Birthdays parted by 3-years & 2-days

It is the same every year; separated by 2-days.  The birthdays of my first and second children.

 September 29

As luck would have it I started having contractions during my first son’s third birthday party while I was sitting crossed legged on the floor watching/helping “D.A.K.” open his gifts.  I was a tad embarrassed when it took three men to hoist me off the floor as I was not adequately able to fully see myself through the standing up process on my own.

We did not rush to do anything other than continue celebrating DAK’s special day as we finished enjoying time with our guests, eating hamburgers, hot dogs, cake, and ice cream.

DAK 3rd Birthday

Celebrating his 3rd birthday, DAK was excitedly opening gifts.

The contractions sporadically continued as we finished the party, said goodnight to our friends and turned in for the evening.  I was able to get a bit of rest off and on during the night and into the next day.  Late into the night of Sept. 30 and early morning Oct. 1 the contractions begin to be more consistent and timely.

October 1

Around mid-morning on Monday, 10/1/84 we decided to call the doctor’s office when we were instructed to take our time, but start getting things ready and head to the hospital.  It was mid-day when we left DAK with the sitter and explained the next time we saw him he’d be a big brother.

Upon arriving at the hospital all was pretty standard, except in New York at the time, unless you were having a Caesarean (C-section), you were given nothing, nada, zip to help with the pain and discomfort…REALLY?  Since this was my second pregnancy I already knew what to expect and worked my way through the pain.  I however, felt terrible for the first time mom who was down the hall from my room, yet sounded as though she was in the room with me; as she was not dealing well with the “no meds” rule very well at all.  It wasn’t until 1988 when “Patient-controlled epidurals, which allow women in labor to adjust the timing and frequency of their anesthesia with the push of a button, come on the scene.”  (Source:

Approximately 9:15 pm the nurses told me I was ready to deliver and would retrieve the doc from the doctor’s lounge.  As he entered the room the doctor said without batting an eye, that I was interrupting his Monday Night Football.  My response “too bad.”  Although he may have been joking…I certainly was not!

A few minutes later, at 9:29 pm, JMAK entered this world and expanded our family.


DAK and his new brother, 1 month old JMAK

So today I wish my two oldest boys a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY.  DAK turns 33 today and on Wednesday, October 1st, JMAK will be 30.  My how time flies and before we know it, we’re grandparents.

Happy Birthday boys.  Yo momma loves ya.

Climbing The Proverbial Hill


For me, birthdays are a time of reflection. I usually think about what has been, what is, and that which is yet to come.

VintageOne thing for sure, I no longer have to wonder about where I will be (physically or spiritually), who will be in my life, or what I will look like when I’m forty-eight, yes that’s right…48 years old young.

Really, considering the grand scheme of things, forty-eight is not necessiarily that old, is it?  Yet I have seen and experienced much in my life. Just to name a few…I:

  • gave birth to three terrific children
  • have been blessed with three grandchildren, with a fourth due in July
  • have experienced what marriage should be like and what it shouldn’t be like
  • have four siblings I adore and couldn’t imagine my life without them
  • lost my oldest brother (Rick) in 2004 to pancreatic cancer when he was only 42-years old (beyond devastating for our family)
  • told my mom “I love you” for the last time, ten years ago this month, when we laid her to rest
  • shared five wonderful years with the love of my life
  • was a co-owner/operator of a family restaurant
  • have seen cellphones evolve from a huge contraption into a small device that I continually misplace
  • now have one remote control that operates my television, DVD player, VCR player (yes, I still have one of those), and my cable box, when in my teen years we only had a 4-button clicker for our T.V.
  • uprooted my child and moved 1,000 miles north to be closer to and care for my dad
  • have had some amazing people enter and exit my life, some by choice, others…not

What is this “hill” anyway, and where is it?

Hill of Life

Proverbial Hill of Life

As we trek through this thing called life, some of us have a planned our path but have had to make adjustments, some just go with the flow while others merely exist with no true form, fashion, no hopes, and no desire.

