Saturday, March 18, 2017

I'm Running Again, for the 100th Time

Okay, maybe not for the 100th time because as many of you know, I'm not really a runner. I'm a half walk, half run kinda person, but I still count that as running because if I run even in the tiniest amount it's running in my book.

This is me last summer. I ran in the Houston heat. So I know that if I can run in the summer I can run any time. Although I did try to run on a cold day one day this past winter and I thought I was going to freakin' die! My lungs hurt so bad! How do people run in the cold?? I think it's worse than running in a Houston summer.

Anyway, I've never been a runner. I've made some small attempts throughout my life but I never stuck to it as much as I did last summer. Fall just didn't work out well for me for one reason or another. This spring I have decided I am going to take advantage of it not being 100 degrees and the time change. I'm going to run as much as I can between now and summer. Then I will do it again in the summer. I have to because M has to run to keep up with lacrosse and I want to encourage her.

All this running better make a difference on my body too! I need to lose a good 20 pounds. More, but I'm being realistic and taking it 10 pounds at a time. So let's just say 10 pounds for now. So goal one is 10 lbs and to run them off. Plus all the other boring stuff you have to do too, like not eat or drink so much. Ugh! But necessary.

I'm over 45 now, pre-menopausal and my body wants to just hold on to this weight for some crazy reason. It's like it doesn't want to part with an old friend. Sorry body! You must say goodbye to my fat now. I know you've been together for a while but the fat has to go.

Let's see how it goes this round and I will keep y'all updated on these 10 lbs and how many days I run. Today will make day six in a row!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Turning Forty-Seven

Once a year I try to write my birthday blog around or closer to my birthday. I'm a little late this month, but technically we are still in February, my favorite month of the year, so we're good.

Here I am on my birthday with my cupcakes and dancing to my song!

I spent my 47th birthday having breakfast with my dad and sister, getting a pedicure, and celebrating with my very best friends, my Tertulia Girls. They have been my best friends since I was 9, 11, 15 and for the past 16 years of  Tertulias with all of them. We had a great time eating and having margaritas at my cousin Sylvia's restaurant, Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen.

After dinner a small group of us went to Edison's, a new bar in my neighborhood and I danced the night away. Edison and I share a birthday so it was very appropriate that they had a party and dancing that night.

I had so much fun and I didn't think about anything, how I looked, who was there, nothing. It was a very liberating feeling. Even when I slipped and fell I got right back up and kept on dancing. My friend Cami took a sympathy fall with me and when we got up she leaned in and said, "None of these twenty year old bitches could have fallen and gotten up like you did!"

She was so right and despite how much I had had to drink earlier at dinner, and being just high on life, I thought about where I was in that moment in my life and how different I was from those girls there that night. Many of them were out, maybe with their boyfriends, trying to impress them, or maybe they were single, looking for a boyfriend. Many of them could have been at that point in their life when they were trying to find a life partner, a father to their future children.

I am free because I'm past that part of my life. I'm a 47 year old woman who was already married and already had my children in life. Check, check. That isn't my goal in life and I'm free to just be me, have fun and not give a care about what others think of me. I wasn't out that night to impress any guy. I was there to have fun with my friends and with myself and I did.

The next morning my sister and I went to the Forest Park Cemetery on Lawndale in search of Mr. Martin's niche in the Abbey Mausoleum. Mr. Martin was all of my sisters' high school history teacher at San Jacinto High School, later renamed HTI (Houston Technical Institute). They loved him so much and he made such an impact on their lives. Mr. Martin went on to teach at Jones High School in the Vanguard program and he taught several of my friends too. He was an extraordinary human being. I only had a chance to meet him once very briefly when I was touring Jones when I was in 8th grade.


