Friday, August 31, 2012

Once in a Blue Moon

Celebrate this evening's "blue moon...."

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Be The Earth

Monday through Thursday are a blur.  I don't know why, but I am having to work really hard to remember anything about the beginning of this week.  The one exception is the amazing time I had at Meg and Justin's house on Monday evening.

As we know Thursday rolled around and I was emoting and finding my compassion compass, again.

Friday isn't terribly clear, either.  I remember what I wore and that I was late for work so I took my makeup bag to work and applied a quick face before I had to "face" any of my co-workers.  There were a lot of meetings and I was on auto-pilot.  Information overload.  I sat in the back and journaled.  I WAS's just I am an excellent multi-tasker.

Upon arriving home I switched on the local news.  I RARELY do this as it is mostly just sad.  I saw the "first" student I ever really connected with (14 years ago) being hauled into jail for calling in a bomb threat at the airport.  That was the breaking point.  His mug shot, his image, his story...I couldn't handle it.  I broke down.  I called my mom.  My dad brought me fajita tacos.  I curled up in bed and cried.  Even Mary didn't like me.  She refused to cuddle with me and kept giving me the butt end of her body. Nice, right?  I realize, at this point, I have left my make up at work.  Thankfully it is the ONE Saturday out of the school year the school will be open.  

Saturday morning I woke up two hours late.  I left the house with wet hair and arrived on campus to put make up on, introduce myself to my classroom neighbor (who was diligently working...legitimately working...unlike me) and made a quick trip to Barnes and Noble to purchase Najla and Kamilah birthday gifts.

I can BARELY keep it together in the children's book section.  Why?  Who knows.  At this point if someone breathes wrong I am liable to shed tears.

With little time to waste I am annoyed by the "wait" at the check out counter.  I place my purchases down.   I am "coyly" checking out this issue of US Weekly when I hear the man checking me out let out a noise of frustration and annoyance.  He looks at me and says, "The computer just kicked me out of the system."  Jokingly, I replied, "Oh...I was wondering what I had done to offend you."  And I laugh.

He says, "I am never offended."

I say, "Oh yeah.  I guess I don't offend easily, either.  Instead I just get hurt.  That's my problem."

He says, "I am Buddhist." (I knew this...he was dripping in the beads of his beliefs...but in a really lovely manner.)

He goes on to say, "The Buddha told his son, 'When you are feeling upset, sad, etc. just be the earth.'  So I tell myself, 'Be the earth,' if I am feeling offended."

"The earth?  Why the earth?  Tell me about that."

(A huge line is forming behind me but I don't care at this moment.)

"Yes, the earth.  Think about what we do to the earth.  We urinate on it.  We defecate on it.  We vomit on it.  We treat it poorly.  Yet we can plant a tree in it and treat it well.  The earth knows no difference.  It just 'is,'."

Crickets from my side of the counter.

"Would you like your items in a bag?"

"Yes, please."

Huge score at Half Price Books today.  (Yes...I am always in a book store or around books or on Amazon.  It's a disease, I tell you!)

Still in shrink wrap...I don't care that this costs 30 dollars.  I am listening as I type and I feel really smart and really cool and like this moment belongs in a movie.
In loving memory of Michael Roman Morales.  Happy Birthday to my angel with really big wings!

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Little Bit Blue

My job isn't emotionally easy.  I suppose a LOT of jobs are not emotionally easy.  Some days are easier than others.  Some entire periods of time can go by where I don't "feel" anything surrounding the things I see, hear, learn, witness.  Those are the times I worry about myself the most.  I am, by nature, a compassionate a fault sometimes.  When my compassion compass is "off" I know I am putting up walls, suiting up in a rough exterior and not allowing myself to "feel."  I've often rationalized it away as a defense mechanism for seeing really tough stuff on a daily basis.  Over the last 13 years there have been more difficult situations than I care to recall; but only a few have I allowed to come home with me, to enter my thoughts after 5pm, to enter into my dream world.  Again, I think a level of emotional distance is what allows me to do what I do without falling into a daily downward spiral of emotion.  My superiors probably prefer I leave the tears, the confusion and the rage for the car ride home.

In the event you wonder what I do...this about sums it up:
Source: Unknown

Confidentiality completely prohibits me from sharing ANY story outside of my immediate group of colleagues.  

