So wont the real Mrs. Claus please stand up, please stand up, please stand up?

19 12 2013
Waiting for Santa.

Waiting for Santa.

All of the Christmas lights I spent hours hanging up outside of the house just stopped working tonight. Not really feeling like investigating the reason, I instead, decide to embark on a certain mission that has been presented to me and maybe fuel up with some good ole holiday spirits.

It has come to my attention that I have no idea what Mrs. Claus’s name first name is. Christmas is almost here and I feel obligated to discover the answer before the white bearded man comes down my chimney.

My first instinct is to Google it of course. The first link is wikipedia, which I don’t normally rely on for factual information, but we are searching for Mrs. Claus’s first name. Mrs. Claus, as in the wife of Santa Claus. You know?

So I click on the link and read something about her first name being a mystery but then they list about nine different names that she’s been referred to as. That’s like saying she was born in Kentucky, Alabama, Massachusetts, Wyoming, Nevada, Oregon, Louisiana and the North Pole. Unless she’s got multiple personalities or is very indecisive of what she wants to be called, this just can’t be. I’m not satisfied at all with this answer.

The next link I click on is www.santaclaus.com. Cool! I never knew Santa had his own website. This should be good, I think to myself. I read the website and find the same question that I was asked the other night. What is Mrs. Claus’s first name?

The answer is right there. Her name is Jessica Mary Claus.

I thought, at first, that my search was over and couldn’t believe how easy it was to figure the answer out. Then I read more on the site to learn that you can become an elf by doing well in school, Santa and Mrs. Claus like to vacation in the Florida Keys after the holidays, and Santa gets the flu shot each year. I’m losing faith with this site’s credibility and confirm my doubts with the disclaimer at the bottom of the web page.

It reads,”All warranties express(ed) or implied are hereby disclaimed. Every effort is made to ensure that information is correct, but is not guaranteed.”

My mission is not over yet. I’m not 100% convinced that Mrs. Claus’s name is Jessica Mary Claus. The next few links I clicked onto gave me Jessica’s name again, as well as some new ones, but none could back up their answers with any credible source. Not to mention each answer has a different story about Mrs. Claus in general.

Seems like I may have my work cut out for me here. Oh wow! My Christmas lights just came back on. And all I had to do was press the reset button on the light socket panel.

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Sunday Funday Quiche Off

16 09 2013

I made it. All day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday without smoking a cigarette. Not gonna lie, there were times when I wanted to light one up, suck in the addictiveness and give in to my love-hate relationship with the tiny white stick. But I didn’t. I wake up each morning and my lungs say thank you for another 24 hours of clean air. It’s not easy but I’m noticing it is a lot about habit. It would be so easy for me to grab a cigarette from a pack and start puffing and regretting but when those urges come up, acknowledge them, embrace them, and try to figure out a substitute. Preferably one that won’t put the weight on because I can already see how substituting food or candy for cigarettes can be a bit of a crutch.

I just let out a long sigh but your couldn’t hear it because this is a text blog. That sigh was the release of another incredible day. A day filled with family and friends and games and conversation. Oh, and a Quiche Off between myself and my girlfriend, both of us virgin to quiche making. We shopped for our ingredients, prepped the food, and began creating our masterpiece quiches. We each made two with different ingredients and no one quiche was identical to the other. It was a nice, delicious variety from spinach, broccoli, bacon and cheese to asparagus, tomato and cheddar.

We invited family and friends to come over for brunch, complementing our quiches with mimosas and fresh fruit. The smell of sizzling bacon and baked egg and cheese permeated the air inside the house and teased the stomach. We decided we would pay attention to the responses and that would determine who’s quiche wins the Quiche Off. There were a variety of people with a variety of tastes and each of our creations were talked about. They loved them all. I watched everybody eat every last crumb off their plate, some even went for seconds. They were a hit. It was kind of hard to say who’s quiche was the best. I tried them all and each had a unique flavor I enjoyed. I walked inside to see what was left over and saw that there were 3 pieces left from each quiche. Nobody had anything left on their plate. I would say that this was a tie. It’s pretty cool too because it was something new for the both of us and we had an awesome Sunday brunch.

Quiche Off Part II….coming soon





I Quit Smoking Today

13 09 2013

Yes, I have officially declared out loud with my dog as my witness under the starry designs in the darkened sky, that I am going to no longer smoke cigarettes.

My aunt passed away this evening. She was my crazy aunt who I could always count on for honest, unedited advice; she was the one that would always make me laugh with her silly faces and her silly words; she understood things yet she still took chances and made changes and knew not to take life too seriously.

