Let Girls be Girls Damn It!

This is a response to a video supposedly created to empower girls to like more science. It was made by a female engineer that felt too few women were in the field. You can find the original post HERE.

I think girls just like different things....Nora likes easthetics, animals, is very keen on relationships, endless chatter with friends, graceful movement, etc. Luke, on the other hand, likes science, learning about the best of the best in all sports, large rough movements, running, being loud, climbing to the top of anything, racing, competing, roughhousing, AND reading about all of the above, etc. This video makes me think that if only we made girls more like boys, but how about making girls more like girls??I Interpersonal relationships, social relationships, all these skills could easily be our future peace talks leaders, our diplomats, our marriage counselors, we have our strengths too. It's should not be about "ripping away" the princess from the girl, it's should be about valuing what girls value and making girls away that those gifts have value. Nora went through a "pink stage" and so many moms would comment on it as a problem, they even gave her anti-princess books to make her become more, "empowered", to wash away the pink essentially; as if I made her this way, AND as if it was a problem. I did not put it there so I treated it as it was, a stage. so I think the video is not really looking at girls and who they are, what they are interested in, and yes, it may not be THE SAME thing boys like, and that should be okay. I empower my daughter every day by simply allowing her to define herself...limiting external images of girls/women as much as a I can in this modern world and what comes out can't help to be just fine. 


What I've learned in my 40's

I just read this awesome article called, "What you learn in your 40's" by Pamela Drukerman and decided, heck, I can make my own list of what I learned in my 40's...(Mind you I am only 41, but, a very mature 41 I'd say....so, here it goes...

1. I learned that having lots and lots of friends is not any better than having a few great friends. Definitely, quality over quantity when it comes to friendships in our 40s. I find myself pairing down my facebook friend list, rather than trying to build it up.

2. When people reveal themselves to you now, I believe them. I not only believe them, I remember it and act on it. You can be an meanie once to me, but, to get a second chance after an offence, it is almost impossible.

3. I stay FAR away from characters. By that I mean anyone that just talks for talk's sakes, or people who care far more about their social image than simply being themselves. "Characters" have a way of prioritizing on their image and should not be trusted, ever. Their insecurities are so intense that any day you can find yourself under a bus.....not a real bus....

4. I listen to whatever tunes I like now. Years back I might have been seeking tunes that carried a certain embedded identity, but these days my playlists are so eclectic, there is no rhyme or reason to them...One thing's for sure, nothing stays on that list unless I love it.

5. I see young people making mistakes and saying things that sound utterly out of this world and I try hard not to say a peep and just let them be. I was young once too, and man, the things that would come out of my mouth make me cringe to this day......In my youth, I might have wanted to correct them, but now, I simply try my best to allow the young to be young, say the crazy things they will say and and pretty much let them be....correcting them will not do any good, plus it would take energy to do that

6. External validation is not so urgent in my 40's. I have found ways to validate my own successes personally and feel very independent of others', proverbial, "pat on the back". You can say what you want to say, or not.....but, I am much more emotionally self-sufficient and will work hard to follow my own path.

7. I am a much better listener. Possibly due to the fact that I am not jumping around like a chihuahua anymore looking for validation, I am now able to just sit back and allow people to share their stories with me. I love to hear people's stories, they are like mini-novels full of surprising twists and turns. Unfortunately, I have found there are very few real good listeners out there. Surprisingly, even close friends forget to ask questions of one another.

8. Cool is what I say it is, totally subjective. Cool is no longer dictated by my female buddies, or magazines, or TV, or celebrities. Cool has its own unique flavor seasoned by me....no one else.

9. My politics have become a lot more solid and clear in my 40's. Whereas in our youth we fear offending others with our strong opinions, in our forties, we secretly want to repel all people who disagree with us away from our circle so as to make our lives drama-free. General rule of thumb here is, "You don't like my politics? then unfriend me, walk away....run away....please! This old dog ain't changing".

