Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blog Hop and Giveaway…Join Us and Create Your Future at CRAFT!

Welcome to the
CRAFT: Creating Reflective Art for Transformation
Blog Hop!

This event is brought to you by our team at Scrapbooking from the Inside Out, the premier source for inspiration to explore your inner world. Six talented and well-known instructors will be leading creative and meaningful workshops using our generous sponsors’ latest and greatest products at this intimate, boutique event right on the beach in beautiful
Santa Monica, CA, November 11-13, 2011.

You’ll spend a magical weekend focused on embracing who you truly are and gaining the skills, techniques and tools to use our craft to understand yourself more deeply on an ongoing basis.

Are you just beginning at this blog? Make sure you stop at all the blogs on the list so you don't miss all the project, venue and special event sneak peeks
and your chance to win one of six kits!

Here's a sneak of one of my favorite parts of the event - the beautiful and beachy decor we're creating to make you feel welcome, comfortable and creative!

If you get lost, a list of all the stops on the hop is at the end of this post.

Three full days of crafting, creativity and camaraderie for only $450
(three consecutive monthly payments of $150 each.)
Spots are still available for this unique, pampering and heart-expanding getaway.
Register now at the event blog HERE.


• 6 emotion-focused, technique-teaching personal workshops ~ All CRAFTers participate in every class.
No need to choose ~ they're ALL yours in
CRAFT’s ocean-view,
beautifully styled, creative space
• 4 special Art and Soul experiences

• Scrumptious breakfasts and lunches from Hollywood hot spot Urth Caffe
~ Friday, Saturday and Sunday
• Sweets, treats and beverages all day long
• Transportation from The Ambrose to and from the Annenberg Beach House for all workshops and activities via the CRAFTy Cab
• Oodles of workshop supplies
(you’ll just need to bring your basic tool kit – checklist to be provided later)
• A fabulous welcome gift, a CRAFTy tote filled with goodies,
valuable giveaways and fun prizes!
*Lots more details on girls’ night out dinners, airport transportation, location, hotel and event venue and more are available HERE.
For questions, comments and special requests, please email me here.

The Dates:
November 11-13, 2011
The Times:
Workshops from 9-5 each day, broken into two sessions.


 What really sets CRAFT apart is unique mission of Scrapbooking from the Inside Out, kit club, inspiration source and online community. Thousands of participants all over the world have used SFTIO’s resources to explore their deepest emotions. They’ve lifted themselves and each other exploring Freedom, Gratitude, Anticipation and Wonder. They’ve faced their inner doubts and fears delving into Regret, Yearning, Loss and Vulnerability.

SFTIO’s trademarked and industry-exclusive approach to artistic motivation is the heart and soul of what makes us unique. Our monthly inspiration page with hand-selected music, stock photography, quotations and deep journaling prompts elevates scrapbooking to an expressive art form where members are guided to truly explore their inner worlds.
Click here for links to past Inspiration Pages to see more.

SFTIO raises the bar even more by providing challenges using the prompts that add a design twist, teaching members to use ‘visual journaling’ – powerful symbolism – to combine right and left brain expression. The result? Meaningful, rich, pages and projects that reflect all of who you are, Inside and Out.

CRAFT workshops will incorporate a variety of tested, proven multimedia inspiration tools combined with the special talents and techniques of a stellar teaching staff, supported by Art Therapist Rita Coufal, PhD and Artist/Therapist Joy Mauldin, PhD.

Growth is a journey…not a destination. And it’s a most personal one…only you know what you need out of this experience. In the intimate, supportive setting we've created for you, you’ll have the opportunity to practice being more and more yourself.

Our take on scrapbooking and creativity isn’t about a quick fix, or a set of ‘positive thinking’ reminders. It’s about a deeper approach, telling your truth – pretty or not, looking at both sides of the coin, and leaving our weekend together with the
creative skills and tools to be
more fully expressed in your life.


While you’ll be learning amazing techniques, styles, tips and techniques in every workshop, these are not cookie-cutter sessions – you’ll be challenged to dig deep, learn about yourself and personalize your project to reflect who you are and who you want to be.

American Crafts Design Team and Product Designer

Hambly Screen Prints Design Team

Mixed Media Designer

Copic Certified Designer

Creating Keepsakes Dream Team 2011
Lily Bee Design Team
Jillibean Soup Design Team

Copy/Creative Editor for Northridge Publishing
American Crafts Blog Hostess/Design Team

Founder and President,
Scrapbooking from the Inside Out

Creating Keepsakes Dream Team 2011
Prima Design Team
And now for a giveaway!

In celebration of CRAFT, SFTIO is giving away FIVE kits to FIVE lucky readers…make sure to leave a comment (before Noon Pacific Time on 9-15) on each blog you visit in the hop to increase your chances of winning. Tell us please, in your comment, what emotion you’d love to explore in your scrapbooking! Winners will be chosen from all blog comment entries and will be announced on 9-16 on the SFTIO blog.

For your next stop, make sure to check out Amy Tan's Blog here. Good luck and we hope to see you at CRAFT!

