What’s on Kenyavision?

What a wonderful cause!! My friend Lizzi has a heart of very shiny gold as you will learn when you read this post!! Take a read! ❤

Considerings

I stepped off the plane into the Nairobi night, expecting to be hit by a wall of heat, like I’d read in books. I was waiting for something akin to opening the door of a blast furnace and stepping inside, the cool, air-conditioned plane switched for a boiling inferno in spite of the late hour.

It was warm. Pleasantly so, but only warm.

I confess, I was the tiniest smidgen disappointed, but thought to myself that I would nonetheless make the best of things. I snuggled my jacket closer around me and descended the stairs, lugging my bag at the end of my tired arm. Walking across the tarmac, I breathed deeply – great lungfuls of warm air that smelled of heat and dust and fuel and…something almost spicy; an underlying, faint but very distinct difference to the air in England.

I grinned widely in spite of my tiredness. I…

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How Nothing About My Body Is On Fleek And Why I Don’t Give A Flying Fleek

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Is it me or is the phrase, on fleek annoying as hell?  Have you heard it used before?  Perfectly groomed?  Exactly right? On point?  Pftttt!  Like we need another reason to feel self-conscious and critical about our bodies.  As hard as it is to admit that my body is anything but on fleek,  it’s high time I not give a flying fleek! .

Since eyebrows seem to be the most popular recipients of the on fleek definition, let’s start with my 52-year-old eyebrows.  These babies have witnessed a lot of drama over the years and quite honestly, are suffering from PTSD.   The number of times they’ve had to rise, furrow, lower and endure hair pulling when things got real, is absurd.  As a result, they are thinning, graying, tiring and more appropriately described as being, On Meek! 

If facial hair on women were ever to be hip, my mustache would be so on fleek.  It would be my upper lip you would see first when googling images of on fleek mustaches on women.  No amount of waxing, extracting, bleaching, shaving or pulling have put a dent on my stache.  It’s time I let go of my fantasy of having no mustache ever, and accept my hairy, sun damaged, brown spotted upper lip, once and for all.  Frankly, I’m okay with calling my upper lip, On freak!

Sadly, when hanging around the house braless, it is clear that my boobs are, (Not)On Peak!  If I am sitting down relaxing, I notice that my girls end up resting on my ever expanding stomach. I’m not talking they brush up gently against my belly, I’m talking they nestle comfortably on my belly like peacefully sleeping (twin) infants.  (Sigh,  this is a tough one to not give a flying fleek about).

Have you heard about contouring with makeup? You know, when you use make up to make imaginary lines on your body to give the illusion of thinner lines by shading in areas and highlighting your assets?  Well,  I don’t contour my toes or arms (wierd!) but, to address a few facial issues making my face not on fleek, a little experimenting is doing wonders On(my)Cheek and that’s good enough for me.

For obvious reasons, I’ve learned never to go underwear shopping with my 20-year-old daughter, ever again.   As she sorts through the baskets of frilly and delicate thongs, her mama is looking in the camping section for large tents. The nylon kind that don’t need poles to stay up but instead, have a huge elastic band to accommodate the “curves”.  Oh, for crying out loud, my undies are definitely, On Geek!

I remember back in the day when I looked cute and somewhat sexy before going to bed.  Now, I get totally naked, turn on the air conditioner, place a fan directly on my face and leave one leg hanging off the side of the bed, uncovered.  I make sure my husband does not touch me because he generates too much heat.  In spite of all my efforts, I still get sweaty.  Thus when in bed I would say that I am, On Reek! 

I could go on and on but I will spare you the scary details. 

The truth is that as my body ages, I will undoubtedly continue to describe these imperfections for all to enjoy, but when I do, it will be with acceptance, humor and even pride.  Pride because I have earned every single flaw on my body by living a full life filled with food joy, drinks  love, meaningful parties  relationships and determination to be happy in spite of the diets obstacles I have faced.

Won’t you join me in saying no to perfection and not giving a flying fleek?

 

 

Someone In My House Is Snoring!

snore while sleeping

zquietreport.com

My father was a chronic snorer.  He had an undiagnosed case of Sleep Apnea and as a result, I got accustomed to hearing guttural rumbling noises coming from my parents’ bedroom.  

