5 Reasons Why I Love My Husband

Marriage is one hell of a compromise, sometimes we have to give a little to get a little in order to get through certain disagreements that being in a relationship inevitably brings. I sometimes forget that I have a good man, a great man even; and admittedly I sometimes tend to take him for granted, but in the spirit of Valentine’s Day I cannot think of a better time to let both him and the World know how much I love, respect, adore and appreciate him.

1. He is Reliable

He is not the take out the garbage kind of reliable. Lord knows that there are too many times that I have to drag the garbage out myself on the night before Sanitation comes since my husband always forgets garbage day but he’s the kind of the mortgage is due on the 5th and it will get paid reliable. I can count on him for the big things, the important things.

Greg has a saying, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll wrap my arms around the situation and take care of it.”

The first time I heard those words from him was 3 months into our dating. I was faced with a seemingly daunting situation. Said situation had nothing to do with Greg. I was just sharing my plight with him since he was my boyfriend at the time. I didn’t expect him to fix it. I didn’t expect him to even assist me in any way. Greg saw it differently though. He didn’t like to see me sad or worried and he said as much. He told me he “would wrap his arms around the situation and take care of it” and he certainly did, much to my surprise and pleasure.

To this day, 6 years later, he still says those words to me, big problem – leaky roof; or minor problem – slow leak in my tire. Greg is always willing and ready to wrap his arms around any and all problems and fix it.

2. He Loves My Son

When I met Greg I had been divorced from my first husband for 9 years and was raising my son alone. Don’t get me wrong, my Ex was/is still very much a part of my son’s life but the reality is that he is a weekend Dad, more like an every other weekend Dad, so the bulk of the responsibility of rearing Blake, my son, fell solely on me.

The middle of the night fevers was all me. Teaching my son how to read and doing school projects with him was all me. Schlepping him back and forth to all his activities, which over the years included soccer, baseball, piano, Tae Kwon Do, the flute, football and swimming lessons all me. So Blake and I became a little team since it was just me and him for as long as I can remember. Like every parent, I love my child, therefore, my main concern with dating as a single parent was if you can’t love my child then we can’t date. We, Blake and I, came as a package deal, there is no having me if you can’t accept him.

When I split from Blake’s dad, you can read all about it here 5 Lessons I Learned from my Divorce, Blake was only a year old. I started dating again when Blake was barely 2 and I had the unfortunate experience of coming across men who didn’t care to hear me talk about my son, much less want to meet him, or didn’t understand when I had to cancel a date because I couldn’t find a babysitter.

I had a policy that I never wanted to date men who didn’t have any children of their own because they wouldn’t understand my obligation to my child so I was hesitant when I met childless Greg. Surely, he wouldn’t get it either; but what a pleasant surprise Greg proved to be when just a month into dating he suggested that the 3 of us hang out on a Saturday afternoon because he wanted to meet this Blake that I talked incessantly about.

Well, the rest they say is History, they bonded over skateboarding and watching WWE wrestling, and when Greg suggested that I allow Blake to stay up past his bedtime on weekends and I actually complied that was when Greg became almost God-like in Blake’s eyes. It didn’t take Blake very long to figure out that if he needed something from me it might be best to go through Greg first since it might increase his chances of getting what he wants.

The first time I heard Greg refer to Blake as “our son” I melted. I knew right then and there that he was a keeper.

3. He’s My Biggest Fan

Greg believes that I am “all that and a bag of chips”. Like seriously, this guy thinks that not only am I great but that I can do anything. He never ever doubts me, even when I doubt myself. I once read somewhere that if one person sees you as succeeding then you will succeed. Well, Greg is my one person.

During my seemingly endless dating years, I remember wishing for that one guy that would love me for me, with all my imperfections and idiosyncrasies. Someone who, no matter my shortcomings, would be able to accept me. Everyone seemed so judgmental and was looking for perfection, despite not being perfect themselves. I am oh so thankful that my husband doesn’t judge me and accepts our differences.

Greg doesn’t dim my light, he supports and encourages me. I remember waking up last year and out of nowhere told him I wanted to write a book but I needed to start writing a Blog first in order to hone my writing skills and build my voice. Despite having zero writing experience and publications Greg was excited for me and truly believes that I possess the talent to one day write a New York Times Bestseller. As I procrastinated, Greg would ask me every day had I started writing my Blog yet.

I have never had a partner that wanted me to shine as much as Greg. He sees my talents as limitless and that makes me believe in myself.

4. I Like How He Treats Others

Greg is so nice. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have wonderful things to say about him. When you first meet a man or a woman, listen to the way their own people talk about them. Greg is loved and I saw that quickly when he was among his co-workers and his friends. People like him and respect him.

A few months into dating, Greg and I were in a building looking for a specific office, we came across the Janitor and I will never forget the manner in which Greg spoke to him. He addressed the Janitor as “Sir” and was so respectful in his ensuing conversation with him. I think that was when I started falling for him.

I once went on a date with a guy who yelled at our waiter. The waiter had made an obvious mistake but being talked down to by my date was uncalled for. On the way home, we argued about the way in which he spoke to the waiter, that was the decline of “our getting to know each other” phase. How you treat others, especially those who might be lesser off than you, speak volumes about who you are.

I have always been delighted with the manner in which Greg talks to and interacts with everyone, be it the janitor, or the crossing guard, or the housekeeper; Greg is always kind and respectful.

5. He is Eye Candy

You know how sometimes you meet a guy or gal and they have such amazing personalities but they might not be physically your ideal but you’ll date them anyway because they are so sweet. Thankfully, I didn’t need to settle on physicality with Greg. I am very attracted to my husband.

At our wedding, we wrote and spoke our own vows to each other, I remember saying how very attractive I am to Greg and then mentioning that I never get tired of seeing him naked – I had all our guests in stitches – Poor Greg blushed so hard he turned visibly red…Well, I can safely say 6 years later I still like to see him naked. πŸ˜‰

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Happy Valentine’s Day, Greg! I know this blog post will surprise you.

