The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Greetings! I have been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, by the fabulous, Victoria Dragomirova, who pens one of my favorite blogs, “My Inner Observer.” Her shared pearls of wisdom and insight on life, will permeate your thoughts long after you have ingested them. Thank you Victoria. You made my heart smile, by thinking of me.

I am truly grateful for, and inspired by my fellow bloggers. The openness with which they share their amazing journeys, warms my heart, cracks me up, and sometimes leaves me feeling downright, misty-eyed. Reading their stories, and being a part of this beautiful and inspirational community has elevated my level of joy in life.

I am elated that my peers are taking the time to read about my “adventures,” as I navigate life as a single-Mom, and “scorned woman,” seeking the ever-elusive…more. Thanks so much for the comments and likes, and for the kind support. I am seeking; I am learning; I am a work in progress; and I am filled with gratitude.


I nominate the following people for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

Breathing Space

The Kindness Blog

Notes From The Bathroom Floor

Crazy Love Parents

Journey to a Healthy Me

TasteHitch

Blogging For Therapy

Revisions of Grandeur

Derelict Mom

The Rules for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award are:

1) The nominee shall display the respective logo on her/his blog and link to the blogger that has nominated her/him.
2) The nominee shall nominate 7-10 bloggers she/he admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about the nomination.

Share the inspiration and the love. Happy blogging, everyone! 🙂

Photo Credit: http://nazneenzainal.com/2015/02/03/theveryinspiringbloggeraward/

Liebster Award

I have been nominated for a Liebster Award by an absolute favorite blogger and friend. The real Mom of Long Island’s musings about her life as the matriarch of a family of six, will make you laugh out loud, while gently reminding you to appreciate the little joys in life. Her voice is unique and relatable, and her writing style, as real as her name.
To the witty and down-to earth, mamalisa4 I am sending a big ol’, heartfelt, grinning Thank YOU!!!
The Leibster Award is a ‘Welcome to the Neighborhood’ nomination, which enables us to network with other bloggers!
The following are the questions, which mamalisa4 provided for me to answer:

