BREAKING NEWS out of A Middle-Class Household

Breaking News out of a Middle-Class Household

A middle-class family with one child in college and one beginning college in the fall, have received something very rare called, financial aid.  

The family is still in a state of shock and have not been able to fully comprehend how this miracle was bestowed upon them.  They ask that the media respect their privacy as they hold hands, chant and thank  the heavens above for this much-needed blessing.

Earlier reports state that the child currently in college, never received any such aid two years ago, when he needed it the most.  Understandably so, the family was very discouraged with a process that leaves middle-class families with little resources to pay for college.  Many families like the Brickhouses,  do not make enough money to afford sending their children to college but are told they make “too much” to qualify for aid. 

The child who will be attending college in the fall, tried very hard not to let this sad fact stop her from pursuing her dreams and applying to the colleges that interested her.  She worked tirelessly at school, was involved in many activities, played a varsity sport and held a part-time job.  Although she never showed her parents her college essay, many have said that it was a killer essay.

This motivated child applied to TEN different colleges (giving her parents many sleepless drunken nights.)  She was accepted to eight of them and was wait-listed at two.  Agonizing months went by before hearing information about a financial package (if any) the government and/or the schools would award the desperate parents child.

Police were called to the home this weekend with a report of a mother and a father marching around the home in unison, in a catatonic zombie-like state, fearlessly pinching themselves over and over again in sheer disbelief.  Once the police arrived at the scene, the parents explained that although they will be in debt for the rest of their lives with two in college, 4 of the child’s favorite colleges, had offered generous financial packages (based on merit and need), thus allowing their child to actually go to college.  Police admitted that they had only heard of a few cases of middle-class families receiving such awards.  They too were in disbelief.


Mr. Brickhouse


Mrs. Brickhouse

It is reported that the Brickhouses are cautiously optimistic and admitted to reporters that they have recurring nightmares as well as daymares, that the Financial Aid Nazis will knock on their door any day now, to tell them that this was all a big mistake.  Needless to say, they are not answering the door or phone until both their children are out of college, have successful jobs and are at least, 50.

The next couple of weeks will be critical as they re-visit some of these schools, eat lunch at their mediocre dining commons – again and go over the list of pros and cons 83 more times for each college, with their child.

Just Kidding!  No aid for you!

Family and friends are asked to pray that the ‘this was all a big mistake monsters’  do not show up at their door or climb in through a window, to take their happiness away.  They are also asked to pray that the parents survive the decision-making process of their hormonal 18 year-old daughter.

***Stay tuned for more DEVELOPING BREAKING NEWS out of a middle-class household***

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She Put A Ring On It! Well Actually…Two.


LSJayHandmade 2014

Say hello to my amiga and fellow blogger,  Linda at appletonavenue!  She’s the one who put a ring on it!

Linda has had her share of rough patches in her life and then some, but she is incredibly strong and is taking full control of the things she is able to control in her life.  I admire her perseverance and willingness  to try new things that will bring her joy.  Despite some physical limitations, she has an abundance of energy and endless creativity!   You may even find her doing ‘stand-up’ out there.

One of the many talents Linda has is custom jewelry making.  Check out her website:

I checked it out and loved her work because it is unique and funky, which are two qualities brickhousechick, looks for (in life). I ordered this ring from her site: 

LSJHandmade 2014

LSJHandmade 2014

Isn’t it cool?  Except that my sausage-like arthritic fingers needed a larger size than she had available, so she custom made MY VERY OWN GIGANTIC ONE! Woot! Woot!

Being the sweet brickhousechick that she is, she also sent me a second surprise ring, just because!  And, me being the space shot brickhousechick that I am, ended up putting the unopened package she sent me back in the mailbox, to be mailed.  Yea, that was last week when my brain fog was at its densest and I had to get the postman to come out and open the mailbox to retrieve my unopened package.