10. In our 40's we vote with everything we do. We vote with our friendships, we vote with what we teach our children about the world, we vote with where we shop, what we eat, what we wear, whom we buy our clothes from, even where we work or whom we choose to grow old with. I am not sure about men, but with women, there is a certain fearlessness that takes over in our 40s. We become more pointed and purposeful in everything we do.

I can pretty much claim I am having a blast!!

What have you learned in your 40's?


 All new work...check out my Etsy Store for detailed pictures and story....click HERE.


Perspective Series

Please go to my Etsy Store to see details and more variations in the series. 

I have been reflecting on the varying perspectives coming up around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this summer and as openly discussed on various Facebook pages I frequent. These "perspective" work series are representations of my experience reading these opinions coming from both sides. Work signed, labeled and dated on back. 


The value of living inspirations....

                              I once read a book by Linda Goodman, I don't remember which for I read them all and they blend together in my mind, but in this one particular book Goodman mentions that the Universe, God, Great Spirit (what ever YOU may call it) sends down human anomalies in order to give us hope. Mind you, these are not her 'exact' words, but my mere interpretation of her message, so bear with me. Goodman's one of many examples of such anomalies were of people who have managed to live way, way beyond humanly believed possible. But without going so far out there, let's look at even less extreme examples of these human anomalies, like people who accomplish great feats whom we hear about in the news, or read about in history books. In my mind, I think, "no way can I rise to the same level as these great men and women, and in thinking that way justify in our minds that we and them are essentially night and day. Through THAT line of thinking we allow ourselves to stay where we are. But what if, what IF we are sent these great leaders in human form, specifically so that we can think JUST the opposite? How about the thinking that perhaps these people were placed on this earth at these times, to inspire us to aim higher in the rungs of humanity? Why not? we have whole religions built on just that scenario; someone is born and lives a human life, suffers, and in their human life do amazing things, and inspires others by example. 

                             In my life journey so far,  I have found running and daily juicing as these powerful catalysts for my own personal change. The daily supplemental juicing of daily 60+ ounces of vegetables and fruits has eliminated most of my food cravings. In addition, juicing has given me the gift of emotional balance, and health and energy beyond ever experienced. Running has given me the gifts of mental toughness, confidence and keen self-awareness; and these, mind you, are just some of the benefits. We could easily be here all day going through the varied benefits of running. Suffice it to say that this transformation has been so beyond my wildest dreams; I could have never 'planned' to come this far, I only imagined it vaguely and began arming myself with one right action after another. Often, I will share on Facebook, on in my blogs on on Twitter about my feats of the week. Perhaps some may conclude about me that this type of personal sharing on such a public forum to be a form of bragging, maybe annoying, maybe even, boisterous. Yet,  I know the nature of inspiration now after years and years of futile and turturous attempts to change those around me via various methods such as lecturing, begging, manipulating, pouting.  Why go through all that? No one changes for others and stay that way for long. Yet, all along the answer is quite simple; all it takes to help change others for the better is to first and only change oneself, all other external attempts to change the world are a total waste of time. 

                           I know a tad about inspiration. Inspiration is what gave me hope in my darkest hours and provided me a map to a brighter future. Unfortunately, I have never been, and still to this day I am not, one to do therapy or bear my soul to a perfect stranger. Tried it a few times and it felt plastic and the suggestions I was getting lacked something else I needed but could not pin point.  Therefore, while growing up, when I needed answers and a way to label and make sense of all baggage I had carried with me up to that point, I turned to books. Authors became my guiding light, my confidantes, my coaches, my therapy. I often state that reading books by great people with an open heart has saved my life. As time went on and with the upsurge of the internet, I began following the works of living inspirations online, not just authors, but people of all walks of life and found that, in fact, all around us, great, amazing, wonderful, strong, beautiful, and compassionate people abide. People who have done great things despite what seems like unsurmoutable obstacles. My focus became fine-tuned to finding these living inspirational 'anomalies', as I call them. I was thirsty to find the light keepers, the people whom despite enduring great hardship have remained positive, light, open, then have gone on to conquer their fears and turn their lives around. Why reinvent the wheel when these people were right here sharing their battles, their formulas, their entire cadre of wisdom through their books, their blogs, their very actions even? Amazing humans around us are living testament to what we too can become. And contrary to the way we traditionally treat gurus and great teachers, they are not primarily placed here to be oohhhdd and ahhhed over some altar. They help no one sitting in an altar. Their journeys are meant to be more like maps, life maps. Like snails on a dewey morning, they leave behind trails that literally anyone can follow. 

