a relationship


long ago, rudy and i met, by a random chance encounter. i mean there i was at a tupperware party (the “in” place to be back then), when i happened to glance to my left. and who do i see?

rudy. checking me out.

(yeah. strange that a guy was there… but there’s a story behind that story as well).

being a girl with not a lot of social knowledge, i was sitting there, on a couch, not talking to anyone – well, not because i couldn’t make the effort to converse, but rather the situation was that everyone was talking to everyone else. because they all knew each other. from work, or somewhere. so, i just sat there, the girl no one knew. the girl who had tagged along with her friend. the social butterfly. the one that was somewhere, socializing.

so, of course, trying not to look awkward while rudy just continued to smile (which, honestly, was very pleasant) and stare, i’d look around the room as if i was doing exactly what an independent person would do. whatever they want. and, well, i know, even though i had slunk lower into the couch, i was pulling that off – looking cool and confident.



Fast forward to year 34 of marriage.

it’s been a roller coaster of a ride: ups, downs, and all-arounds.

beginning with:

not wanting to keep our hands off each other.


raising three kids and feeling tired, but wanting to instill good values, “to bring them up right”, no matter what.

then, somewhere in between:

beginning careers that would add to the balancing act of a married relationship.

and wrapped around:

being overwhelmed with how to “handle it all”, while trying to forge a comfortable life. (even when rudy had to live and work outside of california. having had spent a year in honduras, 3 years in arkansas. leaving me to “hold down the fort”.)

unfortunately, leading to both of us:

forgetting the importance of not wanting to keep our hands off each other.


the other day i began to send rudy morning – memory – texts. simple, quick reminders of us.

how we met.

walks we’d taken.

saying ‘i love you’ for the first time.

our anniversary.

babies that were born.

and so much more.



ours is a relationship that constantly revolves around evolving.

Suspicious Silence

While walking and checking out the variety of homes lining various streets within the confine of a specific neighborhood, I noticed that one particular house, a good-looking place, seemed dormant. A corner house. Front door facing south, garage on the west side. It’s a simple no-nonsense habitat. Light tan, maybe even a subtle yellow with white window frames and thick white shutters. A big tree near the front double doors protrudes, not only shading the grassy area but also the sidewalk. It’s the kind of tree you’d add a swing to. Small green trees are strategically planted in front of a big street-facing window, which adds to the home’s minimal design. As does the simple white gate next to the garage, allowing entrance into the backyard.

The thing that struck me as odd on this particular day was that it dawned on me that the place always looks ‘shut down’. As if no one lives there. Yet, someone maintains the landscape. I felt curious all of a sudden. Day after day I’d walk by, never stopping, and imagine what’s happening. Maybe the people were on an extended vacation. Maybe this home was their vacation spot and the house was just waiting for a visit from the owners.

Well, one day, about two months in, as I was walking by I heard voices in the backyard. ‘Yay!’ I thought. The house has opened up. And with that I walked on. But then, days-upon-days later, I noticed that whenever I passed the place and even though I heard the voices in the backyard, the house still seemed under-used, not lived in. Windows remained closed. Doors shut. Lights off.

I began to wonder if squatters had taken over. That they somehow figured out in the middle of this community, with lots of people milling about, that the no-nonsense home was theirs for the taking. And since the backyard was easy to access they could use the area for simply hanging out.

Days continued to pass.

One evening an older gentleman and a young kid walked out of the front door to retrieve the mail.

Say what?

The man with his white hair, white beard, and very white skin was followed by a teenage kid wearing a dark green hoodie, his long hair dangling over one eye. Interestingly, with the front door propped open I (quickly) observed that it was dark inside. No lights. And window shades still drawn. Both occupants walked casually, the kid stopping halfway down the paved walkway while the man grabbed some letters. Then both re-entered the house. Door quietly closed.

Now I was even more curious.

Unfortunately, I never saw those two again, and the backyard voices were gone. The only visible clue that someone was around was a blue Saturn parked in the driveway. Daily.

At this point all I could do was wonder if something was amiss. Or, if possibly, I’ve created something that’s nothing.