Check out some of her other pieces:

Crystal Clear Glass Wrapped in Red Wire LSJayHandmade 2014

Crystal Clear Glass Wrapped in Red Wire
LSJayHandmade 2014

Beautiful Turquoise Shard Ring LSJayHandmade 2014

Beautiful Turquoise Shard Ring
LSJayHandmade 2014

Blue & Pink Dangle Earrings LSJayHandmade 2014

Blue & Pink Dangle Earrings
LSJayHandmade 2014

Silver Diamond With Copper Disc Earrings LSJayHomemade 2014

Silver Diamond With Copper Disc Earrings
LSJayHandmade 2014

You see what I mean by funky?  And it makes me think of Spring (which I hear is coming soon to a theater near you.)

Got a graduation gift to get?  Mother’s Day gift?  Gift for yourself?  Head on over to Linda’s site and check out more of her reasonably priced unique pieces of art!  And make sure to check out her blog as well.

*Linda is NOT paying me for this advertisement, although it would be nice…JUST KIDDING!

I wanted to share her work with you because I really liked it – and because I may FORGET to do it in the future…(#brainfog).


The Thing Is, What Is The Thing?

Ok. So, wait.  What was I going to blog about today?

Oh yea, BRAIN FOG.

According to WikipediaClouding of consciousness, also known as brain fog or mental fog, is a term used in conventional medicine denoting an abnormality in the “regulation” of the “overall level” of consciousness that is mild and less severe than a delirium. 

Less severe than a delirium?

Delirium: an acutely disturbed state of mind that occurs in fever, intoxication, and other disorders and is characterized by restlessness, illusions, and incoherence of thought and speech. 

Hmmm… that’s a tough one.  Be it fog or delirium, the point is:

  The thing is, my brain is not working.   

My whole family can attest to this.  Particularly my daughter who is the biggest defender of, ‘there is something wrong with mom’s brain’ statement.  And she never forgets to remind me that there is indeed something wrong with my brain, even though I keep forgetting that there is something wrong with my brain until she reminds me (I’m exhausted).

Now, where was I?

I am becoming increasingly concerned about this.  I know that my RA & Fibromyalgia contribute to some of this fogginess.  Ever heard of Fibro Fog?  This fog in Fibromyalgia patients can be caused by overexertion, fatigue, over stimulation, multi tasking and stress.


 Picture yourself during a time when you were immensely exhausted.  We are talking, you could barely keep your head up – exhausted.  Then, think about having to find the energy to open up your mouth to speak and actually be coherent.  You probably wouldn’t make much sense nor have full control of what you want to say. 

Well, that’s me often.  Too often.  

Word recall is becoming a big issue.  I want to say something but the word will not come to me.  My brickhouse brain searches and scans and, NADA.  I get the, No word detected message.  Where the hell did these words go?

Other times, I am thinking of what I want to say but when I say it, something different comes out!  WTH?  Like when I told my daughter as we were being tail-gated by a car the other day, that I hated being SWALLOWED by cars.  I swear my plan was to say FOLLOWED but why the heck did SWALLOW come out instead?

Being in a permanent state of Zombieness, is another problem I have.  It’s like I’m floating around going through the motions but not fully there ( Ay, I’m scaring myself as I write this.)  What was I just talking about?  Oh yes, like yesterday when I had to beg the postman at the post office to come out of his comfy back room to open the outside mailbox because I had put a package I had just received in the slot, instead of the package I had to be mailed.  It was embarrassing, I’m never going back there.

I had many more examples of my declining cognitive state to share with you but I can’t remember what they were.

I know my fatigue has a lot to do with this but besides rest, what can I do to re-charge and maintain the brickhouse brain I was blessed with? Do you have brain fog?  Dementia?  Delirium?  Can you even remember well enough to answer these questions?

Although most of us have heard this information before, I decided to remind  refresh my memory and do a little more research on how I can power up my rapidly shrinking brain.  I turned to some of my trusted resources such as,  Mayo Clinic and The National Enquirer, for some answers:  

1.  EXERCISE – blah, blah, blah yea, yea, I know, I know.  When my joints allow, I do try to walk.  I get the mail every day, does that count?  The key here is circulation.  We need to make sure blood is flowing to our brain.  If your hands and feet are always cold, like mine (which my husband will attest to after being assaulted nightly by my frozen toes), it may indicate that you do not have good circulation flowing to your brain as well as your extremities.  Exercise makes neurons!  Ok, I guess I’ll get my neighbor’s mail as well.