                                   I have long stopped giving people a list of authors or of people to look up as a way to inspire them to begin their own transformational journey. Everyone has to find their very own teachers in life. Teachers come in all forms and they are as individual as you are unique. What helped me, may not speak to you. Although my journey is a map to what is possible, you still need to fine-tune your heart to be able to recognize what moves you, what speaks to you, what calls you. The secret here being .....WHAT. MOVES. YOU. When found, the secret of what moves you will feed you, comfort you, fill you with purpose, you will feel and be invincible and life will feel successful regardless of external factors. 

                                  But some adults have a hard time knowing, identifying and even looking for what moves them. Being hopeful and dreaming big is something that is in us naturally, but can be lost for more practical considerations.  Unfortunately, everything about current life seems to work hard to tamp down hopes and dreams. Security breeds fear. Fear, if believed, tells us to stay put, and there, in an instant, our dreams are sacrificed for the sake of security. When my own kids tell me they are BORED, for example, this is my wake up call. Boredom is not bad per se, but what one does when bored, or with their time in general, is very telling of the health of their big dreams. These days, our children need to be supported in finding what moves them. Sadly, every 'happiness' children now profess to have seems to be externally produced. To name a few: Video games, TV shows, Ipad app games, iphones, texting, and messaging. IF a child reaches for externally-driven fun within 1.3 seconds of experiencing the first wave of discomfort there is a huge problem. It's an addiction. I call it an addition because that is what it is, plain and simple. Here's the test to prove to you that yes, in fact, it's an addition. Take just one of your child's external fun away for 2 or even days and see this seemingly docile child become a total monster for those two days. THAT is an addicted child. (note: If you are afraid to try this little test, then the addition is pretty far along already and you will need a serious intervention) Life happens outside screen time. Let me repeat, L.I. F.E. happens outside screen time. If LIFE is not experienced as a child, then when will they learn to live it?

                                All of us have the ability to rise up to do great things in this precious life, ALL of us have that little diamond nugget of a seed inside our hearts that, when listened too, can guide us in the right direction, but first we must be taught that it's even possible to reach great heights and that yes, we have the ability to follow our big dreams and that is called hope. We must look for and surround ourselves with people in our life that carry this hope, that inspire us and expect us to be our best selves. Last, we must raise our children to reconnect with their own simple, self-driven inner contentment so that they may live a life with purpose, and full self -awareness. 


Adventures in Jones Beach

                           We love going to the beach after the crowds have died down in the summer. The breeze is cool and the smell of the ocean is everywhere.

Nora and I decided to walk down and test out the waters. The ocean was a bit wild. This picture is of Nora running and creaming as the surf comes in.

Sunset in Jones Beach....the sun goes down behind the Ocean.....amazing colors.

Nora finding 'treasures'

Luke and dad brought their baseball and did some field practice....Luke loves 'diving catches'. 

An empty beach and a beautiful sky.......I brought my book, but typical, got swept up in collecting sea shells and wooden sticks to make a beach sculpture with Nora.

Here is our final piece....we found a cool black silky ribbon which added a nice touch to our otherwise very still sculpture.

Nora dancing around the sculpture.

