Happy BIRTHday, Mr. Seventeen Year Old. Happy BIRTHday To You!

brad newborn

Brad was born on August 6th, in the year 1999. The morning of his birth, which was his actual doctor given due date I was feeling a bit uncomfortable, but nothing unusual compared to the discomfort of many previous days. Rudy rolled toward me on the bed, looked at me and asked how I was feeling. “I’m good. A little cramped, but fine. Really.”

“Well, today is the baby’s due date,” he said, making two slightly bent, bouncing fingers on each hand – the “quotes” gesture. Feeling convinced that I was fine, Rudy took Roberto with him so that they both could get a  haircut. About an hour, or so, after they had left, I called Rudy’s cell phone, dialing 911, a standard emergency message. I wasn’t feeling fine, anymore! They were about 35-40 minutes south of our house, down the 57 freeway, at a friend’s barber shop. Rudy called me, sounding a little anxious, saying he’d be home as quick, and of course as safely, as possible. Jinks! He should have knocked on wood – as far as the getting home quickly statement was concerned! Rudy was driving our cute, red we bought it used Honda Civic Hatchback (instead of our more reliable, sturdy Toyota 4Runner). He wanted to take the Honda for a much needed spin, not realizing the car would choose that day to act up.

Meanwhile, with my sister and Liz at home with me, I began pacing in-out-back-forth through the kitchen, living room, and dining room. I was feeling unusually, and unnaturally, worried.

Rudy called. “I don’t know what is wrong the the car! It’s going so slow! It was driving fine then it suddenly made a noise! I keep pressing the accelerator but the car won’t go any faster than 35mph! All the other cars are whipping right past us on the freeway! I even have to drive with my emergency lights on! I will get there as soon as I can! I will!”

He told me later – much later, when I really cared – that while that little car chugging along, eight year old Roberto and Rudy were constantly tapping the dashboard while talking to the hatchback. “Please, you have been a good buddy! Don’t die on us now, please! We need you to get us home! Baby boy is going to be born today!” Rudy coaxed.

Back at home, all I could do was try to relax and breath, a difficult task while feeling concerned. I could tell my sister was nervous so I tried to minimize it by saying I was okay, that everything was going to be fine. I’m pretty sure she could tell I was not really fine, but she played along, for my benefit, so as not to make me even more anxious. Back and forth, back and forth I ambled. I knew something was happening, something… like a baby being born on his due date! I was acting a bit strange – strange for me, that’s for sure. About 50 minutes after my 911 call to Rudy, I heard the car horn – about two blocks away! Honk! Honk! Honk!-Honk!-Honk! The horn was being pounded constantly, all the way up the winding streets of our neighborhood. The noise continued even as Rudy drove up onto our driveway. Hooooonk!!

And then I heard their happy screams. “Woo! We’re here! We did it!” Rudy and Roberto both yelled, heads dangling out the car windows. Rudy thanked the car for a job well done, “You made it! Thanks Man!” Running, and smiling, yet anxious looking, they ran into the house. Rudy grabbed the already packed baby bag loaded with all my necessities. After kissing the Liz and Roberto goodbye, and waving to my sister as she stood in the front doorway, Rudy helped me into the 4Runner. Off we went! Rather quickly.

“This is it. Today is the day,” I said with a pained look.

When we were walking down the corridor of the hospital I remember a group of little girls, maybe girl scouts on a field trip, walking along. Normally, I would most likely say hello to them but I just barreled past. Sort of with a get out of my way, NOW! attitude but, in a polite way, I’m sure. We sat together, Rudy and I did, on a bench opposite the reception area of the maternity ward. A nurse happened by, looking at me. “Are you in labor?” she asked, professionally. Oh, she’s good, she knows her stuff, I sighed. “Yeah,” is all I could say. Within minutes I was taken to the only room available, a small closet size room filled with all the necessary medical equipment.

I. Didn’t. Care!

The hospital staff – it seemed there were so many – positioned me as comfortable as possible on the bed. There was no time to spare. With the help of a midwife (a woman I had never met…), I gave birth to Bradford, within 15 minutes!

Happy BIRTHday, to our wonderfully wonderful 17 year old!

