What A Trip (And a Tease)!

I took my first real vacation in a couple of years this last week. The hubby and I flew out to Arizona to visit my in-laws, but not until after I finished the first draft on my first full sized book. (YAY!)

As a military brat I’ve been on many flights– some fun (me on a plane with an entire college football team just after I’d become legal–and they were flirting), some boring (standard flight with no excitement or turbulence), some a tad bit crazy (the guy who stunk of pot and B.O. and told me he spoke a rare language from a country most people didn’t know which turned out to be Danish/Denmark, then proceeded to tell me that the Philippines would rule the world someday when he found out I spoke Tagalog)….but nothing like the flight my heroine took when she moved to Nashville. (I’ll share what I mean in a moment.)

Our flight to Arizona would’ve been fairly uneventful except that on the layover flight from Atlanta to Tucson, I wound up sitting beside a man with a horrible case of silent but violent gas. Hubby was stuck behind him. It was bad.

The flight home couldn’t have been worse, right? Wrong. From Tucson to Atlanta I was trapped between a French dude who was polite, but didn’t speak much English, and a Russian lady who was still breastfeeding her adorable toddler and didn’t have much by way of courtesy. When I tried to get to my seat, instead of getting up with her child so I didn’t have to worry about smacking someone in the face with my backpack, she just slid her legs to the side–mind you, she had an aisle seat. Fortunately, the Frenchman was kind enough to offer to take my bag so I wouldn’t hit anyone and I squeezed my way in.

Throughout the flight, the child was a trooper, but her mom didn’t pay attention or try to preserve my personal space as the little girl stretched and kicked. The whole shoving her little one under her shirt every few minutes didn’t really phase me because I figured it was her way to try to keep the child soothed and occupied so she wouldn’t get cranky.

Once we reached Atlanta we stopped at Bobby Flay’s cheeseburger place where I promptly had my glass full of Coke Zero shatter, dousing me completely (pants and top) in soda. Ugh. Do you know how uncomfortable it is to walk through an airport all wet and stained? It couldn’t get worse, right?

Wrong. The final leg of the flight had hubby and I sitting together, but the guy in front of us smelled like sour sweat and also had a huge gas problem. I really was kind of hoping by that point that the oxygen masks might fall down and save us from the odors. And the landing? Major turbulence that had some of the people around us freaking out. An old flyer like me? Felt like she’d just gotten a fun roller coaster ride.

I really was wishing my flight had been more like the one my heroine, Kalina Santos, experienced in my upcoming release, A Way With Words. Here’s an unedited excerpt:

“What are we doing here, sweetheart?” The desire darkened his eyes to a golden brown, but concern was there, too. “Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to do this with you, but I don’t want you to regret it. Tell me now if you’re not into this. There’s nothing wrong with getting caught in the moment. It’s a judgment free zone, right here.”
She pulled back; looked away from the temptation of those cat eyes (well, what else do you call eyes that are sometimes green, sometimes yellow, and seem to see into your soul?) and considered his words. His thoughtful generosity touched her as much as the thick erection under the soft cotton of his jeans aroused her. The irony wasn’t lost on her that he showed more concern for her and her feelings than the evil ex she’d been with for years and refused to allow to taint this moment with any more space in her brain.
“Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wanted to join the mile-high club.” She leaned in and caught his earlobe between her teeth. “Somehow I think this bucket list item works better with a partner. What do you think?”

So what about you? What was your most memorable plane ride? Ever join the mile high club? Tell me all about it!

Worlds Collide in a Winter Wonderland

The last month or so have been an adventure.

Yes, sunny Florida girl, yours truly…was sent off to the “Great White North” for three weeks between December and January for new day job training. And by GWN, I mean Syracuse, New York. Okay, so I’m a Chicago transplant to Florida. You’d think that would mean I’m used to winters, right?

Wrong!