MILF

“Mr. Pannell asked me to participate in your school’s career day.”

“Noooooooo!” said my 15-year-old son. He was visibly annoyed.

“Why not? I want to do it.”

“Mom, no! I’ll talk to Mr. Pannell in the morning.”

“No, you’re not gonna talk to anyone because it’s something I want to….” My son cuts me off abruptly.

“Do you know that you’re a meme in my school?”

“What? A what?” I was a little confused.

Blake was getting more annoyed by the moment. “You do know what a meme is, don’t you?” He said while rolling his eyes.

“Of course I know what a meme is. How am I a meme? That doesn’t even make sense.”

He sighed, “All my friends think you’re hot. You’re like the Mom with the body. I don’t want you around my friends.”

“Well, aren’t you happy you have a hot Mom? I mean…” I trailed off as he interrupts me again.

“No, I don’t! No!” with that final statement my 15-year-old walks away.

I’m left standing there a bit befuddled thinking to myself, “What just happened? Is this kid for real?”

This was a conversation that took place last week between me and my 15-year-old son, Blake, who attends an all-boys private school. A few days later I posted the conversation on Facebook as my status update and my friends, for the most part, were amused, and to tell you the truth I am a little amused by the entire thing myself. My Facebook friends, who are all people I know in real life, most of them even know Blake personally, started to weigh in on whether or not I should participate in Career Day.

The opinions were split down the middle, 50% who gave their point of view believe I should adhere to Blake’s wishes and not participate in Career Day, some of which were my male friends indicating that I just wouldn’t understand since I am not driven by testosterone and raging hormones. The other 50% were of the opinion that Blake will always have to deal with his “Mama being hot” so I should indeed attend and Blake will just have to get over it.

My take on the matter is that I should go, for several reasons, the main one being that I can motivate and inspire by giving a talk to young, impressionable minds on the benefits of entering the legal profession. These days we never know where someone’s inspiration can come from and I think it would be a wonderful thing if I am able to reach even one student and inspire said student to one day apply to Law School.

I mean, to this day, I remember the lawyer I met while I was in high school that made me want to become an attorney. Well, I didn’t really “meet” her, she was in the bank conducting business, where I was waiting on my father while he too conducted business in the same bank. This woman was striking and fierce, as I eavesdropped on her conversation with the banker, I realized that she was a lawyer. She was well-spoken and polished, and she had the bank employees eating out of the palm of her hands. She had a commanding presence, and I remember thinking, “Damn, I wanna be like her when I grow up.” πŸ˜ƒ That was the moment when the seed of becoming a lawyer was planted into my brain. Obviously, there were several other circumstances, over the course of the following years, that made my determination to become an attorney a growing ambition but it started in the Cross Roads Branch of the National Commercial Bank in Jamaica.

I get it, teenagers are going to ogle. Blake is uncomfortable with his friends ogling. He probably ogles his friends’ moms too. It’s life, maybe even a rite of passage for teenage boys, if you will. I don’t know – I have never been a teenage boy – but what I do know is that Blake needs to get over himself and stop telling me what to do. As it stands, I am forbidden from attending his basketball games because his friends “look at me and talk about me”. Really?! My son plays Center for the Junior Varsity team for his school and I am so proud of him for even making the team and now I am not permitted to go cheer him on because he is “uncomfortable”. Mind you, my husband is allowed to attend the games but I cannot.

I have gotten to the point where I want to tell my 15-year-old to get over himself and his discomfort. My patience is wearing thin with him and this foolishness. I will respect his stance on the basketball games (even though I did sneak into one of the games a couple of weeks ago) because it is a mere social activity, but I was invited by a faculty member to participate in Career Day and I think it is very important that I attend.

One of my very good friends from Law School, a male, has been advocating for Blake all week. He has even sent me private messages saying I should sit this one out. He totally understands Blake’s “plight” since he “was once a teenager with a hot Mom too”. He says it “can be a lot for a young man to deal with”. My response to that is the fact that I have to sit out the basketball games and now he wants me to sit out Career Day, it would seem as if Blake wants me to sit out the remainder of his teenage years. My former Law School buddy promises that “it will get better” as Blake “matures”; but what if it doesn’t? Should I really wait for Blake to get over his “discomfort”? His teenage years will be over in the blink of an eye. He’ll be going off to University in just 2.5 more years. Am I to miss out on the limited time I have left with him, as my child in my house, because of such unbelievable nonsense?

I asked my husband, Greg, the neutral party and always the go-between for me and Blake, what he thought of the entire situation. He supports my perspective and thinks Blake should learn to start properly handling the situation instead of giving his friends too much of a voice. Greg states that in years to come when Blake’s buddies are all adults, he will still have friends that ogle me because some dudes are just “disrespectful” like that and Blake needs to learn as early as possible how to handle those “friends”, the sooner he learns, the better. Blake’s advocate disagrees with Greg and believes “friendships are important at any age, that life is never easy for teenage boys and young men, who go through a lot and are oftentimes told to put on a brave face and act tough because society expects them to”. According to my Law School buddy, what all young men need is “those they love to listen and understand their point of view”.

Now, I am at the point where I am going back and forth in my mind about this situation. I love my son, obviously, and want to make him happy, but for me, this shouldn’t even be a discussion. Like seriously, back in my day, my brother wouldn’t dare tell my mother not to show up to his school for Career Day, there wouldn’t have been a discussion. Hot mom or not.

According to my husband, the situation could be worse, the situation could have been such that he was being teased for having an unattractive mom. One that no one wanted to look at. Despite, the disagreement among my Facebook friends on the topic, the general consensus is that I ought to be “proud” that I am a hot Mom and that this is a “good” problem to have.

I have verbally agreed to participate in Career Day but I still haven’t handed in my formal notice of participation yet. Career Day isn’t until mid-March so I do have some time to think about it. I would love to hear your take on the matter. Should I go or not? What’d you think?

Why Is Everyone So Sensitive

Why is everyone so sensitive these days??? Why is everyone taking everything so seriously??? Can we lighten up a bit, please?