When I was little I remember hearing that my mom “turned 40” and though “man, she’s old!” Ohh, what I now know. Times have significantly changed during my stint thus far on earth.  Sixty year old women look like they’re barely in their 40s (Lord, please let this be me when I hit sixty.)

Last July, when my brother “T” turned the big 5-0, I began to wonder if he reached the peak of the ‘proverbial hill;” thinking 50 is a good goal to have as the halfway mark.  Then after reading an article written by the Huffington Post which quoted the OECD on life expectancy rates in the U.S., It hit me that I may have already reached the peak of the hill and without realizing it I am now on the downward slope! YIKES!

U.S. expectancy in 2011 was 78.7 years, which is slightly below the OECD average of 80.1. For U.S. men, the average life expectancy is 76, while it’s 81 for U.S. women. (At five years, this gap in life expectancy between men and women is smaller than the OECD average of six years).

Livin’ life and making the most of it!

In all honesty, I knew when entering my 40s that I was already halfway to my expiration date. However, if you know an Aquarian, you realize that we live life to the fullest and with optimism, we have a ton of friends (although only a few make our “short” list of “close” friends), we are outgoing and enjoy people in general. According to TLC’s Birthday Astrology Guide, those born on February 11th love challenges, are goal oriented, enjoy life, grow up early, are loyal, trusting, faithful, and honest (all these things I already knew.)  Here’s some more about those born on Feb. 11th.

  • February 11 people seem to feel that no one can have too many friends. They may have a colorful love life, even if it plays second fiddle to their professional goals during their twenties and thirties. Despite their reputation for enjoying the good life, they have a domestic side.
  • February 11 individuals grow up early. They have tremendous emotional resonance and often show a marked precocity in their childhood. They often put off starting a family until later in life because of career commitments. When they become parents, they’re more than equal to the task.
  • Men and women born on February 11 are highly competitive by nature. They’re determined to make it to the top of their profession and will go to great lengths and endure hardship to achieve their aims. They are adept at making money and even better at handling it.
  • February 11 people are among the most goal-oriented of the yearly cycle. They often begin to prepare for their chosen career while children. During the intervening years, they learn lessons about sacrifice and focus. Once they achieve career goals, they are likely to set greater goals. They are all about commitment and find it hard to walk away from a challenge.

Some well known individuals who also share my birthday are Eva Gabor (1919-1995); Jeb Bush, 61; Jennifer Aniston, 45; Cheryl Crow, 52; Burt Reynolds, 78; Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931); Sarah Palin, 50; Tina Louise, 80 (Ginger from Gilligan’s Island); and Leslie Nielsen (1926-2010)

Facing the future, planning for the retirement years.

As my dear cousin Steven reminded me this morning during his birthday wish, I only have two more years to wait until I will qualify for AARP (like I’m chomping at the bit to add that title to my repertoire of accomplishments.) Question: Can you be considered a “retired person” at the age of 50 if in the United States we have to work until we are at least 62.5 years  of age before we can consider retiring and collecting our earned benefits?  How exactly does that work?  It may be the onset of dementia, but I’m a bit discombobulated on how this works.

Although I bid farewell to the close of my 48th year of life last night I do not foresee many changes for my future.  I am who I am and that’s who I am.  I guess I should get serious about retirement and how all that stuff works but that’s another topic.

I will create my new chapter entitled “My 49th Year” doing what I’ve always done. Perhaps, I’ll add a sprinkle of new adventures, skills, and accomplishments.  There are some goals I’ve been working on, so maybe one or two of them will come to fruition this year.  Regardless of what my new year holds for me…I AM READY and say “Let the adventures continue!

I will close with an email I received from my dear friend John.  He said:

  • Happy birthday, you’re not getting older you’re just a little closer to death.
  • Birthdays are like boogers, the more you have the harder it is to breathe.
  • Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that people who have the most live the longest!
  • Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.
  • Better to be over the hill than buried under it.
  • So many candles… so little cake.
  • We know we’re getting old when the only thing we want for our birthday is not to be reminded of it.
  • Happy birthday on your very special day, I hope that you don’t die before you eat your cake.
  • and last but not least; Happy birthday to a person who is smart, good looking, and funny and reminds me a lot of myself.