We followed Mr. Martin's directions to his niche just as he wrote them in his obituary that we found on Legacy.com. If you have a chance read all the beautiful words that former students have left for him there. Included in one former students' comments is a transcript of what Mr. Martin wrote and posted here inside of his niche in the photo.  When we got to the mausoleum and read these words that he wrote before he passed away, it was as if he was still teaching from the beyond. My sister cried as she read his words of wisdom, his advice to all those who took the time to look for him. One last lesson.

I loved the whole piece, but I had two favorite parts. "Watch for the full moons, we are all of this Earth, love it and save it. Love thy neighbor every chance you get. Yes, dust to dust, and that's a wonderful thing! Expect no more. To thine own self be true, as much as your society will let you."

My second favorite was this, "Grow up, take full responsibility for your life, you are the product of all the decisions you have ever made. Tempus fugit, carpe diem! Abandon your myths and superstitions, embrace ethics, absolutes are for children. You have a mind, put your trust and faith there. Get rid of your selfishness and live free. Do the same to die free-----"

I felt that it was fitting that I was reading this the day after my 47th birthday. Mr. Martin's words reminded me of my former boss. He told me once, "You don't really grow up until both your parents pass away." I saw what he meant when my mom died. I felt like I grew up a little and I know that when my dad passes away I'll feel the same way. I am 47 years old now. I've become the care-giver to my father and my father has become the child. It's time for me to grow up more. I know I'm a grown-up and I care for my own children, but I feel like I'm still growing up in other areas.

I love Mr. Martins' advice to put your trust and faith in your own mind and to live free to die free. What an amazing man. What an amazing teacher. Although I've never been a formal teacher I've mentored many young people since I started my own professional life twenty-four years ago. I've been talking about that a lot this past week. I hope that one day a mentee remembers me in the same way. I hope that I touch as many lives as he did, starting with my own children's.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

My Life Lesson in True Gratitude

A few weeks ago as I drove up to my house, that I affectionately refer to as Grey Gardens and that my children refer to as the house from Fight Club, something really hit me. My lack of gratitude.
The house 15 years ago when I bought it, before Grey Gardens

As I drove up to my house I thought about how I haven't taken care of this house the way I should have and I felt ashamed. It reminds me of a child who is given everything so they don't take care of their toys or the nice things that they have. I feel a lot like that child. I have had this house for 15 years and even if I haven't been able to fix all the things that need to be fixed, I should at least work on trying to keep it nice.

This house may have lost its luster in the last few years but it's MY house. My house may be imperfect and it may need work but it's mine. I can sell this house or this land if I needed to, or I can choose to keep it. Not many people can say that. I have a roof over my head and it's a roof over my children and my elderly father.

I think about women all around the city, nation, state and world who have to live in women's shelters. I know that I'm grateful that I don't need to do that, but do my actions reflect my true gratitude?

My word for 2017 is "Order" and that's my goal this year with this house. It's to get it back in order. Just because I can't afford to fix it doesn't mean I can't do other things. I can organize the rooms the way I want them. I can make it look nice with what I have. My second word for the year needs to be "Gratitude" again. I think I really know the meaning of that word now, more so than I did when it was my word in 2014.

I'm grateful in general. I'm grateful for my health, my children's health, their intelligence, the fact that Seth has come such a long way, that my ex is such a great co-parent, my father and his health at his age, my "village" of friends, family and that I have enough to survive.

However, these last couple of years have been hard, but they have also been good for me and for the kids. We've learned not to take money for granted. When I think about it, for many years I steadily made more and more money and I also spent more and more. When they were younger and I was married we had a double income and we never wanted for anything.

Now I've learned to do without and how to be frugal. That's been an important lesson for me. I went from having my parents, to having a double income and I never learned how to take care of myself until now. It's been an important step in really growing up.  Learning true gratitude is a big part of that and inculcating it in my children, so that they learn to truly be grateful when we have more.

