Monday, January 26, 2015


Two weeks ago I discovered I'd run out of multivitamins, the gummy kind. Since I started taking two of these drops every morning for over a year, I've been cold and flu free. So naturally I didn't hesitate to make a trip to the local Wal-Mart for the sole purpose of replenishing my supply.

For ten days I faithfully unscrewed the top off the bottle, chose one red and one purple sugar-dusted vitamin, and dutifully chewed and swallowed them. For some unknown reason on the eleventh day, I decided to look at the front of the bottle.

Instantly my heart began racing uncontrollably and my eyes bugged out of their sockets! I hurled the bottle across the room like it was possessed! On the label in huge blue lettering were the words; Complete Multivitamin for MEN!

"Oh, Lordy, WHAT HAVE I DONE!" I yelled over and over again as I leapt up the stairs heading to the nearest bathroom. How could this be happening?

The fear I experienced was overwhelming, but as they say, the only thing stopping us from overcoming fear is fear itself. Horrible images exploded in my brain but I had to be brave.

Standing in front of the sink, I slowly raised my eyes to meet the gruesome image I was sure would be scowling back at me in the mirror. Assuredly those testosterone-packed, iron and zinc filled gum drops had reeked havoc on the amount of facial hair I was now cursed with. I was prepared to see a squirrelly-looking tail under my nose and a dirty mop of beard hanging from my chin. I had no doubt that my eyebrows resembled two furry caterpillars crawling across my forehead. Most likely I had assumed the visage of the hideous Werewolf of Old.

But except for the few stray, black hairs that had dotted my chin since going through the big C, much to my surprise, no other facial growth was evident. I'd certainly dodged the bullet on that one!

With trepidation, I raised both arms to inspect my pits. If gigantic nests of snarly hair were present, at least I could shave daily, even multiple times if necessary. However, once again, the Complete Multivitamin for MEN had failed in its mission. All I could see was a single, whitish strand lazily swaying in each pit. Who knows when they actually appeared and how long they'd intended on staying. I  hadn't shaved under my arms in decades!

Whew, two points for me and zero for testosterone-packed gummies!

I was winning this battle yet still felt uneasy. I had to test my voice. If when singing 'You Are My Sunshine'  I morphed from soprano to baritone, the vitamins I'd ingested for ten days had succeeded in grossly altering my femininity. Admittedly my female prowess has taken a huge hit over the past twenty years. After all, at 70, my curves have developed into mountainous, bumpy highways and my once baby-smooth skin has seen its fair share of roadwork.

My voice?

As I belted out the song I'd learned at my mother's knee, I was amazed to hear the high-pitched tone of ... a woman! Yes, it was shrill, even somewhat screechy, okay a lot screechy, but nevertheless, recognizably female.

Three points for me, I WIN!

Finally I was convinced that no harm had come to me by taking Complete Multivitamin for MEN for a ten day period. Yet upon returning to the livingroom, I was compelled to compare its contents with the Complete Multivitamin for WOMEN I'd purchased as a BOGO deal on that fateful trip to the local Wal-Mart.

Oh, Lordy, you won't believe this, but the only differences in both bottles were a little more Vitamin D for women, a little more Vitamin B-6 for men, no zinc or lycopene for women, and no calcium for men!

Oh, Lordy, what have I done! MADE A COMPLETE FOOL OF MYSELF, THAT'S WHAT!!!!!!!!!

Pattern baldness, I forgot to check for PATTERN BALDNESS!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 19, 2015


Perhaps you've read about the tragic event that took place on Friday, January 16, in Phoenix, Arizona. Erica Morales, 36, gave birth to quadruplets and then died without ever seeing her babies. Three beautiful girls, Erica, Tracey, and Paisley, and one perfect boy, Carlos, would never experience one second of their mother's love firsthand. Carlos Morales is now faced with the enormous task of raising his children alone.

For three years the couple tried to get pregnant and could not. Erica suffered at least one miscarriage. Finally after having turned to in vitro fertilization, the couple conceived in June of 2014. Erica did everything to ensure that this pregnancy would be successful. She ate right, exercised frequently, and tried to remain stressfree.The mother-to-be's only concern was that her infants would be born healthy and strong. Erica didn't worry about having to care for four babies at once, her only objective was to be the best mom she could possibly be. She was estatic yet tried to say focused on having a safe delivery resulting in a positive outcome.

