Something Is Broken, Something Is Wrong: A Mother’s Fear


If you are the mother of a young black man,

I can see your fear.

If you are the mother of a young white man who wants to be a police officer,

I can feel your fear.

If you are the mother of a young black man,

I am sorry for your pain.

If you are the mother of a young white man who wants to be a police officer,

I am also sorry for your pain.

If you are the mother of a young black man in today’s world,

be very afraid.

If you are the mother of a young white man who wants to be a police officer in today’s world,

be very afraid.

If you are the mother of a law-abiding black son,

stay afraid.

If you are the mother of a law abiding white son who wants to be a police officer,

stay afraid.

If you are the mother of a young black man,

get angry.

If you are the mother of a young white man who wants to be police officer,

get angry.

If you are the mother of a young black man you love beyond words,

protect him.

If you are the mother of a young white man who wants to be a police officer and whom you love beyond words,

protect him.

Whether our sons are black or white, we are their mothers,

and we are scared.

Something is broken

Something is wrong

We pray that we can fix it

We pray that we are not alone.


I am terrified.  

My son is a caring and kind young man whose passion is to become a police officer.  He wants to help others.  He wants to serve others.  He is willing to risk his life for others.  

No recent news story has changed his mind.  He is determined to pursue his career of choice.  He may be scared deep down but he doesn’t show it.  

 I am terrified.  

He will be working this summer as a Community Service Officer, supporting the police department anyway he can.  His job is to work with and for the community.  To protect and to serve.  A stepping stone to pursuing his passion once he graduates from college next year.

But you know what?  He needs to do this.  He needs to become a police officer.  He is one of the many good guys.  The ones that care.  The ones that treat others with respect.  One of the ones who values all lives.  One of the ones we need.

I am terrified,  proud and hopeful for change.

10 Parenting Failures I Am Willing To Admit To

Lucky for me, my kids have zero interest in reading my blog so I believe I am safe in writing about  some parenting failures I am willing to admit to.  It’s not as if they would be surprised, were they to stumble upon this post.  They are the ones that remind me of these failures all the time.  Why do they always remember the bad times?  What about the thousands of parenting successes?

Here are the 10 fails I would like to share:

1.  Dropping my infant in the front yard –

 In my defense, I tripped over the front step while holding her and heading outside.  If anyone had been filming me in slow motion mode, they would have seen my eyes bugging out of their sockets, my eyebrows raising up to my cranium, my mouth slowly opening while yelling, AHHHHHHHHHH, my arms flapping as I desperately tried to hold on to her and my legs twisting in some warped yoga-like pose as we hit the ground.

As it turned out, I cushioned her fall so much so that the EMTs could not find a scratch on her, whereas I ended up with a broken leg and having to attend her baptism the next day, on crutches.

2.  Forgetting about the tooth fairy –

I know I am not alone with this parental fail, except that it happened all the time!  Over and over again.  That lazy fairy always arrived at least two days late and I just kept making up excuses for her.   That she was blind and couldn’t find our house.  That she had been kidnapped by a very very bad man.  That one of her wings had fallen off…

3.  Leaving the two kids in the car –

I swear, it wasn’t a bad thing to do back then.  I would ask them if they wanted to go in to the store with me to grab milk or something we needed and when they said no, I allowed them to stay in the car together.  They would play games and have a good ‘ol time (at least that’s what they told me later).  It was usually a quick errand and I’d be back in the car in no time.  Never in 90 degree weather or during a frost.  Does that count for anything?

4.  Miscounting the Christmas gifts and having more for one child –

I thought I was so organized.  I had lists upon lists with all the items I had bought for the kids numbered and separated.  I even used different wrapping paper for each child.  I checked and double checked the night before to make sure I had equal amounts for both.  Yet there we were on many a’ Christmas mornings, listening to one of the kids cry because Santa had brought the other one more gifts.  They are 21 and 19 now and I still miscount.

5.  Taking the whole stranger-danger lesson too far –

In my honest attempt at preparing them for what to do and say when approached by a stranger, I scared the shit out of them and traumatized them for life.  Okay, so I would sit them down at the dinner table and go through scenarios and they had to tell me how they would handle that particular situation.  I thought it was a brilliant idea!  After having to calm them down night after night as they awoke terrified from their nightmares, I decided to stop these lessons altogether.

