x is for xenophile

I am, and have been for as long as I can remember, a xenophile.

I. AM. ATTRACTED. TO. FOREIGN. PEOPLE.

rudy

Specifically.
To.
Rudy.

Mr. Honduras.

A foreigner.

Who was foreign to me.
When we locked eyes.

Long ago.

But not anymore.

He.

With his chocolate skin.
Makes me swoon.
His don’t mess with me dark features.
That can just as easily turn into a happy, feel-good expression.
And the silken accent that flows off his tongue.
Oh, how it weakens my knees!

Yep.
I am a xenophile.

Enamored with Rudy.

Bill, My Brother

Repost from August 3, 2011

bill and me

Bill died when he was 19 years old. He was in a car accident while traveling home from Desert Hot Springs, in California, with his best friend and a hitch-hiking passenger.

I was a sixteen year old sophomore. A young girl who seriously idolized her down-to-earth, friendly, always-had-time-for-me, artistically inclined, nice looking, wild-long-blond-haired brother.

I remember as a small child, Bill and I were one of the four youngest kids in our family that took day trips with our parents. Fun times, for sure. It wasn’t until I was in high school, though, that I really began to realize what an impact Bill had on me. Specifically with the way I saw myself and the potential of being someone special.

Insecurity ruled me during those teen years. I was so focused on worrying about how I was perceived by others that I forgot to just have fun. When I was a freshman, Bill was a senior. He warmed my heart, pushed my I’m an awesome person button, simply by acknowledging my presence as he was walking within my vicinity. He would literally stop, his group of friends in tow, approach me, smile, say hi, and hug me before he continued his journey. So simple. Yet, so rewarding. He pumped up my confidence.

When two police officers walked up the drive, onto our unpaved, pebble-filled porch I was lounging on an aging, wooden outdoor chaise. Interesting, I thought. “What did one of my brothers do now?” I asked, jokingly. “Do you know Bill Palmer?” one of them asked me. Or maybe he used his full name, William. I can’t remember. Anyway, my heart skipped a beat. “Yeah, he’s my brother,” I responded quietly. At this point I began wondering if maybe they should be talking to my parents, not me. I was a too-young girl that loved her brother more than he ever knew. “He was in a car accident. He was killed,” the officer stated, without much emotion.

Did I hear right? My heart was beating so fast. I stumbled out of the chair, fell into the house and tried with all my might to scream, to alert my mom and dad that I needed them. “What is it?” my mom asked, or maybe it was my dad standing next to me. I’ve lost that memory. “There are some cops out there, saying Bill died,” I choked out. Their eyes grew wide, yet they seemed confused. I re-opened the front door without a word and pushed them towards the officers.

Life was a blur for quite a while after that. School needed my attention but I couldn’t even stay in my music class, to learn the graduation song for the upcoming graduates. It made me cry. I left the room. My brother, Kit, just watched me leave. I could see in his eyes he was hurting, too. The music teacher didn’t object when I quietly left the classroom, tears gently rolling down my cheeks. I don’t even remember what I did after that. Maybe I just left, walked the mile home. People were very kind, but I was so wrapped up in trying to figure out Why? Why did Bill have to die? that I didn’t let them in to console me.

I lost a very important person, someone who helped form the way I think, the way I am today. Sadly, he never knew. All I can believe is that he watches me, sees I’m doing fine. He’s everywhere. Even in some of the behaviors of my kids, especially in Roberto. He’s in artwork I see framed around my world. He’s in friendships I observe, especially the friend who is extremely charismatic, and in stories I read about brothers caring about sisters, sisters caring for brothers.

Here I sit, thinking about Bill, my brother. I am fortunate to have had someone very special in my life, someone who travels in my thoughts, reminding me to make the most of everything, and to take nothing for granted. Daily, I take the time to slow down, live in the moment, to observe my world, and appreciate the good things.

furballs

cassandra

skyler

kitties
cats

twins
fraternal

cassandra is dark chocolate brown
and
skyler is layered with a multitude of hues

both have green eyes

cassandra is an extrovert
knocking books off laps
looking for a comfortable place to rest

skyler is an observer
standing back
watching
occasionally
tucking herself in next to those who love her

girls:garageDoor

early in the morning
when the day is beginning
the girls
wait
for the garage door to open
just enough
for them
to peek out
before
spending their day
exploring
the
wonders of the world

Parenting 101

REPOST from Sept. 15, 2012: (stands the test of time…)

brad, age 13

There’s this fine line between disciplinarian and friend, when it comes to being a parent. Kids need rules, yet, they also need someone they trust. Someone to talk to. Someone like me.

I’ve never grounded my kids. Rather, I find quiet moments to talk about a situation, without making a big deal. Which in turn develops a bond between us. A solidarity.

One day, when Brad was at a friend’s house, I took the opportunity to clean his way too messy room. As the pile of clothing, and other junk, began to diminish from the top of his dresser, having settled back into the drawers, I spotted the Kindle Fire. I had forgotten about the electronic reader, as I had given it to Brad to use for school; so, for me, it was out-of-sight-out-of-mind. During the summer, he said he wanted to spent some time getting acquainted with the gadget, to just play with it, learn how to use it.

