‘Cause All Of Me, Loves All Of Me And Words & Pictures



“When you truly love yourself, you are enough. Your happiness and well-being become a top priority”
― Annette Vaillancourt


I am feeling somewhat better after my little break-down this week.  When I think about this coming Fall and how alone I will be, I go back to that sad and dark place occupying a corner of my heart.  Fortunately,  I am beginning to see the possibilities for me and what opportunities await me in the months and years to come.

I also thank you wonderful people, for your unbelievably kind words of encouragement.  You truly are the best and I wish I could climb right into this screen and hug you all…and kiss some of you, too.


In working through this realization that I will be spending an abundant amount of time with just me, I decided that I better get to know me.  What if I don’t like me?  What if me and I just don’t jive?  If I am going to be tied to my own arthritic hip 24/7, isn’t it important that I find out as much about me as possible?  Especially, to ensure that me is not a criminal, an identity thief or God forbid, a bitch! Imagine that!

 So I decided to follow me, for a full day.  Like an eager student who shadows  a person in their workplace to decide if the type of work she is observing, is something she wants to pursue.

I had to ask me for permission and thankfully, me agreed.

After watching me get up, make the bed, go to the bathroom and get dressed, I have to admit, I was a bit bored (yawn).  Me’s knee was swollen and she was limping around the house (what a  wuss!)

I watched me eat some cereal and sit on the comfy couch with my laptop, ready to search for the opportunities and activities waiting to be chosen by me, to help fill the endless hours my empty nest will bring (ay, that was a mouthful.)

First Internet Search:  A Jewelry Making Class.  Me enjoys making bracelets out of beautiful beads  but needs the skills necessary for securing clasps and hooks. What? A Class this coming Sunday? Why, yes!  Me and I are both available to attend (maybe we will get a twofer on the cost.)



Second Internet Search: Meditation.  Me has always wanted to learn how to meditate and appreciate the true meaning of mindfulness.   What? Free classes at the University? Yes, please!

Woman meditating on the beach at sunset.

Then, me took a short break to look at showtimes for a movie I have been dying to see;

Words and Pictures

What? 2:20 today? Ticket for One, please!

I could have called my friend Gina who wanted to go with me but I decided that I needed to go, with just me.  Like a date.  With me.  Would me share popcorn with me?  Would me like yeast or cheese on her already buttered popcorn? Would me try any funny business in the theater? I had to know.

After accepting the fact that my fellow movie goers were no younger than 97, I settled in my seat, with me.





Starring Clive Owen & Juliette Binochi, in an inspirational romantic comedy.  Clive Owen plays, Jack Marcus a prep school English teacher who tries to educate his students about the power of the written word (as writers, you are going to really appreciate his character and his take on the English language.)

Juliette Binochi, an artist in real life, plays the character of Dina Delsanto, an artist who is battling  Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Her illness limits her painting abilities and she is forced to teach Art at the same prep school.  A friendly war ensues about the importance of Words vs.  Pictures, as the two teachers try to prove to their students that their mode of expression, is superior to the other.

No, it is not a chick flick.  It is an everyone flick.  It deals with addiction, bullying, family relationships and passion for one’s career.

  What an inspirational film.

Me and I both loved it.  

We discussed it on the way home.  I then told me that I was happy she let me shadow her today.  I told me that I kind of liked her.  That she is fun, beautiful and a fighter.  

I reminded me that there is nothing we cannot handle, together.  

I told me that I was happy to be me and that I even… loved her.


‘Cause All of Me is Learning to Love,  All of Me

It Leaves Me With Just Me


powellriverpersuader.blogspot. com


Have you ever had an aha moment that is immediately followed by a wave of deep sadness because it was during that aha moment, that you realized how bad things were going to be?

This is what happened to me today.  Out of nowhere, I gained wisdom about something I knew would be difficult, but the clarity of the situation really struck me.

This wave of sadness has taken over my body and mind.

What do we writers/bloggers do when we experience a deep emotion?  We write, of course.

