What does it mean to be a woman?

This is not a question I would have asked of myself, but someone asked it of me and I was intrigued, so I answered.  What does it mean to be a woman?  

Eve.  Cleopatra.  Jezebel.  Mary of Magdalene.  A mother.  Iconic Women.  It seems like such a big question to answer.  Does she have kids?  If she wants to have them.  Is she married?  If she chooses to be, or not.  Is she loved?  Let’s hope so.  It’s not just about biology.  XY chromosomes.  Check.  Is that what makes a woman?  A certain age?  You decide.  Hint: It’s not fifteen.  The question I think was meant as “woman” as opposed to “man,” but I also thought of it as “woman” as opposed to “child.” 

I’ve finally reached that age in life where I can’t think of myself any other way, whether I like it or not.  Woman, not child, certainly not man.  Experienced, someone whose seen ups and downs in life and has faced both.  I’d love to say, fearless, but that wouldn’t be true.  Afraid sometimes, but a woman walks forward anyway.  Perhaps a sense of confidence that whatever she faces can be looked at, confronted, examined, and taken care of.

A woman has fallen but she gets up.  She cares for herself and others.  There are times when both are necessary, and maybe not at the same time.  A woman has a tribe, a tribe of other woman, and men, and children who adore her, who respect her, who honor her, and who want to see her succeed.  A tribe who will stand with her when she falls, and reaches out a hand to help her up, a tribe who will hold her up when need be. 

A woman has been hurt, has been broken, has been happy, and angry.  A woman walks her own path to success, even though sometimes the path is lonely, maybe especially when the path is lonely.  Yes, she knows how to ask for help. If you say, “I am a woman.” You have to own that power.  It’s not for the faint of heart.  That’s warrior talk.  A warrior, a woman isn’t always loud.  Sometimes the strongest ones are the quietest.  Shhh.  Listen.  She’s there.  

A woman loves.  She is loved.

What does it mean to you?


Blueberries.  Blue.  Berries.  

Can you see them?

I know.  Me too!

Makes you want to snack on some, right now, doesn’t it?

That color…blueberry.

It’s safe.

It’s rich. 

It hugs me.

It’s home.

Feeling loved with my blueberry pie.

Can you smell it?

I know.  Me too.

Welcome home.

Blueberries.  Boysenberries. Strawberries.  Raspberries.

What’s a boysenberry to my tastebuds anyway?

Home baked goodness.

Feeling loved with my strawberry pie.



Welcome home.

Raspberry fingers.  Stains all over my white shirt.

It happens every summer.

Feels like home.

Light breezes blowing red and white tablecloths on the picnic tables.

Summer sun.


Sticky fingers.


Oh, yes.  Naps.

Feels  like home.

 Lazy summer afternoons.

Welcome home.


Invisible beings.

They walk among us.

They laugh.  They cry.




Yearning to be loved.

To be touched.  Noticed.

What’s that like? 



Ghosts from another time.

Lives from long ago.


Can you hear me?  Can you see me? 

Do you know I’m here?



Reaching.  Loving.


Cradling. Cuddling.

Caressing his back.

Loving him gently.

Two heart beats.

One calming the other.

Daddy loves you.

Mommy loves you.


Sometimes love is so quiet.

Two people sitting together in silence.

Knowing each other.

Loving each other…


My First Ramadan…lite.

My First Ramadan:
Okay,  sort of but not really.   So, I see my neighbors putting boxes and boxes of dates in their cars, and I’m like, “what’s up?” and she’s all, “it’s for Ramadan,” and I’m all “oh, okay,” and then I’m like “okay bye.” and she’s all “bye.”  The hubs doesn’t do a whole lot of talking.
  So, that was like two or three days ago right.  So, today I have to go up and tell her not to use her kitchen sink until the plumber comes, and before I leave she like hands me some dates and she’s all,  “they’re for Ramadan.”
And I’m all “okay,  thanks.” (Squishy face) because I still don’t know what they signify.
Hmm. Google and Siri here I come. Now I know, so I’m sharing.
  “Dates are a staple fruit of the Middle East having been in cultivation for thousands of years. Traditionally, dates are known as the food Muhammad ate when he broke from his fast.”   That’s according to About.com.
That’s cool right? !  I know!  Anywho.  The medical reason for it is because dates contain many nutrients the body can absorb really quickly after fasting from sunrise to sunset.  You’ve just spent the whole day not eating so you don’t want to get sick by eating something too fatty and lacking in vital nutrients.  So not only are you emulating Mohammad but you’re protecting your health as well.  Nice.
  Technically , I broke my four hour fast, fast-lite, with some Indian food today.   That’s how we socalians do it:-) but it didn’t stop me from appreciating my new shared experience with my neighbor.
  Goodness knows after Sunday’s hatred in Orlando, we need to spread inclusion and togetherness as much as we can.  We, after all, are all one.

Letter to My Sixteen Year Old Self

I just read a book in which a variety of people, some very well known and some not so well known, wrote a letter to their sixteen year old selves.  I thought it was a great idea.  Of course the first thing you would do is to tell yourself to tell your parents to buy shares in a company called Apple and a company called Google.  It’s computer and technology stuff. Don’t laugh at the names, or laugh if you want, just make sure to buy the shares.  You will thank me later. After that, the door is wide open.

It is fact that under the best of circumstances, sixteen is a very awkward year for most people.  Hormones are raging.  High school is happening and it is also about the time  you are submitting applications for college and taking what seems like a bazillion tests. Add to that,  you are discovering who you are as an individual for the first time.  That’s not awkward at all.  Many are dealing with situations beyond that that can be extremely taxing.

I still regard sixteen as one of the most difficult years of my life, even after every thing I’ve experienced in this world up to this point.  My mother’s cancer returned and I and my nuclear family had to give up our beautiful home and the majority of our belongings to go and live with my maternal grandmother.  If there is one thing you need to know at this point, it is that she hated(haaaated) me.  She always did, and I was about to move into the lion’s den.

I am eternally grateful to my sixteen year old self and I marvel to this day at the fact that I survived that year.  So, here’s a picture of sixteen year old me and my letter to my sixteen year old self.FullSizeRender

Dear DJ(yup, that’s what I was called back then),

The core of the person that you are now is the person that you will always be and that’s a good thing.  Integrity and character are your cornerstones , but not everybody shares those qualities,  so trust your instincts as you always have.  They are spot on every time.   

These are some things that you already know.  This is just a reminder to never forget them:

1) The world is a very large place with a wide variety of people in it.  It is great fun learning all about it.   

2) You are a fighter.  You are a survivor.  Learn to thrive.

3) Trust your gut because some people are users, knowingly and not, and they do not always have your best interest at heart.  Do not give them second or third chances.  Trust me it’s a waste of time.    

4) You are not alone.

5) Being yourself is the best thing you can be.

Learn quickly that there is beauty in gentleness and there is nothing wrong with being different, in fact it’s a strength.  And for goodness sake learn to meditate.  It’s miraculous…and don’t forget to tell your parents to buy those shares.  

P.S. I think you owe your Spanish teacher fifty cents, not because you took the candy bar, but because the candy bars were your responsibility, and yes of course we know now who did take it.

With great love and great respect,