Last week I learned that one of my favorite Christmas songs will not make it to the airwaves this Christmas because the lyrics are too “suggestive”. Say what?!

Baby, It’s Cold OutsideΒ is a classic tune usually played around Christmastime that gives me a delightful, warm, fuzzy feeling whenever it comes on the radio, it is way better listening pleasure thanΒ Jingle Bells. It’s catchy and it’s fun, and it is one of my faves along with Eartha Kitt’sΒ Santa Baby.Β Now in light of the #metoo movement, it is being said that the song connotes a hidden agenda of sexual harassment and as such should no longer be played on the radio. Say what?!

Are the powers that be for real with this nonsense?Β This song was first recorded all the way back in 1944, even before my mother was born, for the movie, Neptune’s Daughter. Over the years it has grown in popularity and has been recorded and covered by several contemporary popular artists including Rod Stewart, Dolly Parton, Michael Buble, Norah Jones, and even Lady Gaga. So why all of a sudden it is not fit for the airwaves and will lead to the promotion of “date rape culture”? Say what now?! I can’t, I just can’t.

Who are the ones making these decisions? The gist of the song, which is usually recorded by a male and female duo, has the female singer, who is in the company of the male singer saying she needs to leave, she has to get home but each time she says she has to go the male singer interrupts her by reminding her that she should stay because “it’s really cold outside”. That’s it! That is the general gist of the song, no mention of sex, no mention of let’s go to into the bedroom and do the nasty. Just a guy enjoying the company of a female companion and he does not want her to leave.

Such a delightful and catchy tune and now it’s forbidden because as a society we have gotten just a bit too sensitive and everything has to be misconstrued and misinterpreted and taken to the ith power.

Here’s the link to the original scene where the song was first recorded for a movie, very cute and fun to watch https://youtu.be/7MFJ7ie_yGU.

In conversation with my husband tonight he told me of a co-worker who recently found out that his children’s elementary school will no longer be having a Halloween party, this year’s party was the last because it caused an uproar among a few parents (just a few) who are offended by the concept of Halloween and the fact that a party is being “forced down their throats”. Here is my solution to that – You don’t like it keep your kids at home on the day of…Like really; why is everyone so offended by every little thing these days?!

I get it, not everything is for everyone and if for some reason you’re not into whatever then stay away. Don’t spoil everybody else’s fun, just keep your mouth shut and stay away. Don’t petition the Board of Ed by inundating them with your selfish letters to the point where now there has been a ruling that there will be no more Halloween parties.

Thankfully those parents were not a part of my elementary school when my kid was much younger because they would be getting a hell of a fight from me if they tried that nonsense. It’s not even that I’m a huge fan of Halloween, I grew up in Jamaica, my childhood was Halloween free, but on a matter of principle alone I would jump to oppose those that feel the need to spoil everybody else’s fun. How about you go somewhere quiet and practice removing that stick from your you know where?

There are certain things, words, and terminologies that are downright derogatory and are generally offensive; and the use of such words and promotion of such things are inexcusable. However, songs that have been around and has been playing on the radio for decades are not offensive, neither is a Halloween party for grammar school students.

Everyone is so offended by everything these days, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. What about the concept of “live and let live” and “to each his own”. Why should everyone else suffer because you get butthurt about everything?

Toughen up, people! Not everyone is on the attack not everything is meant to hurt your pretty little feelings. Enough already! Enough!

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My Boy!

It’s that time of the year when we string the lights, decorate the tree, bake cookies, drink too much eggnog and overeat; but before we do all of that I’d like to first acknowledge the human who gave my life added purpose. My life always had meaning but I got a swift kick in the behind to make sure I do it right 15 years ago today when my obstetrician handed me a 10 lb bundle and said, “Here he is. What’d you think?”

Honestly, my first thought wasn’t, “Oh my gosh, he’s so precious. I’m in love.” Instead, my very first thought was, “Who’s baby is this? This kid doesn’t look like me. Why is he so light?”

I quickly got over the lack of resemblance when I took a closer look at the nose. Yep, he was mine alright, that nose is unmistakable. Blake didn’t scream or cry when he first got here, instead, he just stared, he actually seemed to look around the room, observing his new surroundings. Fifteen years later and by golly he still does the same thing, I’m always in awe when I watch him carefully observe his surroundings instead of just walking right in.

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My next thoughts as I held him was “What do I do now? What I am I supposed to do with him now?” Blake seemed to read my mind as he nuzzled against my chest and started searching, he found his food supply, latched on and went to town, pulling and sucking and feeding hungrily. Damn, that shit hurt!

It’s been 15 years and Blake’s appetite has not changed. He still has a voracious, healthy appetite. The kid will eat anything.

It’s astounding how much Blake’s current persona mirrors my labor experience. I was scheduled to deliver the baby on December 4th, which I thought was kind of cool since it was rapper Jay-Z’s birthday; but Blake had other plans and arrived at 12:06 am the next day. He was not to be rushed and to this day, he still does things on his own terms and refuses to be rushed or cajoled into anything, which can be both good and bad.

My labor was fairly painless, I had a surge of pain for a few minutes, called for the epidural, which I had initially thought I wouldn’t want since I always saw myself as an Amazonian natural labor type of girl but when that indescribable pain ripped through me and I wasn’t dilated enough to push I quickly called for the epidural in order to get some kind of relief. Honestly, the only pain I felt during labor wasn’t more than about 15 minutes but it was the longest 15 minutes of my life.

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Similarly, raising Blake, luckily, has been rather painless. Yeah, there are the usual ups and downs that come with parenting but thankfully he has made it relatively easy for me. The disappointments and WTF moments have been few and far between and for that, I am eternally gratefully.

Does he make me repeat myself too much? Sure! One day I decided to count how many times I had to tell him to clean his room before he actually cleaned it and it turned out to be 8 times, all of 8 times before I had to threaten him with the wrath of God in order to get him moving.