2 days ago, I walked by the house and …

‘Say what?’

… the front and back doors were open – so was the gate, exposing a pristine backyard – and about 10 people were in the house. Not one of them was the white haired, white bearded, white skinned man or the teenage boy.


And then I see the car. Stenciled on its side was a company name. My eyes zoomed to the word INVESTIGATIVE.


I had to act cool. Seem like just another afternoon strolling down the avenue. Minding my own business. With some quick glances here and there I witnessed two guys discussing something inside the hall near the front door. One of them pointing up, down, to the left, to the right. At the same time two woman wearing masks exited the house, went to a car, pulled out some wipes, vigorous sanitized their hands, then walk back into the house. At the back door, people were talking, each holding a clipboard. And, I also noticed the blue Saturn parked at the curb.


I was thinking someone got busted (and I was right about squatters) or someone died – by homicide (I watch way too many murder mysteries!) So, I figured those people were either investigators or a cleanup crew. Discussing how best to deal with dishonest people or to clear the place of all the carnage.

I headed straight home and Googled the company name.


Home inspection. Nothing like what I was thinking, at all!! Instead, homes are ‘investigated’ and inspected when putting the place ‘on the market’, or something like that.

Yesterday, there was a twin mattress (no box spring) and a dark wooden bed frame on the grass near the curb.

That’s it. That’s all I know. And I probably will never ever get to the bottom of this human story or the crime I’ve created in my head. I will never know what the truth is. Who are/were those people seemingly using the backyard as a social place and/or living in a dark home?

The COVID19 Test

Rudy and I have been doing our part during the COVID19 pandemic. We wear masks outside of the house. (Except for me, when I walk around the neighborhood when no one else is around). In general, Rudy does the grocery shopping, but I will tag along occasionally, both of us very aware of maintaining a safe distance from others. Which isn’t always easy considering some people don’t seem to care whether they are close to others or not.

Rudy does have to go to work daily, to an essential job. He is greeted at the front gate by a thermometer against his forehead, taking his temperature then given a wristband to show he “passed”. Even though he has his own homemade masks, he is given an additional one to wear while inside the large building, which holds 150+ employees. He also has a bottle of sanitizer to spritz on his hands regularly. Rudy tends to work in a small space with a small group of people who, like him, are taking precautions during this very stressful time.

Here at home, we’ve been fine. Feeling good. Assuming, since we are following mandated protocol, we are 95% safe – nothing’s perfect – from contracting the disease.

All is well, until it isn’t.

Last week, Rudy and everyone else at his work, were notified that they must take the COVID19 test due to the fact that several employees had claimed they had tested POSITIVE for the virus, whether they contracted it outside of work or within, Rudy is unsure.

The thing is, he was now in a position that he could not return to work until a NEGATIVE test was presented before entering the building the following week. Rudy took the test and, not surprisingly, his result was negative.

Tests taken. People returned to work.

But, not everyone passed. Those that didn’t are now quarantined.

The way the process happened at Rudy’s place of employment only means that just because people did not test positive on a particular day last week doesn’t mean if they test again in a week they will get the same results. It takes the virus 2-14 to show itself and these employees, Rudy included, may be carrying the virus (and not realize it), and pass it on.

The protocol of a 14 day self-quarantine is required to avoid further transference.

I Am One of Many

I like quiet. To be alone. To spend time reflecting. On life. And everything else.

But, then, I find myself, as part of those reflecting moments, to not want to be alone because it may eventually come true. Probably will.

What then?

This morning I was reading in the back room, focused and engaged in a mystery drama.

Suddenly, I paused. Took my eyes off the text. Stared out the window. And listened.

I heard Rudy in the kitchen. Turning on and off the KitchenAid mixer. I heard nothing else. Just the whir of the slowly spinning paddle. Mixing bread dough.

I just listened.

The sound of that mixer fills our home regularly. He’s always making something. The sound of Rudy in the kitchen feels comforting in the same way that being alone soothes my soul.

I want to be quiet, to be alone, and to reflect on everything. And just as important, I want human connection.

