Good Guys Finish Last. Literally.

Rudy and I took a train ride.

Full of busy travelers.

Heading south.

To San Diego.

And, well, unfortunately without any options, we sat in separate seats.

On opposite sides of the train.

Our legs were scrunched.

Shoulders tight.

And, for me, there was no view in sight.

Only tall seat-backs and a curtained window.

Eventually, though, our destination arrived.

Lines of harried riders plugged up the doorway.

Moving oh-so slowly.

Making their way out and away from the stationary car.

Scattering in various directions.


Well, we strolled towards the bay.

To the boat docks.

Admiring cruise, navel, and pirate ships.

Rudy and I walked.



And talked.



Even as we made our way back to the train station.

In anticipation of our clackity-clack ride back home.

We followed the rules.

We stood in line.

About half-way down.

For 20 long minutes.

Only to be told.

We picked the wrong line.

The business line.

Instead of coach.

“Huh?” we questioned.

“Wrong line,” Ms. Not-So-Polite said, with attitude, I might add.

“May we simply move over, horizontally, to the correct line?” Rudy asked.

“Nope, no-way, no-how,” Ms. Doesn’t-Give-a-Crap admonished.

“I don’t mind,” the guy next to us said. “No problem. No problem, at all.”

“I don’t think so!” Ms. Needs-To-Revamp-her-Manners bellowed.

“Move it! To the back of the line!” she added.

Whoa, we thought, feeling the heaviness of her negativity.

“Whatever,” we said, in unison.

And with attitude, I might add.

Yet, as difficult as it was to let it go, we walked.

To the very end of the very long line.

The line we should have been in all along.

And sat.

And complained.

About the injustice of people.

The rudeness they hold dear.

Until we laughed.

And thought how ironic.

That us, Rudy and I, ended up, literally, last, in line.

“Good guys really do finish last,” I sighed.


“Maybe not,” Rudy commented, as we sat down in the most spacious seats, next to the biggest window, with the best view. surrounded by a calming group of northbound riders.

Mr. and Mrs.

f7804-img_1469When I first met Rudy I appreciated his kindness. He didn’t put on a show, a “look-at-me, I’m rough, tough, and I’ll tumble”.  Nah, Rudy was gentleman, without attitude. A good guy. With squared shoulders, narrow hips, and a serious set of brown eyes.

Those were our innocent days. The days we were slowly learning about each other. What made us tick. What made us tock. And what didn’t. Slowly, we began to reveal who we were. How our lives were formed, the reasons we acted the way we did, or didn’t, and who played a part in the formation of who we’d become. Young adults.

Before we even knew the other existed, Rudy and I both learned the importance of being independent as young teens. I grasped rather quickly that I had to create my own life, in my own way, without help. From anyone. Even in the midst of a large family. After his father died, Rudy knew he had to leave his mom to figure out how he fit into the world beyond his family. So, he moved from Central America to the United States. Full of fear, combined with wonderment.

Some might consider that I married Rudy, and he attached himself to me, so that we both could fill a need. To find someone, anyone, to stand with. To be with. To make a family with. But that wasn’t the case. That’s not what was on our mind. Not at all. Simply put, Rudy and I met, we liked each other, and, so, we got married. There was no agenda behind our relationship. At all. We just were. Two young adults. Following our hearts.

And, so, here it is, thirty years later, still both very independent, with lots of ups-downs-and-all-arounds, still learning. Still listening to the ticks, the tocks, and the whatnots. Listening. Listening. Listening. Reaping the rewards of understanding.

No Regrets

IMG_5360Kate glides along the quiet road on a white beach cruiser, lost in thought. She’s concerned, but more than that she’s peeved. Over and over she’s spilled her feeling on the kitchen floor, telling George she wants more. More from their relationship. More from life. Yet, she can’t seem to get George to understand that more than anything she just wants more fun, more togetherness, more heartfelt conversations with him. He, on the other hand, seems to feel things are just dandy. Perfect. Just the way things should be.