6.  Giving the kids food that had already expired –

I have since learned that those expiration dates don’t really mean anything, anyway.  You can add at least another week or two to those dates, you know.  However, my oldest started reading at a very early age and his little boy OCD would make him check the dates on everything before eating it.  He soon began to doubt my intentions and stopped trusting me.  To this day, he checks expiration dates and smells everything I serve him to make sure it’s still good.

7.  Cheering for the wrong swimmer during a swim meet –

They all look alike when they are in the pool, for crying out loud!  Same bathing suit, same color swim caps.  So during an important swimming event my daughter was swimming, I got my phone camera all set up to begin taping her.  The starting bell went off, all the girls dove into the pool and I was that crazy-like dance mom who cheers obnoxiously, screams, jumps up and down and records every second of the event. Once home, I couldn’t wait to show her the recording of her amazing swim.  That’s when she very loudly informed me that the girl I had recorded was not her.

8.  Getting caught throwing their art work away –

I did keep most of their art work and colorful crooked ceramic vases, but every once in a while I felt a need to simplify and make room for new art.  The problem was that we were and still are die-hard recyclers, so when I sent them out to the garage to play one Saturday morning, I had forgotten that the recycling bin was filled to the rim with…art.  Yea.  Many tears were shed.

9.  Acting like a junkie while holding a syringe and telling my kids to shut the f up –

My kids have grown up watching me take all kinds of medications for my Rheumatoid Arthritis, since they were very little.  On this particular morning, I was attempting to inject a new medication into my stomach for the very first time.  The kids were watching cartoons and arguing.  The arguing soon became full-fledged fighting with some hitting involved.  As I tried to steady the needle and aim it into my stomach, the fighting escalated.  As any other crazy mother would have done under these tense circumstances, I held the syringe up in the air and yelled, “Shut the F@*%^ up!!!!!!”  It’s Mother of the Year material, isn’t it?  I’ve had prouder moments.

10.  Letting my daughter drive home after getting her permit –

I thought I would be one of those cool and confident parents that tells her daughter that she can drive home (a 40 minute drive including highway) after having received her learner’s permit.  If I showed her how confident I was in her ability to take the wheel, she would take that confidence on and successfully drive home.  After almost hitting several pedestrians, white-knuckling the steering wheel while driving 10 miles per hour on the highway and miraculously not getting us both killed at a dangerous intersection, my little trouper got us home.  Mind you, she was crying hysterically when she got out of the car and would not drive again for another month.

*Oh yea, and I never took them to Disney World or got them a puppy!  Sigh

Do you have any parental fails to share?

Mr. & Mrs. Brickhouse Hit The Town!

Can I tell you how much  I recommend having an empty nest?  Yes, it will be very sad at first and you will miss the offspring like crazy, but  the next day after a while, you will adjust.  And adjusting we are doing.  I mean, someone’s got to adjust and it might as well be us.

We have been empties for about eight months now, minus some vacation weeks where the babes have been home (Glee!)  It is wonderful to see how they have matured while away at school and what great adults they are becoming.  As empties, you learn that you no longer annoy the heck out of your kids all of the time, only occasionally and particularly if you walk around your house humming, in which case your 19-year-old daughter will not be happy.

With this new-found freedom and spontaneity, we behave like two teenagers in lust love who ran away from their homes to be together at last.

Although every night feels like a Saturday night, this past Saturday night we spontaneously decided to go out on the town for a late dinner.  Our town had just hosted the annual Extravaganja Festival (that’s for another blog post but basically it is an organized and somewhat controlled marijuana festival in our town common – don’t ask.)  Because of the amount of participants lingering around once the festival ended, we opted to go out in the next town over.

After a delicious Italian dinner, vino and mas vino, we ventured up stairs of the restaurant where their bar/lounge is.  A band from Vermont was performing and the bartender told us that they were fantastic, so we decided to stay and watch them.  Mind you, it is now about 10:45 pm (way past my bedtime).