In Just 5 minutes I Witnessed the Rise and Fall of Life

Life really does present many of us with ups and downs, as if we are on a roller coaster ride. Lots of times the downs can present themselves unexpectedly and we must brace for the worse. We just plummet and must handle it in a positive manner, by getting back up and starting again.

This morning I encountered a young couple, probably in their early 20’s, walking ahead of me up a steep street located in the hills just north of my neighborhood. The girl was petite with long pink hair while the guy was very tall and lanky. She was wearing baggy neon green sweatpants, a black tank-top, and sneakers. Over her shoulders she had slung a small backpack. He wore an oversized dark blue t-shirt and jeans. He also had on a brown baseball cap and a pair of Nikes. Both were holding a skateboard, hers smaller than his. I could hear their chitter chatter but was far enough back that I had no clue what was being said. I heard laughter, watched them embrace, and just before they made it to the top of the hill, I witnessed the guy pluck a rose from a resident’s garden and gently present it to his girl.

Sweet. Innocent. Young. Love.

Our foot pace was rhythmically the same, therefore, I naturally maintained the same distance behind them, until they stopped at the top.

Like many people, due to COVID19, I have been confined to working from home so I took the opportunity to enjoy early morning walks. I have walked enough consistent days that my trek up that super steep climb didn’t faze me nor did it create a huge gap between myself and the young couple. When they stopped at the summit and as I closed the distance between us I noticed pink-haired girl gently swinging her skateboard while looking down the flipside of the street. Steep, but not so much as the incline. I slowed my pace when I heard the guy state, very nicely, “You are going to try this,” not to ask her, rather to remind her that she said she was all in.

I could have mentioned all the bad things that could happen (because, well, I do probably have almost 40 something wise years on them) but the reality is that people want and will do what they choose. Seriously, don’t tell me how to live my life. Let me figure it out and if I need your advice, well, maybe I’ll ask for it.

All I could think was how young and sweet they seemed together. Enjoying their walk and each other. Holding hands. He freed her of the small backpack and gently pocketed the rose while she put her board down on the pavement, ready of fly. Just before she took off he said, “Don’t go in a straight line, instead, zigzag back and forth to slow yourself down.” She smiled, which to me seemed like an ‘OK,’ smile that is full of nerves.

By this point I was just walking over the summit and slowly began jogging downward. I was probably 10 feet down when I heard the spinning wheels of the skateboard and her voice shout, “Watch out!” to me as she sailed on by. Flying pretty fast, trying to maneuver as instructed, zigzagidy, back and forth; though, she seemed unsure how to actually move the skateboard back and forth. Not only was the board wobbly, so was she. Just when I noticed that the girl was possibly going to lose her balance, Lanky dude went zooming passed me on the opposite side and easily boarded down the gravel street. He passed her. Big smile on his face while he looked over at her, seemingly so proud of the balanced bravery she was showing and also seemingly feeling pumped for being such a cool boyfriend.

And then it happened.

He should have been very specific and told her to make wide zigzags, that she should roll from one side of the street to the other. Back and forth.

Pink haired girl flopped forward after losing her grip on the skateboard. She had lost control and simply flew full frontal to the ground. She was hurt. She sat up just as her boyfriend ran up to her, asking if she was ok. I thought about intervening but knew I couldn’t. That she was embarrassed enough and didn’t need a random person to assist. She had her love interest with her and that was enough.

I am going to assume that that small adventure she just experienced was part of her roller coaster ride, a downfall, and with determination she will get back up and move forward. And climb again.

A Broad View

Image 6-21-19 at 7.28 PM

I’ve heard so much about The Broad Museum, everywhere. From people (in person) and people (online) to people (via a phone or text conversation). With each conversation the more I heard the more I wanted to visit this artistic place in Los Angeles.

My youngest son, Brad, (who appreciates art, all kinds, from Jackson Pollack to Basquiat to Andy Warhol to Kaws to Picasso), and I walked passed an extra long line of people (who didn’t purchase  free tickets beforehand, online) and into the tall rectangular structure, anticipating a rewarding experience.