Kate knows she is doing everything possible to ensure her voice has been heard. She doesn’t hold back. Because, really, seriously, whole-heartedly, Kate does not want to live her life with regrets. There have been a few times, some regrets she has, from her youth, that she wishes she could undo. But she can’t. There is no going back, not anymore. Not when the deed is done. Gone. No more. Not now. Never again.

So, instead, now, Kate always asks herself “Will you regret this? Will you beat yourself up when it’s too late to do anything about it?” If the answer is yes, she will do what she needs to to ensure any regrets that might follow don’t creep into her psyche; and, if the answer is no, well, then, she’s good-to-go. Life goes on.

While she pedals down the breezy pathway, George sits at the kitchen table, thinking about Kate, wondering if he’s going to regret not understanding what his wife wants from him.

“come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now”

Rock Band "Youngbloods"When the kids were younger, and for whatever reason, when some kind of disagreement pursued between them, or I was trying to explain the beauty of accepting others for who they are, I’d sing, a small portion of the Youngblood’s song Get Together,  “Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now”. At some point one of the kids, probably Liz, asked if I had made the song up. “Of course!” I responded, as I continued to sing the same words over and over. And because they were young, they thought it was so cool, not really thinking about the fact I never sang any other words aside from the eighteen I repeated over and over until I had had enough.

I love those words, the combination of them. They tell a lot, say so much in such a small bundle of feelings. Truly, everybody, let’s do it, let’s get together, and love one another. Why not? It couldn’t hurt and I bet good things will come of it. Am I right? I’m right.

As the kids got a bit older, and I was, once again, singing, loud, proud, and feel-good happy both Liz and Roberto looked at me. And smiled. One of them, probably Roberto, agreed by Liz, said, “Mom. You are talented. That song is so good!” I laughed, said “Thanks,” and wanted to fall into the tune, to feel the peacefulness of it, but I couldn’t, not yet, not until I told them the truth.

“Okay. I have to be straight-up with you. Because, after-all, I am building trusting, honest relationships with you…..” I rambled on.

They stared at me. Confused. And Brad? Well, he was sitting in the back, tucked into his wee carseat, oblivious to our conversation.

“I didn’t make the song up. It’s not mine. I just love it so.” I smirked. They laughed.

“Oh, wow! I wondered how you could make up something so cool,” Liz admonished. She did a belly-roll, laughing until her sides hurt.

“Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now” Roberto sang, in-between spurts of laughter.

That was a simple moment in our life, a building of community and genuine good will. A moment that set the standard for the beliefs that we have always held dear. Smile on your brother. Get together. Love one another. Right now.

Sitting in a Book Store

IMG_5668I have taken my writing outside of my home, and into a bookstore. A place full of words. Wonderful words.

I need inspiration, something to kick me back into spilling ink onto the pages of my blog and into the stories that fill my head. To continue writing. Happily, consistently, thoroughly, and contently.

Thoughts about life, stories made of soul, that have been waiting, day after day, to be told, waiting patiently for my enthusiasm to take over, to plaster my pages with heart, have stood still, only for me to know.

So, here I sit, feeling the old feelings climb up and slowly tingle through my fingertips, wanting to express, to feel. To be heard. To be read.

I am embracing the moment. Holding it dear. Letting it take me to where I belong.

Sorry, #R.L.Stine, BUT I Had to Laugh

zombieOctober is the month of scary, and what better way to intrigue my fifth grade students than with a spooky thriller. Something about Zombies, something by the best-selling children’s author R.L.Stine. And based on past experiences, with other groups of students, kids love this stuff. They literally sit on the edge of their seats, wanting more, telling me, begging me to keep reading. “Please don’t stop, Mrs. Romero!”

So, there it was, mid-October, pre-Halloween.

I pulled out the Zombie book, held it up for them to observe the gruesome twosome on the front cover, building up excitement. “Wanna get freaked out!” I bellowed. “Oh, yeah!” everyone shouted back.

Several students raced to the light switch. “No lights?” they simultaneously crooned in low growling voices. “Yes!, Please?” their counterparts hollered, everyone looking to me for the final vote. “Of course,” I calmly said.