Hop List:

SFTIO: http://scrapbookingfromtheinsideout.blogspot.com
Stacy Cohen: http://stacycohen.blogspot.com/
Linda Barber: http://milesofpaper.blogspot.com/
Paige Ramos: http://thebumpyride.blogspot.com  
Amy Tan: http://amytangerine.blogspot.com/
Paige Evans: http://chrisandpaige.blogspot.com/
Tammy Onderdonk Klass: http://createdreamlive.blogspot.com/
Seven Gypsies: http://www.sevengypsies.blogspot.com/
Ly T. Le: http://www.lytlescrapper.com/
Melissa Elsner: http://theprofoundbrunette.blogspot.com
Jillibean Soup: http://www.jillibeansoup.typepad.com/
Rita Barakat: http://letsembellish.blogspot.com/
Kai Baldwin: http://www.enjoytheridetoday.blogspot.com/
CRAFT Blog: http://craftbeachretreat.blogspot.com/

Till next time...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Loose Ends

Hello riders, I'm baaaacccckkk and I can assure that I haven't absconded with Mari's beautiful BELIEVE charm; nor should you attribute my absence to my sulking over the mere two entries in my first EVER give away attempt (because I certainly wasn't.)  AND based on that almost inexcusable run on sentence, you can probably tell that I'm ready to start writing again and  I promise that I'm gonna do my best to make "The Bumpy Ride" better than ever! 

So first things first... I'd like to congratulate Bernice, as she is the winner of Mari's incredible, inspiration charm.  I apologize for my delay in posting this announcement, but I have found that writing my blog is very much like going to the gym - once I don't do it for a couple of days, it becomes easier and easier to put off.  Although I don't feel good about admitting that or doing it; so I'm going to make an extremely conscious effort to resume both regularly.

If this isn't your first time at this rodeo, then  I'm sure that you can't believe that I'm starting my third paragraph and I have yet to mention my birthday OR my trip to New York; so I'll say this - in a word, it was AMAZING!  AND this -  I plan to write about my trip extensively and include many pictures; but I'm going to break the trip up into several posts - so please stay tuned...

There are few things in this life that I like better than vacation; but getting back into your routine AFTER a trip is exhausting.  I've had a ridiculous amount of work at my job, I'm sadly trying to get my kids ready to go back to school on Monday, I've been helping DJ Louie V choose songs for the '81 reunion that he's DJaying tonight AND I've been in pursuit of a new background for "The Bumpy Ride", because I feel like I wanna give it a fresh new look for my brand new year.  SO with that bein' said, I would GREATLY appreciate any recommendations of sites with free blog backgrounds.  I'm lookin for somethin vintage-y or scrapbook-ish so if you know of a site that you think I should check out, PLEASE lemme know.
Once my blog has been redecorated I'll be back again and raring to go.  I'm thinking that I'll try to write a minimum of once a week, and use some of my other time to get my work seen by more than just my five readers.  And in the interest of (say it with me) "The Greater Good", I have to say that it would be very easy for me to feel dejected and disappointed in the lack of response to my contest, BUT I'm choosing not  going to waste my time feeling that way.  After all, to quote Victor Kiam, "‎"Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward." 
Till next time...

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Today I am 44, and other then when I said "I do" to Luis, or "Hi, I'm your Mama" for the first time to Nicky, then  Lyndzi, then Kelsie - there have been never been words that I wanted to say more. 

When I posted "100 Random Things About Me"  # 14 was "My parents and paternal Grandfather all died at the age of 43 and that WON'T be me."  I firmly believed that when I wrote it, and so upon my 43rd birthday I decided to challenge myself and write my blog every day for the year plus my 44th birthday.  I liked the idea of taking the opportunity to make something terrific out of something terrifying; and, if you've been following me for a while, then you know that last night "I Did It" and I wrote the final post of my 43rd year.

So here we are; I'm sure that you're wondering what more I could possibly have to say after 365 consecutive posts; but you knowme,  I'm a giver and I like to spread my happiness so I had to come back and celebrate my victory with you.

I've received more well wishes and congratulations for my birthday and my blog, than I could have ever imagined and I feel truly blessed.  So in honor of my birthday, I've decided that I'm going to give a gift to one lucky rider.  Yes, for the first time EVER on "The Bumpy Ride", I'm doin a giveaway and I hope that you will all participate and SPREAD THE WORD!

You may recall that when I posted "ASPIRE" I told you that my incredibly, talented friend Mari had been making what I called "inspiration charms", and she graciously offered to make me one and ASPIRE was my word.  Well Mari's thoughtfulness and generosity didn't end there, because she has now donated one of her beautiful necklaces.for me to give as a gift to one of you.  Mari asked me to select the word for the necklace and I chose one that I feel encompasses the message that I've been trying to impart throughout "The Bumpy Ride" - BELIEVE!  

Yes my friends, this stunning, handmade, original necklace can be yours, if you leave me a comment.  Now being that I am the Queen of FOLLOWING THE RULES , ya gotta know that there are a couple, so here we go:

1.   In order to win you must follow "The Bumpy Ride" so if you're not already signed up; please do so, because I would hate for you to miss this fabulous opportunity.

2.  Leave your comment with the name of your three favorite posts (BUT they can't be any that were mentioned in this blog.)

3.  Because I know that it will take a while to meander around my previous posts, the deadline for comments will be August 5.  Take your time, look around, read an old favorite or try something that you may have missed.  

New riders are absolutely eligible to win as long as they sign up to follow, so in the interest of (say it with me) the GREATER GOOD; please make sure to to refer your friends to "The Bumpy Ride."

I'm really excited about giving this gift away, and ALL that this new year has in store for me.  Lyndzi and I will be taking the red eye to New York tonight and I can't wait to come back and share all of my Big Apple adventures and reunions with you.
Till next time...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

(43-365) I Did It!

In honor of this auspicious occasion, I can think of nothing more appropriate than to quote Dora the explorer and say "I did it, I did it, I did it - HURRAY!  Ya I did it!" I know that Dora says "we" not "I", but my monkey sidekick had nothing to do with writing "The Bumpy Ride" for 365 consecutive days, so I hope you'll permit me some creative license on that one.