I was named after her. My middle name spelled just the same as her first name. Her daughter, only a few years older while her son a couple years younger spent summers and reunions together. I feel closer to them than I do my own brother, although there are days when I feel like he’s trying to maintain a sibling relationship.

I hate cancer. It killed my grandfather, it killed my grandmother just a month ago, it attacked my mom who is thankfully heading toward remission as I type this, and today it took my aunt away forever.

I know I’m going to research the hell out of cancer to see if I can get one up on it. I know there has been a lot of research done with this nasty disease so I shouldn’t have any problem finding information out about it. There needs to be some drastic changes for me. Starting with the cigarettes. Next, I’m going to be more conscious about my diet and I’m going to exercise twice as much as the minimal daily effort I normally put forth. I’m going to get in shape and beat this depression creeping up on me. There is too much that needs to be done.

When I went through my darker times with the person I no longer mention, I got to see firsthand what rock bottom really looked like. As I made what I hoped to be my final exit to that relationship (and later turned out that it was indeed the end) I fell in the arms of my parents of course, my biological mother, my aunt and my grandmother, all of whom took me in and got me back on my feet. I was stripped to the core and they mended me back together.

While I was staying with my grandmother, trying to find a job while saving some money from my unemployment checks, my aunt happened to be staying in town for a good chunk of time with my grandmother to do some mother-daughter bonding. They were taking a road trip for about a week and revisiting childhood places, old schools and neighborhoods along the way back home. I stayed by myself at my grandmother’s house, grieving over a failed abusive relationship, feeling completely vulnerable yet safe that I could sleep without worrying what was going to happen to me or what was going to set the bomb off today.

When they came back, we had several heart to heart talks about life and love and making the right decisions and having confidence in myself. There was this one particular day that my aunt and I spent the day running errands. She drove me around to get some errands run and then we made a few other stops during our outing.

We drove to the church that my grandmother attends and volunteers one day a week answering phones and doing office work. It’s the same church where my mom and my aunt were married at. It was in the afternoon in the middle of the week and nobody was in the sanctuary. They leave it open though for people to come inside to pray when they need to.

Inside the sanctuary, the sunlight shined through the stained glass windows that outlined the walls. The beautiful huge pipe organ that fills the air with music on Sundays. My aunt went up to the alter and began to pray. I remember this feeling I had while we were in there. It was like I was being hugged. I let my tears flow and got everything off my chest and out of my mind. At that time, my aunt had beat cancer and was on the road to healthiness and happiness. She knew how to prioritize and focus on the important elements of life. She had an awesome mission organization to help the orphaned children with HIV in Haiti. Together with her husband, they built hospitals, they taught, they nurtured, and they loved these kids as well as the many friends they encountered in Haiti.

When we were through saying everything we needed to say in the sanctuary, we then drove to the cemetery where my grandfather’s ashes were. My aunt lives on the west coast so it’s not like she gets to come visit every day. She loved and missed her father so much. She talked to his nameplate and told him about everything going on in her life with tears in her eyes. She talked about her grandchild and her kids and her daily endeavors. I thought that was so cool and it really touched my heart. We left some fresh flowers and headed back to my grandmother’s house.

My aunt told me how I looked better every new day. She told me that even though it was hard for me to get up out of bed in the mornings, and not because I was tired or hungover, but because I was depressed, still climbing up from rock bottom and I had a long way to go. But I was heading in the right direction. My aunt set some goals up with me and told me she was going to check in on me and see if I had made progress. We talked about me focusing on finding a job, my soccer coaching and my writing.

So, two months ago I watched my grandmother pass away on July 6th 2013, the day my grandfather was born and only a week shy from her 92nd birthday. My aunt was not able to come be by her mom’s side and with her brother and sisters due to her health. We Skyped with her so she could see her mom and tell her goodbye. There was about 15 minutes or so where it was just her in the room, on Skype, with the camera on the laptop facing my grandmother who’s breaths were already short with long intervals between them. We Skyped with her at the ash ceremony which she put together and carried out, the memorial service, and the reception that followed. We made sure she was there and as much a part of this celebration of her mother’s life as anybody else.

We just bought our first house and moved in the day before my grandmother’s service which was almost a month after she had passed. With siblings, family and friends coming from both the east coast and the west coast time was needed to make sure everyone could make it out. It was a beautiful celebration, just as my grandmother would want. We had so much family gathered in one place. We don’t get to see each other all together like that very often. So much has changed since the last reunion. My cousins all have children now for starters. It was a good time mixed in with the sadness.