First and foremost, background knowledge necessitated a 10 and 11 year olds understanding of what they knew before I began the titillating tale. “Raise your hand if you know what a zombie is.” All hands shot straight into the air. “Okay then. How many of you are familiar with the TV show The Walking Dead?” All hands popped back up. “Cool beans. So….who actually watches the show?” Everyone. For a moment, I took a silent pause, thinking these fifth graders have the upper hand here. I have never watched the show. Never will. (Just doesn’t interest me, in case you were wondering.)

Alrighty then.

Many kids clung to each other, opened their eyes wide, dropped their jaws, and held their breath throughout each chapter, yelping for more when I left them hanging, stopping the story so that we could move on to more educational avenues. But, after about fifteen chapters several outspoken kids began to claim, “So predictable. Boring”, only because nothing ever really happened. Lots of buildup, sure, but it always turned out to be a skinny friend grabbing someone’s shoulder, not the boney hand of a monster, or the hot, bad breath of a dumbfounded character, not the foul stench of a dead person sneaking up, who was just about to chomp on the neck of the unsuspecting. I agreed with those students, but in silence, so as not to deter the kids who hadn’t quite grasp the concept of boring read.


It was four days after Halloween. And I had had enough. I was so over the story, the supposed zombies, and nothing really happening – and plus I had Thanksgiving on the brain. You know, being thankful for what you have not preying on the fears of others. Scary was so last month!


So, that’s when I exclaimed I was going to simply breeze through the rest of Stine’s zombie story, and read only the quotes. And boy, unexpectedly, I cracked up!

As I was reading, I kept questioning the validity of the story line – “The zombie ran away from the guy? Come on. Class? You Walking Dead people? Really? Would a zombie run away?” I laughed, uncontrollably. Seriously, tears sprung from my eyes. The kids laughed because of my laughing.They caught on, grabbed hold of my antics and began having as much fun as I was, sadly at the expense of Mr. Stine. (Sorry, dude.) A spooky tale, told in a darkened classroom, with the sound of laughter. Who would have thought?

“Oh, geez!”, someone called out when I read the part about a girl who was finally freed from the basement, no longer human, but a full-on, grossed-out, ugly zombie who was mad that she had been locked away for so long. I just had to demonstrate what she looked like. I knitted my brows, squeezed my eyes, and pierced my lips. I threw my hands in the air, and walked away with a swivel of my hips, shouting ‘What-ever!’ The students busted out roll-on-the-floor laughter.

“What-ever!” they repeated.

“So fake!” someone added. The kids began comparing the book to the TV show, not realizing (or maybe just not thinking about it) that both were equally fake. Meaning, the show, though maybe more realistic, is just as silly (presumably). Which made me laugh even more!

In the end, when the final word, in the final (finally!!) chapter was read, the students cheered and clapped, just as the end-of-the-day bell blared.

Am I Awesome, or What?

IMG_4149Today, this very afternoon, not more than an hour ago, my fifteen year old son, a person who is, daily, trying to define himself, wanting to be someone who makes a difference, in life, and possibly beyond, a young boy wanting to be good while at the same time working so hard at not being a negative distraction, thanked me, his one and only mom, for instilling in him the feeling of being cared for, and cared about.

“I want to thank you, Mom, for listening to me, for letting me be myself, and for letting me have my say. Thank you for making me feel valued.”

Oh, yes he did. He said that to me. My complicated, yet very loving, six foot tall, basketball playing teenage kid.

He thanked me for letting him thrive, grow, and develop into his own person. And then he reached his hand out to me, a sort of gesture. “Seriously, thanks.”

All I could do was smile.

And continue to listen, like I always do, and watch him as he seemed to be digging deep within himself trying to fully understand who he, himself, is, and what kind of person he wants to be. Now. And when he grows up.

He’s only a sophomore, a boy in high school, but the way he feels and thinks is way beyond his years, and I don’t let any of those feeling slide pass me. No way. No how. Instead, I grab hold, whenever he stands, or sits, before me, whenever he says, “Mom, can we talk.”