2.  LIQUIDS Now we’re talking. Did you know (or remember) that the brain is composed of 80% water and requires at least 84 ounces of water everyday?  Brain tissue actually shrinks when a person is dehydrated! (Excuse me for a minute while I go dive right into our closest reservoir.)  Ok, I’m back.  If you do not like to drink water which many people don’t (I don’t get that), GREEN TEA has been found to improve concentration.  And last but NOT least, the antioxidants in WINE & CHAMPAGNE may block proteins that destroy brain plaque.  Salud!

3.  FOODS – WALNUTS , DARK CHOCOLATE, AVOCADOS & BEETS are some of the foods that help promote blood flow and more oxygen to the brain for better concentration! Omega 3 fatty acids are also our friends.  DHAs that are in SALMON, SARDINES, TUNA, PUMPKIN SEEDS are some of the fatty acids that help with nervous system development and function, mental functioning and behavioral and mood disorders.  Sign me up!  EGGS are rich in B vitamins which helps with memory and concentration.  Then there are the Brainberries like, BLUEBERRIES & STRAWBERRIES that have antioxidants that help protect the brain from cognitive decline.  The antioxidants in leafy greens like KALE & SPINACH can also help protect the brain. 

***** Please consult your doctor before following this brickhouse diet.*****

4.  BRAIN REHAB & EXERCISES  Doctors suggest we do the things we are bad at, otherwise that part of the brain that is not being used will not regenerate.  If you are bad at math, do math.  Bad with balance, do balance exercises, etc.  As we get older we get into routines, but routine is NOT our friend.  The brain loves variety, it likes to be tricked and challenged.  There is a great site I found called, with an orgy of everything brain, including exercises to do online.  I also went into which offers some free games and paid monthly subscriptions.  CNN also has an online game site called that I tried and enjoyed.


So, if you will excuse me, I’m off to chow down on a sardine and avocado pizza, washed down with a champagne/blueberry martini and topped off with a dark chocolate walnut mousse.  I will then do some multiplication (Yikes) and then take a 6 hour nap.  When I wake, I will collect ALL of my neighbors’ mail for them. That’s a start, right?

What was your name again?

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Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz…NOOOO!

fellowshipoftheminds. com

Admit it.

Don’t be full of crap.

You or someone close to you has in fact dropped a cell phone in the toilette.


In fact, studies show that almost 40% us take our phones with us while on the throne.  Of those 40%, half end up dropping them in right in the toidy.

That’s a lot of $$$$ down the drain!

Adios $$$.

{Insert big SIGH here}

It was only a month old.  

I am not usually a follower type of person, but I wanted in on the iPhone craze.  I had a smart phone but it was really just a wanna-be smart phone.  A savvy one, but truly not the real thing.  And I am definitely a real thing, type of girl.

Getting the phone was a fiasco in and on itself.  I had gone to Verizon originally,  but the sales rep was so rude that I walked out of the store and headed straight to Best Buy.  I decided to show Verizon WHO was boss and ended up buying it from the techie nerds at Best Buy.  Not a good move.  The phone was cursed from day one.  I had several issues with the SIM card and retrieving my contacts.  I quickly regretted cheating on Verizon who I had been loyal to for 100 years prior.

It was during a regular ‘ol miserable winter day (2 weeks ago), that things went poopie. I went to use the facilities in the comfort of my own home

Brickhouse’s Throne.

forgetting that my new toy was in the back pocket of my favorite jeans (I hate those jeans now.) When suddenly I hear:




Then, my own voice yelling, 


Though I too do not have a thigh gap, unfortunately, it did not save my phone from falling in the toilet.  Bummer.

After doing the rice thing and the blow dryer thing and the praying thing, the phone would not charge.  I could do everything else except for charge it.  


Having no other alternative, I had to file a claim with Asurion – for $10/month (a phone insurance that mimics most ridiculous insurance policies with an insane deductible.) 

My ‘new’ (refurbished) iPhone should arrive tomorrow via Fed Ex any time  between 6:00 am and 8:00 pm.  

Guess what else will arrive tomorrow?


(not the guy under water, though he looks like a nice guy.)

