Sunday, September 08, 2019

"She's Leaving Home"

The day before we left to New York last week I finally played "She's Leaving Home" by the Beatles to Miranda while we were in the car. I cried for the first time. It hit me that she was leaving the next day. I didn't outright cry, I just shed a few tears but she saw it. We were leaving on Wednesday morning at 5 am to the airport so the song really hit a soft spot and I know I sound cliche but it does feel like just yesterday she was going to kindergarten.

Move In Day at Long Island University
So last week her father and I flew to New York with our girl on a Wednesday morning. We went shopping with her, helped her move in on Thursday, shopped some more, stayed with her near campus, and left her there on Sunday early afternoon. I was sad but I didn't cry. I was strong because I am so happy and excited for her! I'm so excited as she starts this new journey and has this amazing opportunity to attend an east coast small private school. I know it will offer her so many great opportunities in the medical field. She has her whole life in front of her and it's such an exciting place to be. How can I not be happy and excited?

Unpacking in her dorm room.
Long Island is such a beautiful area! I knew nothing about it before she applied at Long Island University. The towns are great. I can't wait to explore different areas on other visits there. There's a lot to see! We stayed in an Airbnb in Glen Cove so we were very close to the campus. The school is in Brookville.

We loved Oyster Bay and Teddy Roosevelt's house Sagamore Hill. I loved learning so much about this total bad-ass president. He did so much in his life! We visited Beth Page Black and saw the beautiful club house. I even got to visit an old cemetery across the street! I didn't have time to drive the whole length of the Hamptons, which I would have loved to do, so I just went to West Hampton. It was still beautiful and the houses are amazing.

On our last night we went into the city. Those of you who know me know how much I love Manhattan. I just feel excited when I'm there! We went to Zabar's to buy coffee and Miranda got a couple of things for her room. Then we drove down the length of Manhattan to the financial district to a place Rey and I hadn't been to in about nine years. It's this great Irish restaurant pub called Killarney Rose. The pastrami was just as delicious or more delicious than we remembered it! Miranda said that it wasn't just the best pastrami she's ever had, but the best food she had ever tasted.

We ended the night by walking to the Brooklyn Bridge and getting ice cream before heading back to the car to drive back to Long Island.

Eating Ralph's Ices
The next morning we had breakfast in an adorable diner where I heard about egg cream for the first time. I'd never heard about it before so the waitress made me some so I could taste it. Miranda and I decided it tastes like cream soda. I also had to try Ralph's ices before leaving. The only thing I forgot was to buy bagels to bring back home and to the office.

Today makes a week since we dropped her off . She started class on Wednesday and we've talked and texted every day. We've only Facetimed a couple of times. She's been getting adjusted and learning how to adult. I was so relieved to hear that they have a shuttle bus that takes them off campus to the Broadway Mall or the train station. Now I don't feel like she's going to be stuck on campus without a car. So far she likes all her classes and I love that they are tiny. Her biggest class has around 30 people in it.

She is starting a new phase in her life just as I get to the end of the second third of my life.  Her going to college is the start of my #3yearplan. These are my last three years with a child in the house and I need to start my plan for what I'm going to do once I'm an empty nester, or the last phase of my life. More on that later.

I just bought tickets to visit with Seth for Thanksgiving. He didn't get to go drop off Miranda because he had started school. We will be there Wednesday through Saturday so she doesn't spend Thanksgiving alone.

As I write this the song "Landslide" (Dixie Chicks version) plays in my ears. Never did these words ring so true, "Can I handle the seasons of my life?"

"Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I'm getting older too"
- Stevie Nicks


Monday, August 19, 2019

That Jar of Happiness, Part Trois

I'm more than halfway through 2019, but only 6 months to 50. I pulled out the Happiness Jar so I can start keeping a list of the good things happening between my fabulous 49th Las Vegas birthday in February and my Big 5-0 in 2020. Maybe Vegas in my future again??



I hope to do this jar justice these next six months and really keep record of the wonderful things that happen to me. I am so grateful for all the good things these past two years, from the trip to Germany, my new roof, vacations with the kids, a trip to Paris with my BFF Vicki, Las Vegas birthday, trip to NYC and Cali, and my daughter's awesome scholarship to LIU.

I do appreciate everything you've thrown my way Universe! I know not everyone has so much to be thankful for and I appreciate it wholeheartedly.

Monday, August 05, 2019

My Girl is Leaving to College and My Decluttering Project Goes On

Thirteen years ago exactly my girl was going to Kindergarten and I was blogging about my life changing forever. Now she's leaving to college in just three weeks! She decided to go to Long Island University. In the end they offered her the most money and between scholarships she received from them and a scholarship she just received from MD Anderson this past week, she ended up paying 95% of her fall tuition.

Big Ass Balloon from Miranda's Graduation Party
So Long Island University it is and I'm going to drop her off in New York in three weeks. We are flying there and I'm staying for four days to help her settle in.

The decluttering project continues and I've made some impressive progress, slowly but surely. One of my best friends came over yesterday to see my new bed and she was surprised at how big my room looks now. I showed her a little bit of the method to my madness.

My To Do Lists
In order to not get anxiety and overwhelmed I make myself a To Do list. When I have most of the list checked off I make a new list, I move the things I still need to do to the new page, and I add more things. Making a list soothes me and makes it easier for me to eat the elephant one bite at a time. 