I am in sheer disbelief at how lazy my teenager can be. Like, seriously, how hard can it be to put your clothes in the laundry basket when you take them off instead of tossing them on the floor; and how many times do I have to tell my child to make his bed before he leaves for school in the mornings and for God’s sake why won’t he hang his wet towel back in the bathroom after he has used it instead of throwing it on his unmade bed?

The kid is as loving as he is lazy so even though I bitch at him to clean up after himself I still get all the hugs and kisses and “I love you” that I can handle despite him being at that age where it isn’t considered cool to do so.

It has been a tumultuous, loving, exasperating, sweet, mind-boggling and beautiful 15 years of motherhood. Blake was sent here to get me out of my comfort zone, the one where everything I did I got it right and was so self-assured and confident about all my endeavors. Motherhood has had me second guessing every decision I have ever made. Am I doing it properly? Am I getting it right? Am I too strict or am I too lenient? Should I impose a weekend bedtime or allow him to stay up as late as he wants as long as he gets all his homework done? Should I have the password to his phone? Or should I allow him his privacy?

It’s crazy that after all these years together, I am still not sure if my parenting method is correct. I figured by the time I got to child #2, I would have had it all figured out but it is obvious that child # 2 is not happening. Growing up I always thought I was going to have a few kids of my own, at least 3 or 4, but as faith would have it that was not in the cards. However, every day I thank my lucky stars that since I only got one I am thankful it’s this one. I couldn’t have picked a more ideal kid that compliments my own personality.

Blake is not perfect but he’s perfect for me. Happy Birthday to the biggest reality check I’ve ever experienced. The kid keeps me on my toes in a such a crazy, weird yet fantastic way. Not only do I love him but I like him too.

Here’s to Big Blake! My 6′ 2 15-year-old who makes me oh so proud to be his Mom.

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Ask Me Anything – The Answers (Part 2)

I am a little late with my Reader Request Friday responses to the questions put forth by my treasured readers, two days late in fact, but I was assured by my dearest Heather over at https://www.hopelesslyheather.com that my readers would understand me not meeting my deadline, after all, it is Thanksgiving weekend.

Reader Request Friday was created by fellow blogger, the fascinating and intriguing https://www.bottomlesscoffee.007.com, who invited me to interact with my readers by encouraging them to ask me anything. I was happily overwhelmed with a lot of questions, which in the interest of brevity, I elected to answer in two parts, in case you missed part one of my answers you can find it at Ask Me Anything – The Answers (Part One)

Without further adieu, let’s get on with part two (Hey; that rhymed…Ha!).

The illustrious author, James, over at https://www.myplace3187.com asked the following:

Q 43. Do you have Netflix? Yep. Doesn’t everyone these days?

Q 44. Do you eat beef liver or pork liver? Beef liver, yes, and I quite enjoy it too.

Q 45. Do you ice skate?

About a decade ago I decided I wanted to learn how to ice skate so I actually paid for a round of ice skating lessons.

I paid for a half a dozen lessons and was in the middle of lesson #2 when I fell down so hard on the ice I couldn’t get back up. It took 3 instructors to help me back up. The pain across my lower back after that fall was so intense that I couldn’t even finish lesson # 2. It took me at least 2 weeks to properly heal and feel like myself again. The pain was so severe every time I walked I felt the fall all over again. That was it for me…I never went back to the lessons and I never got my money back either.

I quickly deleted “learning how to ice skate” off of my bucket list. Not everything is for everyone and I painfully learned that ice-skating wasn’t for this island girl. πŸ˜’

Q 46. What is the best icing for cakes?

There are so many but if I could only pick one I would say chocolate fudge icing. Yummy!

Q 47. What is the best place to get a pizza you like?

So many places especially here in NYC, which is known for having some of the best pizzas. My husband and I like to head over to Harry’s, in Battery Park, for their brick oven pizza.

Q 48. Would you love to have a vegetable garden on the roof of your building? Nope.

Q 49. What is your favorite car to drive around to show off?

I’m not much of a show-off. However, if I had to choose to drive around in a car to show off in it would be a flashy, red, 2 door sports car; something like a Ferrari, although I have never driven one myself. I would opt for one that looked like this

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My girl, River Girl, over at https://www.riversworld.live, a one of a kind travel blog I discovered here at WordPress had me thinking really hard about this one –

Q 50. You seem like a woman who has it all together. Strong, smart, independent. So what’s your deepest, darkest, irrational fear?

Firstly, River, thank you for such compliments – strong, smart and independent. I’d like to think I’m all that but we all have insecurities and unwarranted fears.

My biggest fear is that I won’t live much longer. This irrational fear surrounds dying before my son becomes an adult before I can live to see what he makes of himself before he gets married and has his own children. I would love to see the kind of woman he would choose to partner with for the rest of his life, I’d also like to see what kind of parent he would be but I’m not sure I’ll be around for it.

I am afraid of dying.

My friend (in real life), wedding photographer extraordinaire, Carmen at http://www.carmenrubiophotography.com, who I am surprised didn’t ask me something about the movies since we both share a love for the movies asked the following…

Q 51. Who (living or dead) would you like to meet and have a conversation with? And why?

I’d like to break bread with Oprah Winfrey and share some laugh out loud girl talk.

Everyone knows Oprah’s story, she came from nothing, born in poverty, she was dirt poor growing up. Talk about a self-made woman, she was fired from one of her first gigs in broadcasting and demoted yet she was able to come back from that to build a multi-million dollar production company and has been named Forbes first black multi-billionaire. Yes! Multi-billionaire, that is a billionaire (not millionaire) several times over.

It doesn’t matter how you feel about Ms. Winfrey one has to put that respect at the end of her name. She is one of the most influential people in the World. I don’t have enough words to express the sheer joy and excitement I would feel meeting and having an actual conversation with her. I bet I would leave a lasting impression too.πŸ˜‰

Q 52. What is your dream car?

Let’s go with the flashy, red Ferrari above. See Q & A 49.