It’s as if someone kicked me with all their force right in the gut.  I feel like a shriveled up deflated balloon that moments before, was filled with air, joy and happiness.

As many of you loyal readers know, I will have an empty nest this coming fall.  I have written about it on many occasions.  I talk about running around the house naked swearing like a sailor.  About having more time with Mr. Brickhouse and even on how we will save on electricity.  All in good fun.

Today however, I don’t see it that way.  Today, I truly understand the impact and meaning of this much-anticipated empty nest.  Why didn’t I think of this before?  Why didn’t I see it?  How stupid of me to think otherwise.  I was looking at an ideal life.  An imagined vision of me stepping right into this next stage in my life with open arms.  Blindly and naïvely envisioning a future when I could finally focus on myself, my goals, my health and my marriage.

And then it hit me.

I will be alone.


Stuck at home, by myself.

With no purpose to my every day.

No longer needed by anyone.

Just me and my thoughts.

Just me and my illness.

I already spend a lot of my days on my own.  I am usually too fatigued to be involved in multiple activities.  I see friends when they are not working, I try to walk, I blog, I watch tv and I mother.  Mothering has given me a purpose and an identity.

The fact is that Mr. Brickhouse has a very demanding job.  He is gone all day and most nights, at meetings. I know this.  I have known this.  I have accepted this.  But now, it saddens me to no end.  I cannot depend on him to be there.  It is not fair to expect him to fill my void.

My aha moment made me realize the reality of what awaits me.

What will I do?

What plans do I have?

What are my goals?

What is my purpose?

The fact that I cannot hold a job due to my illness has bothered me in the past but I knew deep down that the most important job I could do, was being the best mother I could be, despite my physical limitations.

Now what?

Wake up. Rest. Wait until my body is not stiff.  Eat breakfast. Rest. Run an errand.  Rest.  Blog. Rest.  Pay bills. Rest.  Go for a walk. Rest. Eat dinner on my own. Rest. Blog. Sleep. Repeat.

This will be my life.

My new reality.

It scares me to death.

It leaves me vulnerable with thoughts I have repressed for way too long.

It leaves me with just me.



I will allow these feelings to simmer for a day or two because they need to.  

They are real.  

They are valid.

And in the end:

This too shall pass

My New Battery-Operated Best Friend



Andale, Andale Amigos!

After you read this, run to your nearest Sporting Goods store and buy at least 20 of these, ASAP!  You can also order them online with expedited shipping.  I don’t care HOW you get them, just GET THEM!!

One of my fave blogger friends whom I love and who sweats through her goals,  Nancy at My Year of Sweat, has the copyrights to the name, My Year of Sweat.  I wouldn’t dare violate any copyright laws but what I will tell you is that I’ve had a lifetime of sweat!  I have only met one other woman (Hi Deb – I got you one of these!) besides myself, who sweats as much as I do.  I’m talking buckets upon buckets.  Really.  Just by existing.


I’ve been like this since day one.  I don’t even have to exert any energy or move an inch and the sweat is pouring down my face, neck, cleavage and back.  It’s like my head is a portable heater, permanently on.  



I don’t sweat under my arms or in my legs so much, it all stems from my head.  Oh, and boob sweat.  Those sweat to0!


This was always a source of  embarrassment for me, particularly when it came to dates and boyfriends.


fhm.com  * This is NOT what I look/ed like when hot

These guys would innocently ask me to join them for a bike ride or even a gentle stroll at a park and could not understand why I always declined.  It wasn’t that I was lazy or didn’t want to,  I just could not let them see my…shall we call it, special glow?



 I looked and smelled more like this:



I don’t care what they say about sweat and how natural it is and how it’s the body’s way of cooling itself ( yada, yada, yada), the fact is that it stinks and it sucks.

Now add:  Perimenaupase to the equation.



A deadly and disgusting combination.