1. What is the best book you ever read? This is a painfully tough one to answer. So many amazing books out there, to choose just one is really difficult. I am going to say, ‘The Alchemist’ by Roberto Coelho. It is an incredibly beautiful and timeless tale, detailing the amazing, life-changing journey of a boy traversing the road to manhood, and more importantly, it details in the most delightful way, his path to truth, and infinite wisdom. It is a book I recommend to absolutely everybody who enjoys reading, regardless of their preferred genre.
2. What is your favorite holiday/season?
Without pause, I can say it is the Christmas season. I love gathering with the family at Thanksgiving, knowing that it is just the prelude to the big celebration-to-come. The delicious smells, sights and sounds are intoxicating to the senses. Also, my children are still young, so I enjoy this magical holiday, filled with wonderment, through their eyes. And don’t even get me started on the food!!! The Italian seafood feast on the eve and then the repeat of Thanksgiving dinner, plus lasagna, on Christmas Day…Let’s just say that I am close to drooling on my keyboard.
3. Name 3 things that are in arms reach?
My cell phone, Thesaurus and a large plastic cup of ice water with lemon, and a screw top lid…nothing terribly exciting. It is worth stating that this Thesaurus has been with me for over 20 years, and has been a reliable and insightful companion throughout.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself in a state of radiant health and happiness, appreciating each day, following my dreams. I am surrounded by loved ones and living my best life. Finding success in writing and public speaking, I gained a voice, which I utilize in a positive way, helping others through my work. My free time will be spent with my beautiful children and incredibly supportive family and friends. And there will be some serious traveling going on, especially but not exclusively involving multiple Caribbean Islands.
5. What are you terrified of?
I am terrified of not fulfilling my life’s purpose; of not being the best human I can be; of not being the best Mom I can be.
6. What is your best moment of childhood?
There are so many things that come to mind. I would have to say it was my first trip to California and Disneyland. It was a magical week. Not only was there the usual “Disney magic,” but we happened to stay in a hotel in Hollywood, where the premier party for the movie, ‘About Last Night’ with Rob Lowe and Demi Moore, was being held.
Being a pretty cute kid, I asked a man on his way out of the lavish bash if I could have his tickets as a souvenir, for my Mother and I. He obliged, and in we went, where we scooped up more tickets for my Dad and two other friends, which we had made during our stay.
We met and hung out with all of the celebrities, ate and drank and took photos with them. Amazing! With the heightened security today, the likelihood of something like this happening again is low. Timing is everything.
7. If you could travel to any other country, where would you go?
I have long dreamed of traveling to Europe, and making my way country by country, but if I have to pick only one I will choose Italy, even though Spain is in my head, reminding me of its beauty. I have ancestors from both countries, and the idea of traveling to the lands of my forefathers and mothers is exciting to me.
8. What random piece of advice would you give out?
Believe. Know in your heart that love is the answer. And lastly, smile often. And mean it 🙂
9 What is your dream job?
Ummm, I would like to do what Oprah does please. Does that have a specific title? Speak, write, seek, learn, grow, share and help others. You did say, “dream job.”
10. What is your favorite thing that you own?
Besides my Iphone? I know it is awful, but as I read the question, it eyeballed me from my desk, screaming, “Pick me! Pick Me!” O.K. My favorite item is a pearl and diamond necklace that was given to me by my parents, on my wedding day. It is a stunning and unique piece with drop pearls between diamonds. Having come from my parents, who I adore, it is priceless to me.
11. What do you like to do for fun?
I love to read and write, while perched comfortably under a hand-crafted palapa on the beach, overlooking the gentle lapping of the blue-green waves, as they reach the sandy white grains on the shoreline, while sipping a sinful and creamy frozen delight. Too specific?
I absolutely love spending time with friends and family, going to concerts, movies, and finding fabulous little eateries with shockingly delectable fare.
Fun could also be a great conversation with an interesting person, over a hot, delicious cup of coffee. After all, fun happens, wherever you make it happen.
11 Random Facts About Me:
1. I am a people person to the core. I sometimes say, “Getting along with all types of people, is my gift.” I can see the good (most of the time) even in people who others find annoying or worse…
2. Though I love people, genuinely I do, I have no tolerance for mean-spirited people, at all, and I will intercede to defend an underdog in need, without hesitation.
3. I started writing a novel when I was 10. I never finished, but it is adorable to read the chapters that I wrote.
4. I am a water-loving, scuba diving, swimming, snorkeling, one-time surfer (albeit, not a good one). Beach anyone?
5. I love animals and earned the nickname, ‘Dog-whisperer’ almost 20 years ago because I had this habit of finding dogs and returning them to their owners, or another home or safe haven. Truth is, on several occasions, my home was the new home and safe haven. My most recent street rescue, turned family member ‘Yogi Bear’ is curled up at my feet right now.
6. I love acting and theatre. For about 5 years in my 20’s I performed in local theatre companies and in an improv troupe. I attended the Lee Strasburg Theatre Institute in New York City, which is the same school that many of my favorite actors attended. Those were some of the most fun years of my life.
7. I am a highly social extrovert, who enjoys deep pauses of solitude. I need time to think and clear my mind. I enjoy time alone as much as I do spending it with others
8. Yoga and meditation have changed my life. The truth is that I need to inject both of those into my routine on a more consistent basis, because I feel fantastic when I do.
9. I can dance well to a variety of Spanish music, such as, salsa, meringue, cumbia, bachata and punta. I can also speak a good bit of Spanish. I learned all of this from the line cooks at a fabulous Steakhouse, that I managed in my twenties.
10. I believe that God and the Universe (or whatever it is you may call it) want to see each of us happy. I believe that we are the creaters of our own destiny. I have (finally) learned that whatever it is that I choose to focus my attention upon, it will grow and flourish, whether it be stress or joy. Today I choose to focus on the joy.
11. Saved the best for last. I adore my children with every inch of my soul and with every breath I take. My 8 year-old son (the lawyer), and my 6 year-old daughter (the performer), have brought me more joy, laughter and love than I could have ever dreamed possible. (Sometimes more stress than I dreamed possible too ☺)

I am nominating . . .