19 is number one

We were standing at the front door of our This could be it! future home. The owner was expecting us. Around two in the afternoon. We were about five minutes early.

“So the deal is, if we like the house, we’ll squeeze each others hand. Agreed?” I reaffirmed with Rudy.
“Agreed,” he confirmed.

Knock. Knock. Went Rudy’s hand. Strong on one of the front double doors. Half circles on the top of each. Wooden slats separating four panes of glass, shaped like slices of pizza.

Whoosh! We could hear the pull of air as a tall gentleman opened the door. Wide. Greeting us. With a bright, shiny smile. He stepped aside. Gestured with his hand to come on in!

In we went. Smiles on our faces, too.


We had only taken two or three, maybe four or five, steps into the entryway when, at the exact same time, Rudy and I squeezed each others hand. Tightly. Making sure we were remembering our agreed upon agreement.

Then we looked at each other. And smiled.

We knew. Right then. Only a few feet in, that this was the house we wanted. The house that would belong to us. For a long, long, long, long time.

Today marks 19 years living here. That feeling, the squeezing of hands, never wavering.

My Dad, the Jag, and Me

I was first exposed to the idea of actually owning a convertible jaguar-xkewhen I was 10, or maybe I was 9 years old. It was the summer before fifth grade when my dad invited me to go with him on a road trip, in his racing green two-seater, low-to-the-ground JaguarXKE, to visit two of my older brothers in Prescott, Arizona.

To this day, I’ve never known why my dad asked me, child number 10 out of 11, to tag along with him. And I’ve never asked. Nor, have I ever complained.

The best memory from that trip is picture perfect, ingrained forever in my thoughts. We were driving down a stretch of highway, my semi-long, brown hair whipping at my face. Oh, boy was I loving it! I looked over at my dad, saw that his grey-ish ponytail was trying so hard to let loose, lashing about like a horse’s tail trying to swat a fly. “I love riding in this car!” I screamed, so he could hear me. “This is so fun!” My dad smiled at me, a knowing smile, as if to say, ‘Me, too. Me, too.’

I told my dad that when I grew up I was going to get a convertible, just like him. He gave me a brief speech about choosing a car. I listened intently, considering the guy was a college professor and was pretty much on-point about everything.

“A convertible isn’t for everyone,” he started. “A lot of people buy one just to look good, but then discover that they hate driving with the top down. They hate their hair getting messed up, and the blast of wind in their face. So, if you do find yourself ready to purchase a convertible someday, make sure you really want it.”

Years later, with much thought, and with a head full of my dear ‘ol dad, I bought my first convertible. And what a purchase it was! Of late, I am driving my second convertible. It’s exhilarating to lower the beige soft-top, press the accelerator, and whoosh!, let the wind whip my hair every-which-way.

I’m pretty sure my dad smiles down on me, quite often, watching me zooooooom along, wind in my face, satisfied.

“I Was A Runner!”

mom age 10

She was a young girl. Betty Lou was.

She was ready for the school day to start that day. She was just waiting to hear the warning bell. Hear it blare through the window. Making its way up from down below. Telling her to get her tail down the hill and into class before the final bbrrrrriiiiiiiinnngggg went off.

Ring it did. She grabbed her things. Ran out the door. Down the long slope. Through a tunnel.


My mom was reminiscing about a time in her life. Remembering when she was a youth. An energetic girl who knew how to run. Run with strength.

With Grace.

“I was a runner!” she said with glee. “I ran like a deer. Bounding along. There was nothing stopping my agility.” She hugged herself. “I was great! I just love my young self!” She laughed. Wriggled herself in the chair. Happy with the memory.

Betty Lou ran with confidence. Rounded a familiar corner. Saw the man with his hands on his hips. Checking out his work. Or admiring it. “Did the cement look level?” he seemed to wonder. She didn’t have time to even considered what he might have been thinking. She just kept running. Running.

Stepped right into that square of cement. Splat! went her foot. It only took her a second to decide to just keep going. Getting to school on time was of the utmost importance. She never even glanced back. Didn’t know what the man was thinking.

“He probably stood there, scratching his head, wondering where the foot print had even come from,” she said.

We laughed.

Made some jokes.

Betty Lou made it to school on time.

Not a second to spare.