Jaunty Hat

Winter Selfie in Jaunty Hat

I haven’t lived in a state that has winter since 1999. I didn’t really even own a “real” coat anymore. My sister had to shop for one for me up in Chicago. Because, you know, Florida sells winter coats in the dead of summer, then gets rid of the inventory. True story.

So the first week up there I realized the weather was bi-polar. I arrived to 50 degree weather. The next morning it was in the 20’s. Here’s a picture of me in my jaunty winter hat.

Yes, that’s snow in the background. Not only did the weather drop 30 degrees overnight. It also snowed…but it was a light, slushy snow and the weather was back up into the 40’s the following day. Like I said. Bipolar weather.

Wegmans

Definitely NOT a Castle

But there were some good things about not being overly cold. It enabled us to explore.

And thus my first Wegmans experience was born. Sadly, apparently it was nothing like it should be. I was told Wegmans looks like a castle and is an amazing place to shop.

As a girl who has Publix supermarkets every couple of miles, I’m not easily impressed. I was told that this particular store was a bit old and not in a great neighborhood, so not to hold anything against the franchise. It was not a “true” Wegmans experience. The store was dingy, the employees weren’t overly helpful….so I’ll trust my friends and reserve judgement. Still, a cherry popped while in New York.

Rockin the Boys

Cowboy Plane Selfie

But despite the cold, both the final game of the season and the first playoff game for my ‘Boys were going on. That meant I wore my Cowboy love quite literally all over my body.

Of course, the first person to taunt me?

The TSA agent. Before I even left Sarasota.

When hubby asked how I responded to the “Go Lions!” taunt, I told him I kept my mouth shut.

Let’s be real for a second…. No matter how much one might love their home team, how likely is a person to respond with a return taunt when the person calling you out is the TSA agent at the gate of the airport? While you’re being patted down…

Even I’m not that brave. Not after a friend of mine practically got cavity searched for forgetting she had a bottled water in her carry on luggage. Nope.

Cold Selfie

Bundled Up Selfie

But finally, January came to Syracuse…and brought me back into the cold. This time, sis had come through with a cute winter coat and hand knit scarf. By then, I’d gotten smart enough to buy boots and gloves. At home, such articles are only purchased for fashion purposes.

These were meant to keep my feet warm and dry. Utilitarian. What a novel thought, right? Well, maybe if you’re from the south.

And I discovered that gloves have come a long way! Now they have these little spots on the finger tips that allow you to work digital devices like touch screens without taking the gloves off.

Who knew?

Well, I do now. And I own a pair. A girl’s gotta stay on the cutting edge of technology, don’tcha know.

WindySnow

This is both wind and snow

I confess. I watched my weather updates on my phone like a hawk. When I started seeing sub-zero temperatures I admit it. I got a bit whiny.

And what’s with these reports telling us what it “feels like” outside? They calculate in the wind, etc. Do they really think that telling me that 0 degrees is going to feel like -14 degrees is going to encourage me to step away from the warmth of my hotel room? Eek!

Windy, Snowy Selfie

Windy, Snowy Selfie

I was just relieved that the couple of feet they forecasted didn’t come while I was there! The wind was bad enough.

You see the picture on the side? My hair was blowing sideways, and so was the snow! Yes, I found a way to keep my ears warm…. Unfortunately, I also forgot my jaunty hat at home this trip.

Just a little hint? That face is not my happy face. It’s my “damn, this is cold” face.

If it weren’t for a friend asking me to take snow pictures of myself and the weather, there’s no way I would’ve been out of doors for more than the short time it took to get from indoors to the vehicle, and back inside.

And, believe it or not, despite having not driven in snow in about 20 years, I drove in this weather. Yeah, I’m feeling pretty proud of that, too.

But none of that compared to the coolest experience of the trip, ever!

It had everything to do with this guy….

Meeting my friend, author Mark Bialczak

Meeting my friend, author Mark Bialczak

My friend, fellow author and blogger, Mark Bialczak braved the freezing cold (and I mean freezing literally) to come out to meet me for dinner. First, if you haven’t met Mark yet, you should check him out HERE. He’s a fun, engaging blogger and an all around great guy.

