My Dark Prince


You call to me
In dead of night,
Your innocent lover,
Woman in white.

I feel compelled,
Invite you in,
Feel your power,
Taste your sin.

You gain your entry
Through my eyes.
Command my body,

Hunger flows
Within my vein,
Throbs for you
In sweet refrain.

Your dark desire
Leaves me bare,
A lamb caught in
The lion’s snare.

My heart races,
Draws you near
Hot seduction
And mingled fear.

I close my eyes
In painful bliss.
You pierce my skin
With passion’s kiss.

In honor of Halloween and my return from our short Texas vacation, I wrote this piece… And ode of sorts to the amazingly sexy vampires and the sensual way they fire my imagination. Do you have a favorite creature that gets your juices flowing even though he’s one of those creatures that goes bump in the night? What about him/her seduces you? What is your favorite scary movie to watch on Halloween? Who do you think the sexiest vampire on tv and in movies is? My personal favorite is Alex O’Loughlin as Mick St. John from Moonlight, though Ian Somerhalder is a close second for his work on Vampire Diaries as Damon Salvatore.

Happy Halloween, everyone! I plan on enjoying it with my family. My sister, her hubby and their dog are in town to visit. Yay! Hope we get lots of Trick or Treaters this year. We have lots of candy to give away…and chili cooking in the crock pot for dinner!

Back To Reality

After spending a long weekend with my hubby in Big D for our annual Cowboys vacation, we’re sitting in the lobby, waiting for a friend to meet us for a late lunch, then we head home. Although my team suffered a devastating loss, my wonderful friend, Ronni Sokol and her travel company Maximum Sports did a wonderful job of hosting the event and making it a wonderfully unique experience.

There were more than 700 people with the travel group on this trip, and many of them from the middle to northern east coast. They were directly impacted by hurricane Sandy, causing their flights to be cancelled and their stays to be extended. My wonderful friend and her team did some quick leg work to help those stranded to get placed in hotels at discounted rates and also found a way for them to be included in the filming of “Inside The Huddle”, a weekly show recorded in Dallas at The House Of Blues. She and her team really
went the extra mile to ensure that they were well taken care of during their time of need.

This is just one more reason why I will always be a loyal supporter of Maximum Sports and Ronni in particular.

Erotic Vampire Vignettes

Hey Everyone! I’ll be traveling today but before I head out I’m going to do something I’ve never done on this blog before. I’d like to introduce you to a fantastic series of vignettes called Night Sighs by my wonderful friend from Ireland, Emma Meade.

What’s a mortal girl to do if her boyfriend is rakishly handsome, determinedly immature with amazing sex appeal? Simple, right? But what if he’s also this generation’s most popular rock star and a vampire? Not so easy if you’re human…and recovering from the loss of your last boyfriend. So begins the story of Alex and her sexy vampire lover, Tristan.

Emma Meade, through a series of five short stories weaves the tale of the immortal Tristan and Alex, the lovely woman with whom he’s fallen in love. Tristan is used to getting what he wants…and why not? He’s a talented rock star with the typical celebrity’s propencity for narcissism and immaturity. Alex is a woman  who met Tristan after losing her last fiance to death. Life has given her no choice but to grow up. She loves Tristan… but does she love him enough to take the final step in the journey and join him for all eternity? Good question.  Would you?

I really enjoyed these 5 sexy little interlocking stories that gave us glimpses into the lives of Alex and Tristan. Though immature, there’s something sweet and raw and loveable about our hero. In fact, I believe by making him less than perfect, he became more charming. And he really loves his woman. Alex, the heroine, was no wilting flower. She was strong, with a mind of her own and willing to fight for the things she wants in life…once she decides what that is.

Ms Meade has a passion for the supernatural, and it shines through in her writing. In these vignettes you will find a lovely balance of sex (of course there’s got to be sex…he’s a vampire! If Damon Salvatore from Vampire Diaries decided he wanted me…even if I wasn’t sure if I wanted forever with him, I wouldn’t turn down a romp in the sack!), action, romance and sweet.

If you’re in the mood to bite into something fun and playful, I recommend you check out Night Sighs. These little stories are sexy fun and are only $.99 through Amazon for Kindle. Pick it up today! If you don’t believe me, why don’t you check out this exerpt from one of the vignettes, The Dead Beats,…see if that doesn’t convince you.



Dawn rose, blazing hot. Standing by the attic window her skin looked pink and luminous. Heat and light were promised on her lips as the last shadows fell, leaving her naked and in full control. The London street outside was still quiet, its squalid alleyways no longer hidden under night’s friendly mask. Daylight was not everyone’s friend.