When I wrote "43" on July 28, 2010, I said that I was committing to write EVERY day for a year PLUS my 44th birthday, so in fact my journey is not quite over; but I think that since this is the last night of my 43rd year it's appropriate for me to review all that I've learned during this excruciating endeavor so that tomorrow I can make a fresh start on a brand new year and the rest of my life. 

To quote myself in "43", "I believe this needs to be a year of recollection, reflection, observation, appreciation, and change; and I plan to do this right before your very eyes."  And, I'm delighted to say that I believe I have.  I've taken you on many walks down my memory lane.  Some strolls were happy and amusing while others were painful and heartbreaking.  I told you "My real life love story", and many, many tales of trial and tribulation.  I got definitions published in "The Urban Dictionary" and entered and lost my first essay contest.  I've written about fear, courage, optimism, perseverance, grief, empathy, sympathy and laughter.  I've shared quotes and songs from various genres, and demonstrated my prowess at Six degrees of Kevin Bacon.  I reported on a season each of soccer and swim team, enlisted your assistance with an art contest and battled an Art Nazi!  I've had thrills and spills, a number of firsts, and made several discoveries.  I found and fell in love with my cousin Jackie, I got three new jobs,  I renewed friendships, strengthened friendships and ended friendships.  I've taken chances and advocated for myself like I never have before.  I gave support, advice, and of course, recommendations for the (say it with me) GREATER GOOD!  And I truly couldn't be more proud of myself than I am right now.

When I wrote "Five Hundred" I mentioned that writing "The Bumpy Ride" every day for this year had been both a blessing and a curse.  I didn't elaborate on the negative; because ya know I like to accentuate the positive.  Yet I will admit that this challenge was far more taxing than I ever imagined.  The truth is that I usually give more though to what I'm gonna have for dinner than I did to what a big (yes) HUGE undertaking a daily commitment would be.  No matter how physically or emotionally tired I was - I had to write.  No matter what fun activity was awaiting me - I had to write.  No matter my location -I had to write.  And so with pad in hand I wrote as night fell upon the drive in.  I typed in a word document at the lake, in Laughlin, and while camping. Then I had to go find a public place with wi-fi so that I could capture the perfect picture to accompany the post and publish it.  I wrote from Las Vegas, and California (twice), not to mention having to get up extra early so that I could publish a post before spending the day in Disneyland.  Each blog took anywhere from half an hour to five to write.  And the award for the blog that took the longest to author, goes to "The Hostess With The Mostess", which I wrote while attending the best crop EVER at Mari's hobby  house.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining at all.  For me the pros definitely outweighed the cons AND now that I know for certain that I really can commit to doing something EVERY day; I'm gonna get my butt back to the gym, so that (hopefully) this time next year, I'll be able to report that I finally lost the hundred pounds that I've been talking about FOREVER.

If I've learned anything this year, it's this: First, I can do ANYTHING that I set my mind too.  Second, if you want to change your circumstances YOU can.  Third, you are only as limited as you allow yourself to be.  And fourth, to quote RuPaul  "What other people think of me is not my business."   

Once again I  want to thank everyone who has joined me on "The Bumpy Ride" this year and I implore you to keep coming back for more.  Even though this is the end of my year, it is really only the beginning.  I am so looking forward to sharing "44" with you tomorrow, so please make sure to stop by, as I'll be revealing  a very special surprise.
Till next time...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

(43-364) If I Were A Flower...

It may come as a surprise that with less than forty eight hours remaining in my 43rd year, I don't have some big, profound thoughts to share tonight.  But you know I like to keep you on your toes.  AND, I sure would hate for you to think I was being predictable.  So instead, I'm gonna do probably the last thing that's expected of me on this monumental 364th out of 366 posts and I'm gonna share a topic from Mari's "Memories & Thoughts" jar.

My kids and I looked through the many choices that I still have left and I chose "If you were a flower, you'd be a..."  Kelsie immediately screamed out "A Rose", and although I'm fond of them; that's not what I'd be.  No, I'm not as stoic as a Rose, as prim as a Rose, or as perfect as a Rose.  Nor would I want to be. 

If I were a flower, I'd be a Gerber daisy.  Or Gerbera if you say tomato.  Gerber's are straight forward. They are what they are and they make no excuses.  They're  brightly colored, happy flowers.  Little rays of sunshine if you will.  In fact, I've never seen a Gerber that I didn't like and I actually can't say the same about a Rose.    

When I see a Gerber daisy, I get a smile on my face.  Their simple beauty is a joy to behold, and I definitely wouldn't mind if someone thought the same about me.  Gerber daisies are affordable and they're pretty low maintenance; so I can't imagine that there's anyone who wouldn't love them. And after all, isn't that what we all want - to be loved and appreciated?

So what about you?  If YOU were a flower, you'd be a...
Please leave me a comment and let me know.
Till next time...

Monday, July 25, 2011

(43-363) Five Hundred

As the "43" series and my 43rd year are soon coming to an end, I'm reaching all kinds of milestones.  For instance, tonight's post is entitled "Five Hundred" as this is my 500th all time post on "The Bumpy Ride"!!  It hardly seems possible to me, but when you take into consideration that tonight's post is also my three hundred sixty third consecutive blog; it's not so difficult to understand how I arrived here.

I remember deciding to take a stab at writing a blog like it was yesterday.  I'd been having such a great time spewing my opinions about the Oscars and the fashions, that when Michelle M suggested that I write a blog, I thought I'd give it a shot.  Even though quitting's not my nature, I almost threw in the towel when I found out that I had to create  a title, a sign off name, and commit to what I was going to write about, because the tasks seemed so daunting.  But in no time at all - I knew.  To call my blog "The Bumpy Ride" only seemed natural, since I really do write like I talk -which is one of the reasons that (as you may have noticed),  my punctuation isn't usually correct.  This in and of itself makes for a bumpy journey - I know; but the name also derived from my storytelling style - which to this day I think fits it perfectly.  As for the subject matter, I've stuck to what I know.  My real life (bizarre as it is sometimes), pop culture,  and my observations about anything and EVERYTHING.  