Syracuse guide

He remembered I love my sports, and was generous enough to bring me a copy of his book, also now a memento of my 3 week stay in Syracuse, and autograph it for me! How cool was that? He even teased me a bit about the book not being about my Cowboys!

Even better, despite the fact that the only place we’d interacted was online via our blogs, it felt like meeting an old friend. We never ran out of things to talk about. There was no awkwardness. Just a lot of good conversation and fun!

Have you ever met any friends from online? What was your experience?

A Soldier’s Sacrifice

Little me in Germany, wearing the hat to my dad's uniform Little me in Germany, wearing the hat to my dad’s uniform

“Why do you have to go?” she asked
as tears rolled down her cheeks.
It didn’t matter if he left
for years or months or weeks.
The question asked was innocent,
a plea to comprehend
why daddy wasn’t always home
to hold his daughter’s hand.

He wondered how he could explain
as he answered her demand;
he stumbled over every word
and prayed she’d understand.

“Daddy’s got a job to do
that takes him far away,
protecting weak and innocent
even though he’d rather stay.
He made a solemn promise
to answer freedom’s call
and defend our rights with honor
when our back’s against the wall.”

He wrapped an arm around his wife,
his child tucked to his heart,
his bags lay waiting by the door,
he hated to depart.

“Babe, you know I love you both,”
he squeezed both angels tight.
“God keep you safe while I’m away.
Pray for me every night.
Your sacrifice, as great as mine,
is rarely seen or heard;
head held high with dignity,
you never say a word.”

With one last kiss he turned away
and headed out the door,
just another soldier,
Headed off to war.

This is probably not my best piece or poetry, but it’s how my appreciation for those who’ve served (along with their families) manifested itself today. As some of you have probably deduced from my post from last Veteran’s Day entitled I Bled For You I have a strong affinity to those who’ve served or are serving in the armed forces. I have so much respect for those who decide day in and day out to lay their lives on the line to serve and protect so that their fellow countrymen don’t have to. It’s not an easy cross to bear by any stretch of the imagination.

The above pic was taken of me as a girl when my family was stationed in Germany. It was the dead of winter and I felt so cool being allowed to wear my father’s winter hat, especially since it was part of his uniform. As a child of the military, we were afforded the opportunity to travel with my dad. Germany was one of a few countries we had the chance to see thanks to his career.

One of the other places I hold near and dear to my heart is the Philippines. It’s made more special by the fact that my mother is Filipina, so I’m sure you can imagine how much it breaks my heart to read or see all the damage done to a place I once called home. If you haven’t heard about the devastation that hit my former birthplace, check this out. Death toll is in the 10,000’s. By the way, the island of Leyte, where the worst of the damage seems to be? That’s my mom’s birthplace. If you’d like to find a way to help, here are some great links. This is a third world country and the devastation is unreal. I know the indomitable spirit of my fellow Filipinos, but they could use all the prayers, good vibes, great thoughts…and yes, monetary support if you can.

For my kababayan friends- Ikaw ay nasa aking mga saloobin at panalangin. Aking puso pinaghihiwa para sa mga ganap na pagkasira na dulot ng Haiyan.

What’s On My…

As often happens in blogs, I borrowed this idea from Renee Schuls-Jacobson.

 

VANITY: Sunscreen foundation (living in Florida, the sun can age you prematurely), tweezers, a small flat iron & toothbrush/toothpaste

PERENNIAL TO DO LIST: Weed the garden, Tidy up my office

REFRIGERATOR SHELVES: Eggs, Sparkling ICE flavored water, almond milk, left overs

ITINERARY: For the year?  Authors After Dark Convention in Savannah in August, trip back home to Chicago in September, Thanksgiving football game in Dallas.

FANTASY ITINERARY: Month long cruise along the Mediterranean (Stops in Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain & the South of France). Would also love to take hubby with me to the Philippines so he can see a bit of where I grew up.