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Why I Had NO Business Baking

tumblr_mjw3m8HpPG1qhr01io1_400I blame it all on a couple of blogger friends.  Yes you.  You know who you are.  Not only can you write, but you are Betty Crocker material when it comes to baking.  AND to make matters worse, you take beautiful pictures of your works of art for me to drool on my laptop over – thank you very much.

That ‘somewhere delicious’ ain’t in MY kitchen. 

This pretty much describes you people:

I don’t want to mention any names, but I will.  There’s Brittany  at


who is living La Pura Vida while I’m living La Vida Loca trying to emulate her and make some of her delicious healthy treats.  On top of that, she has the nerve to run off her calories and look gorgeous after eating what she makes.  Muchas Gracias, Brittany!

What did me in, was last week’s post by  The Guat at


who is not only MOTHER OF THE YEAR as she takes her kiddies all over creation having awesome adventures and also runs (damn it, how did I become friends with so many runners), but she decided to make a killer double chocolate raspberry cake from scratch.


This is the Sweet merengue buttercream raspberry filling she whipped up.

I figured, if Guat can do this so can Brickhouse, except that, NO. 

1.  First of all, I have ZERO counter space in my kitchen.  There are 155 appliances (none which are for baking) that sit on my two countertops leaving me a square inch in which to work on.

2.  I have ONLY ever made boxed cakes in my half century of existence, in this planet.Betty_Crocker_Cake_Mix.jpg

 3.  I do not own any baking equipment necessary

for accomplishing such a hefty task.  I have a wooden spoon, a spatula and an old mixer.

4.  No one warned me that the ingredients needed to make this masterpiece would cost $487 as opposed to $2.99 for the cake mix and $2.55 for the frosting can.

$5/bag - The box mix is cheaper!



It would have been cheaper to buy the cow

5.  Or that my kitchen would look like a chocolate explosive projectile, at the end.



6.  My unsuspecting family was not counting on getting severe hearing loss, as I attempted to mix in the butter sticks 2 tablespoons at a time as the recipe called for, with butter sticks that were NOT at room temperature (as the recipe called for) for hours.

Even Pistorius couldn't handle the noise!

Even Pistorius couldn’t handle the noise!

7.  That I would become the kitchen NAZI/EVIL WOMAN, not allowing anyone to utter one word to me, never mind enter the war zone to get a glass of water.
In the end (5 hours later, or 6) by some miracle of the Kitchen Gods, the cake was done and it was, if I may say so myself, 
photo 2
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Are You Naked? Afraid? Afraid To Get Naked? An Interview With A Producer



Are you naked as you read this?

Are you afraid?

Are you naked and afraid?

Are you crazy?

Am I crazy?

Someone is crazy and naked and afraid!

A couple of people are naked, actually.  One Woman and One Man.

But this is no joke.  These people are survivalists who agree to challenge themselves for 21 days in the wilderness.  They meet for the first time at a location and begin their journey to find food, water, shelter and clothing.   They do not get any money for this challenge.

Discovery Channel’s, Naked And Afraid holds the network’s record for the highest-rated survival telecast in its history, since 2009.  The new season premieres tomorrow, March 16th at 9:00 pm Eastern Time – 8:00 pm Central.

Discovery Channel

Discovery Channel

My very talented younger brother, Rafael Monserrate who has been producing and directing for about 10 years, began working for The Discovery Channel in 2010.  He is the Producer for tomorrow’s episode which takes place in the Amazon Jungle of Peru.   I sat down (virtually because he’s in LA and I’m in MA) to talk to him about tomorrow’s episode.

Brickhouse:  Hi, little brother.  I am so proud of you, btw.  Why did you choose to produce this episode?

Rafael:  Hi, Beautiful Sis.  I chose this episode because I have a deep love and connection to the Amazon Jungle in Peru.  It is one of the most beautiful and magical places on earth.  It is there where my personal spiritual journey began 10 years ago.   I owe this jungle quite a bit.

Brickhouse:  What is it like to work with and film naked people?

Rafael:  Filming naked people in the jungle was strange for the first 20 minutes, then you forget about it and focus on documenting the story you are following.  More than the nakedness, it is really the sense of primitive survival that becomes the focus.

Brickhouse:  How tough was it to film this for 21 days?

