Marlboro Blacks

The other day I was on the ferry on my way to work. It was a beautiful morning, the sun was shining and it wasn’t hot out yet. It was the 8:30 am boat. I was sitting next to this man who reaked of cigarettes. His nails needed to be trimmed in the worst way. He proudly showed me and the people sitting across from us his new pack of cigarettes, they were called “Marlboro Blacks”. He was so impressed with this new pack. He then told me and the people across the seat that his birthday was coming up this weekend. I said, “Happy Birthday”and feigned interest to be polite and tried not to encourage conversation. But I couldn’t be rude. Honestly you could tell there was something up with this guy I mean who would show off a new pack of cigs to strangers?

He kept talking to me though. I nodded politely and he kept talking. He told me his mother kicked him out of the house when he was 27 years old because she was convinced he robbed her. He said he was once homeless. I couldn’t bring myself to ask if he was still homeless. We talked about how the ferry ride is free and what would he do if they decided to charge money for the ferry? I didn’t have an answer.

He didn’t ask my name and I didn’t ask his. He asked me if I cooked and I said yes, for my family. He then changed the subject and told me he was attacked and raped by a group of men “up in the Bronx”. That this group of men would listen to one man and do whatever he told them to do. I didn’t know what to say after that. I thought about my family how lucky I am to have them. That I have a house and a husband who loves me and works so hard to provide for us. I felt incredibly blessed and guilty for being so blessed all at the same time. The man spoke of another man giving him $1.00 without him asking for it or showing him his cup as he took a cup out of his jacket pocket. He never asked me for money.

I wondered why God placed me there next to this man and why was he telling me all this? Was I supposed to pray with him? I couldn’t bring myself to talk about God. I couldn’t bring myself to talk about much of anything I just listened and nodded. Maybe that’s what I was supposed to do?

The boat docked and I told him I had to go. We said goodbye and I was on my way to work and returned to my regularly scheduled life.

Back to reality

Vacation is almost over and it has been a wonderful week. Great friends, great weather, and a pool and beach that did not disappoint.
I’m tanned and a bit sunburnt (even with sunscreen SPF 30 at least). I miss my dogs and cats and my own bed. I also miss my house. I will however miss my housemates that I just spent a full week with. There was no fighting, no getting on each other’s nerves. Just a wonderful week with friends.

The pool here was glorious. I haven’t spent a whole day at the pool since I was 16-17 years old. I lounged on my chair with my water and awesome book (The Time Traveler’s Wife, I strongly recommend it). Soaking up the rays and dipping in the pool when I got too hot. It sounds relaxing and really was.

I also enjoyed some shopping of course. There is a wonderful quaint shopping center in town that I enjoyed walking around in. One day my friend Bill and I went to visit the site of The Lost Colony. My understand is that the site was host to explorers from England led by John White who settled in Roanoke Island, North Carolina in 1587. John White left to go back to England and when he returned to Roanoke Island 3 years later all the settlers had disappeared. There were no bodies or graves or any word that they moved on to another land. It is truly a mystery. Bill and I happened to be there the exact day of the baptism of the first child who was born on American soil (Virginia Dare born August 18,1587). Baptised August 20, 1587. It was really interesting to be there.

So tomorrow we will begin the journey home and it will be back to reality with vacation memories to keep and reflect upon.

Not so fried chicken

That’s what we had for dinner last night. It was chicken legs coated in seasoned breading and baked. It was really good.

Yesterday I was chatting with one of my housemates about church. He asked why I chose the church I belong to. He assumed it was the people because my church has a reputation of having really nice people in attendance. I told him it was the devotionals that took place during half time at the church basketball games my girls played. The name of the league is Upward and you can read more about them at

Anyway about the devotionals. They were given by church members, staff members, pastors, and coaches. It was always a Gospel centered message and exactly what I needed to hear week after week during the basketball season. I started thinking about what I wanted and I definitely wanted a relationship with Christ.

We started attending church and our older girls became involved with the church youth groups. I accepted Christ as my saviour and on June 27, 2011 I was baptised. A couple of years later Alyssa, Daniella and Samantha were also baptized. I love the journey God has taken my family that has lead us to Him. It’s not an easy walk but I’d rather walk with the Lord than anyone else.

Vacation Continued

So while I’m on vacation I check my email and a different company that I applied for that also does flu shot clinics emailed me to let me know they were interested in hiring me per diem starting this September. The flu shot season is busiest in September, October and November.