I love watching her singing and dancing. I aim to be as free and joyous as she is daily.

Getting dark....Dad and Luke still doing baseball drills. This time it's Luke practicing pitching to dad....

A few people remain as the sun goes down....The sky is endless.

The sun has finally gone down.

Our sculpture from above.

Nora's treasure collection fit nicely in her shoes...
She wanted to pose with her findings.


Do you know how to find a true FRIEND match?

                          I have not posted for some time. Now it's summer vacation and being a teacher I have a lot more free time. Don't hate me please, it's been a very tough, and yet amazing first year at my new job and I need the rest badly. Funny thing about being a mom though, no matter how much free time you have, not much of it is left over for you at the end of the day regardless. But I am back....!! will try to write daily again, but may not meet that goal seeing as I now have two blogs, the other being a running blog; running being my newfound love!! check it out here. 

                         I have been thinking a lot about girlfriends this week. A day ago, I got a return call from one of my oldest friends (we've been friends for 20 years) while driving and in 25 minutes we had such a deep, inspiring and soul-feeding conversation. After our chat, I walked away feeling reconnected to the world, just so grateful to have a friend I could share new revelations with, new life lessons. And just today, I accidentally run into a new friend, a mom, at the park and we too had such a great sharing conversation.  Let me not forget two days before that, my daughter had a play date and immediately I hit it off with with the mom, who also happens to be a runner. I could not be more excited to talk about my favorite subject, running; I was in heaven.

                      Part of the reason I was so excited about this new revelation about friendships was that it took me this long to figure out that the secret to good friendships is in how the conversations make you feel. I grew up always feeling the odd one out amongst peers. In high school, I always felt surrounded by girls who'd prefer to chat about clothing brands and celebrities. In the later years, I still struggled to find my niche amongst women, my tribe if you may. Where are the women who reflect, who talk about politics, who dream big dreams, who create with their hands or their minds and who question and ponder? I have found that these amazing women naturally gravitate towards you once you become that woman. Only in steadily being me, regardless of what type of crowd I was in, did I begin to find others like me. All of the sudden I am surrounded by awe-inspiring women, I feel beyond blessed.

                        If the conversations with a potential friend makes you feel totally drained and your energy totally zapped out, perhaps this is not a good match for you. If you have little in common, perhaps it's not a good match. If all you do is give, give, give and the conversation lacks a general balance of caring exchange, again, perhaps this person is not a good match for you, and THAT is perfectly okay.  One very helpful mantra I picked up lately, from somewhere, is 'I'm not a public service'. Typically, I would feel ultra guilty not extending myself out to everyone and anyone who needed me, but, I have found that I am a better mom, a better friend, a better wife if I honor my own limits. If talking to someone drains me and makes me feel uneasy, devalued and used, I have the obligation to honor my feelings before I honor theirs....why? Because I am not a public service.  





On a road trip to Florida

       It's my spring break and we'll be driving to Florida today with my husband and 2 kids (age 8 and 5)....well, first to Georgia, then to Florida the next day. I am taking all my running gear and my juicing gear, and the parrot gear (we have an African gray), and the computer gear with cords, and chargers....just overwhelmed just thinking about it. Will be posting pics from our family adventures this week. 


We're making Valentine's cards for mom's job tonight

2 nights ago the kids made their cards....now I want to make my own!!! Will post pics in a bit!


My Running MUSTS List......

Here are some of the items I use daily when I go for my runs.....I had to get used to my Brooks Pure Connect shoes but I am very, very happy with them. They are minimalists, incredibly light and just get better the more they are used. Mine are in yellow and you can see them a mile away in the dark. Great reflectors. 
Brooks PureConnect: 

Pepper Spray: Because I run at 6am and the sun does not come up until 7am I carry pepper spray with me....in my hand. I know it sounds a bit extreme, but there is no one else out there at this time except a few runners here and there and then I'll run for blocks and blocks with no one in sight. I am a mom and I'd one day love to be a grandma...so I'd rather be safe than sorry. I got mine from Dicks Sporting goods in Maryland, in the 'hunting' section. If you have kids you need to make sure you tell all of them not to use/touch it. 