Fast forward to now.  There are three human beings that currently reside in my home.  One of them is definitely SNORING!!  Could it be my 20-year-old beautiful daughter?  My 53-year-old dashing husband?  Who is the culprit?

Well,  it has been brought to my attention by sources close (in proximity) to me, that I snore. 

Whaat? Not delicate and frail little ‘ol me!  Couldn’t be…

First of all, let’s get something straight.  I don’t SNORE, I breathe heavily with my mouth open.  There is a huge difference!

After adamantly denying that I snore breathe heavily with my mouth open, I finally accepted the possibility of it being a reality and decided to do something about it.  I purchased, “advanced 4-touch technology nasal strips.”  They promise to open up nasal passages reducing snoring   breathing heavily with mouth open.  

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Talk about false advertising and marketing.  Let’s just say I did not look as dreamy as the woman on the box.  Once I found the tabs that one pulls out to expose the sticky side,  I couldn’t figure out if I had it upside down or not.  

The first strip did not stick because I moisturize my face before bed time and the little sucker kept sliding off.  After washing my face and drying it thoroughly (per instructions I neglected to read the first time), I tried strip number two.  HOLY WIDE NOSE!!!

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Talk about opening up nasal passages

After kissing my hubby goodnight, I went to sleep.  Sometime in the middle of the night I awoke and felt my huge nose.  One side of the strip had come completely undone.  Needless to say, I looked quite lovely.

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Seriously?

 The next night, I tried another strip – this time I placed it too low and could not breathe.

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Reluctantly, I gave it another shot.  That night, I placed in on my nose perfectly, there was no flinging of sides in the middle of the night, I could breathe and I did not snore breathe heavily with my mouth open.  However, when I tried removing the strip in the morning, the skin of my nose came ripping off with the sticky strip.  OUCH!

Mother of God!

I am beyond traumatized by these damn nasal strips and much to my husband’s dismay, will not be wearing them ever again.  Wouldn’t he rather have me looking sexy and snoring  breathing heavily with my mouth open than me looking like a National Geographic tribal woman adorned with nose accessories with an excellent olfactory system?

There’s got to be another way.

Any suggestions?  Do you snore breathe heavily with your mouth open?

I’m Dreaming of Balls With Power

Woman-Daydreaming-Eyes-Closed

dailyplateofcrazy.com

Rachel  at  Misfits of a Mountain Mama wrote a very funny post about how much she is enjoying dreaming about winning tonight’s astronomical Powerball  drawing, now up to 1.5 billion (in case you’ve been living in a different planet.)  Check it out here.  I don’t think Rachel and I are alone in imagining what we would do with this or any big lottery winning.  Nothing wrong with dreaming, right?

In playing this pretend game, I found that my brain could not get past the very detailed part where I find out I am a winner.  The state of shock and disbelief is too overwhelming for me to imagine what I would actually do with the money.    

My day-dream goes something like this:

{Harp music playing in the background}

It’s Wednesday night, husband is in bed because he has a huge meeting on Thursday.  Daughter is out with her friends.  I am on wine glass number 3 and getting ready for the 11:00 news, after having watched the Chicago Fire,  Chicago Med  and  Chicago P.D  crossover event. I am holding my soon-to-be winning ticket consisting of three  Quick Picks.

The local newscaster (wearing an out of style suit) announces the numbers and shows a picture of the winning numbers on the 5 white balls and the one red ball.  I look at the TV screen and quickly write the numbers down on a piece of paper.  I then begin to check them against my numbers.  

The first quick pick is a dud.  I look at the second set of numbers. The first white ball number matches my first number.  The second white ball number matches my second number.  I start to hyperventilate and my heart is skipping many beats.

{Organ music now playing in the background} 

I shift in my seat and crack my neck from side to side.  The third white ball number matches my number.  HOLY SHIT.  The fourth white ball number matches my number.  THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING.  I begin to shake and tell myself that I must be hallucinating.  