Today is Thursday, September 12th, 2013. I was at work when I got the text from my mom that my aunt was in ICU going through her final stages. Having just watched my grandmother go through this I knew what that meant. At a little after 7pm eastern time, 4pm California time, my aunt passed away. She was surrounded by her daughter, her son, two of her sisters, one of which had just flown from Florida to spend her birthday with her, her devoted husband and his son from his previous marriage. His first wife died of cancer too. She was surrounded by love and for the ones like me that weren’t there physically, our thoughts were on her all day.

As I took a puff from my last cigarette before bed I knew that I needed to do something drastic. I’ve been in a funk lately and for good reason but I’ve got a lot of good going on in my life as well. I decided to quit smoking for my aunt. And my grandmother. And my mom, my dad, my girlfriend, my brother, my nephew, family, friends, people whose lives I’m going to touch in my lifetime, my dog, my bio-mom, and anybody who cares about me. It’s only dragging me down and I’ve been struggling with quitting. I’m ready to get out of my funk, start taking care of myself, finish editing my story which both my aunt and my grandmother loved, move toward my goals and just let myself be happy.

I declared this out loud. I made sure to get my dog’s attention and said it to her since she was the only one around. Today I quit smoking cigarettes.





Mother nature got a little rough with us today

24 03 2013

It’s crazy how powerful mother nature can be when she really wants to. After a busy Sunday morning, early afternoon thunderstorms passed through leaving behind a big mess. There were reports of tornadoes which have not yet been confirmed but after a walk in my neighborhood, it certainly looks like tornado aftermath damage.

What I found interesting was in my area, there were so many huge trees knocked down or uprooted and they all seemed to fall towards the road. I didn’t see much damage to homes other than a lot of fence damage. If these trees would have landed any in any other direction, there could have been so much more devastating damage.

This was a quick and sneaky storm.

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Lots of trees down.

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Smashed tractor.

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Lots of trees down, blocking streets and knocking down power lines.

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Huge trees knocked down.

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Tree blocking the road. This street actually continues down another half mile from where that green wall is.

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Uprooted.

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Saw a lot of this around the neighborhood.





The best way to make your dreams come true…

4 02 2013

Being creative until the wee hours in the morning.

Dream away.

Dream away.





Driving to work on a Wednesday morning

19 09 2012

Today I managed to drive to work without getting pissed off at other drivers. I kept calm and cool. Very proud of myself because you see, I was running a little late already (fairly typical of me) and every morning when I leave my neighborhood I have a choice between turning left and taking the back roads to work or turning right and taking the highway (Not to be confused with the high way). Its arguable as to which way is quicker. Each morning I set out to time it and I only get so far before I get distracted and forget what time I started or just forget I was trying to time it all together.

This morning the forces were out to get me. They were out to test my patience and temperament. It started out as soon as I made my decision to take the highway, which I’ve only just started taking recently because I swear the other way was faster. So I get onto one of the roads before reaching the highway and its backed up and not moving. I’m finally able to inch up close to a side road which will get me through to the next road I need. After two or three stoplight changes I was able to turn onto that side road. I drove through the back roads and made it to the road I needed. That too was backed up. Now I’m stuck on the road I need to take to get to the highway and it’s completely stopped. Didn’t loose my cool. Kept telling myself that I’m not going to be too late for work and there wasn’t anything else I could do about it at this point.

This is how happy I was trying to be on my way to work.

After a few minutes I finally made it up to the stoplight and of course got the red light as soon as I approached. No problem. Still calm and collective. Kind of expected that actually with the way my stoplight karma is. I’ll explain that at another time. The light turned green and the cars were moving, pushing me closer to the highway. The flow was nice and I make my way onto the highway. There were a lot of cars but the flow was still nice. I sped past some cars to merge into the lane in the direction of work. The highway was a smooth ride. I approach my exit and was able to barely make it through the green light. Once I turn right onto the next road I have to almost immediately encounter another stoplight. I’m always hoping to get the green left turn arrow but it doesn’t happen too often. That light is also a curse to me, now, because I got busted running a red light from one of those intersections with the cameras. That intersection annoys me and makes me so paranoid.

So I turn onto the road and come up to the stoplight just in time to watch it turn from green to yellow to red. Of course I didn’t try to make the yellow-orangish light because of what happened to me last time I tried to catch it under the unspoken theory that if you cross over the line while the light is yellow and happens to turn red before you make it through the intersection all the way then you technically did not run a red light. That unspoken theory was wrong. $158 dollar lesson learned. Now i’m sitting at the light. Waiting. Still keeping my cool. Not letting stoplights, traffic, people cutting me off, people driving slower than me, nothing was going to steal my peace away this morning.