What I can say is that today I FELT a whole hell of a LOT towards one student in particular.  It was all I could do to put on a brave, professional face and hope that no one could detect the teary sparkle in my eye and the quiver in my voice.

I imagine some of you might be reading this in chastisement, reminding me that "I choose this field."  Yes, I did.  But at 22 years old I had not the slightest notion what I would see and experience in the years that lay before me.  At 22 years old I was still so very self involved I don't think my compassion compass had even seen the light of day.  (Or at the very least it had been tucked away in my pocket for longer than I care to admit.)

So while I sit at home tonight, feeling extraordinarily tender about the story of a young student, I feel the slightest bit relieved because, at least,  I am "feeling" again and I can't help but think that is a good sign.  It's times like these where I am able to do my best work.  

As I begin this school year I hope to maintain a healthy level of compassion.  I hope to feel shocked, worried, concerned, excited, loved and overjoyed.  Experiencing the whole run of emotions on behalf of others tells me I am more emotionally healthy than I think I am.  And that is something I have been working REALLY diligently towards all summer long.

I am blessed to work with children.  I have read so many blogs this week about letting your babies head out to the first day of school.  I have talked to a number of friends about the tears they have shed as the put their babies on the bus or walked them in for meet the teacher night.  While most of your children are BEYOND supported at home, please keep in mind the special and unique circumstances of each and every student in the school and remind your little ones that a reassuring smile to the "odd" kid in the back of the room might alter the course of their lives (both their lives) forever.

Happy 2012-2013!
Source: Unknown

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Heaven is for Real

My guest room TV is broken.  This is PARTICULARLY irritating to me because I can not watch The Today Show while applying my magic makeup before work.  The Today Show is where I get my "information," then I hop in my car and receive more information via NPR.  (No...I slant in no particular direction at all!)

Last year, around this time, I remember rushing around to prepare for the day and only half paying attention to a story about a little boy who claimed to have spent time in heaven.  I made a mental note to order the book so I could dive into his story with greater intent.  The book arrived and it sat on my shelf, until last week.  An opportunity for me to read this book came up.  It couldn't have been better timing.  I love moments of sincere synchronicity.  

Colton Burpo suffered a terrible ailment when his appendix ruptured and it was not removed for five days.  His body became toxic and by the time he went in for surgery, the odds were not remotely is his favor.

Miraculously (and I do not use this word lightly) Colton recovered.  Over the next few years Colton shared information with his parents about his experience in heaven.  I will NOT spoil a single detail for you; for I found his matter-of-fact, detailed descriptions THE BEST segments of this book.  I looked forward to anything in quotation marks because I knew it would be Colton sharing some divine piece of wisdom with me.  


The following image created by Akiane figures prominently in the book.  Again...I refuse to spoil anything about this book for anyone...I do want to share this painting.

According to young Colton, this is exactly what Jesus looks like!  I don't know about you...but since I came across this image, I have not been able to stop staring into His eyes. and forgiving....


If you are a believer, and even if you are not a believer but curious about the notion of heaven, I highly recommend this sweet read.

I desperately hope everything Colton reveals is true, true, true!  While I know I have some serious work to do on this earth and in this life....the prospect of Colton's version of heaven is so exciting and gives me an enormous amount of peace.

Thank you, Burpo Family, for sharing your story.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fava Beans with a Nice Chianti?

For the past year I have watched...and waited...for the new Salaam International Food Market to open around the corner from my house.  The signs went up approximately this time last year and everyday I passed by...365 hopes it would be "Grand Opening" day.  

"Grand Opening" happened about a month ago.  I didn't go.  I think all the waiting, all the anticipation had built up and somewhere around day number 276 it just completely fizzled out.  A girl can only wait so long, right?

After my dinner date (with my dad) last night I decided to stop in.  I must have crawled through each aisle like a turtle.  I stopped to read EVERYTHING...and most of it was in a foreign language!  I recognized a few things....Lebanese food and Indian foods familiar to me through my friendships with Najla, Rupa and Sangeeta, respectively.  And of course I recognized all the Mexican ingredients.  But for the most part, I was blissfully lost and wondrously confused.  I loved it!  

Here is what I walked away with.  

And it must be said, the young lady who was at the check out counter was, quite possibly, one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen.  I was too embarrassed to ask from where she hailed but I would imagine Egypt, or somewhere around there.