Rafael:  The shoot was physically and mentally exhausting.  I was responsible for all logistics and all creative, in the field.  It was a very taxing experience but incredibly rewarding.  There was one particular night in which an epic ‘biblical’ rainstorm hit and it happened to be the one time that I had decided to stay out all night with the cast to shoot.  I ended up having to suffer through the storm alongside them as I tried to keep shooting the story as it unfolded.  The cast came dangerously close to hypothermia.


Brickhouse:  At any point during this shooting were you worried about any of the survivalists’ health and ability to finish their challenge?  Were you able to help them in any way?

Rafael:  You become very concerned about the cast pretty early on.  It is as intense as one could imagine.  And remember, they are naked.  We try not to intervene, as we aim to preserve the integrity of their experience as much as we can.  At the end of the day, the survivalists want to know that if they succeed, they did it on their own with very little intervention.  They truly want to own it. We do have a security detail and medical team on standby in case of emergencies.  As far as health, etc, you will have to tune in to see what happens.

Brickhouse:  What motivates the survivalists to do this?

Rafael:  It really depends on the person.  Most of these folks have a pretty significant background in outdoor adventure and survival.  Some do it for an extreme personal challenge, some do it to shake up their lives a bit, change the routine, live on the edge.  Some of the women take this on to be an example of female empowerment and to show that gender does not matter.

Brickhouse:  What should we expect during tomorrow’s episode?

Rafael:  This is a 2 hour show where the first hour and 15 minutes will feature the full episode, followed by 45 minutes of LIVE after-show discussions in which I will appear to answer some questions.   This will be a great opportunity for the viewers to see how this amazing adventure takes place.

Brickhouse:  OMG!  Will you say ‘hi’ to me on LIVE television?  Please?  I took care of you all those years!  Just kidding…Good luck tomorrow and please, don’t be naked.

Amigos, don’t be afraid to check out the premiere of Naked And Afraid, tomorrow Sunday 3/16/14 at 9:00 pm/8:00 central!

 Projects Rafael has worked on:

Poundcake (2008)

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The More I Did It, The More I Liked It

One year ago today, I locked myself in my bedroom with a glass of wine in tow and began engaging in something that felt… kind of naughty.  I didn’t tell a soul I was going to try it.  After weeks spent contemplating and reflecting on my life , I had decided that I would give it a go.  I was immensely fearful.  

My lack of experience was clear but I continued, nevertheless.  I was clumsy.  I was confused.  I searched deep within my soul and…did it.  It didn’t feel great, just good.  Liberating.  Secretive.  Dirty.

The next day I went at it again.  This time, in the living room.  No one was home, of course.  Just me and this new world I had discovered.  My fingers did most of the work.  Exploring, probing and feeling their way through the unknown.  They were sore after the first hour but I kept on going in spite of the pain.  No pain, no gain, I reminded myself.

Sure enough, after a while it felt really good.  My shyness had withered away and I became  bolder in my explorations.  I was hooked.  The more I did it, the more I liked it.  I couldn’t stop.  I averaged 3 hours per day, sometimes 4.  Instant gratification was my daily goal and I achieved it… and some.  

It was then that I decided I had to confess to my husband about this secret life I was fully engaged in.  I explained it the best I could and even asked him to join me in the fun, but he declined.  He didn’t understand why I needed this so badly.  Was he not enough for me?  He came around after watching me do it a couple of times and began encouraging me to keep going.  Let it all out, he would say.  Don’t hold back.  Lose yourself in the moment and release your inhibitions, baby.

Thus, here I am,  

celebrating my one year Blogaversary!!!

Thank you for reading and caring.

Now, let’s dance!

Can You Make Me A Promise? Please?


Pretty please?

Can you promise me that you will stop yourself from judging and confronting a person who is parked in a handicap spot with an official handicap placard, because they do NOT look handicapped?  Please?

Yes, there are some people who may be taking advantage of the ‘system’ and they should be reprimanded.  But, don’t take on that role.  You are not the handicap police.  Step away from the situation because the majority of the time that person IS legitimately authorized to have that placard.

You just don’t know.  You have no idea what the situation is.  You have no idea what lays underneath that healthy looking façade.  They look fine to you, but maybe they are not.  Pain is invisible.  You just don’t know.  Don’t assume they are faking it.  Let it be. Let them be.