They will be emailing me soon with access to their scheduling and I’ll be able to accept assignments. I’m excited to earn extra money and to do something different than I’m doing now.

It’s funny, Tommy and I were just talking about job opportunities for me and he was so encouraging saying that things were going to turn around and I was going to be offered another job as soon as the month of August was over.

We’re having a great time here at the beach. The weather has been nice and our friends that we are sharing the house with have been wonderful. It’s nice to be away from home for a little while.

On Vacation

Vacation time has finally arrived! It’s wonderful to be with great friends, a great house and at the beach… We drove here yesterday and I have to say I’m really enjoying this “my kids are older” stage of our life. No frequent potty breaks, no calling for me, “mommy, mommy, mommy” every 5 minutes from the back seat and minimal fighting from them. I dare say the 8 hour ride was quite pleasant.

We spent all of last night eating and drinking and talking and laughing. Perfect. Today will be a beach day. Hoping the water will be relatively calm. We all took a walk on the beach last night and saw the most amazing sand crabs. Tommy thought ahead and brought this really bright flash light. The sand crabs were totally hysterical the way they move so fast and the little baby ones were ridiculously fast.

It’s early morning here and I’m the only one up. I’m sure that will change rather quickly.

Testimonies and The Gospel

I love hearing other people’s testimonies, hearing how the Lord led them here or there, how He has worked and continues to work in people’s lives. I’ve shared my testimony here on my blog about how I met the Lord while crying and listening to “Praise You in this Storm” by Casting Crowns. Lately I’ve been thinking of how God works in my life every single day. How He orchestrates literally everything and every circumstance. How He hand picked and chose every one of my children for me. He knew He was going to give me Thomas and how difficult it was going to be to raise him. He also gave me my girls; Alyssa, Daniella and Samantha knowing how “typical” they would be. Don’t get me wrong the girls been challenging in their own ways but they are nothing like the challenges we’ve faced with Thomas.

I love how God made Thomas so resilient, that when he was 8 years old we had no other choice but to enroll him in residential school for the first time. Thomas did not want to leave us but he did it. He said goodbye to us after every visit,  many times in tears but he would bounce back and adjust to his new “home”. He’s adapted even more wonderfully to the school he attends now. I credit God with gifting him the ability to adapt to new surroundings so well. No one else could have known Thomas would need such a gift and there is no way his resilience could be learned.

I’ve been thinking about the Gospel a lot lately too. No matter how many times I think of or hear the Gospel I am so humbled to know that Christ died for us. And the way He died; brutal. I am struck at how much God loved us that He gave up his son for us. Sometimes it’s more than I can think about and wrap my brain around it. I not only believe this, I know this to be truth. It is absolute and it saddens me when people don’t get it or stay away from the church. I don’t know how to spread the Gospel outside of this blog. I’m not one to loudly proclaim it even though I know the truth in my head and my heart. I wish I were more bold in person but maybe this blog is how God wants me to be bold.

On being 45 and bathing suits part 2

So I’m really not feeling the bikini vibe even though I thought I would. I kept trying on my 2 piece bathing suits and expecting my 20 something body to suddenly reappear when I looked in the mirror. Much to my disappointment it didn’t happen. I am stuck with this “I had 4 kids and I don’t do crunches” body. So off I went in search of a new bathing suit in the middle of August. As you can imagine the pickings are quite slim. I stopped at one discount department store but had no luck. Plus the dressing room lighting and mirror seemed extra harsh and that made it even harder to determine if what I was seeing was truth or not. I thought about all the women who complain about dressing room lighting and mirrors and well they’re right. What are store designers thinking when they design dressing rooms? They aren’t thinking of flattering their customers I can tell you that.

So after dinner I started looking online at The website had a decent selection so I figured maybe the store does too.Alyssa and Daniella had plans so I dragged my 9 year old, Samantha with me. I was pretty optimistic I’d find something. After much hunting and searching I did manage to find a couple of sets that matched and were my size, unfortunately I didn’t like the way they looked. Finally after much grumbling from the 9 year old I hit the jackpot! A two piece bathing suit with netting like material that covers my whole stomach/abdominal area. The top bodice is bikini like which I love and it offers the coverage of a tankini this is the suit and I am so happy with it.