Kickbooty Tech Stretch from Athleta: These pants are both warm, fitting well on my non-so skinny figure and dry overnight if handwashed. They also have the ability to wick a lot of sweat......I need to buy a few more pairs...
reflectors....a huge MUST if running in low lighting.....

when running in sunny days....I always wear sunscreen. Not getting any younger!!

I use this to keep track of calories burned and heart rate. Comes with a strap that goes across your chest, under your clothes....very easy to use. 

When running I listen to fast merengue music always. It matches a very fat foot pace and you can't help but to keep up with the fast pace.


Never Say Never - In parenting we learn too

                        If there is something having kids does to you is it teaches you to never say 'never'. Back in the day at the beginning of my mommy journey, I had no idea that through the course of being a mom I would be forced to become an expert on things I would have never dreamed of or ever cared for. Currently, my daughter, who is 5, is obsessed with Justin Beiber. She loves to learn lyrics to songs she hears and on youtube they often have the song paired with lyrics making it easier to help me help her learn words to her favorite song. It was one video of him singing and she began asking me to search out more of his songs....and the rest id history. It was THAT fast. For those of you who would not be able to pick this guy up from a line-up, think of me!!....I could not either, about 2 months ago. Now, I know ALL about this young celebrity, and I must admit, I actually think he's quite talented. I now know all his lyrics, I would easily be able to pick out which songs are sung by him, plus, I know lots of miscellaneous facts about the young man that now fill my head for no reason other than to be able to communicate and speak with my daughter on her interests. 

                 Now, don't think for a New York minute that you are exempt to this phenomenon. this experience I just described is not an exception to the rule, this experience is not a singular, one-time, freak incident of parenthood, this is a reality for ALL parents, plus, it happens many, many times, as the child grows. To illustrate, when my son was one and half he was obsessed with school buses, then trucks, then trash trucks, then construction trucks. Oh, how we'd run to the front door of our home each trash-pick-up day and observe the trash being hauled away and the school children being whisked away to school. We'd all wave frantically at any and all yellow buses as if someone we knew or loved was each of them. Furthermore, my husband and I learned the official name of all the trucks on any given construction site and bought videos and books pertaining to the world of trucks. Now that he is eight we are also experts in baseball, football, outer space, Einstein, basic physics and the list goes on and on. 

             You might go into child-rearing with a certain plan, a certain idea of how YOU are going to run this 'ship'. But we soon learn that we are not in control of who this little person wants to become. We find that the word 'never' has no place or power in this new reality. For example, I went into parenting thinking ' I am not a sports fan, I hate organized sports', but just a few short years later, I am  cheering like a crazy woman at your son's Little League baseball games and simply loving it. You see, this reality of parenting is not by any means a negative thing, on the contrary, it is an absolutely wonderful thing to go through (if you have the right perspective). Allowing the narrative of your child to unfold as his soul intended makes child-rearing into a true adventure for us. It breaks us open from our own pre-set, self-imposed limitations and makes us better. We soon abandon our need to make this child into anything we thought up and come to realize that he came here with his own set of instructions, and we are just there to provide support.  I strongly propose having fun with it and staying wide open for becoming, in essence, love. For it's this deep love for our family and our little ones that help mold us, slowly into much more open human beings. 


One benefit to running.....

I have now been running since July of last year and there have been many benefits to adding running to my daily routine. Today I am going to only talk about one of those benefits; its ability to teach you how to handle discomfort more gracefully. 