Birthday Surprise Weekend (Part 3) ~ B’s First Flight in a Decade

De Plane, De Plane

After being groped and searched at airport security and hurrying through the phone call while waiting to board the plane; we finally boarded and found our seats, quickly settling in for the one-hour flight to Charlotte, NC.


Pops & B, looking forward to an exciting weekend and the big surprise for the Florida family.

“B” was like a kid an a candy store.  She was so excited I thought I was going to have to administer Valerian just to calm her down (just kidding).  I know it has been many years since she’s flown, and a lot of “security” changes made, but the act of flying has basically gone unchanged.  I did have to remind her that people in flight generally like a somewhat quiet cabin as they pass the time reading or sleeping.  She quieted down as we were taking off.


Ascending to cruising altitude. “B” thought this was awesome and the clear day made it even better.

“B” took tons of pictures of the plane’s wing and the beautiful clear sky.  As the flight progressed, I glanced over a couple of times and saw a concerned look on her face when we hit turbulence.  It was a “little scary” she said.

I’ll share a secret with you, I absolutely hate take-offs and landing.  Actually to tell the truth, I really don’t care to fly at all, especially when we hit turbulence  However, for quick weekend jaunts, driving 1,000+ miles just doesn’t cut it.

Before we knew it we were preparing to land in Charlotte, then would have to find the gate for our next flight to Tampa.  Wouldn’t you know it…we land at one end of the airport and our next departing gate was waaaaaay on the other side of the building, and getting there was atrocious with people everywhere (Part 4).  How can this be when we were flying the same airline?  Still haven’t figured that one out yet.


Told ya she is a “nut”.

The second leg of our journey was just as the first, “B” was still excited to be flying and was especially hyped up on the wonderfully exciting weekend that was before us.  (I think she actually calmed down enough and snoozed a bit on the Tampa bound flight.)

Check back soon for Part 4~Moving Sidewalks

Birthday Surprise Weekend (Part 1) ~ CVG Airport Security

50th BD Surprise

Oh yeah…we’ve known for many years that 2013 would mark our only surviving brother’s 50th birthday.  Although several of us tossed around ideas of what to do for a celebration, my sister-in-law sent a text saying that she’s throwing him a surprise party on July 19th.  My sister and I promptly turned to the internet and checked to see if we could afford a “last-minute” flight to Florida.  After finding airfare that fit within our budget, we quickly reserved three seats, one each for us girls and another for dad (pops).  We decided not to let anyone know we would be there and keep it as a surprise for everyone.

After waiting two very long weeks, our departure date finally arrived.  We woke early to finish some last-minute things on our to-do list, the zipped off to the airport (a full 10 minute drive), with enough time to find long-term parking, hitch a ride on a shuttle to the ticket counter, file through security, and make it to our gate.  Once arriving at the gate, we had about 20 minutes before they started boarding.

But wait, I am getting a little ahead of myself; let’s start from the beginning.

Security, Police Wanna-Be’s, Whatever You Call Them

I guess I should start with letting you know my sister “B” hasn’t flown in almost ten years as it will help you better understand her craziness.  So, it started at the security check point.  I explained to her that you all but strip (or so I sometimes feel) to pass through security.  I explained the totes that you have to put everything in them and walk through the body scanner with nothing in your hands or pockets. (Talk about deer in headlight eyes.)

I walked through the scanner first and was asked to step aside.  The TSA “woman” felt up my hair and quickly learned the bleep they were alerted of was only my hair clip.  After being cleared to retrieve my belongings, I walked over to my bag and was greeted with “Is this your bag?”  Yes, was my reply.  I was then informed that my bag needed to be searched, was asked to step over to another table with the TSA agent and was instructed not to touch the bag while it was being searched.  I said “sure thing” and stood calmly while she searched the bag, knowing I had nothing to hide.