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We got carded before entering and were almost not allowed in because Mr. B had left his license in the car.  Seriously?  The bouncer didn’t believe that we were 21?  Once inside, I noticed that there were no chairs in the entire place.  None.  How is a 50 something brickhouse with lot’s of problemas supposed to stand the whole time? Then, I spotted two chairs at the bar being used by a Stephen King look-alike wearing ear plugs, and his date.  How the hell did he get a chair and what did he know about how loud this band was that he came prepared?

We stood at the bar with our drinks watching Stephen King like hawks in case he go up so we could immediately steal his chair.  That’s when a 30 something girl asked me to take a group picture of her and her friends celebrating girl’s weekend.  I clicked away and before you know it we were bffs.  The four of them and the two of us.  Long lost friends, found.  

After explaining to them that we were empties and out past our bedtime, they proceeded to tell me that there was no way I could have children in college. After lot’s of, “no way, it cannot be, you are lying”, I revealed my age to them.  They all gasped and fainted right there and then (well, not really) and then told me that I looked like I was 36.  Thirty Six?  Ding, ding, ding, ding! How ecstatic was I?  Poor Mr. B got the, “you look good too but she looks amazing”, sympathetic afterthought.

Feeling much younger now and drunker, I looked around sizing up the crowd.  It was a very…er, eclectic group.  Old, young, hippies, clean, black, white, hippies, single, dating and hippies.  The aroma around me was…skunk-like, in a good skunk kind of way.  Wait.  Had the crowd from the Extravaganja in my town made their way here?  Wherever they had come from they had come relaxed and ready to hear this band (which by the way had not started playing yet at 11:15pm).  I made sure to take long deep breaths as I waited for the band…

What a fantastic and cool band!  They call themselves Barika, meaning to blossom, bloom or be successful.  A six piece ensemble playing all acoustics.  I had never heard such varied funky/psychedelic music played like this.

 “Led by their grooves, Barika is wholly rhythmic, captivating audiences with the beautiful, hypnotic way in which they interweave melody and groove to create something that is not only danceable, but incredibly interesting to listen to. Barika creates a soundscape of funk soaked in psychedelic, West African resonance.” – Performer Magazine

The most unusual instrument (played by a nice and quite high man) was the Ngoni.  It is a West African harp-like instrument made of Calabash (a gourd), dried animal skin and fishing wire.  

The highlight of my evening by far was that he let me touch his Ngoni !  He let me play with it and even pluck it!  SCORE!

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Mr. B and I could not stop ourselves from dancing to the groove.  Such great rhythms and beat.  We were not the only ones dancing, though.  It appears that Elaine from Seinfeld was also there.  This amazon woman who was super wasted, jerked her arms, legs and head in seizure-like movements, almost broke Mr. B’s nose.

 A young man next to us must have been…meditating, because his eyes were closed the entire time as he tripped swayed back and forth.  He looked very tranquil.

After dancing a bit, it was clear that my feet were going to fall off so I looked over to Stephen King and can you believe he was getting up to leave?  I literally ran over to him, took his chair and dragged it to where Mr. B and I were standing. We continued to enjoy the fabulous music.

Before long (at 12:30 pm) the place was packed.  More and more people kept streaming in.  The later crowd consisted of a lot of muscle men sporting men-buns.  What in the world is up with men wearing their long hair in a little bun?  I know it’s “in” and I admit that I was staring at their muscles and not their buns, but still. 

At this point it got way too crowded.  It was shoulder to shoulder crowded with people bumping into us no matter where we were.  I actually became very claustrophobic and had a mini panic attack.  I had to get the hell out of there ( I know, I’m old).

Although it took me until today to recover, we had a blast!  

Not bad for 50-something empties (who look like 30 year olds – um, only me – that is!)

A Fitbit For Someone With RA & Fibromyalgia:Ha,Ha,Ha,Ha!


It seems that everyone and their grandmother has a Fitbit or something comparable to track their steps, calories in, calories out, exercise, weight gained, weight lost and even sleep. I am frankly surprised it does not include tracking your bowel movements or the color of your urine since I hear you are supposed to drink at least 950 ounces of water per day.  Maybe they are working on that feature (can the Apple Watch do that?)

So when Mr. B mentioned to me that they were giving them out at his work to their employees and asked me if I wanted one, I laughed.  Seriously?