On any given run one comes across killer hills, sudden leg cramps, even slight discomforts that may come, yet, within just a few blocks all is back to normal again, this may happen several times in a run and at the end of each discomfort everything always feels just fine....a few blocks later. Similarly, in my daily life, I have noticed that when I come across annoying, uncomfortable and mood-altering situations in I now react to them much differently than I did before running entered my life. I know that with time, anger, moodiness, contempt will all pass and I'll be fine. All that's required is full, unquestionable acceptance of the negative mood (not fighting it) and patience. 

Last week I woke up moody, I went through the whole morning with this added heavy cloud hanging over me. Typically, needing to rid myself of the discomfort of this bad mood, I would have either started a fight with my loved ones, or would have turned every situation to some negative result where I would have to later dole out apologies of all sorts. This time though was different, I chose instead to simply allow the dark mood to live in me as long as it needed to be there, that I would not fight it. I treated the negative feeling like a ball of bad energy that would soon fade to nothing and leave my body. Sure enough by the evening I was fine, the cloud had lifted, the mood had left my body as trusted it soon would. I felt so incredibly proud of myself for I came out of one of these moods unscathed. In the past I would have surely done some damage along the way in my attempts to rid myself of the discomfort of the bad mood. Not this time. This time, I had not gotten into any fights with anyone, I did not snap at anyone, I did not even negatively react to the many normally annoying situations that popped up on any given day. 

I see running as the Universe's gift to me this year; I simply cannot imagine my life without it. The benefits that running have brought to my life in just 6 months are so numerous and so amazingly life-changing that I cannot help to want to try and convince everyone of them....


More ornaments from this evening's creative session

This was some packing material for something I had ordered. I used a thick thread to stitch the two parts together. 

This too was packing material from something, perhaps the computer I got a few months back. The gingerbread men are a bit skinny, but they are very cite together. 

Luke made these 2 'candy canes' with carton from a cereal box that was in the recycling bin. 

On our walk back from the park Nora and I collected these pine cones. We painted them with silver paint and after it dried, we added gems to two of them. They each have a gold-colered ribbon.

Luke made a huge 'L' ornament for his name. 

Inspired by the heart one I made yesterday, Nora created one with gems. Mine had button decorations. 

This is a stocking made with the same packing material from the previous ornaments. 

Nora, my 5 year old stitched this heart ornament all by herself. 


Ornament Making Evening......

I love making art out of trash...what better time to do this than the Holidays....The kids and I sat down tonight and made some ornaments from whatever was around....You will need trash, scissors, a great glue (tacky glue works best), ribbon or string.....
This tiny 2" gift box cube was made from a recycled box we got from the trash room. 

The snowman came from some ribbon and old greeting card stock I had leftover from last year. The arms were just colored black and cut into branches. 
The best purchase any mom of a girl could do is buy a huge box of gems for all sorts of projects. Above is Nora's name in gems.....

 I love buttons, especially layered buttons. The heart shape was cut from a cereal box we got from the recycling room in my apt building. 
I have a heart-shaped Fiskars puncher and we cut out some hearts from unwanted magazines we got in the mail. The wreath shape in the back is the top of an oatmeal container. 

This tag was made from a very nice box that was in the recycling box in our floor. I used sharpie to write the words 'Love' on the front. 

Th backing is cereal box cardboard. We used tacky glue to glue on these petals that were leftover from when we were making barrettes. The buttons, shiny stars and gems we also had laying around, leftover from past adventures. 

This again is the cardboard from a cereal box. To create a gingerbread house look I needed lots of colors and textures. I used gems, buttons, cut up magazine paper and shiny decorations. 

Luke, my 8 year old son did this one all by himself. He cut out the hearts with the Fiskars puncher, colored them green, then found shiny red stars and blue gems to go over each heart. The framework for the wreath is the top of the oatmeal jar. 

This beautiful flower is a water bottle cut up. The middle is decorated with gems, Nora's idea. 

Nora did this flat bulb. She gemmed both sides. 

This is the top of a huge jar. Nora gemmed the inside. 

N for Nora.....