Another real-life friend, Alicia, a couples’ therapist and published author, Alicia’s book, No More Fighting: The Relationship Book for Couples: 20 Minutes a Week to a Stronger Relationship, will be released on December 4th and can be pre-ordered on Amazon right now. You can also find more of Alicia’s words of wisdom and valuable tips for re-igniting the passion in your marriage at http://www.aliciamunoz.com.

Alicia asked the following question…

Q 53. How do you think writing your bestselling book is going to change the important relationships in your life, including your relationship with yourself?

Damn, Alicia! Could you think of a harder question…Hahaha.

Alicia, my darling, I am honored that you think I will one day write a bestseller. I love the way you believe in me, love the way you always encourage me. Let me see if I can do some justice to your question.

My relationship with myself probably won’t change much. Yes, I’d be more confident in my writing. I’d be encouraged to write more, tell more stories and I’d certainly feel more accomplished but I honestly feel like my humility and authenticity would remain the same. I like who I am and I am pretty sure I’ll remain the same. I would never be the self-acclaimed pompous author, I can’t stand those.

My relationship with my husband – I can only imagine how much greater this would be. Writing a bestseller means more disposable income for our family; which translates into more money to do whatever we want; more vacations, more adventures, even more, grand memories; our marriage would swell and expand with more happiness. It is said that money doesn’t buy happiness, but Greg and I would certainly like the chance to disprove this theory.

My relationship with my son – Like he needs another thing to live up to. Having a Mom, who is an attorney already puts a tremendous amount of pressure on him. Since the generation that follows is expected to outperform the current generation, my expectation of him would be even more than it already is. I am pretty sure me writing a bestseller would result in more tension between me and my teenager since my expectations of him would be even higher than they already are, especially regarding his academic performance.

My Mom, yes you read that correctly, my Mom who reads my blog weekly, asked the all-important question…

Q 54. If you could go back to your childhood and change anything, what would you change and why?

This has to be a trick question, right?! My childhood was perfect and I wouldn’t change anything.😁

Seriously though, my honest answer to that would be that your husband (my Dad) was way too strict, like seriously, there was no need for all that. I would make my Dad more lenient and a lot less rigid in his rearing and discipline. I am 100% sure we would have still turned out alright despite all the rules.

Q 55. My favorite Avon Lady, Heather, over at https://hopelesslyheather.com asked me what’s my favorite joke/funny story to tell.

Believe or not, I love lawyer jokes. One of my favorites goes something like this –

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Q 56. Laurie over at https://www.meditationsinmotion.com wanted to know what my favorite quote is…

Feel the fear and do it anyway!

While DM, the master of thought-provoking questions, at https://pointlessoverthinking.com asked the following –

Q 57. If you could sell years from your life with ten thousand dollars each, how many years would you sell and why?

Ha! Good one! I prefer living over money, I’m not inclined to sell any years off of my life. I figured once I’m alive and healthy I have the potential to make money.

Kimberley, my real life friend, asked the following –

Q 58. How did you find the courage and enthusiasm to continue dating as you moved closer to 40?

I met my current husband when I was 39 and I was a 42-year-old bride but it was so worth all the years of dating to finally come across my ideal and to have my feelings reciprocated; see My Guy.

Kimmie, I’m not sure if I’d call it “courage and enthusiasm”, I’m a relationship type of girl, I like being a part of a committed, monogamous relationship, more than I like being by myself so I was willing to do and give what it takes until I found someone I was compatible with. I knew deep down that “he” was out there and I never gave up on the hope of finding “him”.

The seemingly kind and sweet Charlie, our import from across the pond, over at https://charliecountryboy.com asked

Q 59. If your house was on fire what is the one item you would save?

Since you said item and not person, I guess I would grab my laptop, the very one I’m typing on right now.

While my new buddy and incredible long-distance runner PK Adams, who blogs over at https://www.eatthesky.com asked the following…

Q 60. How did you choose your career?

It’s more like my career chose me…All my life I was told that I argued like a lawyer, ever since I was a little girl. I guess I was contentious; I’m not anymore though πŸ˜‰.

Wow…I’m up to question 60 and I’m still not done with all my questions yet. I guess there’ll be a part 3 to this Reader Request Fridays because this blog post is already way too long. I appreciate all the questions though and I promise to answer all of them, someday.

I’ll leave you with the colored version of my current WordPress profile picture, a photo I took last month while attending the Bruno Mars concert, which was one of the best concerts I have ever experienced. How come no one asked me to describe the best musician I have ever seen in concert? I would love to have answered that one. 😊

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Ask Me Anything – The Answers (Part One)

I am seated in a crowded airport waiting to get on my flight to JFK. I am tired and I am miserable. My flight has already been delayed more hours than I can count because of snow on the ground at home in New York. We were originally scheduled to leave at 6:15 pm, well it’s now 10:45 pm and we still have no idea when we will actually be departing. Not the most ideal situation for creativity and or writing but since I am committed to fulfilling my promise to participate in Reader Request Fridays I just pulled my laptop out of my carry-on and we shall now begin.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to ask me fun, interesting, provocative questions, some of the answers came to me quickly and easily, while others gave me food for thought. I was asked way more questions than I had anticipated, some of the questions even came from my Facebook friends and one Twitter follower, while others came from real life friends.

In the interest of brevity, I’ll be doing my Reader Request Friday responses in 2 parts, that is in 2 separate posts, I don’t want to make it too long and I especially don’t want to bore anyone so please note if you don’t see your question posted here this week, rest assured I’ll be responding to it in my next installment of Reader Request Fridays.

Without further adieu let’s get to the questions and, of course, my answers:

Reader Request Fridays was created by my fellow blogger the controversial https://bottomlesscoffee007.com, who provided me with the first set of questions to respond to:

Q1. I would like to hear the story of you growing up in the Islands.

I was born and raised in Jamaica. We were a typical middle-class family. We didn’t want for anything because my father worked hard and was able to more than adequately provide for his family. I am the eldest of my parents’ three children and I am the only girl.

My father, a former military man, was all about discipline and raised us in a very strict, rigid household with a thousand rules. My mother, on the other hand, was quite liberal in her parenting style (thankfully) so this kind of created a tolerable balance.