I asked her if they had been busy.  Her answer was lackluster...but she added an, "I hope it gets better."  I detected a good deal of desperation in her voice.  I promised her I would be back.

As I threw my bags in my car I looked around the parking lot.  My eyes settled on Sarovar, the local Indian restaurant.  I sat in my car for a moment and I flashed on all the customers I had just seen in the food store.  What a beautiful combination of cultures and peoples and their foods....all celebrated under one roof.

And then, it just hit me.  I am lucky enough to reside in an area where MANY cultures are represented. Catholic charities places families in my neighborhood.  I often see them at my local "super market" and they look glassy eyed....peoples in search of the cuisine that represents them.  They probably come out of there heartbroken half the time.  Now they have a place to find the foods, spices, drinks, delicacies that come out of their respective countries.

Just for a moment I imagined living in a big the epi-center of international peoples, customs and cultures.  But wait...I do!  I actually do!  

If you have a chance check out Salaam International Food Market at Wurzbach and Ironside.  If you are in need of ANY spice in THE WORLD...I guarantee you they have it!  

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Meet and Greet

San Antonio Bloggers Meet and Greet and Central Market.
Thank you Megan Ortiz at Mean Baby for sharing this wonderful photograph!

I had a great time and walked away 100% inspired and about 75% confused...but I am going to work my way through it.  I have met a number of incredibly kind people who are so VERY willing to share tips, information, hints, ideas, inspirations.  What a welcoming community.  I look forward to continued associations with each of you.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Naughty Makeovers for Nice Girls: Part Two-The Products

Ahh...yes, Part Two!  

It is not, at all, lost on me that when Dimitri made his appearance at Barnes and Noble (La Cantera: San Antonio, Texas) the ENTIRE front row had travelled FIVE HOURS to honor their dermatological hero. (Of course, they travelled five hours from the Rio Grande Valley and I was loosely related to one of them and the other was related to my first ballet teacher.  Texas, though enormous, is kind of just a small world like that...)

After a week and two days of using the following products I am not at all surprised by his sweet "groupie-dead-head" like following!  (They were just too cute.)

So a bit about SKINN Cosmetics:

"SKINN Cosmetics is a line of premium skin care and color cosmetic formulas developed by professional make-up artist Dimitri JamesSKINN formulates and manufactures all of its own products, using highly active, concentrated natural ingredients and avoiding excess water, fillers or packaging.   From concept to compact, from brainstorm to bottle, every product worthy of the SKINN name comes to life under one roof, and under James’ watchful eye. Skinn Cosmetics can be purchased at"

I was gifted the following items.

After a is what I can attest to.  My skin is most definitely more radiant than it has been in a LONG time!  (And that's without water...this has been a week of mostly wine!)  My skin not only looks, but feels, hydrated.  I have noticed an elevated level of "dew-y-ness" that isn't "oily."  It really just feels (and looks) like the skin of my twenties.  In fact...twice this week...I have been mistaken for late twenties, rather than late thirties.  What more could a girl ask for?

Without a doubt I will continue to use these products AND invest in more SKINN Cosmetics products.  

Next time Dimitri rolls through town, I will be in the front row with my iPhone camera ready to grab a photo opp!  

Thank you, Dimitri, for gifting me with these products.  It has been my pleasure to use them!

Souce: Unknown

With all this talk of beauty and make-up...I am forced to focus on the things that last way longer than my hydrated, thirty-something-year old skin will ever last.  (Because, yes, sadly....gravity is already starting to take effect.)  

In my opinion...there is nothing more beautiful than a woman who has lived a life...and learned from life...and has the fortitude to keep waking up, setting her feet on the ground and setting the world on fire.  

No doubt, wisdom comes with experience.  And experience comes with living.  And with living comes days, week, months and years.  Time births confidence and confidence automatically gives way to an appeal that can be defined as "sex appeal," although I think that definition barely touches the surface.  It is so much more than that.  A woman comes into her own at a time when society considers her shelf life WAAAAAAAY past the expiration date stamped on her ass!  What a crying shame!  Some of the sexiest, most wise, most caring, most understanding women I know are far upwards of fifty!  In my opinion...we should be worshipping at their feet and plastering them all over magazines!  (Oh wait!  What?  Centuries ago that is how it used to be?  Imagine that madness!)

To innovators like Dimitri who help keep the modern women well groomed and feeling good about her wise, beautiful, sexy self!

