Hodgepodge Ramblings…

Well, here I go again. Over the course of time since my last blog, I had many “AH HA” moments where I had a perfect subject to write about…but then…POOF…the only thing I can recall is that I once had something TO recall, but what that something was…well, fuhgeddboutit (like my wise-guy New Yorker thug speak?)

So much has been happening since the last time…not fascinating stuff, but stuff nonetheless:

  1. V had a narrow escape and thankfully did not go through with his plan to join the military. I don’t think someone with PTSD (resolving somewhat, but sometimes still an issue) should be a member of our esteemed armed forces. He had a somewhat shady military recruiter and I feel like I saved my baby from disaster. (Which leads me to wonder why the recruiter for Beau Bergdahl isn’t under fire, too much was in Bergdahl’s past to go unnoticed. Something is sketchy. But, that’s a post for someone other than me.)
  2. My husband is undergoing some alarming health concerns but is so far doing well. It’s just another layer of stress to make my days more like the Chinese curse which seems to follow me about.
  3. I got a promotion at work! I’m very happy and pleased. I have really good coworkers and am blessed that going to work each day is a joy.
  4. My church has started small group gatherings. I am part of two groups, both of them focused on books. One group is all women of various ages and we are reading “The Prodigal Son” by H. Nouwen. The other is mixed, but we are all older, and we are reading C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters.” Both groups have intelligent, interesting and authentic members and I’m loving the camaraderie and intellectual stretch.
  5. I’m still fat.
  6. I carved out a Mama-Cave in my house. It was beautifully maintained for about 60 days, then the men in my life have sloooooooowly have turned it into a catch-all for junk. I’m quite displeased. Today I started the mucking out process…argh…I’m finding things that only needed to be put away in cupboards and drawers and yet, it was easier to dump stuff in my sanctuary and shut the door.
  7. I will never understand how the minds of men work and feel smug that I’m assuming they even have workable-minds.
  8. I love watching Fixer Upper but am finding all of Chip and Jojo’s designs are starting to look alike from episode to episode. Either that, or I’m just watching the same episode on some time-warped loop from which I cannot escape.
  9. Oh! This is something creepy and not in my happiness zone. Someone who went to school with my late-sister Nancy has begun to have weird poltergeist type happenings in her home. At the time of Nancy’s death she was helping this young woman set up her own business. (Nancy did not have a college degree but was a brilliant go-getter.) So, this woman began hearing noises, bangings, and feeling creeped out.  She very unwisely went to see a psychic who then went on to identify my sister, her cause of death, and admitted that she was the one causing shenanigans from the other world to this world to have “fun” scaring her friend. The woman wrote all of this to my brother who then shared it with us. According to this psychic, Nancy’s soul had left her body prior to her truck hitting the tree, she was filled with joy, and the afterlife was “like a vacation.” Well, there is just something so wrong with that last statement that I insisted (okay, I nagged) my brother to NOT engage in anymore psychic talk about Nancy and to instead offer prayers for the repose of her soul. How could a “good soul” find joy in frightening the living?  Psychics and their “work” just creep me out and that’s an area better left untouched, ignored and avoided.

Well, there you have it, an uneven number of mini-events from the life of this coffee-sipping (at times guzzling) Catholic.

I hope you all are well and that you have a peaceful, blessed week free from all anxiety and filled with joyful hope.



Painting for poser-artists!

Now, some of you know that I’ve taken these awesomely fun painting courses that they offer here in town. They are kinda, sorta an adult “paint by numbers but without the numbers” and may be frequented by no-talent posers like me. 😉

I’ve painted two of my beloved dogs (with varying results as you can see below!)


But it was fun and relaxing and most importantly they let you drink wine!!!!

But, the most fun I’ve had I have to say was when my beloved Rupert joined me for a night out. Now, aren’t these the most AMAZING paintings ever?? The image was suppose to be the state we live in, but we went RENEGADE and painted those cups all defiantly! In fact, when I asked the artist-instructor for pointers on improving my mug, I got a sniff and a “that’s fine, I’ve no suggestions” and flounced off to help the sheep in the class who were going along with the plan.

For a rule follower like me, it was heady and reckless and I’d do it again next time!


If nothing else, it was a beautiful respite from the tumultuousness that defines my life lately.

ps: feel free to leave LAVISH praise!  Kidding…not kidding  😉






Oh January 2016, you wild lil gal you…you rang into my life with Oprah telling me it’s the year for “My Best Body”…and Vitya having many “wins” in his life…and my husband working hard on becoming the “best version of himself”…and me…well….ummm….this is a year of me working to get rid of the “uglies” in my soul. And my oh my, these “uglies” are best illustrated by this gorgeous creature:


Pretty isn’t it? I think it best illustrates how I feel when I think of how I was betrayed by someone I had honestly loved.  I’m a person that if I count you amongst my friends, I am very loving and forgiving. When you are an asshat, well I will find it in my heart to reason out why…when you are dismissive to my needs, well I will find it in my heart to punish MYSELF for being too needy…and yada, yada, yada, yada….BUT, insult my husband (fighting or no) and be rude to my children? Well, I then turn into this:

