,” he teased. See, not too long ago, he and his best friend, Tony, had gone on this road trip with no specific destination in mind. They had driven from the Florida Keys, across the Lone Star State; up through the Arizona Desert, down by the Californian Coast to Yosemite, in search of what they referred to as the “Wonder.” If he understood why I needed to visit Nigeria, well, who could argue with that? Unfortunately, my 6-year old daughter, Sidney, didn’t share our sentiments.

"Mama, I don't want you to go to Africa." She whined.
"Honey, I know. But this is something Mommy has to do. All right?"
"Okay. Promise you'll come back home soon?"
"Cross my heart," I said, as I squeezed her gently.

I purchased a round trip ticket and boarded a flight to Lagos. Approximately fifteen hours later, I was a passenger on a bus (similar to a greyhound) en route to my hometown...

To be continued -:)

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Monday, September 24, 2007

About This Blog

There are moments in life that make us cringe or grin. There are moments in life that make us chuckle silently. Such moments are never few and far between when you toss children who happen to say the darndest things into the equation. This is the premise of My Family Scene. The Cast of Characters are often family members.

Kid Sid-13 (can you say girlie girl?)-
Scrawny-8 (witty, feisty, the son we never had)
Furr-Ball-5 (sweet; loves to hug everyone)
Daddoo-40ish (what a mighty good man!)

And Yep, all of the anecdotes on this blog are based on my recollection of factual situations that occurred over the years. So, kick off your shoes; let down your hair. Listen to a YouTube tune while you look around if you like. Thank you for visiting. Hope you'll come again for updates. Above all, be sure to add My Family Scene in your Favorites Folder!

P.S. Should you run into an entry that sounds like an assured, some major sponsor that's been slipping me a few dollars under the table-enough for a Mcdonald's happy meal-put me up to it-:)

Bennie Droese -August 07

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My List of Things to do Today

I wanna talk about me,
I wanna talk about I,
I wanna talk about number one,
Oh my, me, my...
As much as I love Toby Keith, “My List of Things to do Today” title, has absolutely nothing, let me reiterate, nothing to do with that song!

It’s 4:21am. I’m wide-awake and I’m not quite sure why. I’d say however, if I lived somewhere in the boondocks in an era where if you really gotta go… the “out-house” was your only option and the sound of the cock crowing at dawn was the alarm clock in the neighborhood, I’d be doing the victory dance. I think I pretty much dusted the roosters this morning. Oh yeah baby, one for the team!(Drum roll por favor!)

Anyhow, my nose is running like my kitchen faucet; yet, plugged like the drainpipe underneath. I quietly slide out of bed and tippy toe downstairs to the guest bathroom so I could do what a girl’s gotta do. Nooooo, it's not what you're thinking! I turn the exhaust fan on and comfortably plant my tush on the toilet seat. Nooooo, again. I’m not about to pinch a loaf. I just needed a buffer for the sound I’m about to make. The infamous “snortyliquidysquishy” sound of me trying to clear my sinuses, without waking everyone up.

Ahhhhhhh. I feel so much better now. Well, it’s too early to head out for my early morning "snail speed" jog. So, I am going to procrastinate a bit and then start working diligently on my “to do list."

To all stay-at-home moms or dads, if your list bears any semblance to mine, don't worry, be happy!

Between 5:30am – 7:30am

1. Half an hour morning jog
2. Wake up hubby; make his breakfast, pack his lunch and snack; off to work he goes
3. Wake up my three rug rats; get them ready for school with varying packed lunches
4. Drop off my teenage daughter at the bus stop. Drive my younger two to school

Between 7:50am-10: 10am
5. Finish writing "My list of Things to do Today"
6. Continue to update my pilot blog
7. Schedule a contact lens examination for hubby

Between 10:20am-10: 50am
8. School Lunch with my Kindergartner (I’m still having trouble severing that elusive apron string)

Between 11:00am- 2:00pm
9. Pay bills. Make phone calls to dispute bills that I did not incur and have no intention of paying
10. Vacuum main level. Make the beds.
11. Tidy up. Put away dishes. Toss all action figure toys that are still laying around...and I've stepped...more than once in the last few days
12. Work on a feature story I’ve been half @ssing
13. Take our minivan in for an oil change
14. Stop by the bank to deposit a check
15. Swing by our elementary school to pick up my children

Between 2:20pm-4: 30pm
16. Snack time with the kids
17. Run a quick load of laundry
18. Check my email (compose or respond)
19. Make my cyberspace rounds at my favorite sites, boards and forums...maybe contribute my two cents
20. Make hotel reservations for our upcoming family trip to somewhere...anywhere (this weekend)

Between 5:00pm-6:00pm
21. Prepare dinner or order papa John’s Pizza
22. Help the children with their homework

And later in the evening when Daddoo asks, “So… what did you do today?” during our after dinner evening stroll or a commercial break in-between “Big brother 8,” I’d probably say something profound like, “Not much.” Or, “Same old, same old.”