I take about 55 showers a day during the summer only to continue sweating the minute I get out of the shower.  I have tried inserting my head inside an air conditioning unit but eventually I have to go to the bathroom or eat something, so that hasn’t worked.  

I have tried everything!

Like doing this:



And this:



And this:


And this:


And this:



Even this:



To no avail.

The other day, I was at a sporting store purchasing binoculars for Mr. Brickhouse (who by the way NEVER sweats!) as a father’s day gift, when I spotted some bright colorful items on a table.

I was intrigued because like a child, I have to investigate everything.

This is when I behaved even more like a child by peeing in my pants!

Holy Caramba!  A Necklace Fan??

It was the most beautiful thing I had seen in a sweaty long time.  



Isn’t she gorgeous?  All she requires is two double AA batteries to bring her user to a cooling ecstasy. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Even better than her other battery operated cousins who also please their users.

This baby goes around your neck whispering sweet nothings in your ear and blowing cooling and refreshing air right up to your face.  All day long.  It goes with you wherever you go, fanning your senses into limitless delight.

Here she is providing me with endless joy

Here she is providing me with endless joy

So my amigos, you too can feel such marvelous bliss.  One place they have them is at, 


Don’t worry, they use the utmost discretion when packaging this euphoric battery-operated gadget, understanding your need for privacy.

ps.  You may want to order extra batteries.


Seize The Day, And The Next And The Next…


morgue files

morgue files

On the tail end of an eventful two weeks of celebrating my daughter’s high school graduation,  Mr. Brickhouse and I headed to a birthday party this past Friday evening.  We were to celebrate two family member’s birthdays.  One who was turning 84 and the other 70.

We were told to dress for a cocktail party.  We dressed up and arrived with birthday gifts for the guests of honor.

Once seated, my loving cousin who was hosting the event, toasted to her devoted father who was visiting from Puerto Rico and turning 84 that day.   Birthday songs were sung in both English and Spanish, tears were shed and the ceremony continued with more toasting, this time to the guest turning 70.  

morgue files

morgue files

The man turning 70 was my cousin’s boyfriend/significant other.  They have been together for a couple of years and have built a wonderful life together. She shared stories about him as did other guests and we toasted to this special milestone.

This is when things got crazy.


Good ideas always appear to be crazy.

P (my cousin’s boyfriend) grabbed the microphone and called my cousin over to  the dance floor.  In front of all the guests, he asked her what she wanted to do during the next year.  She responded with a simple yet deeply meaningful answer, “I would like to keep on living”. 

To most, wanting to keep living is just a given.  We take it for granted and is not an answer we give to that type of question.

 To my beautiful cousin however,  that answer means the world to her and to those who love her.  A couple of years ago she was diagnosed with a rare condition called, Cadasil:

Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy), is an inherited condition that causes stroke and other impairments. This condition affects blood flow in small blood vessels, particularly cerebral vessels within the brain. The muscle cells surrounding these blood vessels  are abnormal and gradually die. In the brain, the resulting blood vessel damage (arteriopathy) can cause migraines, often with visual sensations or auras, or recurrent seizures (epilepsy).”

“Damaged blood vessels reduce blood flow and can cause areas of tissue death (infarcts) throughout the body. An infarct in the brain can lead to a stroke. In people with CADASIL, a stroke can occur at any time from childhood to late adulthood, but typically happens during mid-adulthood. People with CADASIL often have more than one stroke in their lifetime. Recurrent strokes can damage the brain over time. Strokes that occur in the subcortical region of the brain, which is involved in reasoning and memory, can cause progressive loss of intellectual function (dementia) and changes in mood and personality.”

(courtesy of  http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov)


This condition is extremely difficult to diagnose because it is so rare and often mimics other brain disorders like, Multiple Sclerosis.

She has already suffered from some light episodes and lives not knowing when the next one will  occur.  There is no cure or medication for this rare condition and no way to stop it from happening.

So you can imagine our surprise and tears of joy, when P got down on his knee and asked her to marry him – on his birthday.  She is like a sister to me so I was feeling incredibly happy for them both.