So there you have it, adventures in swim suit buying, Summer 2015. With a happy ending.

Summertime and the thrift

It’s still summer time here, the kids don’t go back to school until September 9th. I know that’s late for many parts of the country but here it’s the norm. I’ve been enjoying this lazy pace. Samantha refused to go to camp so she’s been staying up late and then sleeping late in the mornings. Daniella is only 14 and desperate to find a job but not many people will hire her at this age so she’s been home all summer as well. Soon we’ll leave for vacation and I can’t wait. To carry on this lazy pace in a different place with good friends that is near a beach sounds like a great plan.

I still go into work 2 days a week and even that has been enjoyable to have a break from staying home with the kids. Yesterday I was finished early and it stopped raining so I went thrift shopping down East 23rd st between 1st and 2nd avenues. I really enjoyed myself, I didn’t buy much just 2 tops but it was enough to satisfy my thrift craving. 3 out of the 4 thrift stores were over priced, in my cheap opinion anyway. One was a Goodwill and I wasn’t impressed. The second was a thrift store to benefit an animal rescue group and they had this little yippy barking dog there. Not pleasant and very expensive so I left without buying anything. The third was a Salvation army and that’s where I bought the two shirts, one tank and one silk sleeveless blouse, $5.98 for both. Just my speed. There were also Jimmy Choos shoes but were too small (a 6 and 1/2 for anyone who’s interested)  so I left them. They also had a gorgeous leather handbag that looked new but I’m not in the market for anymore handbags right now.  The last store I went  to benefits an AIDS foundation I believe and they are known to be pricey but I went in anyway just to look. I was there anyway. This particular store loves to put their most expensive finds behind glass cabinets and tease you (I feel teased that is) because you can’t buy those things that day.  I think they hold an auction for said expensive finds but that doesn’t interest me. Finding treasures at the thrift is more my speed. Anyway I left with nothing from there.

Samantha is now up and eating breakfast chatting up a storm to me while I write this. Time to start the day…


I have too many shoes and my husband will wholeheartedly agree with me. I can’t help it, it’s some sort of sickness and I know I’m not the only one “suffering” from said sickness. I’ve tried to downsize but I only succeed in getting rid of shoes that never fit right or are just plain ugly and I’m then having a “wth” moment. I can’t get rid of most shoes for fear I’ll need it someday with some outfit in the near and not so near future. I have a gorgeous pair of red high heeled sandals with rhinestones that I bought on sale over 10 years ago. It was the type of sale where I could not leave them there. I’ve yet to wear them. I’ve also never thought to get rid of them.

My girls love when I go through my closets and take stock of my shoes I have one pair that Daniella fell in love with a few years ago when her foot was too small for them. She made me promise to not get rid of them, to save them for her when her foot grew enough to wear them. Of course I saved them.

Even when I thrift shop I have to check out the shoes. This is one instance where I don’t buy shoes all that often. I’m funny that when I buy thrifted shoes they must be in like new or new condition. The only exception are high end designer shoes. I’ve thrifted Louboutins, Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks in nice condition and happily skipped out of the store with my treasures. I’ve also found Manolos for a good friend I think I was as excited as she was.

So maybe this fall I’ll take another look at my shoes and see about downsizing…Maybe.

On Bathing suits and being 45

So…we leave for vacation soon. We’re going to a beach town and renting a beach house. We’re going with a couple of other families and we’re all friends and get along so it should be all good.

I’m going through my clothes and bathing suits deciding what to bring; what not to bring. Trying things on and being ultra critical. I know every woman goes through this. What to wear on the beach? Do I dare wear a bikini??  A two piece bathing suit that isn’t a tankini? I know I wrote recently about medication side effects and weight gain, but lately I’m starting not to care about the weight gain. I’m 45 years old and my days of wearing a bikini are definitely numbered. Plus I’ll only know the people who I’m sharing the house with, I won’t know anyone else so that is definitely a plus. Anonymity is absolutely an advantage.  I have a very nice, acceptable one piece bathing suit that I am very comfortable wearing, probably too comfortable. It’s blue and very nice. It’s done the job extremely well the past 2 years. So I’ll bring the safe blue one of course along with the tankini and bikini and cover up. There will be no photographic evidence of which bathing suit was chosen. I’ll most likely blog about it so you’ll have to stay tuned.

In the meantime I’ll keep trying things on and looking in the mirror.