PLAYLIST: I’m pretty eclectic. My music varies from country to rock (hard, soft, classic, metal) to show tunes to old school jazz. As long as there is a great lyric…I’m there. I prefer to sing torch ballads, but like I said, lyrics are what make the song for me.

NIGHTSTAND: Chargers, pen, paper, books.

WORKOUT PLAN: Well, I plan to work out… it doesn’t always happen. But when I do it’s a minimum of 30 minutes on the treadmill followed by abs or weights. I do walk the dogs pretty consistently.

IPHONE: No thanks… I’m actually more an Android girl. I do own and use an iPad, though.

TOP 5 LIST:

  1. Finish/publish this book
  2. Get back on my work out plan
  3. Prepare the house for my sister coming to town/my birthday party
  4. Play with my dogs
  5. Make time to use the pool in my back yard

BUCKET LIST: Go sky diving, Travel the world with my husband.

MIND:  So much to do, so little time. Finish edits, do photo shoot for head shot, finish designing website.

BLOGROLL:  I’m subscribed to a bunch of people who impress me with their creativity, draw me out with their sense of fun, great cooks, writers, musicians, artists, photographers…

WALLS OF YOUR FAVORITE ROOM IN YOUR HOUSE: One has a book case filled with cd’s, another with books along with a print my hubby bought me for Christmas called Living Life. Here’s what it says:

Life is not a race – but indeed a journey. Be honest. Work hard. Be choosy. Say “Thank you”, “I love you” and “great job” to someone each day. Go to church, take time for prayer. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh. Let your handshake mean more than pen and paper. Love your life and what you’ve been given, it’s not accidental – search for your purpose and do it as best you can. Dreaming does matter. It allows you to become that which you aspire to be. Laugh often. Appreciate the little things in life and enjoy them. Some of the best things really are free. Do not worry, less wrinkles are more becoming. Forgive, it frees the soul. Take time for yourself – plan for longevity. Recognize the special people you’ve been blessed to know. Live for today, enjoy the moment.

LIQUOR SHELF: This doesn’t include wine or any liquor that might be in the freezer, right? Lots of different rums, including some we picked up in Nassau…

Whiskey, Rum, Vodka (to name a few)

Whiskey, Rum, Vodka (to name a few)

 

LAST CREDIT CARD STATEMENT:  Hubby’s the banker. I leave that sort of thing to him.

SCREENSAVER: I don’t have one. Man, I really need to do something about that. (On my iPad the inside wallpaper is my book cover and my outside lock screen says “I don’t have a dirty mind, I have a sexy imagination.)

TV EVERY NIGHT: Not really, though we DVR a lot of shows, so we’ll have marathons when I’m not writing…

TOES: Oddly enough, they’re nekkid right now. I need to do something about that. Maybe I’ll paint them tomorrow…and remember to wear my toe rings. (They go with flip flops…)

What are your answers?

Maiden Voyage

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Listening to
Graceful crash
Of lightly, rippling
Waves.
Glass shatters
Across the hull,
Rivulets
Of bubbling gold
Gliding down.
Step ‘board
My wooden chariot,
Opaque sheets
Spread upward,
Angled high
Against the beautiful
Backdrop;
Cerulean sky.
Enjoy
The peaceful lull;
Curving to and fro.
I plan
A quest to find “me”…
Parchment guides
Etched by explorers
Past.
Rolled out,
Determined,
To plot my course.
Gazing blindly,
I try,
Pencil to paper,
To render my path.
Eyes unseeing,
I turn away,
Look out into
The unending
Deep blue,
And realize
I was never
Missing.

Friday, I went to Selby Botanical Gardens with my mom and a good friend in need of a distraction. Placed along the Gulf of Mexico, I found myself looking out at the water and daydreaming. The above picture is one of many I took that day. Here are a couple more.

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Here is one of a bonsai tree…I imagined fairies frolicking beneath those beautifully sculpted branches.