P then grabbed the microphone again and asked if there was a priest in the room.  A man raised his hand and stood up.  


It was all planned!  

Were we on candid camera?

Were we being punked?

We were now attending their wedding.  

It turns out that only a few people other than the bride and groom, were in on this surprise.  Most of us were in complete shock.

This surprise is only a small example of the way my cousin lives her life.  It is precisely what I adore about her.  The admiration I have for the way she attacks life, is monumental.  Now 52, she has always lived her life in the moment.  Appreciating and stopping to notice the little details that matter.  There is no opportunity she does not take and make the best of.  

For her, No is simply a word that does not exist. She continues to be a dreamer and a doer, only now, after her devastating diagnosis, the wish to take it all in and enjoy herself has only intensified.  

Life has not been all peaches and cream for her as there have been plenty of large bumps along the way and things she probably wishes had never occurred.   She has made peace with what is and vows to get the most out of her years on this earth.


So we went to a birthday party and had wedding cake instead.

IMG_7290 - Version 2

Felicidades mi prima querida.  Te quiero mucho!

While You Were Out


Actually, I am the one who has been out of the blogo-mundo for the past couple of weeks.  

And boy have I missed you all!  

I have managed to sneak off here and there to read some of your posts but mostly, I have been going NON-STOP, like a chicken with her head still on…going from activity to activity to more activity, in preparation for my daughter’s high school graduation.

Here is what I have been up to:

1.  Preparing  my house for the arrival of Mama Brickhouse and her handsome husband of three years who arrived for the graduation festivities.  They are here for the week.

2.  Planning and coordinating an overnight party for the entire graduating class.  This entailed threatening begging parents to volunteer to chaperone the party at God-awful hours of the night as well as buying decorations, snacks and games for this big event.


The way it works is that every year the senior class has an all-night party right after graduation in an indoor arena where tents are pitched (literally and figuratively), there is a dj and dance floor, tattoo artists, bounce houses (none of them flew away, thankfully), games, photo booths, etc.  I was this year’s lucky parent who chaired and coördinated this entertainment committee.  Ay, Dios Mio!  It was a lot of work.  I also got to chaperone between 10:00 pm and 2:30 am.

Try chaperoning 150 kids who are ready to party, including your daughter who does not want you to be there, while trying to make yourself somewhat invisible, yet guarding the “glowing” tents as  kids try to sneak a joint or four as a plume of cannabis spreads over the arena.  Not to mention the couples who were hoping to mess around without being seen.  Fortunately, it was a huge success, the kids had fun, no one got hurt and no one got arrested. Phew.


3.  Watching my husband work tirelessly in the yard for the past month and supervising him from inside the house as he plants flowers, gardens, grass and spreads mucho mulch.  I obviously did not supervise him enough because the day before Mama Brickhouse was to arrive, he decides to have a humongous pile of MANURE-COMPOST delivered right to our driveway.  A mountain of CACA for all guests to see and smell.  It is still there, untouched.   Needless to say, Mama Brickhouse took offense to the pile of shit that awaited her.  What was he thinking?


4.  Helping plan another graduation party for my daughter and three of her best friends, for 100 guests.


5.  Attending an award ceremony for seniors where my daughter received 4 awards including 2 scholarships!  YAHOO!  🙂

6.  This was of course, the best part:  Attending my beautiful daughter’s High School graduation where I got to proudly watch her shake her principal’s hand and accept her graduation certificate.  

Daughter Brickhouse & Mama Brickhouse

Daughter-Brickhouse & Mama-Brickhouse

7.  Drinking lot’s of vino in order to survive said activities.

8.  Putting my aching, sexy and exquisite bunion-filled feet up and wrapping them in ice until they are numb and completely frozen.


Hi Bob, my foot fetish friend! 🙂

The festivities are not over until this weekend when I plan on doing this for the rest of the summer:




Have you attended any fun festivities lately?