Life has a funny way of teaching us lessons whether we want to learn from them or not. I've learned that God provides at just the right time and I think that this lesson in gratitude makes me and the children better people. I have faith that if and when we have more in life they are going to look at it with a very different point of view than they did before. I have faith that as they get older and have better opportunities in life they will know when to be grateful. I have faith that I will too.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

New Year and New Word

The truth of the matter is this. My life has been a big disorganized mess for far too long. I'm one of those people that can't do too many things at one time. I can only really do one event or activity per day, unless I'm traveling for fun or work. When I'm traveling for work I can make several sales calls in a day. When I'm traveling for fun I can visit several places in the same day too. It's not the same when it comes to doing things I need to do for the house.

by Rose Khan

What I share on social media is what makes me the happiest and the proudest- mostly my kids, my friends and shoes. A lot of my energy goes to them, taking care of my dad, and my career. In my book, happiness, education, feeding my brain and the brain of my children, way outweighs anything material. I even half kid on Facebook all the time about my disorderly house and that I'm not much of a homemaker.

Therefore, the only word I can think of for 2017 is "Order." I need more order in my life and I feel like the word order covers everything. Order in my home, health, finances, children, work. I want to lead a more orderly life, without losing my eccentric traits I also value. That's the tricky part!

I like to think of myself as part artist and how many artists can you think of who lead orderly lives? Not too many! Think of Tyler Durden and the Narrator's house in "Fight Club," and Michael Caine's house in "Children of Men," all packed with books and papers. That's my house.

I'm not really religious these days but I am a spiritual person. I believe a lot in karma and doing good so that good comes back to you. I think there's some truth to decluttering your life in order to open it up to good things, a little feng shui. I'm starting off my year with a clean slate.

My first step towards inviting more "order" into my life is to clear out my house of all junk and clutter. In early December I prepared for this project by cleaning out the garage. The garage is the "holding place" for me to put all the clutter and to work from there. I have to do this or I will get overwhelmed by the house and I'll end up doing nothing at all. Every two months when it's heavy trash day again I'll clean out the garage of anything I know I don't need or want for sure.

I want to follow suit with my health and cleaning out all the bad things from my diet. I'm going to start running again before it gets really hot again and I'm getting financial things in order because I have some goals I can only achieve by doing that.

2017 is going to be a year of "Order" and I'm starting now. What is your word(s) for 2017?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Raising a Latino Male and Female

Every day I think of the awesome responsibility that we have been given to raise two children, but especially a Latino boy. When I hear reports like this one, "Report Examines the Health and Education of Latino Boys and Young Men" on Houston Matters I think about that responsibility even more.

Seth is a 7th grade Latino boy. His father and I are divorced but we are very much on the same page about how we want to raise our children. We want for them to be strong, smart and educated. We want for them to be good people that will do the right thing, even if we aren't watching.

I'm proud of both of my kids. My daughter has always been a great kid since she was a baby. In some ways I think we just expect for her to do well because she always has. I have to remind myself that by doing that we are placing a big responsibility on her shoulders. So I tell her how proud I am as much as I can so that she knows how much I love and appreciate her.

We have come so far with Seth from those early days of elementary school when we struggled with his behavior and we couldn't understand what was happening to him. We didn't know that he had ADHD and was a high functioning Aspergers. When we finally understood this it made all the difference on how we worked with him. By fifth grade his assistant principal said she couldn't believe he was the same boy who had constantly been in her office the year before. So sometimes I think that the victory is even sweeter with him. To see him transition into the young man he is now in middle school in the Vanguard program has been so rewarding.

It also makes me sad when I think of all the young Latino males who don't have the support system they need to help make them successful. I hate that young Latino men become a statistic and I will work so hard to make sure my son is not.

I know the challenge isn't over yet and that we have to keep working on both of these kids. Two and a half more years for Miranda and Five and half for Seth to be exact. I am on a mission and a plan to make these two kids successful and hard-working adults. If that means sacrificing a little part of my life to do it that's okay with me. When I signed up to be a parent I knew that was in the job-description and I have never regretted this job once in my life. I tell my kids that thus far they are my greatest accomplishment in life and they are.