After that light there are three more lights I must pass through before turning into my work building. The first one I approach, red. Wait. I start driving behind slow people in the right lane because if I drive in the left lane it’s more of a pain for me to check traffic in the right lane which I will eventually have to switch into. Reason being, I still haven’t replaced my passenger side view mirror that’s I broke years ago. Yes, I procrastinate too. Next light is coming up and it’s just turning red. Still not bothered.

I continue through the light and approach a school bus picking up kids with its flashing stop signs stopping traffic. I stop and wait. I did almost have a thought of these kids moving slow and steady so it would take longer before the bus driver removed the flashing stop signs but I quickly jumped back to the fact that I’m almost at work and I was going to have a good, productive day.

Once the bus started moving again, we all did the same. I approached the last light before work and it was also red. But this light changes pretty quickly so I was still cool. I’m about to turn into work but noticed a man on his bicycle riding beside me, in the road of course and not on the sidewalk. Not that it would matter because he was exactly parallel with me. I slowed down and waited for him to pass before turning into work. Parking was a piece of cake and I made it in before final call. Now there’s a story with a happy ending.





After all these years, is it really important to know your dad?

3 08 2012

There’s been a lot of baby fever going around in my family these past several years. Some of my cousins made a head start and are raising toddlers right now while others set another pace. We celebrated my brother’s first born last October, welcoming a stud of a little boy into our family.

I love seeing the changes in people when they bring a child into the world. I’m going to tell you right now, I never pictured my brother as a daddy. Yes he’s responsible, a hard-worker, a devoted husband but a dad? He still acted like a kid inside a 40-something body. But he’s shown me another side that I absolutely adore.

My brother and his son hanging out with an Oriole.

I’ve met so many people in my lifetime that come from diverse walks of life. I do feel lucky to have been raised by two loving people who showed me right from wrong, passed down admirable qualities and worked together to make sure I had a great childhood full of experiences I’ll cherish forever. Some of my friends were raised by both of their parents together while others had separate lives with mom and dad. Some of them never knew their dad and some of them never knew their mom. Some of them knew both of their parents but one of them chose to never be around. Some of them lost a parent or two and had to take care of there own well-being or had another family member step in.

Family is and should be the most important feature of life. For the most part, they will always be around through thick or thin, you can depend on them, you can make mistakes and know that although they may not agree with your actions, they’ll be there by your side. Blood is supposed to be thicker than water, right?

Well does that same rule apply if you were adopted into a family?

I cannot complain one bit about my life. I may not have had designer name clothes and accessories or lived in the biggest mansion in Florida but I had two parents that loved me to death and made sure I never went without necessities. They treated me just like my brother, who was their blood-son and I never saw any difference between us.

My parents explained where I came from the best they could and were always willing to answer any questions I may have. It wasn’t like they knew a lot since it was a private adoption between two families, their lawyers and their doctors. Whatever information they knew of my bio-mom, even though they weren’t technically supposed to know (the names of the families were to be anonymous but the laywers forgot to cover them on some paperwork that my mom had to sign to take me home) they openly shared with me and were available in case I needed to talk.

I grew up not knowing my bio-mom but I had a wonderful mom and dad taking good care of me. They attended every soccer game of mine throughout high school, cheered me on at my cross-country races, applauded me when I won awards for my academics or other activities. They were there for me the first time I was dumped by a stupid boy and when I broke my wrist behaving recklessly on the school bus. They forked over money sending me to camps and putting me through whatever new endeavor I challenged myself with. They helped me with my homework, listened to endless hours of teenage drama and never refused to read any of the stories I wrote. They taught me morals and values and how to treat people, animals and the earth. I never felt I was missing out on anything.

I was in my mid-20s when someone I was closely related to searched for me and eventually found me in a town nearby. This woman contacted my parents and asked their permission to meet me, claiming that she was my biological mother. The message was passed to me and it was completely my decision on whether to pursue this or not. I didn’t HAVE to if I didn’t want to, but this woman would really love to meet me. And I can’t say I was never curious. I’m guilty of performing small internet searches using the name I was given as a child. My friends would always push me to seek my bio-parents out after hearing my story. I never wanted it to be a big deal. I had a family I loved and loved me back just the same.

Thoughts such as, “Do I really need to add more family to my life? Would it be awkward or strange? Would my parents get upset and jealous? Would I be ungrateful by getting to know another woman that knows me as her child?”

It was crazy for a little while. My emotions were a little stone cold, almost in shock or something, keeping at a distance while still all over the place. I was going through a lot of changes in my life that year. Relationships, friendships, sexuality, drinking habits, career moves, etc. I wasn’t sure I was ready to deal with my feelings on that particular subject matter. But I did take her feelings into consideration too. And I arranged to meet her.