While standing there as my bag was being searched, I looked over my shoulder I saw dad exiting the body scanner and my sister stepping in.  She was told to raise her hands above her head and assumed the “position.”  Being the goofball she is her comment was “ready for my spray tan.”  Nobody other than dad and me thought her comment was funny and I was laughing my head off while standing at the all serious search table with the TSA agent.

The Official Search

I am standing there, my carry on bag being searched and after the TSA agent opened the bag she went directly to my brother’s birthday gift which was in six parts.  As she removed one of the items, the conversation went like this:

TSA: This is a non-allowable item.

Me:  What, really?

TSA: Yes, this is what we consider “slurry.”

Me:  Slurry?  It’s not slurry, it’s Dixie Chili

TSA: Sorry, we cannot allow it on the plane.

Me:  It is in the original sealed can, not opened or tampered with.

Sister:  Can we put our name on it and pick it up when we return in two days?

TSA: Sorry, we have to dispose of it.

Me:  Yeah, we know what y’all are having for lunch.

Sister: Dixie Chili

So needless to say, brother did not get his six cans of the delicious Dixie Chili for his birthday but he thoroughly enjoyed the story and found the events at CVG Airport Security rather humorous, as we all did. (We haven’t even started the 3-day weekend and already….adventures are starting.)

tsaOn our walk to the gate dad shared with me that not only did he go though the body scanner, he also got the hands-on treatment.  To my amazement he asked the groping agent if “they were buying him dinner or at least giving him flowers.”  Gotta love the witty old man and his sense of humor.

Watch out Florida…here we come!

Check back for Part 2~The Phone Call




On this 12th day of the 12th month of the year 2012 it is just another day in paradise here in Northern Kentucky (US) as we woke to a bit of frost covering the ground and cars.

It Doesn’t Matter…

…how you write your dates, whether it is 12/12/12 for December 12, 2012, or 12/12/12 for 12 December 2012, today…it is all the same.  Since I work in the international arena I have started writing my dates as 12 Dec. 2012 as it helps to keep the “date” confusion at a minimum.


Although this day of 12/12/12 holds nothing symbolic for me (historically speaking), the date itself stirs up a frightful thought…knowing I will not be around to witness another repeating month/day/year.  Well not just me, it will probably be the last repeat date anyone living today will see.  Even those born today will probably not live to celebrate their 100th birthday on 12/12/2112, wow…another cool date.

Smart Ladies…

I heard on the news earlier today there were going to be a lot of weddings marked for this date, smart gals….hopefully their fellas will find it a bit easier to remember their anniversary “date.”

Happy birthday to the babies born today and congratulations to those taking the plunge. May your years be filled with love, laughter, family, and friends…always!!!

The day before 12/12/12


Zoey, always ready to stop and pose for the camera. Being the little sister, she’s somewhat an attention hog.

Yesterday found us having a wee little celebration of our own.  Ms. Zoey (aka, Mz. Thang, Cupcake, Sister, and Sissy) turned two yesterday.  Yup, just like the husband thing and easy dates to remember; remembering Zoey’s birthday is a snap to me because she was born on 12/11/10.


Zeek, he doesn’t know what to make of the thing mom keeps putting in front of his face and then binds him with a big flash of light. He is a very patient pup though for his ma.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention Zeek and Zuse whose birthdays are 5/21/10 and 10/31/??, respectively.


Zuse is just happy to have a family that loves and spoils him. This is his happy (this is his everyday face) LOL.

Zuse came to us as  rescue and his real age and birthday is unknown; however, since Jason is the one who first wanted to  adopt him (Jason’s birthday is October 1st) we decided to celebrate Zuse’s special day on the last day of October.

If you know me, you know I love my four-legged family members and they are spoiled.  We have more toys in our home than we did when my children were little.  No sooner than I finish putting the chew toys, bones, stuffed animals and squeakers back in the toy box, Sissy has them all back out and strategically placed around the family room.