The building is interesting. Simply driving by it seems to be an ordinary structure, nothing much to think about. But if you stand a distance away you can see how art is used to form the shape. Looking towards the entrance, the north side of the building, you will notice that the bottom corners are sliced off, creating a unique design. You will also make note of the complimenting gashes carved all around its surface. Plus, there is a small oval (window?, I think) surrounded with a frame of blue and yellow.

When Brad and I entered the building our first option, if we so chose, was to stand in a line (Yuk! I hate lines!) to sign up to experience the Infinity Mirrors by Yayoi Kusama (2 hours later, from that moment). Line displeasure aside, we concurred, Why not? An interactive piece of artwork should not be bypassed.

We assumed exploring would take a while, a couple hours at least, so we took the escalator to the 3rd floor – the only floor with art displayed – and strolled around the venue, gazing at and contemplating various pieces. Of course, we had to hit the Basquiat works and the Andy Warhol’s, which did not disappoint. I learned that the Barbara Kruger pieces are the color inspiration for the ultra popular clothing store, Supreme. Supreme’s red and white colors, the styling, and the font they use are an imitation of Kruger’s. We walked under the oversized table and chairs created by Robert Therrien, which was supposed to return one to childhood memories of crawling around. For me, I didn’t vibe on that memory – I never crawled under tables. But, the style of the chairs Therrien recreated are a perfect match to a chair I have that belonged to my dad, long ago. A chair that is a staple piece in my home office. Jeff Koons’ colorful balloon-like animals and fruit (made with stainless steel and a mirror-like surface) are fun pieces of art. Reminders of the good things in life. And the black and white photos by Robert Longo make you think. As does the charcoal on canvas drawing by Jenny Saville.  Both artists created a feeling that I have been part of a similar story. And finally, the exhibit Soul of A Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power was extraordinary and thought provoking, showcasing contributions by artists beginning during the civil rights movement.

Heading back to the ground floor, to the Infinity Mirror room. I realized we still had 45 minutes left before Brad and I could even stand in line (Blah!) to enter the space filled with panels of mirrors and strings of lights. We wondered if it was worth the wait.  Right about that time, as we were contemplating leaving (instead of waiting), Brad and a guy – an employee of The Broad – both about the same age, engaged in a conversation about the pants and shoes each was wearing. (Fashionistas are everywhere!) There had to be some kind of bond because when Brad asked, “Is it worth the wait?” pointing toward the Infinity room. Mr. Employee said, “Follow me.” We did. And he graciously guided us to the front of the line.

Wait or no wait, it was worth it.

On the way home, we discussed what we thought about the museum and it was determined that, overall, the works of art were definitely worth taking the time to visit.

Yet, the downfall, was that with so many people given access to The Broad at one time, the noise level was very distracting. Art should be experienced quietly, reflectively, and respectfully, like libraries.




As a teacher, summer always comes just at the right time so that I can take a break from the chatter of work. Don’t get me wrong, chatter is good, chatter is great, especially when speaking about kids in the classroom. The energy is rewarding in that students are engaged and excited to learn. To grow. To gain confidence. And to feel safe. To not worry. To embrace themselves. To know they are worthy. And to have a voice. A unique voice that needs to be heard.

That said, I definitely enjoy my summers. I create a schedule that’s not a planned time-frame but rather a loose, relaxing, take it day-by-day lifestyle.

This morning, I woke up three hours later than I would have if I had to go into work. I sipped a hot cup of (black only) coffee while watching Good Morning America. I began writing (again, finally) after six months of nothing noted. I enjoyed a grapefruit before heading out for a walk through the neighboring neighborhood, which is full of foliage and steep hills.