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Here is an image of only one of the exotic beauties we saw that day.

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My friend playing bird whisperer…a great way to distract him from his troubles. And finally, below is the souvenir dwarf pineapple plant I took home. Isn’t it gorgeous? Where do you find your peace & beauty?

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How About Tennessee For Christmas?

I remember being a young girl and hearing this song… Something about it resonated with me…and made me want to move to Tennessee…LOL! I never actually moved there, but I discovered later that I have a love for Nashville if for no other reason than I love country music and their ballads. There’s also something about how she and Vince harmonize that I really enjoy. Who knows…I’m still reasonably young…I could find my way there.

The funny thing is, there’s controversy about this video because she wrote this song back in her youth with her ex-husband, Gary Chapman. Here, she’s singing it with a good friend…who she later marries. Regardless of the circumstances, it’s a beautiful song. She sang it well with both men…and does an amazing job singing it alone. But she married young. It didn’t work out. Speculation is that she overshadowed him with her fame…and that led to him making some catastrophic life choices. Maybe…maybe not. Fame is a difficult thing, I think. At the end of the day…I choose to chalk it up to youth….and just enjoy the song.

Amy Grant’s Christmas albums have always been my all time favorites…they just feel so heartfelt. After you hear it…I’m sure you’ll get why I thought Tennessee had to be awesome. I know it’s not the only song out there written about a specific state or country…Do you have a song that resonated so much you wanted to live there when you heard it? What was the song and where did it make you want to go?

No Place Like Home

Hey ya’ll! Just wanted to pop on to say thanks for keeping me company and keeping my spirits up while I was away. I am officially home, safe and sound. It’s been a long day, but utterly normal. Murphy chose not to make an appearance this time. How was your day?

I’m gonna spend the rest of the evening enjoying my family. Thanks again for your support… I’ll be back to posting on the morrow…

Much Love,

Kitt

Muses And A Comedy Of Travel Snafus

After a crazy day of travel that started way too early on less than three hours of sleep, I’m finally settled in to my new digs.

Many of you are writers or artists of some sort, so you’ll understand. Yesterday my inspiration bug bit. My problem? My house was still in shambles from our dinner party the night before and I was catching an 8 am flight the following morning.

Here’s the thing about priorities… My to do list should have been as follows:
1. Pack for my 3+ week trip
2. Clean up my messy kitchen and dining area (so hubby won’t have to)
3. Write…if there’s time.

What actually happened? I followed my muse, of course, causing #1 and #3 to flip in priority order. Since I was on a roll and wanted to finish my WIP…..that’s what I did. During my breaks I loaded the dishwasher and started to pack. I finished packing around midnight. Finished my WIP at about 2:30 am. My alarm was set for 5:30 (saved time by showering at midnight).

At 5:45 my friend picked me up for the airport. I kissed hubby and the dogs goodbye and was on my way.

I should have known today would not go smoothly when I waited more than 10 minutes for the curbside check in guy to finish with the only couple in front of me only to check in at the counter instead. At the auto check-in the lady told us TSA was busy and had an hour long wait. I was almost through the line when the couple who’d been checking in curbside finally got there. Good thing I didn’t wait. Right?

Our flight left on time, and even arrived in DFW when it was supposed to. The problem? There was still another plane at the gate. We sat on the Tarmac for over 30 minutes. My actual arrival time was 9:51am. My connecting flight began boarding at 10:10 with a scheduled departure time of 10:40. By the time I made it off the plane it was already 10:36. I did what any seasoned traveller would do. Stop at the gate and talk to the lady at the counter in an attempt to get them to hold the flight for a few extra minutes.

As The woman and I talked the gate told her I had 10 minutes. She’d already mentioned the next flight, but they’d told her to have me rush to catch the shuttle and try to get my flight. I was in D concourse and my flight was in c. Gamely I rushed to the new gate, huffing and puffing through my poor sinus infected body, bogged down with luggage and expecting to die of what might become my first asthma attack. I got there 5 minutes after the flight took off. Of course!

