Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Confession from Keith

I sat in a room with about 10 other people today and heard a man admit to being an alcoholic. He said he wakes up every morning and has to have a drink to get his day going. While he doesn't drink at work, he can't wait to get home to crack open his first beer. Over the course of his admission, he included that he had served time in prison and had previously been addicted to drugs. He stated all this with a matter of fact attitude and when he was done, he had a look of relief on his face as he stated, "wow, it feels good to admit and unload that!"

I looked around the room at the other people sitting there. None of us seemed to be prepared for that admission. It came out of the blue, it seemed. Tears were stinging my eyes and I had to swallow deeply a couple of times to hold them back. Something about the look on his face, the release of admission to something that he maybe had been holding on to for a while. He might have admitted it to himself, at one point, but maybe this was the first time he admitted it to others out loud. He continued sharing that he wanted to stop drinking but didn't know how. Now he realizes he needs to do something. He has three small children, all boys, he wants to be around as they grow up. Tears now flowed slightly from his eyes.

I wanted to reach out to him. Touch his shoulder and let him know that he could do it. Remind him of all he had to live for. Encourage him to get help. Offer prayer, anything to let him know he wasn't alone. Yet, I didn't. Like the others I just sat there and listened. It didn't seem the appropriate time to interrupt him. It didn't even seem the appropriate time for his confession.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

An Educator

In a few minutes I begin teaching my fourth course of the week. As I've mentioned in a previous post, I'm teaching full-time at a local college and I must admit, I'm loving it. (No, I'm not stealing that tag line from McDonald's...notice I actually spell it out fully?)  =) Anyhow, each one of us is given the opportunity to do things that bring value and meaning to our lives and the lives of others. For some, it is the blessing of being a parent, as they guide their children to live full and productive lives. For others, it is being a mentor or big brother/big sister to younger ones in need of positive guidance. For me, it's the opportunity to stand in front of a group of college students and relay whatever content they're here to learn in a way they will not only grasp it but also be able to use it in their lives on a daily basis. A traditional educator I am not. But an educator, I am.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Witty insight or a funny comment. Ticklish licks and kisses from cute doggies. Everyday, moments of laughter.

Reminder of loss or abandonment of a friendship. Words left unspoken. Everyday, moments of pain.

A smile or kindness from a stranger. Witnessing a student connecting with the topic being discussed. Everyday, moments of joy.

Actions that may have hurt the ones loved most. Regret for words that should have remained unspoken. Everyday, moments of remorse.

Ability to experience life with all five senses. Blessed with love and friendship. Everyday, moments of appreciation.

Each cause for those, opportunities for growth; once accepted. Each moment unique; always reflect. Each, a life lesson. Facing truths.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Your Son

When we first met, I remember thinking almost immediately that I could see where he got his eyes, his kindness. You welcomed me into your heart almost immediately and never let me go. Along with your mother and sisters, you all gave him a most special gift you could have ever given him - the natural instinct of how to love, treasure and respect his wife. It's almost as if you each prepared him for me, in different ways. I'm not saying that he's perfect, he's human after all. But there's no denying he's the right fit for me.

Today, I celebrate another year of life with the man you brought into this world. I miss you.

I wish I could tell you this over the phone. I would give almost anything to hear your voice as you deny you had anything to do with the good parts of your son. Giving full credit to his father, which by the way, you're right...once I met him I loved him and I totally understand what you were telling me all those times. Not once did you criticize his father. If anything, you praised him for the man that he is. Your respect for his father made me respect you even more.

Today, I celebrate another year of life with the man you brought into this world. I thank you.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Fishies

Sipping my café con leche this early afternoon, I'm sitting here at home in an old, t-shirt type pajama. It's white and has little colorful fishes all around it. It's at least 10 sizes too big on me, but, it's comfy as ever.

The last time I wore it was probably about eight years ago. My husband saved it and it sat folded in a drawer, then in one box after another. It was recently washed, during the craziness of our last move. It's one of the pieces of clothing that I would wear when I was a much heavier woman, along with the weight of a whole other person. A very thin person, but another person, nonetheless.

The majority of my life, represented in just a few articles of clothing. Surely my life was not just about the size of my clothing or the weight of my body. Nevertheless, the pj otherwise known as 'the fishies' is still here. A reminder of a time past, a different time. Not just physically; mentally and emotionally, as well.