Over time, "The Ride" has evolved into recommendations for (say it with me) "THE GREATER GOOD", and life lessons as I learn them.  In 500 posts I have yet to figure out why, although I'm so self-conscious, fear ridicule AND criticism; I never hesitate to share my most embarrassing moments, and my frequent faux pas with you.

From moment one, I explained that I wanted to become a professional writer, and even though I still may be a long way off from that ever happening; I feel like if even in a very small way, my stories have somehow made a difference.

The "43 " series has been the brunt of my 500 posts and deciding to write is has been both a blessing and a curse.  I've chronicled the year that theoretically could have been my last.  I was distracted, I was observant and I didn't miss a minute.  I documented my life past, and present and now have a testament to everything that I thought and did this year; which if nothing else, will be something that my children will be able to remember me by when I'm gone (a long, long time from now.) So yes, ultimately I truly do believe that it was a small price to pay for  the inconveniences.

My hope is that one day 500 will be the number of followers that I have, or the number of lives that I've positively impacted, or the number of dollars that I'm being paid for an article or to speak publicly.

I owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who has encouraged and supported me throughout my 500 posts.  Thank you to anyone who's shared my link, left a comment, or took the time to read.  I look forward to getting started on the next 500.
Till next time...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

(43-362) Five For Five

If I were a cartoon, at this very moment you'd see my picture with the light bulb turning on over my head.  So here are the facts:  including today's post, I have just FIVE to go up to and including my birthday.  Being that I only have FIVE posts to go, I felt like I should incorporate FIVE of something in this post; just because I've mentioned how much I love when someone on the Scrapbooking from the Inside Out message board comes up with a new "Gimme Five" topic. AND I've even shared some of them with you before.

Given those details, I racked my brain to try and come up with a "Gimme Five" theme; but for the life of me I couldn't think of one.  The only thing that I kept going back to was "Happily Divorced", Fran Drescher's new show - because I've been wanting to write about it for a few weeks now and tell you how funny I think it is.  I thought about choosing, Five new shows that I'm / You're watching now; but as I could only think of three; that wasn't a good choice.  Then all of a sudden it dawned on me (hence the light bulb) that one of the reasons I'm enjoying "Happily Divorced" so much, is because I really love Fran Drescher.  There's something about her that I find endearing.  Although I'm not thin, or gorgeous, and I don't have a thick New York accent, I realte to her and I'm always in her corner.  I think she's hysterically funny and loving and strong.  Fran is one of those stars that I could see myself being friends with; if in some weird kinda universe that was possible. SO, with that being said Gimme Five famous women that you think you should be friends with.  And here are mine:

#1.  Fran Drescher  - My inspiration for this post. 

#2.  Ricki Lake   - I've been a Ricki fan ever since she was in the original "Hairspray."  I find her to be easy going and down to earth and she seems like a lot of fun.  I've seen her as a guest on talk shows and she and I have a lot in common, including our desire to become a doula (a woman who assists during labor and after childbirth.)

#3.  Rosie O'Donnell - Now  I can't say that I feel this way right at the moment but when Rosie had her talk show (pre going off on Tom Selleck ) I really felt like I had a connection with her and that if  by chance we ever met; we would definitely be friends.

#4.  Marisa Tomei - Again just that easy going, down to earth kinda gal.  I think she has great energy and depth.

#5.  Annabeth Gish -  For some reason I feel like I have to remind you of who she is.  It just so happens that Annabeth was in three of my ALL -TIME favorite movies EVER...  She played Julia Roberts younger sister in "Mystic Pizza."  She was in "SHAG" and She  played Timothy Hutton's girlfriend in a film that coincidentally starred Rosie O'Donnell in one of her best roles - "Beautiful Girls."   I don't know as much about Annabeth as I do about my other choices, so it's possible that I'm picking her based on the characters that she's portrayed; but I get a feeling that it's more than that and since this is JUST a game, I'm gonna stick with her and my intuition.

So now it's your turn... Gimme Five famous women that you think you should be friends with.  As always you can comment here, on Facebook, or email me
Till next time...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

(43-361) DJ Louie V

If you've been riding for a few months, then you may be interested to know that tonight was DJ Louie V's debut.  Yes, tonight Luis DJ'd my company's very first reunion, and although I woulda been nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rockin chairs, (I must be channeling Dolly Parton) - Luis was cool as a cucumber.

Luis has been practicing for several weeks now, and I think that he got really comfortable with the equipment and I have to say that I was REALLY impressed with how confident he was; AND how great his mixes sounded.

I had planned to go to the reunion for few hours, just to support Luis but my boss enlisted my help, so I greeted people and helped them find their name badges.  Once again I found myself in the midst of a sociological smorgasbord.  Between the fashions, the shoes, and the demeanors; I was in my people watching glory.

Sadly, just as people were getting on the dance floor, it was time for me to get back home to my kids, so I can't tell you how successful the reunion / Luis, was or wasn't.  BUT regardless, I am SO proud of Luis for pursuing one of his dreams.  He's always wanted to be a DJ and tonight he got paid to do so.  So if you ask me, Luis ROCKS!!

Now since I'm in total dance mode after spending a few hours at the reunion, I'm going to share a dance video that Luis forwarded to me.   Check it out and ENJOY!!
Till next time...

Friday, July 22, 2011

(43-360) PEARLS...