Summer is important because, for me, it is the key to maintaining a calm demeanor. A calm demeanor means protecting my well-being. And protecting my well-being is required for when I return to the classroom for another year of learning and building confidence within my students. Because, what’s better than a very patient teacher?

the healthy option

it’d been several months that i had been mad at myself, coming home from work, from a day filled with the energy of 10 year olds. i’d walk in, drop my gear on the kitchen table, turn on the television, and lounge on the couch with the intent to calm my mind for a bit. the problem was i’d feel myself sink lower and lower, and before i knew it, i was falling asleep.


i made a statement, not only to myself but to rudy as well. ‘i want this tv gone, out of the house.’ by the next day i had moved it into the garage, where it sat unused. and then i transferred my after school activities to the kitchen table. the hard chair and tabletop  worked, for a while, until i reminded myself that while working on teacher work i could use my computer to watch… whatever.


several more months passed when i made another statement. ‘all i do is sit here and watch shows on Netflix. i’m kidding myself. i am losing it. not taking care of myself. i need a stand up table.’

‘huh?’ rudy grunted.

‘well, a desk. a desk i stand at instead of sit. it’s a healthy option.’

the thing is, as a teacher i walk around the classroom all day long. checking students work here, checking behavior there, and guiding lessons everywhere. by the time i get home, the steps i’d taken at work, about 6500, made me feel i’d earn sit-down time. but, i’d mistakenly believed sitting for the rest of the night made up for all the walking i did during the day.

wrong. i was feeling bloated.

so, i did a quick search of desks that you can work at while standing.

and boy, did i find a beauty. it’s called an UPLIFT DESK, made in austin, tx. the tabletop is made from reclaimed fir wood and comes with a controller (attached to the desk) to automatically adjust its height.

i’m in love.

plus, a new puzzle obsession has occurred, an activity that (both figuratively and literally) keeps me on my toes.



to add to all the joy i am feeling, i have set up the room in my house, the one with the wall full of windows and, more importantly, the light filled room surrounded by items given to me by my sister and my mom, two people who are on my mind daily, two people who continue to guide me and remind me about what’s important in life.

What’s so Difficult About Staying Organized?

Long, long, long ago when I was a wee child I used to clean without being asked. It wasn’t a chore. It wasn’t mandatory. It wasn’t expected of me. Yet, I cleaned. Organized, Put things in their place. And the result? Boy, did I feel invincible, as if I could do anything. Cleaning and organizing are my go-to activities whenever I need a boost of contentment. Once completed, I can relax.

Of course, as that small, youthful girl I had no clue the benefits I’d gain, nor did I recognize any joyous feelings I may have experienced during those early years. I mean, really, I was only about 5 years old, I think, when it all began. When cleaning and organizing became as common to me as did writing with my dominant left hand. I still can vividly see myself in that small bedroom, making beds, arranging shoes, folding clothes, and sweeping the floor. Or being in the kitchen. Putting hand-washed dishes in their place and organizing the lower cupboards, the ones I could reach, stacking pots and pans. Did anyone notice? I don’t know and I didn’t seem to be concerned whether my work was recognized or not. I simply enjoyed the task.

As the years progressed, I have continued to keep my spaces [mostly] in an orderly manner. I prefer an organized household – or classroom, for that matter, simply because it’s so much easier to find what I’m looking for. But, that’s not to say that, seriously, sometimes a bit of disarray is fine and dandy, and ironically can be very comforting and soothing. Just not to the point where chaos begins to take over. Because, then, my mood takes a dive.

Fast forward to today. There is a teenage boy – young adult, actually – in the house who finds it very difficult to stay organized. I can’t recall how many times over the years that I have gone into his bedroom, cleaned up, created places for cherished items, and walked out feeling content. Clutter be gone! Yet, within days, somehow, somewhere all is lost, under a pile of clothes, both dirty and clean.

And he doesn’t understand what the problem is.

I get it, I do, we’re all individuals, good at certain things and great at others; and, we all have something we are lacking, things we can improve.

In the end, I do have to say, my lacking in trying not to eat “junk food” for the betterment of my health takes a backseat to having a clean and organized space surrounding me.





Ups, downs, and all arounds.
That's life,
unexpected events and occurrences
mixed together with the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The good turns bad, which looks ugly, and feels never-ending.
life is a journey.
Nothing should be the same except for deep-rooted feelings,
and the love for one another.
when things seem impossible
remember, look around, and embrace what's possible,
what can be.
The bad and the ugly
are reminders not to take life for granted,
grab hold of the good,
ride with it,
embrace it,
and remember it, always,
and forever.