Erica's blood pressure presented issues early on and was a factor in an ordered bed rest weeks before a Caesarean section became necessary. What actually was responsible for her demise is under investigation.

For a mother to give her life for her children is the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE. We all say we'd gladly surrender ourselves to save our sons and daughters, and I don't doubt for one minute that we wouldn't. But few of us have ever been asked to do precisely what Erica did. Certainly she had no way of knowing that her life would be taken so that her children might live, but her vigorous quest to become pregnant truly indicated she'd have done anything to be blessed with a family.

Erica Morales did anything and EVERYTHING!

As the years go by, her children will come to realize how special a mother they'd been given. The girls will derive a strength from her that Erica most likely didn't even know she had. Carlos will realize the courage and determination a woman must possess in order to bring a new life into this world. He will always carry a deep respect for motherhood as he matures. And after the numbness begins to fade, their father will realize Erica was not only his better half, but his fierce lioness, his consummate warrior in their personal fight to give birth to their future.

Every soldier who enters battle knows that he or she might be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice. Yet losing their lives is not enough to prevent them from the task at hand. They are fighting for the safety and happiness of the citizens of their homeland. Nothing is going to stop them from their objectives, nothing!

Nothing stopped Erica Morales when it came to giving life to Erica, Tracey, Paisley, and Carlos. Nothing stopped Erica Morales from ensuring the safety of her babies, and nothing stopped Erica Morales from doing everything possible to give her four newborns a happy life,

NOT EVEN MAKING THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE!  R.I.P. dear Erica, you are a mother now, something you'd wanted to be for a very long time. And there are three beautiful girls, one perfect boy, and one extremely proud father, that can and will attest to that always and forever!

Monday, January 12, 2015


As youngsters, we learn to fear through the actions of others. Chances are if mom runs screaming at the top of her lungs every time she sees a spider, you'll be afraid of these miniscule creatures, too. If your older brother can't sleep unless his night light is on, you'll be uncomfortable in the dark as well. Fear is a learned response which means it can be discarded if we have the mindset to do so.

Before I go any further, let me say that some fears are necessary for our very survival. If your house is on fire and you're still in it, for God's sake get out! Being afraid of the raging flames and unbearable heat might be the only things that save your life. This kind of fear is essential to your well-being.

My blog today is about our baseless fears. These kinds of trepidation are inordinate reactions to the unknown without ever having actually allowed ourselves the chance to personally experience them and decide whether or not there is really anything to be afraid of.

The thought of eating sushi repulses me. All I can think of is putting raw fish in my mouth and feeling the cold, slimy pieces sliding down my throat. Yuk! Yet tons of folks have told me how delightful sushi is and go out of their way to find great spots where it is available. Ashamedly, I'm afraid to try it, afraid of gagging and throwing up right there at the table! But since I've never eaten sushi, in order to overcome this fear, I'd have to do it and see if  by confronting it, I could possibly like sushi and add this delicacy to my menu choices in the future. I'm still working on this one.

I also have a great fear of heights. Recently I visited an amusement park while visiting my children in North Carolina. My daughter-in-law needed a partner to ride the Exterminator or whatever it was called, and on the spur of the moment I went with her. As the coaster climbed closer and closer to the clouds, I felt this sense of peace wash over me. It was a beautiful feeling. The ride was fast and bumpy, but it didn't bother me much. During the next trip down, I rode it twice more. What I learned was that my fear of height had been keeping me from experiencing the rush of reaching the skies and then suddenly dropping to the ground and living to want to do it again and again. Even at the age of 70, discarding ill-begotten fears is extremely freeing!

Something I've never feared was meeting people of different race and culture. As a small child, my Baba exposed me to many European nationalities and traditions. Since she embraced the people and their practices, I automatically did the same. I tried foods I'd never eaten before and broadened my limited appetites. I learned to appreciate the difference in the way these folks talked and dressed. I was comfortable in their homes and made many lasting friends. As an added benefit, I became a more well-rounded person able to interact positively with people different than myself.