I feel the need to lighten things up today.  Was that a sigh of relief I heard?  "My Story - Part 1 and Part 2" took a lot out of me - and I suspect you.  So today I wanna share some real pearls of wisdom that for the most part come from a rather unexpected source.

Luis joined Facebook a lil late in the game and even once he did, he rarely got on.  I'm not sure what caused his change of heart but now it's safe to say that he's definitely a fan.  More often than not, he seems to post his statuses while he's at work, so I have no idea where or how he's obtaining the gems that he's been sharing; but for the last week or so - he's had some great ones. 

Now don't get me wrong, Luis is not suddenly a poet or philosopher; I mean he IS the man who posted and I quote, "IF YOU SEE SOME ONE SEXY SAY HEYYYY.. HEYYYY POOH..!!"  ( He was talking to me, when he said "Pooh.")   He was pretty proud of this post and he told me to go look for it before I ever saw it.  He said that it was a line in a song that he couldn't get out of his head.  I later heard the song and determined that he was listening to it with his accent, because that's not EXACTLY what it said; but I was flattered nonetheless.   

The statuses that followed were the ones that I was even more impressed by.  Now he doesn't always give credit to the authors, so to some less knowledgeable Facebook friends, he may appear to be one profound dude (and he is); but my point is, I'm not going to go look the quotes up and credit the authors today.  I'm just going to share exactly what Luis has posted:

"Love others as they are, not as you want them to be."

"Books alone don't make good students. Kids need caring teachers at school and loving parents at home."

"Trust yourself. you know more than you think you do."

"There is nothing wrong by been different!"  (OK, on this one he must have been spelling with his accent because I'm pretty sure it should have said "being" different.)

"Love all. Trust few. Do wrong to no one."

" When I'm sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead."

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." 
~ Albert Einstein

"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly."  (Now that one got varied responses...)

"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." 

"Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow."

Rest assured, that I absolutely had his permission to share his musings with you, (my comments and all).  And although I'm certain that it appears like I'm pokin a little bit of fun at him - trust me when I tell you that I am so appreciative of the fact that these concepts are important and noteworthy to him.  Talk about (say it with me) "The Greater good."
Till next time...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

(43-359) My Story - Part 2

Let me start off by saying that I truly appreciate the heartfelt comments that I've been receiving in response to yesterday's post "My Story - Part 1".  Perhaps most bloggers wouldn't start chapter two of a story that way, but then again; I'm not most bloggers. 

If you read part 1 of my story, then I probably don't need to warn you that this is not a happy tale.  In fact, today's recollection is much more difficult for me to tell -  but I'm going to do it no matter how uncomfortable it is; because I want to leave a written record of what my life was like and how I got to be who I am now...

I did not speak to my mother at my father's funeral.  I didn't know what to say, and at the time I still believed all of the horrible lies that my father had told me about her.  My father's girlfriend made arrangements for my boyfriend and I to spend a week with a friend of mine who lived in Maryland; and upon my return she told me that I had to meet with my mom because I was going to have to go back to live with her.  There were a lot of hurt feelings on both ends I know, but my mother welcomed me back with open arms; and slowly but surely I reciprocated.

We had my Sweet 16 as planned, and a few days later I was admitted to the hospital for Arthroscopic knee surgery; which also had been scheduled before my father had passed away.  School was set to start a few weeks after that, and I didn't want to go to the high school that was by my mom's house since I had been teased terribly throughout Jr, high.  Because my mom understood how important it was to me to remain at Tappan Zee,  she made arrangements with my Principal so that I could use a friend's address and continue going to school there.  As a result of my knee surgery, I had an enormous cast on my left leg, from my ankle to my thigh and  since TZ was a good twenty minutes from my house, my mom went out of her way to drive me to school every morning and she paid someone to drive me home.

I got on with my life, adjusting to not having a father and getting reacquainted with my mother.  Then one day I was called to the Principal's office.  I was informed that I had enough credits to graduate that spring; but since I was only sixteen and had just gone through a truly, traumatic experience, I didn't feel ready to leave my new home.  I opted to stay with my mom, who had been in remission from her Cancer and took classes for college credit during my senior year.  My house became the party house, and all of my friends loved spending time with my mom. She was different.  She was honest with us, and she was fun, and funny and I had far too little time with her.

After being weight listed for my school of choice, my mom and I took a last minute trip to visit two of the Long Island University campuses.  Ultimately she and I agreed that Southampton was the right place for me; but imagine my surprise when on the first day of school, every other person I met was a marine biology major and I was there for Pre-law.  I thought there must have been some mistake.  I mean science was definitely not my forte and pardon the pun, but I felt like a real fish outta water.  I came to be assured that there were other majors at LIU-Southampton; it was just that most people did go there for Marine bio.  Most people, like my suite mate Michele Q.

During our getting to know you exercises Michele Q and I discovered that we had the same birthday.  And at the time, other than our birthdays and our residence, I thought that was all that we had in common.  It wasn't that I didn't like Michele Q; in retrospect, maybe I was just jealous.  She was vivacious, and confident and she walked around singing (beautifully) at the top of her lungs, and maybe just maybe I felt a little threatened by her. 

My mom came out for parents weekend, and she looked great.  I suppose that's why it was such a surprise that she ended up back in the hospital by Halloween.  Her cancer had come back, and I needed to get home to see her.  I was scared and I didn't want to go alone and when I asked if any of my suite mates would go home with me, Michele Q was the only one to say she would.  Michele enlisted our other suite mate Monique to come with us and they managed to turn a very frightening experience into a life changing event.  Michele came home with me every weekend to go see my mom in the hospital.  She had become my best friend; my sister. 