Mama Tiger

Because you do NOT mess with those who are MINE. You just don’t.  Now, in the past I would have ROARED and spread the story of the betrayer far and wide…and the information I would have shared would have been all true, all observed and noted over years. But, that is not to be any more as I have the following spiritual leaders to thank for getting me to realize that doing this only makes ME an asshat:

  1. My Pastor
  2. Matthew Kelly
  3. Phil Sandoval
  4. Patrick Madrid
  5. Bishop Fulton Sheen

Just when I was fuming and growling and sharpening my deadly claws and ready to do battle…lo and behold there was a SERMON addressing anger and revenge…and just when I convinced myself that the Holy Spirit was not talking to ME surely…BAM! Phil did a whole week on revenge and the ego that is involved…and because I adore Phil I let that simmer in my heart when BINGO-BANGO Patrick talked about the morality involved in decisions, because just because we CAN do something doesn’t mean we SHOULD do something…and then darn it all…BOOM!!!…I read Matthew’s book exhorting me to become “the best version of myself”…and BAM-BOOP-BOP-BINGO-BANGO comes Bishop Sheen in a podcast and reading a book of a collection of his thoughts. (Bishop Sheen, btw, is pure goodness and genius and I love him with my whole heart!) And this is when I realized that the anger I am feeling (although VERY JUST – don’t forget that!) is not coming from the Lord, but rather is being coaxed and encouraged by the evil one.

Yes, I felt my guardian angel AND the Holy Spirit giving me a knuckle rap on the head and scolding me to “SNAP OUT OF IT!” because I’m only hurting me and my relationship with God. The betrayer is someone who has never admitted to their wrong doings, and so a confrontation would be useless and unproductive. What I must and will do is pray for this person and complete the encouragement of my pastor to pray to see others through the eyes of God.  Although, when he first advised me to complete this, and I thought of this situation, this is an example of how I was pretty durn sure the Lord was viewing it all:

ugly bug

But upon prayers of forgiveness I think this is a closer image to what my beautiful Lord sees:

wounded bird.jpg

A person who needs nurturing and care…but also, one who is not meant to be in my real life any longer but is deserving of prayers and good wishes.

So, dear reader, should you read in the future a really nasty and venting post, please return to this one and understand I’m on a journey that is imperfect with human emotions which are even more imperfect, but I’ve set my way on the narrow path.

narrow path to heaven.jpg

Because not only is 2016 going to be the year of my best body but also the year of spiritual growth!

Pope Benedict delivers his Urbi et Orbi Easter blessing over Saint Peter's square at the Vatican












September 14, 1960

Sweet lil baby Me

Sweet lil baby Me

Masita - Copy

Masita at age 16

I was born that day to two parents who had moved from the Hell Mouth, away from family, and all that they knew in order to provide their children with a life that would not include migrant work. I’ll tell the story of my maternal grandparents rise and fall from poverty, to prosperity, back down to poverty on another day. But today, I’ll focus on Masita  and Chico. Young, uncertain, and leaving a life where everyone was Mexican-Catholic to the land of W.A.S.P. and prejudice.

Chico at age 18

Chico at age 18

My mom learned English at age 12. Although I could not hear it, everyone (including her) said she spoke English with a Spanish accent, her syntax and semantics were flawless but darn it, she never did get the difference between “ch” and “sh” down, and was good natured about her grandchildren exclaiming “Grandma! It’s potato CHips! NOT potato Ships!” My dad learned English at a much earlier age and speaks it flawlessly.

I was fourth born, but the third living daughter. The story of my older sister’s fatal birth is also a story for another day. There were to be a total of nine children in our family. Seven girls and the last two boys. It was a crowded, noisy household filled with silliness and dysfunction. But, in spite of all of that dysfunction there was always a sense of connectedness. A sense that if you got into trouble, there would be family right there to bail you out and make you eat crow simultaneously. Time passing has driven us further apart, rather than closer together. Too much pain, betrayal and incrimination to be healed at this late date. I had made efforts to heal the rifts in the past and came out bloodied and bruised, so I’ll not go there again.

But, as I sat  home on Monday, receiving calls from my beloved spawn, brother and from Chico, an overwhelming wave of sadness rolled over me and I’ve not been able to shake it off. Tears come and dry but the crushing pain in my chest has not lessened, so I turned to prayer and the Holy Mother seeking solace and comfort and wisdom.

Mother Teresa Prayer to MaryIn my prayer, which was swiped from Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, it was revealed to me the cause of my sadness. I no longer have a life of connectedness. At this time, with the great difficulties in my marriage, my children leaving the faith and pursuing personal decisions which break my heart, I find that I don’t have a sense of me, a sense of this who I am and this is my tribe.  I know I am loved. I know I have two IRL friends whom I can count on without reservation as well as very nice acquaintances who are happy to socialize. But, in all of this I feel like my ship has become unmoored and I am alone and isolated.