“She left me that morning,” Tristan spoke to his avid audience. “Crept out into the light, knowing I couldn’t follow. Saving herself and me is how she put it. Because the night was too dark for her…”

A roar rose up from the 50,000 strong crowd in the rural landscape miles outside London. Tristan stepped back from the microphone and lowered his head. His long black mane had been cut into jagged spikes. Silver crosses hung from his ears and on a chain around his neck, gleaming brightly against his black t-shirt and dark ripped jeans. A glance behind at his band told him they were good to go.


The moon illuminated the five vampires on the roofless stage, spotlighting Tristan as the opening bars on the piano sounded. His fans screamed again. Some were crying, others fainting, many more were as high as the grey clouds overhead.


Because the Night was a favourite cover the band liked to perform. Another haunting note on the piano followed and then the first strum of Tristan’s guitar. His thumb scraping well used strings was met with the wild screams of teenage girls. He satisfied them with a few more twangs.


And then. Silence. The band stopped. The crowd was unsure, excited and dizzy with anticipation.


Tristan lifted his head and stared straight ahead. The cameras focused on him for a close up and his face appeared on the dozens of temporarily erected screens throughout the park. He blinked, deliberately, emphasising his sad, wicked eyes all the more. Several young women dropped to the grassy ground. And then he sang.


The screams were deafening yet Tristan’s gruff, melodic voice rose over their noise as he spoke of the night belonging to lovers. His mouth touched the mic as he sang, loud, strong and clear. Those closest to the stage broke out in goosebumps. The sweetness of the piano seeped into their pores and they were more aware and more alive than ever. Tristan knew what they were feeling; he shared it with them every night on tour. Haunted. He, the band and the fans were held together amidst something beautiful but fleeting, an intermingling of love with the divine. The band had been both Tristan’s salvation and damnation. For every night through the music he felt so much, too much for one being to stay sane. The loyal crowd shared his burden.


The audience sang along with him, their shouts mixing with the sultry tones that slid so seductively off his tongue and into the hearts of every woman listening to him, and some men too.


His music embodied him entirely; it was moody, sorrowful, artistic, compelling and ultimately self-destructive. And this song captured the beauty of his pain perfectly.


Tristan strolled across the stage, one bare foot stamping down hard in front of the other, feeling the wood beneath his feet and the splinters drawing blood. He moved gracefully but there was a predatory sway that always ensured the enthrallment of his spectators. He knelt on one leg and sang to a group of young girls in the first row. All four friends were weeping, screaming and laughing, and begging him to take them up on the makeshift stage.


He winked at them and returned to centre stage, grinning at his bandmates. The red and yellow lights beat hotly against his forehead and his pale visage became ivory and near transparent. Like a ghost. He played his guitar heavily in time with the drum beats and almost drowned out the soft romance of the piano.


The elation of the audience was building as the notes rose higher, rushing towards a crescendo that was not unlike sex. His voice, always husky deepened to an overt show of masculinity.


No one his age should possess a voice like that, Tristan recalled one New York music journalist writing. He smiled in amusement.


His voice portraying carnal hunger drifted to the furthest corners of the gathering.


She was at the rear of the crowd, standing close to a fifteen foot screen mounted next to a great oak. It wasn’t his true face she was looking at now but that was enough to swell her heart and tug the memories loose. Tristan was separated from her by thousands of crazed fans. Distance didn’t seem to matter. Alex was as enthralled and on fire as the girls she could see screaming in front of her. They all wanted him and knew nothing. Those big brown eyes filled the screen until some of his hair came free of its gelled spikes and fell across his eyelashes. Tristan blew it out of his vision and carried on singing.


Two years had passed since they had last set eyes on one another but it may as well have been two minutes. Nothing had changed, not his luminous vitality or her longing to be with him. She thought that he may still love her, definitely thought of her but also possibly despised her now. Alex shivered as she listened to him. A rock star, she thought with faint amusement.


Tristan had spent years hiding from the human world and now he was one of its most famous players. The Dead Beats finished their opening number to a storm of yelling, whistling and clapping.


Alex didn’t move. What was she doing here? Why this concert and why now? Time had moved painfully slowly since she had left Tristan but some old semblance of herself had returned and the days and the nights held beauty again, and loneliness.


Without conscious thought, her legs moved of their own accord and Alex found herself walking forward through the throngs. Eyes fixed on the dot that was the stage, she was wholly unaware of the nasty comments and the irritated looks on the faces of the girls she swept past. Her progress was gradual but effective. One song melded into another and then another as she approached the front few lines of dedicated groupies, and then finally she was at the foot of the stage.


Alex shut her eyes to truly hear him, and it was his real voice now that floated over her, not an imitation that blew through the loudspeakers across the park. Soft, sensual, erotic and deadly. Cobain, Morrison and now Tristan. A long line of powerful, doomed rock stars, too big to exist comfortably in a repressive world. Would Tristan fall to the same fate? She feared he was drawing too much attention to himself and that many in his secret society were already displeased. Then stop him Alex, her inner voice urged and she opened her eyes.