I think I might have been the toughest of the 3 children to raise since I was quite the opposite of everyone in my family. I was an extrovert growing up in a household of introverts. I always wanted to go out partying, socialize with the other kids next door, listen to all kinds of loud music with somewhat raunchy lyrics, namely Rock and Jamaican Dancehall, talk loudly and generally just hang out. My father didn’t think any of that behavior was very ladylike at all, so I just kind of kept in line so I wouldn’t get in trouble with him. Growing up I was very scared of my father. Truth be told I was still kind of scared of him even in my adult years, he was a no-nonsense kind of guy, who expected the best from his children, and I never wanted to disappoint him.

Q2. When and why did you move to New York and what was the transition like?

In the Summer of 1998, I was visiting New York and met a very, cool, confident guy that swept me off of my feet. We spent the entire summer hanging out and by the time I was ready to go back home to Law School I was in love. We did the long distance thing for a few years and every opportunity I got to come back to New York, during school breaks, he would send me an airline ticket. When I graduated Law School he encouraged me to move to New York to be with him so I did, much to my father’s displeasure. We later got married, had a child, then divorced.

Despite the divorce and circumstances that caused the divorce, I have no regrets about giving up my solid life in Jamaica and moving to NYC. I love living in New York and I enjoy being a mother, which I don’t think I would have been if not for my Ex, so zero regrets here.

The transition from Jamaica to New York was fairly easy, the only thing I had to get used to was the Winters; but I am so in love with Winter fashion; coats, knee-high boots, gloves, scarves etc., that not even the Winters bothered me much.

Q3. What do you miss about the Islands and how often do you go back there?

I miss my Mom, who still lives there. My Dad passed away a few years ago so in some strange way I miss him too.

I miss the food, the freshness of the food. The way everything tastes light and organic, as opposed to being heavily chemicalized or fertilized.

I miss the greenery, the lushness of the backdrop of the Blue Mountains as I drive through certain parts of the island.

I miss listening to our dialect every day. I also miss the very special way in which we (Jamaicans) create and invent new words all the time to perfectly fit any given situation and circumstance. Gosh, I love my people. πŸ˜‚

I go home at least once a year. A trip I always look forward to.

Q4. Also, have you taught your children about the culture and traditions of the Islands?

Child – not children – just one. Yes, I most certainly have. My son has been going to Jamaica every year, sometimes twice a year, since he was only six months old. He will be 15, in a matter of weeks, and you can’t tell him he isn’t Jamaican himself. He understands the dialect and speaks it better than most American children born to Jamaican parents. He loves the food, the music and the dances, which he surprisingly does very well. My son has claimed Jamaica as his own and doesn’t like it when I refer to him as a “fareign pickney”. πŸ˜‚

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Map of Jamaica with the flag’s colors.

The following questions came for the emphatic Nova at https://mynamaste365online.blog

Q5. Do you spread spaghetti sauce all on top of your noodle or mix it all together?

Mix it all together.

Q6. What was your favorite snack as a kid? When did you last have it?

Chippies Banana Chips, which, of course, is from Jamaica. However, I find it in New York from time to time. I recently had some.

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Q7. Do you have a monthly subscription box? If so, which?

Nope.

Q8. What’s your favorite perfume?

Good ole classic Chanel No. 5.

Q9. Top pet peeves.

i) People who spit in public.

ii) People who act like they know everything.

iii) Unsolicited advice.

iv) People who talk during a movie.

v) Long recorded messages that ask you to press a thousand different numbers before you can actually talk to a real live person.

Q10. Do you own a dishwasher?

Yes. Believe it or not, I hardly use it though, I like doing my dishes the old fashion way.

Q11. What would the warning label to your life say?

Combustible! She goes from 0 to 100 in under 60 seconds.

Q12. If you could meet anyone who would it be?

Oprah Winfrey.

Q13. What food can you absolutely not eat?

Frogs. I hear it’s a delicacy in some countries but I’ll pass.

Q14. If you weren’t in the profession you are in right now what would you choose to do for work?

A Writer, of course. It’s my dream to get paid for my writing.

Q15. If you could use one superpower for a day, which would it be?

Ha! I’d want to be invisible. Imagine the things you could find out if you were invisible. πŸ‘€

Q16. What allergies do you have?

Thankfully, none.

Q17. Do you read magazines?

I use to but in this day and age of the World Wide Web, I don’t really read print magazines anymore. I use to have subscriptions to O (The Oprah Magazine), Essence, Cosmopolitan, and Parenting Magazine.

Q18. What has been your hardest challenge this month?

A particular case I have. Well, it’s not even the case, it’s really the client that has been challenging.

Q19. Do you have a Thanksgiving tradition? If so, what?

Not really. We usually eat Thanksgiving Dinner with another family at their house. I rarely ever host Thanksgiving, I did it once and I don’t think I want to do it again.

Q20. What’s something you do without realizing it?

Raise my voice. I do it out of excitement, annoyance or anger and don’t even realize it until I’m asked, “Why are you yelling?”

Q21. What would be in your self-care kit? Lip-gloss, mint-flavored gum, movie tickets, a pair of dumbbells, a great book and my debit card.

While the fun and comedic Britchy over at https://bitchininthekitchen.org wanted to know the following:

Q22. What is your favorite color?

Red!!! I adore everything red. Red cars, red dresses, red sofas, red walls, red lipstick, red cell phone covers; I always go with red. All kinds of red; fire-engine red, apple red, brick red, wine red…Red! Red! Red!

Q23. If you could go to any play or musical what would it be?

Hands down Springsteen on Broadway; mezzanine tickets are going for at least $1,200 a piece. Of course, I can’t afford to go at those prices but oh how I wish I could.

I also have an interest in seeing Hamilton, another ridiculously priced Broadway play.