We almost lost my mom at Christmas time, but she managed to hold on.  I returned to school after the New year, but a week into my second semester, my Uncle called to say that my mom was being released from the hospital as there was nothing more that they could do for her, and I needed to withdraw from school, come home and take care of her.

When I got back to my mom's house, I found her in a hospital bed in our living room.  My grandparents had said that they would stay to help and there would be home health aides coming daily as well.  I enrolled at Rockland Community College, and I got a job at a bakery because I couldn't stand to be at home watching my mother deteriorate.  I would get up in the middle of the night when she called me for help, but I did so begrudgingly and that is a cross that I will always have to bare.  I won't make excuses for myself, but I do realize that I was 18 and for the second time in three years I was going to lose a parent.  I was watching my mother be slowly tortured and it was killing me; so no, I wasn't in good spirits when I tried to assist her and I will forever regret that.

While the Cancer took over my mom's body and she had no idea who I was; I had reapplied to the American University School of Justice in Washington D.C and got in.  But knowing that it wouldn't be long before we were going to lose my mom, I decided that I should stay closer to home for my brother's sake and I made plans to return to LIU in the fall.    Feeling like I was going to need to focus on more than just academics, I had applied to become a Freshman Student Assistant and after an extensive interview process I was selected for a position.  FSA training was scheduled for a week before school started, but knowing that my mom's end was near, I couldn't bring myself to leave.  I called Michelle Q, who had just arrived home after spending the  summer in Suriname.  And as soon as I told her how dire things had become with my mom, she literally dropped off her suitcases and got on a bus to come up to see me.

In the only moment of lucidity that my mom had experienced in weeks, she told Michele that she needed to pack me up and take me back to school.  I didn't want to go because I knew that I would never see my mom again, but Michele insisted as it was my mother's dying wish. 

I don't remember saying goodbye to my mother, as the person that I left in that hospital bed was a mere skeleton and not the exquisite, exuberant mom that I had grown to know and love.  I think that I must have cried almost all the way to school, but Michele reassured me that she would be there for me; and she was.

A few days after classes had started, I got the call that I knew was inevitable.  On September 11, 1986 my mom had lost her long, battle with Cancer and at the age of 19, I was parentless.  Michele and some other school friends took me home for the funeral and I attempted once again, to get on with my life.

My Uncle had moved in with my brother, as he was 17 and still needed to finish high school.  I tired to go home for Christmas, but I felt so uncomfortable there, that I never went back.  My Provost knew about my situation and as I wasn't eligible for work study, he created jobs for me so that I could live on campus during winter and summer breaks.

I worked as an FSA, I was Student Government Secretary for a year and a half, and President my senior year.  I changed my major to Sociology because I decided that I didn't want to be a lawyer and I didn't want to lose all of the college credits that I came in with from high school and I decided not to attend my graduation because even though Michele  and my dad's old girlfriend would have been there for me; I thought that it would just hurt too much.

After I lost my father, I thought to myself  that losing someone so unexpectedly must be so much more awful than knowing that someone was going to pass away.  But after watching my mom suffer the way she did, I can honestly say that in my opinion,  knowing is by far worse.   

I know that this story is an unusual one, and I readily admit that these experiences have left me with profound scars.  But each day I try to be the best person that I can be and I endeavor to be a person that my mom would be proud of.  I don't hold a grudge against Richie Howell, I just don't have any fond memories or good thoughts about him. Yet despite him and the course that he set in motion for my life,  I am happy.  I know that although I lost a lot at an early age, I also have so much more than most people, in the way of those who love and care for me.  
Till next time...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

(43-358) My Story - Part 1

To quote Steve Martin in "The Jerk", "My story?  OK..."  I know Big V appreciated that reference, and hopefully it gave a smile to any other "Jerk" fans out there; and I'll give this disclaimer now, that's probably the only mildly amusing part of tonight's post.  358 days into my 43rd year and I realized that although I've mentioned numerous times that both my mom and dad passed away when they were 43, I never told you how.  Because their deaths and the circumstances surrounding their passings are such a big part of who I am and why, I feel that I can't let this year go by, with out telling you my story.  So settle in, and be prepared to sit a spell, because this just may be the bumpiest ride EVER.

I remember that when I was a kid, people used to tell me that they never knew a couple more in love than my mom and dad.  I suppose this is why many were so surprised by their separation - but not me.  When I was in sixth grade my dad had heart failure and ultimately it was determined that he needed to have open heart surgery.  One night, a few weeks before his operation, he came up to say goodnight to me and he told me that if he survived the surgery he was going to leave my mother.  Being 11 I had no idea what to do or say so I kept this information to myself.  He had the surgery on May 17, 1979 and did survive, but he did not move out until November when I was on a weekend, class trip to Washington D.C and my mom was one of the chaperones.  We came home from what had been a really great trip, only to find out that he didn't live with us anymore.

I've mentioned before that Richie Howell never seemed too interested in being a dad.  But once he'd moved out, he started paying more attention to my brother and I.  We went to Broadway shows, and restaurants and he even asked us if we wanted to come and live with him.  I was conflicted about where I wanted to live, because for once my father was paying positive attention to me and my mom was dating a man that I did not like and he was coming between us.  I felt that my mom chose this man over me one night when I asked her not to go out because I'd had a tooth pulled, but he convinced her to leave me.  I called my father upset (remember I was 12) and he came over; but when my mom got home and found him there, she was not too happy with me.  After my father had left, I told my mom that I didn't like this man and she slapped me across the face.  It was this altercation that made me decide to go and live with my dad and forever changed the course of my life.