He had moved on to singing Secret Garden. He always did love Springsteen, she thought wryly, remembering how he would pop on a record many a time after sex. Raw, passionate and oozing sex appeal, Tristan was all these things and more. Up on that stage now, he even sounded more than a little like the Boss. Alex listened to the words. Was he singing about her?


Tristan was on the far side aiming his words directly at a particular young girl, perhaps only a teenager. Alex’s lips curled up in a smirk. Some things never changed. And then he was glancing across the crowd, and then at the front row. Alex’s breath stopped and she clutched her locket as a reflex.


At that moment he saw her and stared. His lips no longer moved and the crowd filled in the words instead. Alex met his shocked gaze and offered him a shrug to let him know she was as confused as him. He recovered himself and completed the song. A moment later Tristan announced a short break and disappeared back stage.


Lively chatter ascended from the concert goers and Alex slipped away to the sidelines, walking numbly through empty space away from the lights and friendly noise. Shadows enveloped her, removing her from the view of the crowd.


She felt his presence behind her but didn’t move, preparing herself for his questions. Finally Alex turned to face him.


“Tristan I- ”


He flew at her bird-like and she hit the soft ground silently. Falling over her, Tristan clamped a hand over her mouth.


Getting the Flock Outa Here!

Today is a mad rush of final cleanings and packing as I prepare to head to Dallas to feed my love affair with the Dallas Cowboys. As a few of you may remember, my passion for the Cowboys started when I moved back into the country from the Philippines after living abroad most of my young life.  So at 10 years old, the first thing about football I remember was watching Tony Dorsett break for that 99 yard run…and I was in love!

A few years ago, my boyfriend (hubby, now) booked us a trip through Maximum Sports to see our Cowboys play.  (Thank Goodness he’s a Cowboys fan, too…or there may have been problems). On that trip we got the opportunity to see the Cowboys play the Houston Texans (we won!) as well as meet Jason Witten, Tony Romo (2 weeks before he became the starter) and Chris Canty (his rookie year…before he became one of the hated Giants). After we booked our trip, the only thing we had to worry about was the occassional lunch and sometimes, drinks.  This cemented us as permanent customers of Maximum Sports. The icing on the cake is that the owner of the company, Ronni Sokol, is a fantastic person and a huge advocate for breast cancer awareness…she’s also a survivor.  I’m lucky enough to call this wonderful woman my personal friend.

Since meeting her, I’ve gotten the opportunity to shake Emmitt Smith’s hand at the luncheon following his induction into the Hall Of Fame, not to mention watch him get the honor he so richly deserved. We’ve also gotten to hang out with some of our favorite Cowboys in the Bahamas!  How many people can say they get a chance to do that?

In fact, this is a picture of my favorite nose tackle, Jay Ratliff, wearing a children’s play helmet at the dinner in the Bahamas the night before we left.  He’s one of my all time favorite people…and players!

And here’s a picture of me with Bill Bates, holding one of his 3 Superbowl rings! Pretty cool, right? And he’s a really nice guy.

But my all time favorite guy is probably Everson Walls. For those of you who don’t know who he is…this wonderfully generous man actually donated a kidney for his former teammate when diabetes took it’s toll and began to slowly kill him.  Later he co-wrote a book about his experience called A Gift For Ron. Since I heard he will be at the tailgate party, I’ll be buying the book and plan on getting him to autograph it.  I’m telling you, he and his wife are such wonderful human beings…I was glad to get the opportunity to get to know them in such a different venue.  Here’s a picture of me & hubby with both Everson and Bill, along with Kenny “The Shark” Gant.

Can you guys tell I’m excited?  Outside of writing…what are you passionate about? What kinds of celebrities would you like to meet or spend time with? Which celebrities have moved you? Have you met any?  If so, who? I love to hear about this stuff…

As you can tell, hubby and I are well matched.  And if none of those apply…or even if they do…what travelling songs do you enjoy?  Here’s what I’m leaving you with…Ha!  You had to KNOW I’d be leaving some music.

When in Dallas…. 😉

Oh yeah… (Michael Clark Duncan will be missed)


Evolution From Sister To Friend

Those of you who’ve been reading me for a while have heard me talk about my sister and how she helped to inspire me to chase my writing dreams.  She’s the one who wondered why I wasn’t writing in the first place.  She’s the one who got my membership to the Florida Writer’s Association…to encourage me and to push me to follow my dreams. (Oh, and she was also the one who saved us from that evil frog in the toilet)

Well, in about a week, she and her husband, along with her furbaby will be down for a visit.  I’m excited!  I love to spend time with my sister. We do all those girly things…shop, get our nails done, read by the pool. We also spend a fair amount of time singing together. We’ve been doing it our whole lives.  Where I’m the writer in the family, she’s the musician.  In fact, not only was she my maid of honor, she also sang in my wedding.