Q24. Who would you invite to a dinner party? Ahh, let’s see…

  1. Oprah Winfrey
  2. Chris Hemsworth
  3. Barack Obama
  4. Viola Davis
  5. Denzel Washington
  6. Usain Bolt
  7. Bruno Mars
  8. Stephen King
  9. Diego Maradona
  10. Sebastian Maniscalco
  11. Martin Scorsese
  12. Shabba Ranks
  13. Serena Williams, and
  14. Jerry Seinfeld.

Q25. Where would you like to vacation? I’d like to go to Egypt to see the pyramids.

Q26. Can you recommend any good books?

Of course! Here are some favorites:

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. Defending Jacob by William Landay
  3. A Time to Kill by John Grisham
  4. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  5. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  6. The Stand by Stephen King
  7. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
  8. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseinei
  9. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  10. Black Boy by Richard Wright
  11. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  12. A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul

Q25. What pets do you have or would you like? I wasn’t blessed with a love for animals.

Q26. What types of music do you like?

I listen to just about anything but I do have an affinity for Rock, Reggae and Jamaican Dancehall. I even enjoy some of the rap music my son likes to listen to.

Q27. Did you enjoy school? If yes what subjects?

For the most part, I did. Favorite subject, hands down anything to do with English Langauge Arts; both English and English Literature were favorites of mine.

Q28. Were you ever a girl guide? Nope.

Q29. Do you like fun fairs? Yes, I like fairs. b) Favorite fair food? Cotton Candy.

Q30. Do you prefer wine or cocktails or soft drinks? I like red wine but I prefer a tangy tasting cocktail and if I opt for soda, it’s usually the diet version, like Coke Zero. My favorite drink is water though.

Q31. What would your favorite dinner be if you could pick anything?

Well, since I’m a carnivore I’d have to go with a porterhouse. Next up would be a nice roast chicken complete with stuffing.

Q32. Kiss, Kill, Marry; who gets what?

Kiss – Bruno Mars/ Kill – (I can’t think of anyone I want to see dead)/ Marry – Chris Hemsworth.

Q33. Is there anywhere in the US you’d like to live more than where you are now?

Nope! I love living in New York. I might opt to move around in different parts of New York but I really like it here. My favorite thing about New York is its diversity and inclusivity, all are welcome, everyone has a home here.

Q34. What TV shows do you like?

I like laugh out loud comedies. I’m a big fan of The Big Bang Theory, Black-ish, Modern Family and I always watch The Jeffersons re-runs.

I can also sit and watch endless hours of Law and Order.

Q35. What are your favorite clothes shops?

  1. Lord and Taylor
  2. Desigual
  3. Top Shop
  4. Zara
  5. Express

Q36. Who is your favorite historical man and woman?

Bob Marley and Rosa Parks.

Q37. Do you prefer to fly or drive?

Flying gets you there quicker but considering that I am still waiting around in this damn airport after 7 hours of checking-in for my flight, I am not feeling flying right now. 😟

Q38. Baking is important to me. If I was to bake for you, what cake would you like me to make most?

I’d probably go with anything chocolate, with chocolate fudge and chocolate chips.

20181116_0534371043823758107854812.jpg Me, right now, in the airport trying to get this Blog done.

I’ll just keep going until they call my flight – Up next we have questions from the illustrious Claudette over at https://writerofwordsetc.com

Q39. Favorite Bon Jovi song

The irony here is that my favorite Bon Jovi song wasn’t even done by Bon Jovi, the band, but by Jon Bon Jovi, as a soloist, when he recorded Blaze of Glory for the movie, Young Guns II.

My favorites from the band would be Bad Medicine and I’ll Be There for You.

Q41. Do you have a phobia or aversion to something?

I freak out around creepy, crawly, slithery things. The give me the heebie-jeebies.

Like you, Claudette, I went down the rabbit hole called the Internet and found out that my phobias have names – Ready for this? Entomophobia is the fear of one or more classes of insect while Ophidiophobia describes the abnormal fear of snakes, and herpetophobia relates to the fear of reptiles in general.

I suffer from all three.πŸ˜’

Q40. Did you ever watch the Walking Dead and if yes do you have a favorite season or character? If no, why not?

So I got hip to the Walking Dead when it was already well on the way to becoming one of the most popular shows on television. Me being me tried to get in on the excitement and watched the first couple of episodes of Season One but I wasn’t feeling it. I thought the zombies looked fake and they weren’t scary, not that I like scary, but it just looked like a B-rated 90s Horror film to me. I couldn’t get into it.

Prior from over at https://priorhouse.blog wants to know…

Q41. What would you call your autobiography?

One word – Fierce!

Scherezade Ozwulo of https://edifyingthespiritblog.com wanted to know

Q42. What was the best piece of advice given to you by a loved one or someone you respect, that could be passed onto your child?

My grandmother always said, “Manners will get you everywhere!”

On that note, it’s 3 am and I am about to go board my flight home. This was a great way to pass my time in the airport. I’ll be back with Part 2, next Friday, maybe even sooner.

Thanks for reading!

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Birthday Shenanigans

It was a stabbing pain to the left side of my forehead, my temple throbbed, as I opened my eyes and blinked and tried to focus on my husband, who was standing at the side of our bed with a tray in his hand.

“Wake up…It’s your birthday breakfast, Sweetie.” He said as he smiled and handed me the tray with the plate of bacon and eggs. “It’s your favorite.”

The left side of my head was throbbing unmercilessly. “My head hurts…Noooooo…Not today…Babe…Motrin, now, please.” I rubbed the left side of my forehead as I sat up in bed.

I couldn’t figure out why today of all days, on my birthday, I woke up with a headache. I was not amused as I looked up at the ceiling and issued a warning to the imaginary Gods of the Universe. “Today is my day and you’re not going to screw with it. I will enjoy MY day!”

Damn, I’m Determined

My husband suggested that it might be the “wine from last night” that was causing my headache. My thoughts went back to the night before; we certainly started the birthday celebrations off with a bang. Greg, my husband, took me to see the Donna Summer Musical on Broadway, which was excellent. I was singing and dancing with the rest of the audience, especially with the gay couple who sat directly in front of us and who were having the time of their lives. By the end of the night, one half of the gay couple and I found ourselves in the aisle of the Lunt-Fontanne Theater dancing up a storm to Hot Stuff and Last Dance. Oh, what a fun time it was!