Thankfully, at this time my connection to Christ and the Blessed Mother is blossoming. My prayer life is rich, and my sense of knowing God is greater than ever. But, as I go through my day and my familiar path my heart is aching with a loneliness and sense of isolation which is crushing.

I wish I knew why.


A looooong time ago….in a world that no longer exists….at a time of innocence…24 years ago, I purchased a MakIt kit from the school’s book sale fundraiser.  My sister was there and so we sat down with the kiddies and created these plates. Well, as a young mom – ok, I was 31 at the time – my good intentions fell by the wayside and this packet was put in a box and forgotten. WELL GUESS WHO JUST FOUND IT???!!!???  YES! ME!!! SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!!!! And better yet, the company still exists and I can still have the plates made!

I’m just happy as can be…


Vitya and Miso. V was about 8 years old, just broken his arm skateboarding!

Vitya and Miso. V was about 8 years old, just broken his arm skateboarding!

I’ve shared some stories about my beloved boy. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The abuse he suffered in the Russian orphanage was horrific, unimaginable for most people, and most of it he has blocked from his memory. But with this blocking, came blocking of almost ALL memories. For example, this photo did not immediately stir up his heroic tale of breaking his arm at the Boys & Girls club in TX. In the Rio Grande Valley, there is a high level of poverty. There is no YMCA, and outside of country club membership the Boys & Girls club is the only place where young folk can come together to safely hang out. His favorite club had a pretty nice skateboarding section. He was *dying* to try it. So, we signed he appropriate waivers and I gave him my MommaBear lectures about safety. Fast forward 60 minutes to a frantic call from the club. It seems my little Russian had watched the big boys on the ramp, and after safely navigating the tiny ramps, decided he too could go down the six foot slide and do a mid air flip! Except…he couldn’t, and broke his arm, was rushed to the hospital, had surgery, and got that nifty orange cast.

A few years later this memory could only be stirred with photos and lots of story telling to try and prompt him. Frustrating.

A few years after that, back in MI, memories *did* start coming back. Dark and horrifying memories of pain and humiliation. Memories that had no context, and so he placed that context into his life here in the U.S. Stories of me standing by and laughing at him, taunting him, while larger boys pummeled him and sexually abused him. Memories that extended to both parents and although he could intellectually understand that these memories couldn’t have happened after coming to live with us, he was not emotionally able to process that as fact.

These memories then started a cycle of him protecting himself by doing unacceptable acts of revenge against his dad, which then triggered my husband’s own past of child abuse, and set up a life of living torment. Vitya now big and strong waging war against his dad who reacted humanly and poorly. Me in the middle. The only safety point for each of these males. Daily calls, while I was at work, from both citing new incidents, new chaos, and stress that made every waking and breathing moment a nightmarish burden.

We went to therapy. Lots of worthless therapy.  Even though they have battles worthy of a video game as they keep reliving awful childhood terrors and “protecting” themselves from each other, they love each other dearly. And this love keeps pulling them back together and keeps me on a teeter-totter.


pulled in two

Furry kids…Part I

The oldest and the youngest

Cuddles between the two queen bees of our critter kingdom.

To say I love critters is an understatement. A true understatement. My husband and I, pre-human kids, use to go to the local animal shelter, rescue a doggy from death row, get it house trained and basic command trained and then find it a new home. We loved doing that.

Living in the Hell Mouth was terrible for us because we had never, ever seen so many starving, abused and stray dogs in our lives. Going to work was a mini-horror show from all of the poor dead dogs at the side of the road, starving pregnant dogs, feral cats…a heartbreak in so many ways. I wish PETA, instead of throwing red paint on people wearing fur, would go and provide education and funding for free neutering and spaying.

It was through living there that we eventually acquired not one….not two…but FIVE dogs. All rescued. Some of which belong to our kids, but somehow manage to live with us full time. Two of our furry kids are in this picture – Baby the Boston Terrier and Lola the Weinmariner.  Baby was slated for death as she is missing two toes from her back paw. which led my husband to call her “Baby Two-Toes”   How do I know she was slated for death? The family who bred these dogs told me she was going to be drowned in a bucket later that day for her “disability” When I exclaimed “don’t kill her! I’ll take her!” they replied “well, that will be $350 then, we don’t give our dogs away.” I paid it without hesitation. Pookie was aghast at first, but Baby soon captured our hearts and the prime pillow spot in our bed!

Lola was purchased from a coworker and in the Valley was looking at a life tied up to a tree for all eternity. Well that and unending breeding.

Miso, our boxer mix was destined for the pound. Why? She has an eye that is a little quirky and did not demonstrate aggressive tendencies. So, the people who had promised to purchase her backed out. She is truly the best dog EVER. Loving and empathetic. Not a mean bone in her body.

And this concludes part one of my doggie series…

Lola photo bombs at every opportunity

Besties: Miso and Lola