I then pictured myself wearing one of the fancy ones I have seen online and figured, why not.  Except that Mr. B could only get us the plain black flex bracelets and I’m not paying for some fancy cover.

He has since programmed his Fitbit to track his easy-peasy  10,000 steps per day (which he exceeds daily, even though he sits in an office all day.)  Apparently, the Fitbit vibrates when you have reached your goal (dammit, mine will never vibrate) and from what I can see,  he is enjoying this feature.  I am actually happy for him except that I will flush that thing down the toilet if I see that he starts weighing less than me.  

I decided to put mine on and sync it to my online account I had created, even though I honestly saw no point.   After all, I am horizontal for at least 50% of my day, I am fatigued 98% of the time, my feet hurt even when I am not on them, my wrists don’t like to bend and even my hair hurts.

So, what the hell am I supposed to be tracking?  I know I can break the record for hours slept per day, but really.

I imagine the tracking of a typical day in the life of brickhousechick,  looking something like this:

1.  Get my body out of bed (at noon), go to the bathroom and return to bed:


Sleep tracked: 15 hours

Steps Taken: 10

Calories out: 5 (it’s hard work to fall)


2.  Once back in bed, I try to reach the remote so that I can watch TV:


Activity tracked: reaching

More activity tracked: lifting my head

Pain to my neck, fingers and wrists:  100

Sleep needed after exertion:  6 hours


3.  Get myself something to eat:



Activity tracked: opening the fridge

Activity tracked: pushing the start button on microwave

Steps Taken: 12

Tears shed: 26

Calories in:  2500

Calories out: 2

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Activity tracked:  operating grabber

Calories out: -5


4.  At some point in the day I should shower:



Activity tracked:  step into shower

Activity tracked:  turn on shower

Activity tracked:  apply shampoo & conditioner

Steps taken: 4

Calories out: 2

Gallons of water used:  50 gallons x 30 days = 1500 gallons, 25 gallons x 30 days =750 gallons, which is a 750 gallons of water per month x 65 gallons per rinse per hour….


5.  When I have to, I go shopping:

 On bad days, I use a mobility cart.

Unknown children like to hang on

Sometimes, I flirt with meet others

Activity tracked:  turning ignition on scooter

Activity tracked:  putting the scooter on reverse and hearing loud beeps

Activity tracked: placing items in too small of a basket

Calories out:  7

Calories in:  500 (from free samples)

Humiliation: SUPER HIGH

Hearing Loss from Beeps:  Mucho


6.  My final and favorite activity of the day:





Activity tracked: lifting glass

Activity tracked: swallowing 

Antioxidants consumed: a ton

Hearts helped: 1

Happiness felt: limitless

Pain relieved: ALL


PS.   “There is some evidence that orgasms can relieve all kinds of pain — including pain from arthritis, The Huffington Post.  

FYI: The Fitbit tracks all activity.

How is your Fitbit treating you?

Love In Ten Lines

As many of you know, I love my husband, Mr. brickhouse who I often refer to on my blog, as Mr. B.

But, there is another talented and charming  Mr. B out there in the world better known as   Mark Bialczak, who tagged me in a poetry challenge titled, Love in Ten Lines.  You can check out this Mr. B’s lovely poem here.

Well,  I am always up for a love challenge and it so happens that I awoke today feeling rather feisty and edgy.  So I agreed to participate.

I had to tone it down a bit because it was getting hot around here and I didn’t need another hot flash.


Here are the rules:

•Write about love using only 10 lines.

•Use the word love in every line.

•Each line can only be four words long.

•Nominate others who are up for the challenge.

•Let them know about the challenge.

•Title the post: Love in Ten Lines

•Include a quote about love (this can be your own).

•You may write in any language.


My Poem:

“Love In Ten Lines”

Take me, mi amor,

Love me at once.

Lust, passion with love,

Is love I demand.

Caress me, mi amor,

With love and desire.

Kiss me, mi amor,

Love-making with fire.

Love me, mi amor,

For I love you.


My quote:

“Con amor, se puede”


*I am going to break the rules (because I am stubborn and a trouble maker) and not  nominate anyone in particular.  I urge you however, to give it a try on the comment section, if you so desire.  RRRRrrrrrrrrrrr!