Shortly after arriving at my father's I realized that he was using my brother and I so that he wouldn't have to pay money to my mother.  We lived in a two bedroom apartment.  My dad had bought himself a beautiful bedroom set and the furniture store had given him a loaner set till his was delivered.  As they never asked for the set back, he put it in the second bedroom that I had to share with my brother.  The bedroom sets were the only furniture in the apartment other than a card table and four folding chairs.  It wasn't that my dad couldn't afford to furnish the apartment, because believe me , he could.  It was just that he said he didn't want to buy furniture for the apartment when he intended to buy a house once their divorce was final, and then he would have to buy new furniture again, which he didn't want to do.  We lived this way for two years, although my brother would move back and forth between my mom and dad's a couple of times.

While I lived with my dad I didn't talk to my mom, because he had convinced me that she'd been saying terrible things about me.  We had no relationship to speak of and that is the biggest regret of my life.  I was a child, being badly influenced by her father, and it wasn't until he died that I learned the truth.

During my first year of high school, my father informed me that my mom had been diagnosed with Cancer.  He suggested that we might move back home with her, but ultimately he decided not too.  Then the summer before I went into tenth grade, my father went into the hospital to have a hernia operation and he had a heart attack as he was coming out of the anesthesia.  His health deteriorated throughout that year, but I have to be honest and tell you that his addiction to prescription drugs definitely contributed to his illness, AND I believe that he had a death wish.  For some reason he ALWAYS had it in his head that because his father passed away at the age of 43, he would too.

It was the summer of 1983, I was 15 years old, planning for my Sweet 16 party and in love for the first time.  My brother was living with us again, because me mother threatened to take out a PINS (Person In Need Of Supervision) petition on him, and  if my father didn't take him back he would have had to go into foster care.  It was only fair that my father take him, because upon my father's orders my brother had been trying to drive my mom crazy and that included verbal and physical abuse.

I was at my boyfriend's house and my brother called to ask me if we could take him for a haircut.  When I said "No", my father told him to take the bus.  He did, but when he got off, a car hit him and he was rushed to the hospital.  My father called me and told me what had happened and he insisted that we all go to the hospital to see my brother.  We did, and on the way home, it seemed like my father was trying to prepare me for his departure.  He was telling me things like, "when you're older this, " and stuff like that; but I didn't make anything of it.  As the air conditioning happened to be broken in our apartment, my father left me and my brother's girlfriend to sleep there, and he went across the street to sleep at his girlfriend's apartment. 

The next morning HE went to get a haircut, and when he came back he told me that he didn't think that he was going to make it to my Sweet 16, (which was less than one month away).  I asked if that was because he was going to have to go out of town, and he said "No, it's because I don't think I'll be alive."  I begged him to stop talking like that, and not in so many words, told him that I thought he was exaggerating; and he told me "You're a selfish, little bitch and you're going to be sorry."  He went back to his girlfriend's apartment and left me alone.

A couple of hours later his girlfriend called to tell me that my brother had been calling non-stop because he wanted to be picked up from the hospital.  She said that she was going to stop by my apartment to get my father's phone book in case they needed to call the doctor, because he hadn't been feeling well.  She asked him if he wanted to talk to me, and he said "No."  When she stopped by a few minutes later, I decided that I would go over to her apartment to check on him.  Barefooted I crossed the street and she shouted to me that her mom was going to her car to get something and I could just let myself into the apartment.  I went in and found my father slumped off the couch.  I called to him and tried to shake him, but he didn't move.  I ran outside and called to his girlfriend's mom, "Please come quick, something is wrong with my dad."  She came up, saw him and called 911.  When the paramedics arrived, I went to get my shoes, and then rode to the hospital with the police.  They asked me for some history, which I gave to the best of my knowledge.  When I arrived at the hospital, they had me sit in a private waiting room, and after some time, my brother, his girlfriend, my boyfriend and my dad's girlfriend showed up.  The doctor then came in and told us that my father had suffered cardiac arrest and died.  He said that he was dead when I found him and I was in shock.

My father's self fulfilling prophecy had come true and my life as I knew it was about to change dramatically.  Not only did I have to face my mom, who I hadn't seen or spoken to in two years; I now had no choice but to move back to live with the woman whom my father had turned into my enemy.  Interestingly enough, all of my father's plotting and scheming were for nothing as by the time he passed away, they were nowhere close to settling their divorce and he and my mom were still married.  The only thing that he succeeded in doing was robbing me of two years with my mother, for his own selfish reasons, which is why I refer to him most often as Richie Howell, instead of my dad.     

I know that this is a lot to absorb for one night; so please return tomorrow for part 2 of my story.
Till next time...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

(43-357) Follow Me

Every day I look at the numbers at the side of my screen to see how many followers I have; and for a pretty long time now, those numbers haven't changed.  I see ten followers through Google and 67 through NetworkedBlogs, and I'll be honest, I guess I really hoped that somewhere along the way, I would have picked up more; just like Julie did in "Julie and Julia."

I know that on a couple of occasions I've asked for your help before, as increasing my readership has always been one of my goals; but sadly, it just hasn't happened.  So, at the risk of seeming pushy, I'm gonna ask just one more time; since I'm nearing the end of my 366 day commitment and it's more important to me than ever that more people read my blog.  Think of it as an early birthday present for me if you will.  If each person that follows "The Bumpy Ride", could recommend it to a couple of friends that they think might enjoy it, and if even just one of those friends signs up to follow this blog, then I could actually double my followers.  Heck, I'd just settle for making it to 100 followers by my birthday. 