I couldn’t even begin to tell you what was going through my head. And yes, it was awkward at that Panera Bread downtown with the amazing parents that raised me sitting next to me and the woman that gave birth to me, and let me go to have a better life than she felt like she could provide, sitting across from me. The spotlight was on me and it was blinding.

We exchanged stories and pictures and that day marked the beginning of my relationship with my first blood-relative and bio-mom. It’s a day I’ll never forget. It was a day I was told the story of how I came to be here on this earth. And it was the first time I noticed resemblances between myself and somebody related to me. While my other friends told stories of how they have their father’s eyes and nose and their mother’s hair and hands I had to sit quiet without contributing. A lot of people would say I looked like my parents and we would always smile and say thank you for the compliment.

I’ve learned a lot about myself through the friendship with my bio-mom. She’s an amazing women herself with the biggest heart. It was like she, too, was part of the family I was raised with. I still can’t get over how lucky and blessed I was, and still am.

Since meeting my bio-mom, I’ve also met her mom and her brother and have enjoyed my time getting to know them. Are we this one big happy family? Not really. Do I benefit from having met them and keeping them in my life? Absolutely. We’ve taken the time to get to know each other and although the pace may be slow for some, it seems to be working out for all of us.

I had no idea what to expect when my bio-mom and her family entered my life. It was nice receiving some answers and making what had only been a fantasy illusion of how I came to be, an actual reality. I do feel like this discovery was meant to be. I’m not sure if I’ve changed in any way because of it but it’s definitely a bonus in my eyes.

Now due to the fact that my bio-mom had a bit of an unusual time growing up; she and her brother were raised by a single mom; her brother was hit by a car when he was around 8 and she was 12 which put him in a coma for nearly a year while clinging to life; her mother tended to her brother’s side while waiting for his recovery leaving her to take care of herself while still a kid; she was 13 when she got pregnant and forced to keep it a secret and never talk about me once I was gone; drugs, alcohol, and older boys played a part in the life of this teenager who was starving for some attention and love.

I wasn’t surprised when she told me she wasn’t sure who my father was because her memory had blocked that crazy time in her life. At the time, it didn’t seem to matter that much to me. She was more embarrassed with not knowing or having the recollection to give me an answer to that question. It didn’t matter to me because I already had so many amazing people in my life and felt supremely blessed. Since she never talked about the event to anybody, my bio-dad most likely doesn’t know I exist.

Lately though, things have been coming back to my bio-mom’s memory. Images, people, conversations and certain moments have been sneaking back in. She’s embarrassed to have to figure out “the one” between several different guys, recalling a time in her life filled with darkness and uncertainty. I’m definitely not one to judge nor should be since I haven’t walked a day in her shoes. So she was a little promiscuous as a child, her circumstances were not like other children her age. Her mom did the best she could but was dealt a few tough hands. She was a dreamer and just wanted to feel special. Attention is something children need. She was just trying to get by the best she could. Even though her actions were nothing like what I grew up with, I love her and would never pass any judgment on her.

So, now that I’ve caught you up on things, here’s where I’m at currently. Bio-mom says she would dig deep within herself and do whatever it takes to locate my bio-dad if that’s something I wanted to do. Digging up the past isn’t always the best to do if it’s a time of heartache and pain. I don’t want my bio-mom to go through any more unnecessary strife, especially on behalf of my curiosity. But is knowing who my bio-dad is only for satisfying my curiosity?

I’m struggling with this right now because I don’t know what would be the right thing to do. I don’t want to cause my bio-mom any grief. I don’t know if it really matters whether my bio-dad knows I exist or not. My life is fine and will continue to be fine. I don’t think meeting bio-dad would change anything. I’m in my thirties now, I know that he’s all grown up too. Some of the bio-dad candidates are married and have children or were married and have children. The only way to truly know would be to take a DNA test along with the candidates. Is it worth it? He may want to know me but there’s a chance he may not give a shit. I’m not looking for any handouts, never have, never will. It would be strictly for the purpose of knowing. How important is it to know the people who made you after being raised by people who loved you just as much? Will me interrupting his life hurt him and his family? I’m not expecting some big epiphany if me and bio-dad ever met or for either of our lives to change direction or even be greatly impacted by this. So is there any reason to reveal this information?

As of right now, bio-mom has decided that it may not be the best time for her to pursue this and is concerned that popping in this man’s life may cause more harm than anything. But if I really wanted to know, she would help me. Since I have no idea what the right thing to do is, I’m in search for some answers that will direct me down the right path. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.