Like most of you who have seen, heard or read Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture, I was inspired to try to make the most of every moment and to leave a legacy for my children who will hopefully outlive me. My decision to finally start writing this blog was inspired in part by his lecture, which shifted my focus from the fear of dying (that's a whole other entry)to the business of living. We lost Mr. Pausch today but we are sure to remember him forever for his unfathomable display of bravery and grace even in the face of his impending death.




My friend Keachia's email signature says Peace begins with me, simple enough right?! Such a simple sentiment has really resonated with me this summer. Before the summer began Pakistan was just a place that the kids heard mention of on NPR and Mas que nada was just the title of a Sergio Mendes song. Since the beginning of the summer my children and I have met so many families from Brazil, the Middle East, Haiti, other parts of the US, the Caribbean and a number of families from Spanish speaking countries, that so many more things have been given a new meaning.

Living in SoFl, it is not so strange to have intercultural experiences after all my neighbors downstairs are Brazilian, Peruvian and Puerto Rican! My children have always gone to very culturally diverse schools, but this summer I found myself going out of my way to make contact through meaningful conversation and it ultimately struck me...If we all took the time and made deliberate effort to connect with people from around the world we could start a chain reaction and possibly eradicate the ease with whichwe engage in warfare. If people in Washington knew Ali and his family personally, they probably would be less likely to drop bombs in his grandmother's backyard...and maybe the international community wouldnt have such a negative perception of Americans...hmmm, thats a thought!
I recognize that not only does Peace BEGIN with me it is my RESPONSIBILITY to plant the seed and nurture it so that future generations reap the benefits.



I assume that like most Americans I grew up not really knowing or being taught much about financial matters. For the most part, I never really thought about money and nobody really brought it up. If I wanted something, I asked…sometimes I got it, sometimes I didn’t. I attended private school, lived in a house with air conditioning (BIG DEAL in the Virgin Islands, even though it wasn’t Central Air), wore nice enough clothes (both my mother and grandmother are VERY fashionable), etc.
But there was no really detailed discussion about where the money came from or how you kept it. I mean, I saw my grandparents and parents go to work everyday and I knew that they got paid but like most kids my money was my money to do as I pleased (It wasn’t a whole lot of money, but it was money none the less).

Even when my father didn’t pay my tuition on time, it never occurred to me that maybe he didn’t have the money, I always assumed that he forgot to pay (I still believe that it was because he was too busy to remember when it was due). My introduction to money management came after he became ill and could no longer work I began to receive social security payments, which looking back, could have been put to better use if I had some solid financial advice. I spent the money on things that seemed to be prorities at the time and saved a little to but a computer when I went to college. I guess looking back I had given more thought to real estate and stocks and more long term things vs. that size 2 designer dress that was oh so cute in 1995 but couldn't even fit my big toe now in 2008!

I am indeed still baffled by financial matters. Last week one of my friends said, “I had more money at 21 than I do now at 31”. I’m afraid that I am in the same boat. By 23, I was already a college graduate and a homeowner…I was also already a wife and mother (great accomplishments, but also expensive accomplishments). Though we were struggling financially, I just expected things to get better with time, and they have, but we are still struggling to rise above the weekly financial shuffle. I find myself spending a lot of time dreaming up ways to make, grow and keep money…but in addition to everything else that I have to do, it gets SO exhausting!!!

Sometimes I look around at other people (sometimes in envy, most times in disgust) and I wonder how in this current economy they are still able to drive HUMMERS and live in palacial homes, stay at home with their babies and shop at WHOLE FOODS MARKET, etc. I don’t get it…My conclusion, I must be doing something(s) wrong!

While I have no desire to drive a HUMMER, I would like to be able to pay my bills (on time) and save some money. I would like to be able to fix up my condo before it falls even further into disrepair and to visit my family in the Caribbean more often. I guess what I’m saying is I’d like to achieve some semblance of financial freedom, so that I could enjoy life and pass the message and benefits on to my children. Currently, we spend most of our time working so that we can pay bills and in the process make more bills...I DONT GET IT! ANY TIPS?



I have a fairly open approach to parenting and the requisite despensation of information. This approach stems from my belief and complete acceptance of the mantra KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. Because I believe so deeply, I try to answer all inquiries as truthfully as I can...when I can. Because of this belief I occassionally let the kids watch movies intended for more mature audiences (PG13, remember, I have little kids...most audience are theoretically more mature). Most times things go right over their heads, but then there are times when something catches their curiosity and well...then I get, THE QUESTION(S).

Case in point...While watching the Tyler Perry film Why Did I Get Married?

Zen: What does it mean to "have your tubes tied"?

Harmless enough...

Me: When a woman dosen't want to have any more babies, she can have her doctor perform a surgical procedure to tie her fallopian tubes (previously explained) in order to prevent future preganancies ...

Zen: Oh

Of course the thing about being "open" is that you have to be prepared for it when your explaination is then re-explained to someone else.

Case in point...

During our 4th of July get together my mother and sister-in-law were having a playful conversation regarding having babies and quantity, etc.

When Zen suggested to my sister in law, at the appropriate juncture in the conversation I might add, "When you're done having babies, you could just get your tubes tied.

My mother: And there you have it!

This was the end of the conversation as the group quickly disbanded...probably fearful of any additional information that may come out of Zen's mouth.

Of course later I had to field a few questions about the origin of such advice...but at least I know that Zen understood my explanation and accurately passed it on!



The first session of swimming class has come to an end so… I signed them up for another two weeks!

I am so proud of myself for even following through on the plan to have them take lessons this summer!!!! (And for having not missed a class, not even through my illness--this is where I teach them to follow through on things and be consistant, yada...yada)

Zen is almost 8 years old and every year since she was born I told myself… “Self, don’t condemn this child to a life of aquaphobia (like her mother)…get her some swimming lessons…professional ones (don’t be cheap)!”

It took almost eight years but by george we got it and now she has been promoted to Level II swimming!!! (Insert Cabbage Patch (dance) Here)

Additionally noteworthy…my true aquaphobe (Tafi) has been CURED!

That’s right! Her majesty is over the antics and is now committed to learning how to hold her breath so that she can stay “under the water for a long time” (she means longer than a ½ a second…I AINT COMPLAININ’, I’M JUST SAYIN’).

Honestly, I am SOOOO proud of the girls! They were HAPPY and EXCITED to KEEP ON SWIMMING!

An added bonus ...we have made friends with a Brazilian woman (Olga) who brings her neice (Brianna) and so now they have people to practice their Portugese (free classes on Wednesdays) with! I LOVE IT WHEN THE UNIVERSE ALIGNS IN SUPPORT OF MY PLOT TO ENGINEER GENIUSES!!! WOOHOOHAHAHA!!!



Out of nowhere it came
and hit me like a ton of bricks
It laughed and sputtered
At my usual bag of tricks
weakened and dazed
hot , cold, shivering, boiling
Nose dripping and stuffy
Sinuses pounding in rythym with my racing heartbeat.
Throat stratchin' and head pounding
In rythym with my racing heartbeat
Through the haze, I heard the words..."If you don't sit down,
He'll sit you down..."
Ok God, I hear you...I'm sitting down now.