Sounded good to me.

I picked the Kindle up, which was tucked into its black leather jacket that I had bought, to protect it. I stretched the elastic band off the cover, flipped it open, turned it on, and browsed through items Brad had downloaded. Just checking in, one might say. Games, Facebook, and a few magazines.

I should have guessed, but I hadn’t. Nor was I surprised. Or even mad, that one of the magazines included lots of photos of girls; young women, actually, in teeny-tiny swimsuits. HOT women, emphasizing breasts and rear-ends.

I laughed. To myself.

Later, when Brad was lounging on his bed, I walked in, asking how his day was. It was fun, he told me. And he thanked me for cleaning his room.

“Oh, and by the way, I was looking at the Kindle,” I began.
Brad gave me a sideways glance, narrowed his eyes, and smirked a bit.
“I saw the magazine you downloaded. The girls,” I continued.
He just looked at me. Waited for me to do some more talking.
“I see you have good taste,” I joked.
He smiled, and looked down.
“And, well, anyway, I have no problem with you looking at those pictures, but a word of advice.”
He waited, patiently.
“You need to delete them. The Kindle is for class books, for reading, and I don’t think your teachers would like those photos on campus.” I finished.
“OK,” Brad answered.

The night before his first day of school, I asked him if he had everything he needed. If he was all packed up.
“Yep,” he responded. “And, yes, the magazine has been deleted.”

I am sure he will not be surprised when another respect for women conversation drops into ours lives somewhere down the road.

I am building a lifetime with him. A trusting relationship, so that he knows that no matter what, he can always count on me.

Lemons and Liz

IMG_8262IMG_8164Liz is my pal. My friend. My daughter. And when she talks, I listen. When she gives me advice, I’m focused. Tuned in. To everything she has to say. Including healthy advice. Things she’s learned about eating properly, ideas that make my day brighter, lighter, uplifting, and overall body-better feeling.

So, when she brought up the importance of drinking lemon water I couldn’t wait to get home and slice up some of those sunshine-yellow nuggets.

I know. I know. Nothing new. Heard it before. Just a reboot. An old idea renewed. But a valuable idea nonetheless. And, honestly, coming from Liz, it’s an old idea that she believes needs new attention. And, well, I consider her a valuable healthnut guru. Why? You might ask. She’s healthy, love-wealthy, and definitely wise, I’d answer.

Therefore, I’ve been drinking it up. Water saturated with lemons. So good. So refreshing. So easy. So worthy. So me. So Liz.

Being Human

roberto age 4:5

When Roberto was born, his head was perfectly shaped. Perfectly proportioned. With perfectly placed facial features. He was, in my opinion, a natural born attention-getter.

When he was a very young boy, Roberto was guaranteed to hear how beautiful his big blue eyes were. How cute he was. Yet, I made sure to counter-comment, after he would thank them for the compliment, with an observation of my own.

“…and he is such a nice, kind person. Smart too!”

You see, as far as I was concerned, and what I’ve wanted Roberto to embrace was that more than his good looks, concern for humanity should be a top priority, along with respect for others.

No longer a very young boy, Roberto is now a young adult, and his handsome features have not wavered, and neither has his appreciation of human life, and accepting people for who they are. As has always been important to me, Roberto also believes everyone should live their own life, in the way they chose, as long as they are not harming themselves, or more importantly, not hurting anyone else.

Roberto is what many call the life of the party. The person you can count on to bring happiness to any situation. A true, loyal friend. Someone dedicated to improving his own life, while enhancing the lives of others. He’s respectful, complete with morals and values. A well-rounded human being. Someone who will bend down and look a child in the eyes when talking to him or her. He will listen, with enthusiasm, to an elderly person, gaining valuable insight from the life of someone who has a story to tell, memories of long ago. Roberto enjoys the company of family, as much as he does his connection with friends.

As his mom, I am impressed and proud of the open-minded person he is. So, when he told me, with no fear of rejection, that he is gay, I warmly welcomed him into my embrace, because of the young man I know him to be, and because of the love he shares willingly, without conditions.

i am a writer

me blogging

As far back as I can remember writing had never been my thing, the thing one thinks of as a passion, a lifeline, something one needs to do to feel whole. I have always loved the written word, yet I never considered myself as a writer.

I even proved as much when, during a teacher prep course in college, I wrote a very mundane story about me, a bathroom, nine brothers, a sister and a waiting line. I had no clue how to make what could have been a hilarious tale into an interesting read.

Years had passed since that book was turned in, and the only writing I had done since was scribbling my thoughts into a personal journal.

Until one day, several years later, when Rudy moved to Arkansas, to take a job out of necessity. My writing journey unexpectedly began with stories about us, living separate lives. My thoughts, tingling to my fingertips, spilt onto the page, revealing true, heartfelt bona fide affairs.

It was then that I knew I could write, pulling from emotions that are always on the edge of my mind, waiting for their turn.