The fifth white ball number matches my F-U-C-K-I-N-G number.  I scream knowing that I have won a million dollars (but let’s be real, one million dollars gets you nowhere these days).  Then it’s on to the 6th number.  The RED power ball number.

 IT’S A FUCKING MATCH!

I drop the glass of wine and it spills all over my nice living room rug.  I knock the lamp next to me over.  I stand up.  I grab a paper bag and breathe into it three times. I look at the numbers again. I start feeling dizzy and sick to my stomach.   I check the numbers again.  

I check the numbers again.  

I check the numbers again.  

All this, while breaking the record  for the number of times I have ever said these words:

FUCK!!

NO!!

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING!!

HOLY SHIT!!

FUCKITY FUCK THE FUCK!!

Coño, Carajo, Puñeta!!

THANK YOU LORD!!

I am now on my knees looking up at the ceiling (which needs a new paint job) talking to our Almighty, asking Him what I have done to deserve this fortune.  I try to control the amount of F bombs I am dropping while talking to Him but under these circumstances, I think He will forgive me.

After hours of worshiping Him, kissing our dirty floor and swearing profusely, I am exhausted and collapse right on the floor.  I begin to laugh out loud while shaking my head and having seizure-like spasms.  I am convinced that I have wet my pants but continue laughing because I can buy 10,000 pairs of pants to replace the ones I am wearing.  The ceiling is moving, or is it the wine?

I fall asleep right there on my dining room floor.  I awake after 45 minutes and look around.  I pinch myself to make sure I am alive.  Rapid noises escape from one of my orifices, further convincing me that I am indeed, alive.  DEAR GOD, did this just happen? (the winning, not the gas.)

I get up from the floor (no easy feat) and stumble to the kitchen to grab a sponge.  I begin to wipe up the spilled wine on my rug and suddenly break into another laughing fit.  WHO CARES ABOUT THIS DAMN RUG?!

I pick up the winning ticket, I kiss it passionately leaving lipstick marks on it.  SHIT!  No one will be able to read the numbers now!  I skip brushing my teeth because, who needs their original teeth when you can afford a whole new white and shiny set of porcelain veneers?  

I head into the bedroom and see my husband sleeping peacefully on his side.  I take off all of my clothes and jump in bed.  I place the ticket in the top drawer of my bed side table, next to my Chapstick, my tweezers and my miniature book of Sex For Dummies, and settle in.  

The room is spinning.

 I fall fast asleep.

 

The End.

This is as far as the day-dream goes.

I guess we will have to wait until I win to find out what I will actually do with my fortune!

 

Keep on dreaming and best of luck tonight!

 

 

 

 

 

A Latina Grinch

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FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA

Those are usually the words that come out of my mouth when I am feeling cranky during the holidays.  Except that I say them with a heavy Spanish accent and using a very low and monotone voice.

In reality, I have nothing serious to be complaining about.  I have no business whining or being bratty.  But let’s be real here, it gets exhausting faking jolliness all month-long.

FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA

I am suffering from a severe case of the, “I don’t wanna’s”.  Have you ever suffered from this?  It can be very serious and highly contagious.

This Puerto Rican Grinch is at the peak of her illness and needs medical attention (or a good slapping) ASAP.

Here are examples of how this ailment is manifesting itself: 

1. There are rotten bananas liquefying on the kitchen counter and a decision needs to be made.  Banana bread would be the logical solution.  My response:   I don’t wanna, no quiero, I don’t wanna.

2.  After laboring over placing a fake garland with lights attached to it on the mantlepiece and ensuring that the lights worked prior to using it, the lights don’t work.   New lights would be the logical solution.  My response:  Sh#%&*@^!!!!  I don’t wanna, no quiero, I don’t wanna!

FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA

3. My in-laws need my husband and I to stay at their house overnight to help out while my mother-in-law goes to a Christmas show two hours away.  The logical and usual response is to do this lovingly and with no hesitation.  My response:  I don’t wanna, no quiero, I don’t wanna!

4. My Puerto Rican mustache is in dire need of waxing.  We are talking Señor Brick House!  The logical solution:  wax the hell out of it.  My response:  I don’t wanna, no quiero, I don’t wanna!

FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA

5. I have mad amounts of Christmas shopping to do.  I even know what to get my loved ones.  Some gifts take two seconds  and a simple click of the submit button.  The logical solution: buy the frikin’ gifts already!  My response: I don’t wanna, no quiero, I don’t wanna!

6.  By this time, I have usually indulged in Puerto Rican no-good-for-you fried goodies and have listened to festive (and loud) Puerto Rican Christmas music to get me in the mood.  Logical solution: go to freezer, defrost said no-good-for-you fried goodies, fry those suckers, eat them, press play on your Christmas play list, grab your maracas and güiro and dance the merengue ’till you pull a muscle.  My response: I don’t wanna, no quiero, I don’t wanna!

FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA

PLEASE SEND WELL-WISHES FOR A SPEEDY RECOVERY!

FELIZ NAVIDAD TO YOU AND YOURS!

 

All Names Matter

egr.vcu.edu

egr.vcu.edu

 

Did you know that George Foreman (former professional boxer) has 12 children?  And did you know that his five sons are also named George?  

They are, George Jr., George III (“Monk”), George IV (“Big Wheel”), George V (“Red”), and George VI (“Little Joey”).  Imagine if they didn’t have nicknames?  How on earth would they know when they were being addressed?

I can sympathize with all the Georges.

I was born in the 60’s and at that time, Mary and Maria were two of the top 3 names given to baby girls.  I was also born in Puerto Rico where almost everyone is a Maria.  In recent decades however, it has become more ‘acceptable’ to use less biblical names which means there will be fewer Marias in our future (oh no!)

Speaking of biblical names, I have decided to reveal my full name for you today (I know, it’s so exciting!) Once you see what it is, you will never think of me in the same way, especially if you thought my name was really Brickhousechick.  

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Once you know my given name, you may feel the urge to bow to me, carry rosary beads and definitely pray.

Ready?

 

 

My birth name is….

 

 

Drumroll please…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is:  María de Jesús 

 

We’re talking Mary of Jesus, people!  Yes, of THAT Jesus!

(You can start praying now)

To add to this most epic proclamation, I will tell you that my mother has the exact same name.  She too is Mary of Jesus.  

Will you believe me if I tell you that my sister is also a Maria?  She is María Luisa, as is a cousin of ours.   Two other cousins are both named María Rosa and others are, María de Los Angeles, María del Carmen, María Milagros, María Consuelo and María Concepción.

This is what my Maria's should be like

Hello, my name is Maria

 

You may be wondering how we function and interact with each other while sharing the same name.  The truth is that we do what George Foreman does.  Everyone has a nickname.  It’s like an Oprah giveaway, “You get a nickname and you get a nickname and you get a nickname!”

In fact, we use our nicknames so much so, that I had to do research for this post in order to find out their real names!

Some of our nicknames are common for our given names but most make absolutely no sense at all.  

We are: TUTI, CACHI, TITA, CUCHI, LULU, FIFA, CONCHI, CUCA, CUCH.

(If you need a cigarette after that, I’ll understand)

As for the Puerto Rican men in our lives, many are named José with a second name to follow such as, José Luis.  Their nicknames, I find, do not accurately represent their stature, strength and particularly, their machismo.  Well, judge for yourself: 

PEPITO, PEPE, TITO, PEEWEE, XUANCY, WISO, KIKO, ÑITO, PAPO, SAPO, CHU

(Not exactly RAMBO type names)

When I started this blog, I decided to call myself Brickhousechick because I didn’t have enough names attached to me already I thought it more closely depicted what I am all about; strongly solid on the outside yet somewhat mushy and soft on the inside. If you are wondering what in the world to call me now, just know that you can continue to call me Brickhouse unless you feel inclined to call me María de Jesus The Mother of God’s Son, which I will gladly respond to.

All names matter except when you all have the same name, in which case, all nicknames matter.

drawasamaniac.com

drawasamaniac.com

 

What’s your nickname?