And to you youthful twenty-year-olds in precious bikinis posing on Facebook...I promise, it only gets better from here!  You will absolutely understand where I am coming from one day.

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Because I Can....

Most importantly...she is smart, savvy, kind, loving, independent, brave, brave, brave and brave.  She is proud of where she came from and wants every little girl to make a connection to someone in media.  She is, impeccable, with her words.  She is a student of life.  She is a member of our family and we could not be more proud of the life and career SHE HAS CREATED for herself.  She dreamed her possibility forward and is humbly reaping her reward.  

Look for Marisa in Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2 as Huilen.

We love you!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Naughty Makeovers for Nice Girls: Part One-The Book

Monday evening I asked Jace' to join me for an exercise in restraint.  I wanted to challenge myself to a stroll through a book store WITHOUT purchasing a book.  Over the weekend I moved furniture around opening up my grandfather's old bookshelf to house my books.  I thought I could find a nice space for each one of my treasured children.  NOT EVEN CLOSE!  I's just a book buying (and refusal to lend, re-sell, give away, etc.) disease.  

Ever the friend to set me straight, Jace' met me at Barnes and Noble.  I grabbed an Iced Tea and we wondered upstairs where the REAL challenge was on....FICTION AND NEW RELEASES!  John Irving has a new book out.  So does Chuck do a lot of people.  What I needed was a diversion and FAST.  (Lest Jace' have to knock me I ordered her to do.)

And there he was....Dimitri James....IN PERSON!  My temporary savior was introducing himself to a group of women (and a few men).  Jace' and I grabbed two seats and were handed two tickets by his publicist Kelly.  ( must be noted...Dimitri looks EXACTLY like Chris Klien and Kelly bears a striking resemblance to Cameron Diaz.  I was confused for a moment!)

As I listened with rapt attention (mostly to get my mind off the new Chris Cleave novel) I found myself laughing out loud, nodding my head in agreement, cringing in conviction as Dimitri shared his inspiration for his second publication.

Apparently Dimitri's friend, Jill, is the consummate nice girl who gets overlooked for everything!  (Ever felt like Jill?)  

She often calls him for advice and he has told her (time and again) to kick the double strand pearls and Tory Burch flats in favor of a tailored pencil skirt or a one shouldered dress with classic platform heels. Apparently Jill is still a work in progress...but the message was clear...and it resonated with me!  What was the message?  The message is a mantra:

"Sexiness does not belong to the beautiful, young, thin, adorable.  Naughty knows no size.  It doesn't matter what shape I am in, how old or how much time and money I have to spend on myself.  I can still be sexy, fun, flirtatious and pulled together with clothes and make up customized to accentuate my positives and distract from my negatives." -Naughty Makeovers for Nice Girls

And, so, the mantra became a book!

(At this point I was thinking, "Thank goodness I have make up on and fixed my hair today.  Unfortunately these glitter Tom's aren't doing much for my 5"2' frame.  I hope he doesn't notice.")

Dimitri hails from a long line of European-trained aestheticians, his mother and both grandmothers, showed Dimitri how to create soaps, toners and masks using pure and natural ingredients.  He says his 
"desire to make over anything that stood still long enough" manifested itself in 4th grade as he got in trouble for using colored chalk as eye shadow on his female classmates.  The makeovers led to eye infections and subsequent phone calls from the nuns!

Dimitri enjoyed a career working for cosmetic giants including: Estee Lauder, Chanel, Revlon, Lancome and Borghese.  Additionally he trained students at Adrien Arpel Salons and spas.  Through his years in the industry he learned even more about the types of ingredients which go into cosmetic products.

He launched his own line of cosmetics in 2002.  SKINN Cosmetics includes treatment, color and makeup products.  Jace' and I were lucky enough to trade in our tickets for a GENEROUS portion of SKINN Cosmetics swag!  

Stay tuned for my review of the products in the swag bag!  

Did I walk out with a book?  You BET I did!  Like I said, it is a disease!  I am now half way through my (signed) copy of Naughty Makeovers for Nice Girls and have to admit...despite the wealth of information my impeccable mother has shared with me over this lifetime...I have learned quite a few things!  Thank you, Dimitri!  You were absolutely delightful!

Coming soon:  Naughty Makeovers for Nice Girls: Part Two-The Products