I'm finally at a point where I don't feel overwhelmed and I feel like I'm almost finished. All I have left now is Seth's room and clearing out some of my dad's things that are still in there. One bite at a time!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Daddy Can No Longer Be Located

I originally received this email from TMobile's FamilyWhere in March 2018 after my dad passed away and I cancelled his phone line. This is the GPS service I had on his phone so I could find him when he wouldn't answer his phone. I was going to post it or blog about it back then, but I wasn't ready. I don't know if I ever will be, even now, but here it is.


I've started this blog post at least three times and I've never finished it. I've thought to myself what could I possibly say that I haven't already said about my dad in numerous Facebook posts, Latina Lista Padre Care blogs, this blog and our YouTube Dicho a Day. Many of you have reached out to me and told me that you felt like you knew him.

The thing about losing a parent is that it's never easy, whether you're 26, 30, 48 or 60. And it's doesn't matter what age they are either. The can be 66 or 93 and it's still going to be hard and you still won't be ready.

 The reason I finally pulled myself together to continue writing this blog post is because five friends and loved ones have lost parents in the last month. First my 26 year old nephew lost his father to a brief battle with cancer. Then I had three co-workers lose their father and their mothers all in a row. Finally, a dear friend of mine from high school lost her father and I attended the funeral services yesterday.

All these losses have brought back so many memories about losing both my parents. I found that the wounds can still be uncovered,even 19 years later after losing my mother. I learned that I was still sensitive about her death when I know deep down that there is no reason to feel that way.

That's the thing about losing a loved one. You will sometimes question yourself. You will ask yourself if you could have done more. If you could have done things differently. But you shouldn't. Everything happens the way it's supposed to happen. You can not fight life.

I remember what my mother always said about funerals. What matters is if you saw that person when they were still alive.

Yes, I saw my parents when they were still alive. A lot. I lived with them until I was 28. I was with my mother from the hospital to her house and I slept in her bed with her the day before she passed away. My father lived with me the last four and a half years of his life.

I wasn't with either one of them at the moment that they took their last breath but I was with them. I was with them when they were alive and they both knew how much I loved them. That's all that matters.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Too Much Stuff Brings Me Joy

I'm clean with my body and how I dress. The kids are clean. I'm clean where I cook and eat, but that's pretty much it. I'm a mess and I know it and it's more about clutter than anything else. It's something I have to work on. Here lately it's been getting out of control more and more. I'm almost afraid someone is going to send over a TV crew and will force me to do a show about clutter. I'm afraid that as I'm getting older I'm going to become a Miss Havisham.

The top of my desk clean.
Two days ago you couldn't see the top of this desk. We just kept adding stuff to it to the point that you couldn't even see anything that was there. The only reason I left that gold bird cage in the corner is because my daughter seems to have some things in there, like her quill and ink. I took everything down and put it in a box that she will have to sort through when she comes back from her father's this weekend. 

Those things I left on top may seem weird but they are little things that mean something to me and I can display my daughter's art. I also have two art pieces by Lizbeth Ortiz there, the Bride of Frankenstein from a Post It show and her sacred heart in a shrine box. Later I added my big gold sacred heart and the nest we found outside on the ground.

Things that bring me joy
I went through the whole house doing this. I looked at areas and decided what needed to go. I cleaned out my work space corner in the dining room and that was a feat on its own. 

I've never watched this Marie Kondo woman everyone is talking about but I get the gist of what she says so I'm trying to follow her mantra, "Does this thing bring me joy?" The sad answer is that too much stuff brings me joy! What I do know is that there is such a thing as too too much. I get it. I know that as Americans we are all about excess and I'm no exception.

I posted on Facebook on Saturday that sometimes you have to do something radical to do anything at all. That's how I approached my cleaning that day. I had to be radical and I know that Marie Kondo would not approve on how I went about it. This is in no way advice on how to clean. This is just what I had to do to motivate myself and to make myself move.

I took that basic "Does this thing bring me joy?" concept and added my own twist. I asked myself, "What would you take with you if the house was burning down?" I know kind of the same thing but instead of keeping those things I left them and I removed everything that I didn't need any more or that I was kind of on the fence about, and I put them in boxes. This is the part where I realize I added an extra step for myself but I had to do it this way to do anything at all. I don't have the time to sit there and do the 4 container method: "give away," "throw away," "storage," and "put away." I just needed to work quickly to feel like I was getting anything accomplished.

I put the boxes in the garage and on another day, when I have enjoyed my clean house for a while, I will take on the project of cleaning out my garage. I have some boxes I need to go through slowly to look for paperwork. I couldn't risk losing some things.

Even doing it this way, I spent eight hours on Saturday working on just the kitchen, dining room, hall and part of the living room. There is still a whole hot mess going on in the living room that I need to address. I couldn't believe that working on just those three rooms took me that long. According to my optimistic calculations I thought that I could get through four rooms in eight hours, if I spent two hours in each room. Somehow it didn't work out that way.

Today I'm working on my bedroom, my biggest thorn in my side, the bathroom, and I need to finish the living room.

My goal is to have a clean house where I feel happy but it's also about having a cleaning lady to keep things from getting out of control again. I realize that for so many years as a working mom two people kept my life in order, my baby sitter and a cleaning lady (I had a few).  It has been years since I hired a cleaning lady, first because I couldn't afford it on one income and then my house was too out of control to let anyone see it. I am literally cleaning so I can have a cleaning lady again and bring order back to the universe. Wish me well.