 

Serve Your Man First

speakeristic.blogspot.com Credit: Magazine illustration, 1954 (colour litho) by English School, (20th century) Private Collection/ © The Advertising Archives/ The Bridgeman Art Library Nationality / copyright status: English / copyright unknown

speakeristic.blogspot.com

Growing up in a traditional Puerto Rican family, I observed from a very young age the gender roles my parents and family members took on when going about their daily lives.  Although both my parents worked and had mutual respect for each other’s careers, when it came to certain things, tradition took over.

This was evident particularly at meal time.  My mother always served my father his meal before serving anyone else.  If they were at a function with a buffet style dining, she got up, went through the line, made up a plate for him first and then went back for her own plate.

As my sister and I grew older and paid more attention to this phenomenon, we made it abundantly clear how much we disagreed with this tradition and that it would not be repeated with our future husbands.  No way.

Our two loving brothers couldn’t resist celebrating this tradition and would ask my sister and I to serve them first.  We of course, didn’t.  I accepted serving my father first because he was my father but laughed at my brothers’ attempts to guilt us into it.  As it was, my sister and I were already miffed about having to always wash dishes while my brothers could go off and play.  Grrrr.

Well, it is 2015.  My husband and I have been married for 26 years (wow that sounds like a lot) and as promised, I did not take on the serving him first tradition.  If anything, due to my physical limitations, it was he who had to serve me first and do a lot more of his share of the household chores.

He did it all with an abundance of love.

As my husband and I face a change in his career which requires a tremendous amount of stress, long hours, night meetings, responsibility, devotion, commitment and leadership, there is nothing I want more than to take care of him.  Within my health limitations, I want to to help him in every way.

I want him to be healthy.  I want to make sure he sleeps well, eats well and manages stress in a reasonable way.  If this means being a “traditional” 50’s wife whose day is spent making her husband’s life easier, then so be it.

Bring on the cute short aprons and the recipes!

Bring on the drives to the dry cleaners (I’m not ironing) to pick up his shirts!

Bring on the slippers to warm his feet once he gets home!

Bring on having to take the recycling and trash out myself!

Bring on getting a lawn mower service (I’m not mowing the lawn!)

Bring on listening to every single boring detail of his day with a smile!

Bring on having to give him massages (maybe)!

And most of all, bring on serving him his meals first!

 

And I will  do it all, with an abundance of love.

 

 

 

A Closed Letter To The CEO Of My F-%@* Phone Plan

September 17, 2015

Dear Mr. CEO of Fauxrizon:

It’s me, Brick.  You know, the loyal customer who spent 6 days repeating herself with your outsourced employees in order to restore her internet?  The one who you sent a new refurbished phone to replace her broken phone and who cannot use her new refurbished phone because there is a vertical @ss line blocking the screen and not allowing her to type certain letters?  I thought that might jog your memory.

Listen, I know how extremely busy you are coming up with new ways to dupe idiot customers like myself so I won’t make this too long. Having worked in management for many years, I understand the importance and impact good customer service can have on a company.  It is  actually a pretty simple concept even a 5th grader can grasp.  Mano a mano, you and I know how it works, right?  Mistakes happen, you empathize, apologize, acknowledge the mistake and then you own the problem solving and resolution to make sure that your customer is satisfied.  Does this sound at all familiar from training you may have gotten way back when you were a pion?

I am typically a calm person with very low blood pressure, in fact, so low that doctors often mistake me for a dead person.  I am also fair and understanding and will be the first person to compliment, praise and recognize good customer service when I see it.  I am known to friends as the “letter” writer.  I have written letters to people such as Mr. Apple, Mr. Microsoft, Mr. Citibank and Mr. President of a prominent hospital, expressing my likes and dislikes of their business practices.  In fact, I wrote a complimentary email to the supervisor of one of your outsourced employees from India who held my hand (through the telephone wires) throughout my whole internet malfunction debacle and who talked me out of canceling my services with Fauxrizon.