But there was a time…a long, long time ago…where she was my annoying kid sister.  She came along when I was two.  My mom says we were inseperable. In fact, I was her translator. She’d say “Oh Dear!” and I was the one who would tell my mom that she wanted “orange joice”.  Yeah…still not sure how those two translated, but apparently I had kid-sister-speak down!

And we used to move around a lot (being military brats it was a given), so there were times where all we had was each other.  Until my brother came along two years later, then my other brother, two years after that.  Oddly enough, the only two children born in the same country was me and our youngest brother.  We were both born in the Philippines.  My sister was born in California, then we moved to Germany, where my other brother was born.

It was in Germany that we first played with snow and built the biggest snowman ever! In fact, this is my sister and I with the our parents and the snow man.  My mom would be pregnant with my brother in a month or so… That nose kept falling off, so my dad had to break off a giant icicle later to make his nose.

It was also in Germany where my mom taught us all about the joys of baking.  We’d hit the forest preserve behind our house and go berry picking, then make fresh berry pies. Or sometimes it would be breads. This was also when we were very young and didn’t understand sibling rivalry.  Here’s a pic of us with our brother shortly before we left Germany to head back to the Philippines.

Life in Germany was fun.  We’d got to France sometimes on the weekends… and other times we’d chill at home.  It was then that we learned that our English vocabulary was a bit extensive for our age.  We’d been on a walk with a bunch of kids from church along with some of their parents.  As kids are prone to do, we were running instead of walking.  Well, there was giant horse turd in the middle of the road….and the conversation went something like this (I was 4 or 5 at the time):

Me: Uncle Dennis, Uncle Dennis!
Uncle Dennis: What?
Me: I just jumped over a giant pile of feces!
Uncle Dennis: You WHAT?
Me: I just jumped over a giant pile of feces!
Uncle Dennis: Oh! What do you say when you have to pee?
Me: Pee? Oh! You mean urinate?

Upon arriving back at the house:

Uncle Dennis: Josie, what the heck are you teaching your kids?
Mom: What?
Uncle Dennis: Feces? Urinate?
Mom: I don’t understand…
Uncle Dennis: Your daughter jumped over some poop and called it feces.
Mom: What’s poop?
Uncle Dennis: You know, crap, dung…POOP!
Me: Mom, he’s talking about feces.
Uncle Dennis: Who talks like that?
Pastor’s Wife (laughing): I remember when I was young we just called it #1 and #2!

And that was just the beginning.  You see, my mom was born and raised in the Philippines, so her knowledge of the English language was very technical and all from school.  She had no idea about slang, so she taught us English the way she learned it.  Our next tour was back in the Philippines.  This is where the closer than close relationship my sister and I had began to evolve.  She was very unhappy when I started going to school because it meant I wasn’t there with her anymore.  It didn’t help that people at church would tease her by telling her they were taking me away with them.  She would cry…until we told her they were just teasing.

It was also at this time when I gave her “the haircut”. Oh, yeah…  Mom really was NOT happy with me for that one.  In third world countries during this time, lice was not uncommon.  Not only did you learn in school what they looked like, you learned how to search for them.  What did I do to my trusting little sister with that knowledge?  Well…before I continue I plead “the devil made me do it”. I was playing with her hair one day when I got this brilliant idea.  Looking down into her hair, knowing how trusting she was, I thought I’d play a practical joke (I was about 8).  The tsking sounds started to come.  Lil sis got steadily more concerned until she couldn’t hold it in anymore…

Sis: What? What’s wrong?
Devil Me: Nothing  ::sigh::
Sis: Something’s wrong. Tell me!
Devil Me: You have lice.
Sis: (wailing) Oh no!  Get it out! Get it out!
Devil Me: I don’t know….
Sis: Please!
Devil Me: Ok, wait here.  I’ll get the scissors.
Sis: Thanks!
I proceeded to hack a big chunk of hair right out of the center of her head…about as close to the scalp as you can get.  Needless to say, mom was furious.  It didn’t matter to her that I’d gained my sister’s consent first.  I got my butt paddled.  Poor sis had to wear all sorts of funky hairdo’s with barettes, trying to pull hair over to cover the near bald spot I gave her.

Here is one of the last pictures taken with all four of us back in the Philippines.  I’d just finished doing a native Filipino dance for one of the school performances, so I’m dressed in local Filipino attire along with the coconut husks they use in the dance. Sis’s hair had grown back…thank goodness!

Our relationship changed again when I was about 15 years old. My sister had started dating for the first time.  In fact, she was dating my boyfriend’s best friend.  This was their first time alone together and I knew that this would probably be her first kiss.