Next, they rescheduled me for a later flight…leaving in a little more than an hour. Sweet! Except it was all the way back where I started. In D concourse. At least this time I didn’t have to kill myself. The time gave me a chance to grab a bite of the worst seasoned orange chicken and fried rice I’ve ever had…and to take my meds.

Finally I got on my flight to El Paso at 12:45. I was thrilled! This time everything went off without a hitch. Well, till I got my voice mail saying the rental car place was giving my friend a hard time about me getting the car on her credit card. No worries, though, the hotel has shuttles to and from the airport. With Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte in hand I was ready to conquer anything. Good thing because I didn’t see my luggage on the carousel! Fortunately, when I walked into the baggage claim office, my bag was already there…waiting for me.

So here are a couple of pictures of my new home for the next few weeks…

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What about you guys? Have you experienced Murphy’s law while traveling? Tell me the story… What do you do when your muse and priorities collide?

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!
Me: MOM! I’M. NOT. ON. BIRTH. CONTROL!
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!

Share Something New And Interesting

A big thanks to Cultural Muse blog and Clarity for nominating me for the following blog awards.

Not sure what happened to my original post, but most of it seems to have disappeared, so let me try this part over!  The above links nominated me for the following various posts.  The name of the game with these posts is usually as follows:  you list 7 interesting things about yourself that people probably don’t know.  Then you nominate 10-15 blogs that you find interesting, intriguing or just plain fun!  Of course, link back to whomever nominated you as a thank you!

7 Things about me:

1.  I was born on a military base in the Philippines…Clark Air Force Base, to be precise.

2.  I was an international traveller by the time I was 8 months old when we moved from the Philippines to California.

3.  I have an ear for languages.  In fact, I speak enough French and Spanish to be dangerous.  I can still speak Tagalog & understand Kapangpangan.  My parents say I used to speak German, too, when I was really young.

4.  I love musicals!  Although I’m thrilled about the Les Mis that is headed to theaters near you, I absolutely love the 10th Anniversary concert that happened at Royal Albert Hall with Lea Salonga playing Eponine.  She’s one of my favorite performers.  Such a pure voice!  Hope you enjoy her as much as I do!

5.  My mom says I started writing stories at 3 years old.  The first story I remember writing?  6th grade.  It was actually more a play.  Fan fic, at that…based around The Carringtons and Colbys from Dynasty.  🙂

6.  I’m the oldest of 5.  I have 1 sister, 2 brothers who passed away in tragic accidents when they were young, and one half sister.

7.   I love to cook as much as I love to bake.  My husband loves when I decide to cook Filipino dishes.  🙂 (Chicken adobo and fried rice are his biggest favorites)

The following nominees have earned their recognition because they keep me interested, engaged and entertained.  They’re talented and wonderful.  I hope you check them out and enjoy them as much as I do.

1.)  Enjoy the beautiful nature photography of Phil Lanoue.

2.)  The ever sweet Emma Meade who is launching her YA book Under The Desert Moon

3.)  Olivia Obryon who has one of the toughest, most important jobs out there and still manages to entertain!

4.)  Karen Rought who shares my passion for music.

5.)  You never know what’s going to catch Lorca Damon‘s eye…and her sympathy;-)

6.)  Stephanie Ingram who asks the really tough questions…like “Who Is The Tooth Fairy Anyway?”

7.)  Looking For The Sweet Spot whose unique ways of looking at things can get you both laughing and nodding.

8.)  Melissa MacKinnon -her big heart is beautiful to read and brought tears to my eyes. (not to mention her awesome 6 sentence Sunday is super exciting!)

9.)  Able to sum up entire womens magazines in several sentences-One Week To Crazy.

10.)  Tim Knox– You’re just never sure what direction the story is going in until the end.  🙂

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these nominees as much as I have!  Happy Sunday everyone.