Reflecting on all the many things I can do now that I couldn't do then. A five-mile bike ride that doesn't leave me too winded, an hour and fifteen minute yoga class that allows me to stretch my breathing and body to its limits. Of course, the aesthetics aspect of weight loss has it's benefits, but that's not what is most important. What's important is the fact that I have no major health ailments, I don't take pharmaceutical medication to keep me healthy, and, I'm rarely sick due to low blood sugar or high blood pressure.

'The fishies' is a fond reminder of a time in my past, along with being a reason to appreciate the time of the present and the future. Although it's like a tent on me, I proudly wear it. In my house, anyway.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Many unique individuals, choose to live their lives.
Boundaries pushed in the cultural realm of life.
Social, political and economic reform.
Power of the arts?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What's in a Diary?

A diary, generally meant to be private, tends to be one of the most revealing, soul-baring, explicitly honest, treasure chest of desires, dreams, secrets, hopes, fears, frustrations...the describing words could go on and on. Being one who has kept a diary on and off throughout her lifetime, I cringe at the thought of many of my words going public. Yet, at the same time, it is not my worst fear in life. Would I be embarrassed about most of it? Most likely. I realize, though, that the words I wrote then and those I write now are a true reflection of where I was in life and where I am in life.

One of my favorite writers, Anais Nin, writes about her passion and drive for writing in this excerpt from her diary. I love her honesty. Her vulnerability. Her ambition. Her passion.


Yesterday afternoon I wrote a short story. Suddenly, unexpectedly, a great many ideas have come to me and I receive them with pleasure, as this doesn't often happen. When the story was finished, I got busy and copied it carefully. I fell asleep last night dreaming that I had taken it to a publisher who frightened me terribly and told me that I could do better. And now today, obsessed by that dream, I wrote another one that is much better. I am a tiny little bit discouraged because I write rather like a child, not like a lady, and I haven't yet been able to correct that. I have only one aim: as soon as I am in New York, I will type my story on the machine and putting all my sensitiveness and especially my fear of being ridiculous to one side, I will really go to see that terrible publisher...It's strange how this real ambition has suddenly come to life. For a long time I have written nothing except my diary, and I had somewhat lost hope of ever becoming an author. It's my French that worries me, but lo and behold, I have English at my disposal now, and I can write it better than any other language! Furthermore, I am here in the great country of opportunity, so I can try. And what enthusiasm is tied to this dream of hope and ambition! I have never taken lessons in how to write stories, I never went very far in school, and yes, there is a lot of discouragement, things that make me feel doubts about my career, but also there is that inexplicable something that I was born with it, and little by little experience will teach me all the things that I lack.

~Anais Nin, September 1, 1919

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Phoenix, First-Friday and Dinner

It was quite a lovely day here in Phoenix. I'm finding myself appreciating this city, which I disliked for so long, more and more every day. Even with the impending heat of summer, I still seem to have a cheery disposition about living in the desert. When I reflect on my attitude about this city, I recognize that much of my disdain had to do with where I was in life, maturity, and experience. Which could be the reason I'm actually enjoying life in Phoenix, in a home about four miles from the home where I grew up, about two miles from the high school I attended, and about five miles from the business/educational institution where I started my career and college education. The neighborhood where I grew up was actually gang infested and filled mostly with low-income families. These days, it's a thriving community with a mixture of similar low-income families, artsy-type singles and couples, and alternative-lifestyle families.

Older homes built in the early to mid-1900's have been renovated baring exposed brick, hardwood floors, and beautiful architecture. A cyclical downtown renovation reminiscent of what's occurred in many other large metropolitan cities such as Los Angeles and Seattle. Suddenly it's hip to live in downtown Phoenix. Which makes me even more proud to know that not only did I grow up in this part of the city, but upon my return I haven't gone much further.

Tonight, in downtown was a monthly event known as First-Friday. A cultural art event that brings together artists and vendors allowed to display and sell their creative inventions (whether it's art, handmade jewelry and clothing, or food). This monthly event draws people from all over the Phoenix metropolitan area and beyond. Next month, my good friend and artist, Fernando Moreno, will be showing his work, which consists of some of the most original, oil paintings on canvas. My sister Petrina and I are also hoping to get a booth to display and sell our handmade accessories. You can check out our items online at our Etsy store. Once we secure our booth I'll post additional information.

Dinner was lovely tonight as my hubby and I (well, mostly I) feasted on some of Chef Johnny Chu's fabulous Asian dishes at his restaurant Sens. If you live in Phoenix and haven't been, make it a point at some time to stop by and try some of his dishes. It's a tapas-style restaurant so be prepared to share. I love that we can find such unique restaurants so close to home.

Happy April family and friends!