Me: So? How did it go?
Sis: (sour face) Ok. He doesn’t know how to kiss though.
Me: What do you mean he doesn’t know how to kiss? Wasn’t this your first kiss?
Sis: Yeah.
Me: So how would you know?
Sis: Because when he kissed me he stuck his tongue in my mouth then left it there like a dead fish!
Me: (laughing hysterically) Like a dead fish? He just stuck it there and left it? Eww!
Sis: Yeah! Even I know that’s not how French kissing goes.  I’ve seen you do it often enough….
Me: Hey! I am so not looking forward to telling his best friend about this…
Sis walks away laughing…

And so the relationship began to evolve back towards friendship. Sisters are great! We laugh with each other, we cry with each other.  We push each other to reach for our dreams.  And we have each other’s backs…even when the enemy is mom.  LOL!  I will say this about the next story. Being a parent takes intestinal fortitude. Being a single parent is even harder because there’s no one to share the burden with….so understand her craziness came from fear…for me repeating her mistakes, for my life to be over before it began…I get it…but it still doesn’t change the fact that I was falsely accused.  😉

Mom: (waving a foil packet with pills in it in my face and screaming) You’re on birth control? You’re having sex? I haven’t given you permission to go on birth control!
Me: What are you talking about? I’m not on birth control. I haven’t had sex!
Mom: Then what’s this? (waves packet in my face again) Don’t lie to me! I know you’re on birth control. I’m not stupid!
Mom: No? Well then whose are these? You’re on birth control.  Do you want to end up making the same mistakes I did?
Me: (yeah, a bit of a smartass) If I wanted to make the same mistakes you did, would I be on birth control?
Mom: See? I KNEW it!
Me: MOM! I swear, I’m not on birth control!
Mom: Then what’s this?
Sis: (coming from the bedroom) What is all the screaming about?
Mom: Your sister is having sex! See? (she waves packet in sis’s face) She’s on birth control!
Sis: (grabs packet from Mom’s hand) This?
Mom: Yes!
Sis: Mom! These are my cleaning enzymes for my contacts. Did you READ the label?
Mom: Oh!
Sis: Yeah. Oh!
Me: See? I told you I’m not on birth control!

I’m thankful every day for my sister.  She’s become my best friend over the years… The above song is actually a song we’ve been known to sing together. In fact, a friend recorded us singing the song together the day we were preparing for my wedding.  Maybe I’ll see if I can dig it up and put it on here for ya’ll to hear if I can find it again…. That is, if anyone is interested.

So tell me…who has been the rock in your life? The one constant…to see you through the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows? Who pushes you out of your comfort zone and challenges you to be better than you are today? Do you have siblings? Any funny or silly stories to share?  I’d love to hear them!

En Musica, Mea

There’s a beauty
in lyrics
that wraps around
my soul,
Soothes away hurts,
Calms raging demons.

Music is
my time machine;
transports me
to my past.
Just a note,
a chord,
a gentle refrain.

When words can’t
to grieve,
give comfort,
to reach out a hand…
a melody
can say them
so much more adequately.

Music is my
my comfort,
my joy.
The harmony in my heart
that lives on
long after
I am gone.

The title is Latin…translating to “In Music, Me”. As many of you know, music is a driving passion for me. It enriches and brings joy to my life. I don’t have the heart to pursue music professionally…for constant practice to attain perfection in this venue kills some of the joy for me. Instead, it is simply a part of my soul that I love to share.

For some people, a certain smell will transport them in time…or maybe something they saw, or something someone says. Maybe a phrase or an expression. For me, it’s always been music. There aren’t many situations, expressions, or experiences that I can’t find lyrics to fit. So here’s my challenge. I’m in a playful mood today…and feeling the need to share music. Why don’t you help me indulge it? You tell me a little bit about your mood or a situation, maybe a memory or whatever…and let’s see if I can’t find a song to match it… Please help soothe my inner musical beast and play along…

In the meantime, here’s a song that expresses how music is my time machine…

Help Save A Life

The shrill scream of the siren tore through the air while red white lights flashed…filling that sunny afternoon with an eerie dread.  My fingers were knotted together so tightly that my hands were hurting and my knuckles had turned white.  Still, I could not pull them away any more than I could stop the silent prayer that was echoing in my head.

“No, no , no, no, no! Please God, let him be ok. Please God, let him be ok. Please God, let him be ok.”

Hot tears streamed down my cheeks, not that I could feel it. The grainy coarseness of the sidewalk was a huge improvement from the hard gravel that had cut at my bare feet as I ran down the block, rushing to be where I stood now. I didn’t feel that, either. My attention was focused on the little 10 year old boy laying in the middle of the road, his bicycle crunched up in a heap, five feet from where the three men in blue polyester uniforms worked on him.

Intellectually, I knew I wasn’t the only person there.  A lady had come out from her house on that corner.  She’d seen it happen from her kitchen window.  Two other young boys were standing near me.  I think they were talking to me, but I couldn’t really hear them.