So Mr. CEO, I have a few simple questions for you:

  1.  Do you and your Fauxrizon employees sit around a board room brainstorming ways to make your customers want to go postal on you?
  2. Do you conduct clinical test trials using innocent people from the streets to test out your company practices?  Do you use placebos to make those poor suckers think they are getting a good deal?
  3. Is a unempathetic dismissive personality a must-have requirement for your Fauxrizon employees?
  4. Do you brainwash them to be the cheapest they can possibly be and to not offer the warranted monetary compensation for their dissatisfied Fauxrizon customers?
  5. Is there a “back” room in corporate headquarters where all the broken phones go, where technicians sit around trying to fix them (but don’t succeed), and are then sent back out into circulation so that customers who had a defective phone get a second defective phone?
  6. Do you and the other big wigs at Fauxrizon have “monopoly” parties celebrating the monopoly you have over the business?
  7. Do the security guards you hire to stand guard at your locations to “help out” with rightly-so disgruntled customers, carry guns?

In all honesty, I do not believe you are really this evil.  There must be some integrity left in you that perhaps you have unknowingly repressed!  It happens.

Look, I am no CEO.  But what I am is a loyal customer with some common sense and intuitive knowledge of how successful a business can be when honesty, integrity and respect for customers are a top priority.

Sincerely,

Brick

ps.  How long will I have to wait for a second new refurbished phone with no vertical @ss lines to arrive at my home?

52, It’s Not Nice To Meet You

One year ago today, I decided to take advantage of restaurant “freebies” that are offered to customers on their birthdays (I am becoming my mother-in-law.) My plan was to go to a Mexican restaurant to eat my free birthday burrito and then hop over to an ice cream establishment to get my free sundae…because I’m me and I love food.

I was quite pleased with my grand idea and did not mind one bit that I was doing this on my own without anyone to share the experience with.  Isn’t that what blogging is for?  Some of you may remember that post detailing (TMI) how wrong the whole thing went.  Let’s just say I never made it to my free dessert location due to the fact that the burrito grounded me stuck on a white shiny porcelain fixture at the closest Target Store. Lucky for me, I was able to enjoy many other scrumptious birthday meals once I recovered.

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Although I am very tempted to give the freebies another chance (check out the personalized invite above), I think I will pass and just stick to stealing sugar packets from restaurants and consider those, my freebies.

This year, due to my ailing stomach and aging intestines, I will most likely have a less than remarkable birthday meal/s.  I have been cutting back on carbs and gluten, not necessarily by choice but out of an attempt to ease the increasing daily abdominal discomfort.  It this what 52 looks like?

Let’s see, the birth-day meal possibilities are…endless.  It will most likely consist of a small bowl of cottage cheese with a handful of blueberries as my late breakfast, a round piece of cardboard (I guess they call them rice cakes?) with peanut butter and cucumber slices on top as my snack.  A cheese stick (“I can’t wait to eat my cheese stick”, says no one ever) will be my second snack followed by a salad topped with home-grown acidic tomatoes (that hurt my stomach) from my garden, chicken or fish, more flavorless fresh cucumbers also from my garden, a handful of almonds with some type of blah dressing.  I will then eat two whole bite size dark chocolates for dessert before I begin weeping.

My point being that pretty much anything I eat these days causes me pain and bloating.  I have reluctantly called my doctor to see if we can figure out what is going on THIS TIME.  I am NOT at ALL bitter that my body keeps failing me, really – I am NOT!  What would a year be like without some kind of illness or health challenge?  I wouldn’t know.

All is not lost, however.  I am still very blessed and fortunate for what DOES work and particularly for my family and friends and all that shit…

Thanks to my little sister (who just turned 50 – Thank GOD), the month of September promises to be a month of celebrations even if no good food is to be consumed by me.  My crazy cousins and I are taking her for a girl’s weekend in a couple of weeks to celebrate her being almost as old as we are. WOOT! WOOT!  It should be a weekend filled with lot’s of laughter, happy tears, incontinence (we are old) and lot’s of celebratory liquid gold!  I will sacrifice my abdominal discomfort to make sure my sister has a great time and is as drunk as a sailor!  Did I mention she finally turned 50?

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, our dear mother surprised my sister and I for our birthdays, with a trip to Monterey, CA where she lives for half of the year.  We are leaving mid September for 12 fabulous days of complete bliss!  See how happy I am that she turned 50?  We are two years apart and our birthdays are one day apart so by default, I get to tag along and get spoiled for HER 50th celebration.

So, 52, I guess it’s a little nice to meet you.