AnxiousMom

Revisions of Grandeur

Views From Behind Shutters

Viva Love Always 

Crazy Love Parents

The Whispering Pen

Tastehitch

 

11 Questions for you

1. Who is your favorite author?

2. How does your spouse/family/significant other feel about you blogging/writing?

3. Name 3 things which are in arms reach?

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

5. What are you terrified of?

6. If you could have a meaningful conversation with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?

7. What is your idea of a perfect day?

8. What random piece of advice would you give out?

9. What is your dream job?

10. Who is your hero, and why?

11. What do you like to do for fun?

Your job is to answer these questions in a blog post and spread the Lieb!

Here are the rules of the Liebster Award:

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate 5-11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this, since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!).

And That’s How It Goes!! Thank you so much for reading and following!!!!

On FEX Living In The Basement – A Note To Maya Angelou’s Voice In-My-Head

People are asking. They are scratching their heads and wondering. There are those who come right out and ask me; others who remain perplexed, or make various assumptions. My personal favorites are the ones who have a firm opinion on the matter, one way or the other, of which they adamantly try to convince me. Most just want to know WHY on earth I have allowed FEX (future ex-husband) to move back into the house and take up residence in the basement?

As they say, “It’s complicated.” FEX moved out 3 years ago. Since then, we have put forth our best efforts towards effectively and cooperatively (mostly) co-parenting our son, 8 (the lawyer) and our daughter, 6 (the performer). After more than a year of discussing the possibility of trying to live in the same house again, as friends and mutual adorers of our wee-ones, we decided to make a go of this unconventional arrangement. This past September, to the elation of my children, FEX moved back in. My expectations of him are as follows.

#1. Put the children first.

#2. I need to be able to rely upon your word.

Easy. Right? Well, one out of two isn’t that bad. Is it? The whole keep your word thing has evaded FEX for many years now. I should have known that this would be the case, because Maya Angelou has said so, and she is usually right about these things.

To my defense – FEX and I are able to provide more for our children, when supporting one household, instead of two. Now we work together on the daily challenges, responsibilities and chaos that is attached to raising young children. In my mind, I was thinking, “I didn’t have them alone, so why should I raise them alone?” Most importantly, and the clincher for me was that my children desperately wanted to see both of their parents, each and every day.

Although, in the opposing voice in-my-head, I hear the words of Maya Angelou. I can hear her gently reminding me of one of my favorite quotes.

Get out of my head Maya. I have to try this out. 

Dear Miss Angelou’s voice in-my-head,

I know that you said, “When somebody shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” The Universe has enthusiastically chimed in on this point, on several occasions throughout my life. I surrender. I get it. Believe them the first time.

I am aware that in heeding the wisdom of your advise, allowing FEX back in, was not the best idea. But, I ask you, who else in the world is going to love my children as much as I do, and help me raise them on a daily basis, as well as maintaining a house and yard, etc…? Who, Maya? Who?

I mean no disrespect, as you are a most-admired role model to me. But Maya, I wanted to teach my children that we love them so much that we willingly put our differences aside to do our best in raising them together, even though our marriage was over. Is this wrong? I suppose only time will tell.

Families look all different ways these days, as I am sure you are aware. I know that our living arrangement is unusual, and though it has not been the ideal situation for me personally, having another parent in the house, and seeing the way my children light up when their father comes home, is reason enough for me to be proud of myself for trying. Wish me luck. xo

Also Maya, any dating advice would be most welcomed. 😉

With Fondest Admiration,

Victoria

photo credit: aware.org.sg

Sleds and Dogs, But Not Sled Dogs

So, what does one do when they are snowed in, for 3 days, with 2 kids and 3 dogs? I am kidding, I mean 2 dogs and Fex (future ex husband) who has been likened to a dog, by some mutual friends, on several occasions. Truthfully speaking, FEX could never be as loyal and reliable as a dog anyway. OMgoodness, I just did it again. Perhaps it’s is the freezing cold that I was exposed to while sledding today. Or, rather, I am just in the mood to be cheeky (and honest).

The answer is – go sledding with a bunch of friends, and a gaggle of kids, of course! It’s that, or I could always sit home, drink wine, and let my children eat me out of house and home, in an attempt to pacify our cabin-fever, and the boredom which has begun to set in – the result of sitting in the house for 3 days, while Mother Nature has her way with us.