A nearly inhuman wail broke through the eerie blanket of litanous prayer I’d covered myself with.  Looking over, I saw my younger sister had arrived. Her entire body shook as she cried and wailed and did the things I was too afraid to do.  Somehow, in my mind, I thought…”if I don’t focus, if I let go, what then? I’m the oldest. They’re counting on me.”

My friend, Judy, was standing by my sister as I took her in my arms. “What happened?” she asked, “What happened to Jonathan?”

Pointing to the vehicle pulled to the side of the road I said, “He was hit by that minivan when he and the two Michaels went to cross the street to Michael B’s house.”

One of the men from the ambulance walked in our direction as the others moved my brother onto the immobilizing board before shifting him to the stretcher.

“Are any of you family?” he asked, looking at our little group.

“We are,” I said, still holding my younger sister in my arms.

“Where’s your parents?”

“My mom is at work at the local hospital. You should take him there.  My dad lives in the Philippines.”

“He needs more help than they can give there,” he said, eyes sympathetic. “We’ll be taking him to Loyola. Would one of you like to come along to the hospital? They’ll need information.”

I looked at my sister, prepared to send her so that I could call my mom and give her the details. She was hysterical. She would be of no help to them…and she was shaking her head vehemently, not wanting to get into the ambulance.

“Go ahead,” my friend Judy, said. “Mom and I will take care of your sister and call your mom.”

I nodded my head…suddenly feeling much older than my 15 years. Looking down at my feet, I tried to take a deep calming breath. It didn’t help.

“I don’t have any shoes on,” I mumbled.

“Here,” Judy said, “Take mine.”

And with that, I walked toward the longest ride of my life. No, not physically.  But mentally. Emotionally.

Why am I bringing up this 20+ year old memory? Because yesterday, on my way home from a quick run to the grocery store I saw an ambulance flashing it’s lights driving in the opposite direction. As I’m prone to do when I see those things, I pray for whoever is in that ambulance. But what really struck me was that the ambulance was headed to a big intersection and there were several cars in front of it. I heard them flip on the siren, so I looked in my rearview again. Those cars had NOT moved out of the way. In fact, it wasn’t until the ambulance was several feet behind the car in his lane that the person decided it would be prudent to move.

Things like this frustrate and make me angry because time can make a difference when talking about saving lives. The sooner the proper medical staff can work on a patient with the proper tools and in the proper environment, the better their chances. That person is somebody’s family member. How would you feel if it had been yours? Would you take your time? What if those couple minutes made the difference between life and death? How would you feel then?

As I continued my drive home, I noticed fire trucks and police cars, all with their lights flashing, on one of the side streets a couple blocks from mine. I couldn’t be sure if something had happened in someone’s home or if it was a car accident.  Either way, those people got a prayer.

In the end, my brother didn’t make it. He was brain dead on impact when his body hit the road. But while I sat in the passenger seat of that ambulance, staring out into the rush hour traffic of Chicago I was thankful for some of the people in our lives…and for these quick moving, quick thinking paramedics and emt’s who did everything they could to try to save him. I was also thankful for the brotherhood of firefighters and police officers. You see, one of the Michaels that was with my brother was the son of a local fire fighter. He was known all over the area for his work as an activist for Veterans and POW/MIA from Vietnam (the war he fought in). When he heard what happened, he put a blanket call out asking for help to clear the way for us. They responded…blocking off as much traffic and clearing the way for us as best as they could.

That day was devastating, but it was made easier by people along the way….sometimes friends, but sometimes strangers. So when you see an emergency vehicle coming and their lights are flashing, please…move over and let them through.  You never know when the life they may be trying to save belongs to someone close to you.

Sharing Dreams, Playing Together

When we got engaged, I became like most women.  I started looking at bridal magazines.  I bought a bridal book/organizer. I tuned in to those wedding related shows you can now find on tv.  What shows? My Fair Wedding, Say Yes To The Dress, Platinum Weddings and Amazing Wedding Cakes. This meant I started tuning in to channels I’d never watched before.  I drove hubby crazy.

Then one day I found Cake Boss. This show wasn’t strictly about wedding cakes.  It was about all sorts of cakes and an Italian family who owned a bakery. The star is a guy named Buddy. Why am I telling you all this? Because while I was watching an episode, my guy happened to pop his head into the room.  He became just as enthralled as I was. How could he not, when Buddy’s catch phrase is “I’m Buddy, and I’m the boss!”…which allows any guy to change the name and claim the role…LOL! Coming from an Italian family, he could relate…and the cakes were cool! It became a regular part of our dvr list. We watched it together.

I didn’t think much of it until after our wedding. I guess hubby had been so interested that he’d started going online and looking up cake decorating. He found out that Michaels, the craft store, taught cake decorating classes for a reasonable price! It was usually a 4-5 week course for a couple hours a week.  He asked me if I’d like to sign up for classes together. I thought it was kind of romantic! I mean, seriously…  It was a guaranteed date night…and fun!  So we signed up.  As it turned out, he had talent!  Check out his cakes from our first set of cake decorating classes.