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Ocean

NOTE: The "Embrace the Wonder" series features excerpts from a collaborative book/music project in progress. John Droese is the main author. However, there are other contributors whose stories would also be featured in this category...

As far back as he could remember, Clyde wanted to see the ocean; but he didn’t really know why. Somewhere deep inside, there was this voice that would come and go. Yet, he couldn’t place it. It wasn’t in his head. It wasn’t in his heart. It pumped through his entire body like blood. “There is a purpose,” it said; “God made me this way for a reason. If I could only see the ocean, the answers would become clear.”

Clyde stands in the WalMart parking lot trying to shake off that voice, that feeling. It’s hot and humid but he knows that the summer is coming to an end. A voice hits him in the face like a cold wind!

“Snap out of it Clyde!”

“ Hey Joe!” Clyde spins around smiling. “Please tell me about the ocean again.”

“Are you still thinking about that? Give it up already man!”

“Well, don’t you remember?” asks Clyde. “Yes I remember.” “And how did it make you feel?” “Complete”. “So why not talk about it?” “ I’ve given up on that long ago,” explains Joe. “Those footprints were washed out by the rising tide. So forget about it okay?”

“I can’t” Clyde says. “That voice! You know, the one about there being a purpose for everything and being made this way for a reason? It just keeps on.”

“Look man, I hear you. You just need to find other ways to ignore it. Watch more TV, read more books or whatever... just find other ways to quiet that voice ok?” “Well, I do. That’s why I hang out with you guys by the Sandbox! You said it’s just like the Beach and I love to listen to all those stories about the ocean.”

“Hey, you and Sheila are getting pretty serious right?” inquires Joe. “Yeah”. “So, why not start a family? That should do it. You'd be so busy running after the kids that you won't even have time to worry about anything else.” “I don’t know.”

“There is a purpose. God made you that way for a reason.”

“Who said that!” responds Clyde; astonished. It was Quan. Clyde liked him even though he was older and set in his ways. “So what’s the purpose oh wise one? Do we all have the same answers? What are they?”

“Young Man,” Quan begins, “You have it all wrong. We were all born with the same questions. The answer is what changes somewhere between you and me.” “What do you mean?”asks Clyde. “ I think we were all given special gifts-A special desire- A dream, if you will. Only the completion of that dream will give you the answers you seek.” “You mean sorta like, how I want to see the ocean?” “Maybe,” replies Quan. “Make the journey and all will be revealed to you.” “But what if it’s hard?”

“It will be hard. Many times, you will want to stop along the way and find substitute answers or other things to occupy your mind and pacify that voice.”
“Boy oh boy!” sighs, Clyde. “Just remember, finding the answers is like following footprints in the sea.” “What exactly does that mean? You sound like Joe!”
“You will know when your journey is complete”.

The road was long and difficult like Quan said. But Clyde took the trip. He was nearing the ocean. He could hear the waves breaking on shore. He could smell the saltwater in the air. The voice pumping through his veins was louder now than ever. “There is a purpose. God made me this way for a reason.” The same voice that kept him going when times got tough…the same voice that was there to drive him. Sometimes it was quieter, but always there. It had never been this loud before; so, he knew he must be near!

The sun began to set as Clyde reached the beach. Suddenly, all the answers swarmed over him. The meaning of life! Why God made him this way! It was all perfectly clear now.

Standing on the white grainy sand watching the sun fade to a thin red line, Clyde felt complete. He spread out his white and black wings and flew out over the ocean. As he joined the other gulls, he wondered why those he had left behind at that parking lot didn’t follow that voice and take the journey. As he floated on the wind, he was just as God intended for him to be...FREE!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Use it or Lose it

Clichés, ahhhhhhhh…you gotta love them. “Use it or lose it” is one that gets tossed around quite a bit in my household for good reason. I want my children to understand this concept. I want them to comprehend the correlation between lack of physical activity and muscle atrophy. At every opportune moment, I try to illustrate or reiterate what happens to brains cells when they are not stimulated or utilized. Above all, I want my teenage daughter to fully grasp the concept that surfing between Nickelodeon, Disney, Cartoon Network or Fox family channels with her remote control and darting downstairs (several times) to grab a snack or a drink does not count as exercising.

Sometime last year, we were getting ready for a weekend getaway. I handed our list of toiletries to "Scrawny" and asked her to do the packing. Of course I had to double check. Then I counted the toothbrushes. Mine was missing and I wanted to know why!

“Well, I tossed it in the garbage” she blurted. “Why would you do such a thing?” I asked.
“Because you always say use it or lose it and I never see you brushing your teeth that much.”
“I do too,” I replied.” “But you didn’t brush last night.”

Phew! She got me there! But I was the grown up. I had a pretty logical idea of how to wiggle my way out of that sticky situation. I looked her straight in the eye and carefully explained that because she didn’t actually catch me in the act should not translate to…I didn’t do it. Or did I? Well, whatever! The bottom line is… we need to be mindful of what we do and say in the presence of our very impressionable young minds. We must especially try to walk the talk while they are looming around. After all, we want them to follow in our footsteps…don’t we?

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