After we left the show we walked the 6 blocks to Gallagher’s Steakhouse, me in my high heels strutting my stuff pretending not to feel the start of the inevitable high heel ache that comes on after a few hours of wearing stilettos. Oh, how I miss my youth! I used to be able to rock those babies all night long; but not anymore. I made a mental note to slip into my sandals as soon as we sat down in the restaurant, but for now, the birthday girl in her birthday outfit needed to keep moving along gracefully in those 5-inch heels. Yes, people, I walked 6 NYC blocks in 5-inch heels! My Mom always said, “Beauty feels no pain.” Someone should have added to that saying “until the next day.”

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The high heel wearing ache was nothing compared to the migraine that was trying to force me to spend my birthday in bed. I wasn’t having it though, I swallowed some Motrin and hopped out of bed and started getting ready for the gym. Greg thought I was crazy. I tried explaining that for the past decade I have been going to the gym on my birthday every year and I wasn’t about to break the tradition. Besides, my gym gave away a free protein shake to everyone on their birthday. I had waited 365 days for my free shake and I was going to get it.

Greg looked at me like I was insane!

“It’s my birthday, Babe. I have to go to the gym. How else am I gonna see my gym buddies so I can get my well-wishes and birthday hugs? Greg just stared at me in disbelief and walked out of the room. He was clearly fighting a losing battle trying to convince me to stay in bed until the headache subsided.

So I donned my birthday button and left for the gym. πŸ˜ƒ

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I have been wearing my button every year for longer than I can remember. It’s so much easier than telling everyone I run into that “today is my birthday.”

By the time I arrived at the gym, the Motrin was taking effect and I was feeling good.

At the start of the Aerobics Step class, the instructor had the class sing “Happy Birthday” to me. I loooooved it!!! It was a scene right out of grade school, the only thing missing were the cupcakes. I couldn’t be happier. The day was headed in the right direction.

As I walked out of the gym sipping on my free protein shake I noticed the morning clouds had cleared, the sky was a gorgeous blue and the temperature was a lovely 75 degrees. Afternoon showers had been predicted but the Universe knew it was my birthday and gave me the best day weather-wise.

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The Crash!

Greg and I had planned lunch and the movies – since going to the movies is one of my favorite pastimes, what better way to spend the afternoon. (Check out my blog piece on the movies here Let’s Go to the Movies!)

As we sat having lunch at the restaurant across the street from the Cinema, I felt the migraine coming back. Truth be told I felt the headache trying to make a comeback while I was getting ready to go out to lunch, but I refused to stay indoors, I refused to take more painkillers and go back to bed. I was fighting the good fight, I wanted to be out and about on my birthday. I tried helplessly to ignore the throbbing pain on the left side of my temple. Then it happened – A cough followed by a sneeze and that’s when I knew I had no more fight left in me.

“Take me home,” I whispered to my husband.

The poor man look worried. He could not believe his ears. No, I did not want to go to the movies anymore. No, I did not want the “birthday” chocolate mousse dessert I was offered by our nice waitress. Yes, I was sure I wanted to go home. Then I sneezed again and I almost cried. I was getting sick…On my goddamn birthday!!!! What kind of cruel joke was this?

I had dinner plans that night with my best friends, another birthday tradition. I couldn’t afford to be sick. When I arrived home I got under the covers swallowed some flu medication and dozed off to Kavanaugh’s voice vehemently denying the allegations levied against him. Yes, my birthday was the most historical day of the Senate Judiciary Hearings.

Never underestimate the power of a nap! I woke up a whole new woman, got dressed and headed out to meet my girls for my birthday dinner. It was a fun evening of great conversation and loads of laugh but I dare not touch a drop of alcohol because I could feel the migraine waiting in the wings to make a nasty comeback.

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The Birthday Party

I am sure it doesn’t come as a surprise that I have a birthday party every year. This year the party was planned for the Saturday night, 2 days after my birthday.

The day after my birthday, that is the eve of my birthday party, I spent most of the day in bed. I was miserable. The day should have been spent delightfully running around doing last minute prepping for my party, which thankfully was a small party, a very intimate affair, this year; but instead, the flu-like symptoms came on full force and I spent the day in bed cursing at the untimely onset of my illness and trying to decide whether or not I should cancel my party.

I was sneezing and coughing and headachy for most of Friday but woke up on Saturday morning, the day of the party, feeling like I could conquer the World (thank you God for Tylenol Flu and Cold tablets). The party was on, and when Greg came home with my birthday cake the party vibe hit me even more.

I spent the better part of Saturday busying myself with party preparations, I thoroughly enjoy doing stuff like that, and was content with hanging balloons and strategically moving around stuff in my house to facilitate my guests until the endless coughing and sneezing came back just 4 hours before my party was supposed to begin. I was livid! What made it worse was every time I coughed or sneezed, the cough or sneeze triggered a ruthless headache that lasted at least 10 minutes.

I even tried to bargain with God, I promised him that if he would keep me in good spirits for the rest of the evening he could make me bed-ridden all of next week. God wasn’t having it though and at 3:30 I had to crawl back into bed even though the party was scheduled to start at 7 pm.

Again, never underestimate the power of a nap. I still wasn’t a hundred percent when I woke up but I took a look at my cake and my dress (one must draw inspiration from wherever one canπŸ˜‰), turned on some Donna Summer music while I was getting ready and willed myself to feel better; and oh yeah took some more of that magical Tylenol Cold and Flu tablets.

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In the end, the party turned out to be a success, I remained “fierce and fabulous” in true Racquel form for the entire night. However, this birthday taught me that I can’t do it like I used to, now I need to take naps in between in order to keep going. πŸ˜ƒ After all, I am a year older; but I won’t give up though, I will never settle into being old, I will never readily concede. I am never ever going down without a fight.

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One love, Racquel!!!!