I have been stared down, laughed at, chased, verbally assaulted and judged too many times.  More often than I care to remember.  I have a handicap placard yet, I look fine.  I dress nicely. I wear bright lipstick.  My hair is neat.  I don’t use a cane –  at the moment and I am not limping – today.  So, I MUST be faking it, right?  I just want that parking spot right in the front. 

What the idiot staring me down last night and ready to pounce and yell at me didn’t see, is the pain I am in.  That my cervical stenosis is causing pain radiating from my head to my lower spine.  That my feet are deformed and it hurts to walk.  That my wrists are swollen.  That I am desperately fighting the debilitating fatigue in order to go out and live.  He assumed I was faking it.  He checked the placard.  He gave me nasty looks.  He judged.  Without knowing a thing about me.  Nothing.

So please promise me my friends, that you will stop and think.  That you will not rush to your own unfounded conclusions that this person parking in a handicap spot is abusing the system.  Don’t try to be a hero and save the world by “getting” them.  Although your vigilance is appreciated, 99% of the time, your assumptions will be wrong.  

You just don’t know.

Thank you.

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WE HAVE A WEEEEEENER! Results of Spanish Mid-Term Exam


You can all relax and get rid of that Test Anxiety now.  My exams are meant to be fun with NO PRESSURE!

As Juan Pablo from The Bachelor says, Eeez-OKay!

Many of JU answered correctly BUT did NOT identify yourselves so I could not include you in the running for the Prize!

Muy Triste...

Muy Triste…

Here are some of your answers:

1.  Dame el clicky-clicky, din-bat –

El Guapo (the biggest sinverguenza around) :  You will never get the remote control from me, friend!

The Guat:  I’m in charge and we’re watching Sabado Gigante, so hand it over!

Unidentified (Is this you, Jaklumen? Shelley?):  Aquí lo va, I mean, here you go.  Entiendes, pues no soy din bat.


2.  Tengo espinaca entre mis dientes?

Two of JU voted for:  There is an espadrille in my dentures

El Guapo:  Yes but the spinach in your teeth brings out the color of your eyes.

The Guat: I can’t be smiling at el Chico en apartamento 512 because I got spinach in my grill.

Unidentified:  No.  You only have cilantro between your teeth.  Que rico, no?


3.   El perro comió muchas quesadillas derretidas y después tuvo un transito intestinal muy grande.

El Guapo:  Sure, blame it on the dog

Piper:  The dog eats lots of melted quesadillas and has a massive poo!

The Guat:  Our dog needs some Sal De Uvas, he got into the kitchen and ate my lunch.

Unidentified:  Yeah, and that caca huele mucho, too.  What a stinker.

**This whole exercise just proves once again, that we never really grow up and still love bathroom words!

Now let’s get to the Weeeeener!

This blogger not only got all the answers correctly, but he/she FOLLOWED directions and included his/her name!  Woot!  Woot!


 The Weeener is a very talented and devoted writer who is committed to her goals.  She is a brickhouse in that she, while facing health issues, continues to enjoy life and remains positive!  I have a lot in common with the Weener.  Like me, she loves to do jigsaw puzzles, takes yucky medications, can barely draw a stick figure and loves to pinch chocolates to make sure they don’t have the gross stuff inside.  She suffers from PTSD because of a horrible Spanish teacher (not me) who used to humiliate her in class, so her TEST ANXIETY was high for this.  

And the Weener is:


send from PicArt(Free iPhone_iPad App)-3

Jill, I will email you to get your address so you can receive the Surprise Spanish Package!!

*Honorable Mention: Inspiretheworld2day who got the second highest grade.

Hasta Luego Amigos!

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If you haven’t taken the exams, vamos!  They are muy facil!

There are a few things I have learned about you lovely estudiantes of mine.  Your Spanish es muy bueno and your answers so far are right on target…


You lovely estudiantes did not follow instrucciones and so you may not get to win the




So get your NALGAS back to the post and answer again, including your name:

Spanish Exams

You have until TOMORROW (3/4/14) to answer!  Winner will be announced on WEDNESDAY 3/5/14.

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