Making this plea, somehow reminds me of the Tony Orlando and Dawn song "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree."   If you're familiar with the song, and you've been a rider long enough, that MAY just make some sense to you, but if you've never heard the song (it's an oldie but a goodie, so take a listen.)  With that being said, if you know anyone that you think might get a laugh from my nonsense or may be  interested in my suggestions for the (say it with me) "GREATER good", then I urge you to share   "The Bumpy Ride" with them, and encourage them to sign up to follow either through  Google or Networkedblogs (on Facebook.)  If you yourself are a regular rider but you've never signed up to "follow" then I implore you to do so now, just so I will know that you're really out there. 
Till next time...

Monday, July 18, 2011

(43-356) Arizona Rain

Quite some time ago, I posted "A Lil Bit About Arizona" and I explained that Luis and I had moved from Florida to Arizona, sight unseen in January, 1997.  January was a good time of year to move here because it wasn't hot at all.  In fact I was super, surprised to experience rain almost every day that month. And if you've never been to Arizona then this is probably news to you too.

Just because we live in the desert doesn't mean that we never get rain, nor does it mean that the temperature doesn't cool down.  The truth of the matter is that typically from mid-October through mid-May our weather is delightful; and we do experience a rain storm from time to time.  The summer months and September are usually when we endure our highest temperatures; but it is true that it's a dryer heat, so it's not usually as uncomfortable as a high temp accompanied by humidity.  Don't get me wrong; I'm not gonna try and convince you that at 118 it's not HOT, cause IT IS; but at least we're not sweating profusely.

Anywho, this afternoon Kelsie and I went to Super Wal-mart for a couple of things, and as I was checking out I heard this unfamiliar, loud sound, pounding on the roof.  I asked the checker what was going on and he said "rain," to which I replied "if the rain sounds like that, it must be pouring."  I finished my transaction and went to look at the door and sure enough, it was torrential.  Kels and I decided to wait the storm out a bit in the McDonald's that's in the store.  After I thought the rain had subsided, we decided to head to the car.  We walked through the cool rain, commenting that despite the wind it really wasn't so bad.  We reached our minivan and I let Kelsie into the car.  Then just as I was about to put a bag in, she yelled "Mommy look, there's a tree on our car!"  And this is what I saw:
The tree ran the spans of our windshield. The wind had been so strong that the tree snapped and fell onto our minivan.

Kelsie asked how we were going to get the tree off of our car, and I'll admit, I wondered the same thing.  I was hoping that I could just back out slowly and that the tree would slip off.  But being that things don't always work out the way I think they will (ie "An Accident Waiting To Happen"); I wasn't certain that I was right in my thinking.  Nonetheless, not feeling like I had many options, and with the rain persisting, I decided to give my plan a try - and thankfully it worked like a charm.  Our car suffered a bent antenna, but no other damage that I could see.  As we were pulling out I snapped another pic just so I'd have more to share with you and Luis.  My minivan was under where the tree is lying in the parking spot; but what you see here was only a portion of it.
Kelsie and I drove still in shock over what happened, but proud that we'd gotten out of it as well as we did.  The worst part of all is that as we drove home, I realized that our Disney soccer antenna ball was missing.  I loved that antenna ball because it always helped me locate my car in a parking lot.  Oh well, something tells me I'm gonna be in for a bunch more parking lot related incidents until I replace that antenna ball.

So for those of you who thought it doesn't rain in Arizona; now you've seen proof.
Till next time...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

(43-355) What I've Been Missing...

The other day I read an announcement that had me very conflicted.  It said that James Spader would be joining the cast of "The Office."  Since I've mentioned James Spader in a number of previous posts, it should come as no surprise that I'm super happy that he's returning to television, BUT as I've never seen an episode of "The Office" in my life, I fear that I'd be starting a lil late in the game.  I suppose that if I had a good deal of time on my hands, I could try and watch a couple of episodes, but we all know that time is not something that I have a lot of AND the truth is, I never really had any interest in watching it, which is why I've been content to miss it.  I KNOW that "The Office" is very popular, so some of you may find it difficult to believe that I've never watched it; but just as I've missed some classic movies  there have also been several shows that I have never tuned in to.

Since my "Missing Movies" got such a good response, this seems like an opportune time, to share some TV shows that I've never seen.  Since #53 of "100 Random Things About Me" was "I have NEVER watched an episode of Star Trek." I don't feel the need to put Star Trek or any other Sci-fi type show on this list.  If it's a show that's Sci-fi, or futuristic, you can pretty much assume that I've NEVER seen it.  Ironically enough, #52 on that same list was " I will miss James Spader and "Boston Legal" terribly." 

So what else haven't I seen?  There are probably TOO many to list; so far now, since I am the Queen of FAIRNESS, I'll just 25 like I did with the movie post.

1.    ANY "CSI" show
2.   "House"
3.   "Everybody Loves Raymond"  (OK, I saw an episode in syndication once,   but just once.)
4.   "Home Improvement"
5.   "Newhart"
6.   "Modern Family"
7.   "Frasier"  (OK, maybe once but that was it.)
8.   Any "Law and Order" show
9.   "In the Middle"
10.  "Malcolm In the Middle"
11.  "Dexter"
12.  "Talk Radio"
13.  "The New Adventures of Old Christine"
14.  "Baywatch"
15.  "America's Got Talent"
16.  "Parks and Recreation" (Though I would like to check this one out)
17.  "My Name is Earl"
18.  "30 Rock"
19.  "The Simpsons"
20.  "According to Jim"
21.  "Two and a Half Men"
22.  "How I Met Your Mother"
23.  "Scrubs"
24.  "LOST"
25.  "Mad Men"

I probably could have made two separate lists, one for dramas and one for comedies; but we'll just let this suffice for now.  If you'd like to weigh in, on if I should start watching "The Office," or if you have a favorite show that you'd like to recommend, feel free to leave me a comment here or on Facebook, or you can email me.
Till next time...