This was his first cake.  They call it the rainbow cake.  You learn how to make buttercream icing, to color your icing, and to use your basic cake tips…specifically, the star tip.

Next is the “clown cake” where you learn how to create 3d characters with buttercream icing…and how to do shell designs.

Graduation cake was the where we made the “Wilton Rose”.  Wilton is the name of the company who teaches the cake classes held at Michaels.  This was the only class where hubby was a little frustrated.  It turned out that THIS was the one part I did better than him.  I had a better hand/eye for the roses…. The above is his cake.  The below is mine.  Feel free to weigh in if you like…;-)

After graduating from Wilton’s first class, we found out they had a “Wilton Cakes 2” class.  This was where you learned how to make more complicated cakes and to make “Royal” icing & gumpaste flowers.  This is the stuff they use to make the harder edible flowers, etc for those cakes that you see at the grocery store.  For these cakes I worked more as his assistant instead of making my own cakes.  At this point there was no question who was more talented with the decorating.  Him.

For this one, most of the classes were spent creating all the flowers and decor you see on this cake.  The actual basketweave cake was done on the last day of class…along with placement of everything we made. Everything on this cake was edible.

Wilton 3 & 4 brought us to fondant, gumpaste and tiered cakes.  Let me show you what he created…

I thought this cake was awesome…and he did a pretty great job with the draping around the cake. In case you didn’t know…it’s not an easy thing to do.

Check out this fondant Christmas present cake.  He even quilted it around the edges and added candied pearls for effect.  🙂

Between all these cakes, we also took a one day only “castle cake class”. It happened to fall around Halloween…so we did a Haunted Castle Cake…complete with cobblestone walk up made of snickers bars, dirt along the sides with worms crawling out…

That one was fun… By the way, the turrets?  Made with Ice cream cones.  🙂 We had so much fun doing these classes together. What kinds of things outside of the home do you enjoy doing with your significant other?  Do you have any shared hobbies?  Do you feel that it’s strengthened your relationship?

Anyway, those classes were years ago…but somehow word got out with our family about his talent.  So, when our nephew, his godson, was getting ready to turn three, Uncle got a call.  We were going to be heading back home to Chicago for a visit and to help celebrate his birthday…(he shares it with hubby’s sister, then a couple weeks later is hubby and mother-in-law’s birthday). Apparently, our adorable nephew was having a themed birthday…and he loved Thomas The Train.  He wanted his uncle to make his birthday cake.  Hubby was nervous because he didn’t want to wreck a 3 year old’s birthday, but I could’ve told him he had nothing to worry about.  Here’s nephew admiring Uncle’s finished product…

He was enthralled!  There is no question who the favorite uncle is.  LOL!  By the way, if you have young children who are Thomas fans, this one isn’t very hard or very expensive if you’ve ever done anything cake related.

Since then, hubby’s gotten into all sorts of things…he’s made his own barbecue sauces from scratch, he’s made a cherry chipotle marinade for chicken…and lately he’s been experimenting with a pressure cooker.  But I still think he makes kickass desserts.  Take a look at some of these!

Chocolate pecan pie…Yum! It’s a new family favorite, requested on holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving.


Pumpkin swirl cheesecake…with Ghiardelli chocolate.

His first couple cupcake attempts…chocolate mint on the left, peach on the right (and they’re filled…one with chocolate ganache, the other with peach cream)

And last, but certainly not least…these three.  The back right is key lime, the front is chocolate peanut butter, the third is chocolate malt ball…and yes, they’re all filled.

So, what started out as a fun little wedding interest turned into a passion for him.  Thank goodness he doesn’t only do sweets or I’d be a house…LOL!  The reality is, though, by indulging me in my wedding show watching, he found a passion for himself.  And I help…  Just call me his sous chef. At least when I’m holed up writing in my “cave” (really it’s an office), I know I won’t starve…  He’ll make sure of it.  How does your significant other take care of you?

One day, I’ll be able to repay him for enabling me to pursue my dreams by being able to support him while he chases his…maybe all the way to culinary school.

Is Women’s Lib Killing Our Alpha Males?

At the risk of offending some people, I’m going to be candid. Maybe it’s because of a post I read last month from Once A Month 4 Ladies or maybe it’s the election or maybe it’s a memory of an old friend, but people’s perceptions on feminism lately have been driving me nuts.