Throughout my professional career, I came into contact with a vast number of cultural differences. I met people whose heritage was rooted in faraway places I'd only read about. Families from Japan, China, Spain, Russia, and Africa to mention only a few, attended our school. Each year we held Cultural Diversity Days in which moms and dads of many colors and cultures proudly shared their ancestry with our students. These youngsters, ages 2-6, eagerly absorbed everything presented to them like tiny thirsty sponges. Because of the safe and pleasant environment their interaction with the unknown was, these children avoided preconceived notions of race and diversity and had absolutely no fear of the differences they encountered. Instead they learned to celebrate difference, NOT FEAR IT!

My advice to the young parents reading this is to give your youngsters as many opportunities to learn about differences of all kinds so rather than learning to fear them, they will embrace differences with eagerness and acceptance. You will be helping them to expand their horizons in more ways than you can imagine.

Oh, and for heavens sake, don't scream when you see a spider even if you have to tape your mouth shut. These little buggers are very important to the entire food chain and the preservation of our world. It's true, I'm not pulling your chain!

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.
Children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom have teamed up to create an ambitious (and much needed) national event.  On January 27th, Jump into a Book and Pragmatic Mom will be presenting yet another Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a way of celebrating diversity in children’s books.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day will include book reviews from noted bloggers all over the world, giveaways and book-related activities for young readers of all ages. The MCCBD team will also be partnering with First Book to create a Virtual Book Drive for the event, and with The Children’s Book Council to offer readers quality resources along with fun and informative author visits.

The following list is a select group of bloggers who will assist in extending the reach and spreading the word of Multicultural Children’s Book Day. These 9 blogs will also house the wildly-popular book review/blog post link-up the week of the event. We would appreciate if you could take a few minutes and visit each of these excellent blogs. These women were selected by the MCCBD team because of their true dedication to supporting diversity in children’s literature.
MCCBD 2015 Sponsors include:

Platinum Sponsors:  Wisdom Tales Press,  Daybreak Press  Global Bookshop 
Gold Sponsors:  Satya,  Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof
Silver Sponsors: Junior Library Guild,  Capstone PublishingLee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing 

Available on in both eBook and Hardcover versions

I'm one of the bloggers priviledged to be part of the second MULTICULTURAL CHILDREN'S BOOK DAY and was asked to read and review JAPANESE CLEBRATIONS  Cherry blossoms, Lanterns and Stars!, written and illustrated by Betty Reynolds, and published by Tuttle. All I can say is 'lucky me' because this gorgeous book is a breath of fresh air both in content and art work. An entire year of Japanese traditions and celebrations float across its pages beginning with O-Shogatsu, Japanese New Year, January 1st, and end with Kekkon-shiki, weddings which combine Shinto customs and modern-day culture.


                                                         Playing cards and badmition are just some
                                                         of the New Year's Day activities.
Flying kites is a favorite pasttime
in Japan especially on New Year's Day.

Having been a teacher for most of my professional career, I found this beautifully-designed and fact-filled book to provide a plethora of history, religion, rites, myth, song and dance that any educator of children, ages 7-12 would be excited to utilize when doing a concentrated study of Japan.Working together as a family would not only educate parents and children alike, but as an added bonus, develop a stronger familial bond, too. Perhaps it would inspire families to tour Japan to soak up the their culture firsthand. Every celebration comes replete with a sycinct overview of the specific holiday or event. Further included are the practices, symbols, special foods, and games particular to each day, identified first in the Japanese language, and then clarified very simply in English. Finally a colorful, whimsical illustration accompanies every explanation which rounds out our understanding perfectly. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words no matter the language in which facts as well as fiction are being told! I highly recommend JAPANESE CELEBRATIONS Cherry Blossoms, Lanterns, and Star! as a must read in 2015.


Cherry Blossom Time, held in April, is truly a sight to behold!
 The landscape is colored pink and brings crowds of folks
from everywhere to enjoy the spectacular scenery.

On the 8th of April Japan celebrates the birthday of Buddha.
The children studying Buddhist classes take turns pouring sweet tea
 over Buddha's head as a form of baptism.


                                                          Summer fun includes 
                                                             lighting sparklers
                                                 and wearing sandals to keep cool.
Grilling foods outdoors is done in Japan during
 the summer much like what we do in the U.S.
The only difference is the Japanese
prefer eel instead of hot dogs!



Athlete Meets, held in September through October, include tug of war and ball competitions.


A traditional Japanese wedding ceremony

                                               Baby's first food is a grain of rice.
Birthdays are celebrated in Japan
 in much the same way as in the U.S.