My Flirt, My Heart

 “Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
― Dean Koontz

Flirt3

On Monday, we said goodbye and released you from the pain and suffering that degenerated your strong body in the last six months.

Now that you’re gone, there’s an unbearable emptiness in our home and in our hearts that no other being will be able to fill. You were the most loyal, loving and intuitive companion. I still wonder what we did to deserve your dignity, intelligence and patience.

You were by my side and gave me comfort during some of the most difficult times of my life. You embodied all the wonderful memories of the years when we had a house full of kids, chaos and laughter.

Fifteen years with you just weren’t enough. I will carry you in my heart always, dearest Flirt.

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So Long 2012

The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year.
It is that we should have a new soul.”
– G.K. Chesterton

Enough said.


They’re Engaged!

“She makes me happy. When she’s with me, I’m always happy.”
- Carlos Gonzalez, our future son-in-law

ANV Ring

He popped the question in a lighthouse today. Completely surprised her and rocked her world to its core.

On Tuesday, he invited Ramon and me to dinner. Just us – she was teaching at Pope, and was unaware of our plans. After dinner and various nervous glances from both sides of the table, he asked for our blessing to marry Alexis.

We wholeheartedly gave it. We know he’ll make her happy, too.

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Thanksgiving Top 5 Lows

“Difficulty is inevitable. Drama is a choice.”
― Anita Renfroe

It is only fitting that I wrap up our Thanksgiving memories by commemorating the Top 5 Lows of the day.

  1. Halfway through roasting the turkey, we noticed the oven wasn’t working. As we frantically punched the buttons and repeatedly opened and closed the door (because this really helps), we realized we were screwed. After much head scratching and uncensored cursing, Chef Gabe suggested we crank it up to its highest setting – 600 degrees. Miraculously, the oven heat skyrocketed to approximately 200 degrees which is better than 0. So that, and some selective microwaving, gave us an edible bird by the time dinner rolled around at 7:30.
  2. Once we confidently averted the botulism crisis and were joyfully going about setting the table, we heard a loud crash in the kitchen. Lo and behold, our undermount 500 pound kitchen sink had unglued/detached/given up, and fallen to the bottom of the cabinet. I screamed asked the boys to find a fix for this dilemma and pronto. An hour later they returned with four car jacks from Walmart, and set about rigging elevating the sink to a semblance of its natural position under the counter. Chef Gabe was just bursting problem-solving skills.
  3. Still undeterred and ever hopeful for a pleasant Thanksgiving, I told Ramon to fire up the barbecue in order to warm up the side dishes since clearly the turkey was going to take the full expected 18 hours to cook. Seconds into the process, the gas ran out. Off goes Ramon to the store for another tank of gas.
  4. Upon arrival, my sister’s family joyfully started bringing in her delectable contributions, including baked goods (among them my most favorite Raspberry Almond Bars), roasted Brussels Sprouts and myriad libations which might lessen the pissiness heaviness in my heart. Unfortunately, my brother-in-law dropped the bottles in our driveway and this party was destined to be as dry as a Baptist church during Summer revival.
  5. And as we cleared the tables, stored the left-overs and loaded up the dishwasher, we beamed thankfully for another successful holiday – despite the odds. It wasn’t until I awoke Friday morning to empty the dishwasher, that I realized everything was still dirty. The damn thing was busted. Done. Finished.

I can’t wait for this year to be over.


Thanksgiving Top 10

“A single grateful thought toward heaven is the most perfect prayer.”
 -Gotthold Ephraim Lessing 

  1. God’s unending blessings in my life.
  2. My family – splendid children, husband, mother, in-laws, siblings and nieces and nephews.
  3. The Meal. Let’s be serious, this is the focus of the day. I cook for hours in an attempt to deliver the perfect feast each year. After weeks of analyzing new recipes, reconsidering the tried and true, I end up serving up too much of both.
  4. Running. I ran the Thanksgiving 5K this morning, not only to earn my turkey (ri-ight), but in gratitude for an activity that has enhanced and redefined my life.
  5. Alexis is back in Georgia!
  6. 20 years of employment at the Happiness Factory.
  7. Chef Velez off-duty for the best holiday of the year.
  8. Abundance.
  9. This great country.
  10. Spending a pre-holiday weekend in the capital with our DC based kids.

10 of 12 in 2012

“Every finish line is the beginning of a new race.”
–L’il Wayne “I’m Into You”

With the year winding down, I ran race number 10. A sweet little 5K with several challenging hills in and around Emory University. At 43 degrees it was a bit chilly, but the brilliant sun made it perfect nevertheless. 

Tempting me across the finish line - a delectable Yogli Mogli froyo reward. I have no shame when I say – I run for food.


I Vote Because It’s My Duty and Privilege

“I believe with all my heart that America remains ‘the great idea’ that inspires the world. It is a privilege to be born here. It is an honor to become a citizen here. It is a gift to raise your family here, to vote here, and to live here.”
- Arnold Schwarzenegger (for once I agree with him)

As a naturalized citizen who was welcomed into these amazing United States of America, I take quite seriously the privilege of putting in my two cents worth on who will be our next leader.

Although I was born in Cuba and my heritage is solidly engrained in my soul, the USA is the country that facilitated the dreams and achievements I nurtured for myself, my husband and my children. In this country, nothing is impossible with hard work and faith.

In this country, I found home.


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