First I’ll tell you what I do believe:

  • Women deserve to have the right to vote (you may say duh, but that’s actually a fairly recent right!)
  • Women of equal experience and education as men deserve to be paid at the same salary
  • Women should be able to try out for any type of sport, and if they’re talented, deserve equal consideration as their male counterparts

I may have forgot a thing or two in my list, but I think you get the general gist. And then there are the extremists when it comes to women’s lib. They kind of ruin it for everyone because they send mixed messages to the male gender. Earlier I mentioned a friend. My friend and I were out with a bunch of people one day (mind you, we were in high school). We’d just arrived at the restaurant when one of the guys from our group walked ahead of us and opened the door for us. I said thank you. She snapped at him, telling him she wasn’t weak and she could get the door for herself. Confused, I pulled her aside. She explained to me that she wanted to be “treated like an equal” and not some “weaker sex”.

I was completely floored! Never in my wildest dreams did I think that “women’s lib” had made it all the way into the dating scene. Maybe it’s old fashioned of me, but I don’t think it has any business in the dating scene. I’m not a “go Dutch” kind of girl. I like when a guy opens the door for me or pulls a chair out for me. I don’t see that as him treating me as a member of a “weaker sex”. I see it as the man I’m with paying his respects…and in some very old school, old world way…maybe paying homage to the beauty of womankind in general.

And yet these days men walk on egg shells, unsure of what’s expected of them. We women bitch and bemoan the loss of the “alpha male” and that men “don’t treat us right” when they don’t take charge or he pauses at the end of the night, unsure if he should be paying for the whole tab or part of it. Who do we have to blame for this? Ourselves!

You want an alpha male? Stop trying to neuter him! When he opens a door, say thank you and smile! When he holds out your chair for you, find a way to let him know it’s meant something and that you appreciate the effort. And no, for my dirty birdie friends out there, I don’t mean crawl under the table and “show him gratitude”…well, unless you want to. (hehehe!) I mean maybe touch his arm or make eye contact and give him that special smile that lets him know you really appreciate the gesture. And for goodness sake, ladies…don’t go on a dutch treat date unless you got suckered into one.  Usually that’s the beginning of something not so special…”if you know what I mean”. 😉

What about you ladies?  Gentlemen?  Care to weigh in on this topic?  How do you feel about women’s lib?  Am I the only one who thinks it’s gone too far when it’s pushed it’s way into the dating scene? Are there other places where it’s crept in and done more harm than good? Inquiring minds wanna know!

I enjoy the mystique that women posess. I like being treated like something special. I thrive on being flirted with and doted on….and I don’t think that should be out of date or old fashioned. I also like those alpha men who enjoy taking charge but respect the fact that women have minds of their own and are able to think for themselves and fight their own battles (but offer to always be there for back up if needed).

Thank You For Inspiring Me

The 16th of this month marked my 2 two month anniversary with WordPress. I’ve blogged elsewhere before (Livejournal, Blogger), but I’ve never been a part of such a welcoming community as I have since joining here.  Truly, I’ve enjoyed the diversity of people I’ve been following.

I’d like to give special shout outs to people who have really gone out of their way to include and encourage me.

Mae Clair has been wonderful. I stumbled on her purely by accident when she was talking about writing in general and her passion for it in particular. This month her book was published and she’s been busy “blog touring”. I’m so happy for her and the success she’s finding. It couldn’t happen to a nicer lady!

It was through Mae that Sheri DeGrom and I were introduced to one another. With her passion for books and her amazing reviews, not to mention her unique perspectives on things, I became a big fan. Any author should be flattered if Sheri takes the time to write a review on them. She really knows how to intrigue and attract readers. Not only does she write fabulous reviews, but her advocacy for Veterans is heart warming.

Then there’s LJ Kentowski. She recently moved her blog over to the dark side…;-) She was introduced to me when Mae reached out and asked if I’d heard of Triberr. We’ve been fast friends…and sisters of the dirty mind. If you haven’t met her, or you lost track of her with her blog move, you should check her out. She’s warm and friendly, with a sideways sense of humor.  LOL!

When it comes to TV shows, Girl Crushes and music interests, I feel like I found a soul sister in Emma Meade. Then I found out she has a racy side.  Definitely a sister of the heart. Next week I’ll be featuring her “naughty side”. She’s one cool chick! Check her out.

Phil Lanoue and his photography has an amazing way of telling a story through pictures…and really showcasing the beauty of nature. He’s also a very nice guy who always welcomes new people and comments. He always takes the time to respond.

Since then I’ve made some really awesome new friend along the way… Some really cool poets like “V” and “Ye Pirate Gunn” and some inspirational people like Katie who boldly blogs about her weight loss journey with fun and humor.

Anyway, these last two months have been awesome, so I just wanted to thank everyone…for welcoming me and for the encouragement. Hopefully I’ll be able to return the favor and pay it forward. I’m also always looking for new, interesting blogs…so if there is someone you think I should be following…share! I’d love to see who inspires you…to write, to laugh, to get healthy…whatever! Let me know who they are and why they inspire you.  Thanks again for the warm welcome!