As a devout lover of summer, and all activities water-related, I have often wondered how it is that I have lived in New York for my entire life. While we do have the most beautiful weather in Spring and Fall, which are both moderate in temperature, and a delight to behold, for the senses, with them comes the complete extremes of the spectrum – brutally hot summers and bone-chilling winters.

The fact is, that I love New York! Just like the tourism commercials, theme song and slogan says. I really do love it, wholeheartedly. Many who have never visited this beautiful state do not realize that New York City is only a small portion of the offerings here. I actually live on Long Island, just east of the city, which is just that, a very long island of suburbs, boasting countless, stunning beaches spanning its length, and no more than a half an hour drive, north or south, from almost any given point. As if this isn’t enough, there is the mainland of NY, which stretches up to Canada, and is comprised of spectacualr mountains, with farmland and forest, mostly unsullied by man.

While I do love it here, I must say that the cold winters are really knawing at me, whispering in my ear, louder and louder, as each year passes, and another bout of cold passes through my beloved state. Today, standing on top of that snowy hill, with frozen nose and toes, delighting in the fun of the children sledding, I leaned in closely to decipher the whisper, and I distinctly heard it say, “Go back to the Caribbean Victoria. That is where you belong!” Who am I to argue with the wisdom of the winter winds?

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Enjoying some balcony time in sunny Jamaica, January 2015

For the Doubters, Haters and Naysayers

My life hasn’t been picture perfect. Yet, my blessings have been, and continue to be innumerable.

I’m what one might call a “late bloomer.” I dropped out of college right after High School and pursued acting, performing in local productions, and working with an improv troupe for several years. All the while, I was building my talents as a hairdressing waitress, with a penchant for mixing up delightful cocktails, and provoking endless amounts of fun. I parlayed that into a nice management position at a high-end steakhouse, with a regular clientele, and a close-knit staff. Very good times…

I began seriously dating my future ex-husband in 2000, (who I shall affectionately refer to as FEX from here on) and we eventually ventured off into our own business, in the home improvement field. The housing market was soaring in NY, (mind you this was around 2002) and FEX and I were living it up…vacations, parties, weekend getaways and the like. More good times…

We got the house in the middle-class neighborhood, got married, and had 2 healthy, beautiful babies. A boy then a girl. Picture perfect. Um. No.

Fast forward to 2008ish. The housing market was in a drastic, downward spiral and seemingly took our business and financial security with it, in what seemed like a blink. Eventually, our marriage was to follow suit.

Still trying to hold it all together, I returned to school, in 2010. Having already attained my Associates Degree while working at that fine Steakhouse, I began to chip away at my Bachelors in English (of course) in hopes of becoming a teacher. I was an excellent student, and the go-to editor, for my friends and family, whether they needed a letter, or a college paper written. I thought becoming a teacher would be the answer to our financial woes.

That is when FEX declared that he was unhappy and wanted out. Our children were 2 and 4, at the time. It unraveled quickly after that. 6 months later, FEX moved out and I really wasn’t sure if I could manage life, house, children and dogs, without him.

I made a decision, that no matter what challenges were to come, I was going to make my job as a parent paramount over everything else. FEX proved a disloyal husband, but certainly does still love and provide for our children. We do get along (mostly) and work together at parenting our offspring. I still do cut hair, and waitress and bartend, and I also continue to put parenting my little ones before all else. But now, I can see clearly that I have the need to fulfill my own passions, and purpose. Yes, it is an actual NEED, and I shall honor it.

Which brings me here. I realize that it was necessary for me to be brought to and through these challenges and struggles, so that I could learn of my own strength, and astounding ability to improve myself. Because when the material things, and the plans I had made for the future were abruptly stripped from me, I was left with myself.

I get by, with a little help from my friends, and a lot of help from my family. I am quite Blessed, in both departments. But the point is, that I choose to be happy. I choose to chase my dreams. I am writing, which centers me, and makes me feel that all is right with the Universe. I am editing a wonderful book for my fabulous friend, mamalisa4, which excites me immeasurably. I am on the right path. I can feel it in my bones.

For those who have doubted or judged my decisions, I say, “Mind your own matters.” To my supporters, who have been there with an open heart, through it all, cheering me on, I say, “Thank you. You’ve made all the difference in the world to me.”

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