Be the Parnter you Want

In recent days I have been listening to some of the single people who I know. I’m talking about people who have recently separated from a long-term relationship and have somehow lost a sense of not only themselves, but what they want in someone else.

I listen as they attempt to paint the picture of the new partner that they desire to attract.

Most commonly I hear them make comparisons to the ex they have just left behind. I’ll hear how they really want the opposite of what they have been involved in for years, and yet they stayed. Now that there is distance suddenly they are reflecting on how unhappy they were and how they are going to make changes for the next relationship.

As someone who has been single for most of the last 13 years, I have given a great deal of thought to this subject. Anyone that knows me can attest to the fact that I have no interest in being in a relationship. Not that I am opposed to having a partner, but I have been busy with some other intense life goals that would have interfered with a partnership. I must add that I feel a partnership would have interfered with these goals as well. I am absolutely positive that there is a partner out there that could have tolerated all the time and passion that went into these goals that I had, but that would be in my opinion a very unique individual.

What I have learned in my path of being single and independent is this…

Become the partner you want to attract. If you want a partner who takes good care of themselves, take good care of yourself first. If you want a partner who is respectful, show respect. If you are looking for someone generous, be giving. If you want a partner who is independent, be independent. If you want someone who is honest, be honest.

I could go on and on. My point is that you need to make this list of what you want in someone and from that list begin to transform yourself into that very partner. I don’t see any other way to achieve this perfection.




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Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Uncategorized


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The Long Goodbye to my Mami 3/11/1936 thru 4/15/2014

I have been a caregiver for my parents for almost three years. My mother had Alzheimer’s and I have had the rare opportunity to be a witness to a disease that takes the human experience backward. I have watched as my mother spiraled downward from a full functioning adult into a mere 140 pound toddler. Most of all I watched helplessly as more than her abilities disappeared.

My mother was co-dependent. She always had people around her. Her home was where all the holidays were celebrated and you wouldn’t let her find out that you were alone or doing without on these days because it was her mission to serve you on the special days. That being said I watched slowly as the crowd around her thinned.

Her illness didn’t allow her to be the star of the show anymore and the very people that she so showered with love, food and laughter would no longer find time to come to her side. It made me sad but she didn’t know. Her disease protected her from what was happening to her. So over three years I watched as her large life became very small until there was just us.

And then there was just her in her own little world.

Rest in peace Mami.

I miss you with all my heart and soul.

I thank you for the strength and courage that you passed on to me before passing on.

I shall never forget.

A picture of “My Maria’s” with a little Sugar.


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Posted by on April 22, 2014 in Uncategorized


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The NPR Story Corps Interview with Lola

Lola and I had the great opportunity to talk for 40 minutes on Story Corps. It was awesome. They invite you into this Airstream trailer and place you into close proximity to one another. Lola and I got deep, in each others face and REAL.

It was kind of difficult to talk at first, but once we got going, once we got truthful and once we unmasked, we got to be who we we really are and say what we really think.

One of the highest experiences I have ever had.

I definitely recommend it.

To record this and know that it will forever be archived in the Library of Congress.

In one hundred years people who never knew us will have the opportunity to hear what we learned and where we were.

Can you imagine having the same chance in 1914?

Press play to hear the interview

Story Corps

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Posted by on January 31, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Power of Prayer

I recently began talking with a good friend of my sister. Kimmy was very young when I first met her. She was eleven years old at the time and I was fourteen. I think it is because of that alone that I consider her a little girl, even though she is forty-eight years old now.

Kimmy was the youngest member of the Burton family who are mentioned in the book. I didn’t get to talk about Kimmy much because again, she was my sister’s friend and I really hung out with her older sister and brother mostly.

While Kimmy and I don’t have much in common, we have spent sometime on the phone in recent days. She allowed me to unleash some of the negative feelings that come up for me as I watch my mother suffering.

My mother’s behavior has been unbelievably difficult to handle lately and Kimmy has taken on the task to inspire me daily.

Everyday she takes time before going to work and sending me a text message with a prayer for my mother and me.

I have been inspired by that simple gesture, but most amazing is the peace and calm that has come over my household since the prayer texts have been flowing in from Kimmy.

It has convinced me that the power of prayer is what I tend to forget most in my times of trial.

Thank you Kimmy for your prayers, for your inspiration and most of all for being a true friend when I needed one to understand my needs better than me.

You are a saint sent from the past to remind me of the good in people and for that you will always be a little girl. Sometimes adults forget, especially me.

Stay young in spirit Kimmy so that you can keep us old souls in line!

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Posted by on January 12, 2014 in Uncategorized


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A Christmas for Caregivers

Twas two days after Christmas and all through the house

Only one creature was stirring to torture her spouse

Her children are present but she doesn’t know

Isn’t that the way it’s always been though

This Christmas I have hope

This Christmas is special

The creature is slowly leaving

Soon I’ll be grieving

Its okay

Because the best gift I could give

Was learning to live

So Christmas is over and this was all I could think to write for the holiday.

No celebration just waking up like every other day,

in wait. I wait for them to wake, and then I serve, and then I wait until they slumber.

It’s barely an existence. That’s why I say I’m learning to live, because when I get free of this that is exactly what I am planning to do…


June 2014 this task will end.

Don’t be dismayed.

This is not a complaint.

I have been given a front row seat to the big screen of a life un-lived, a spirit leashed, and the inability to break the hardwiring.

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Posted by on December 27, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Media Release for Hardwired

APR jpeg


Posted by on December 24, 2013 in Uncategorized


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I failed a test while passing the course

I make mention in my book about how I hate tests. I have yet to see the test that says something about me that I can rely on.

Almost three years into caring for my aging parents I find myself immersed in tests. My patience is being tested hourly. My stamina has been exhausted and most troubling to me is that I am alone.

I have never been alone. I have been single for more time in my life than I have spent in relationships. I am not talking about that kind of alone. I’m talking about not being able to make the scene or socialize on any regular basis. I hardly get out of the house these days. The grocery store is where I get most of my interaction which is why I stay out of Walmart.

I was thinking about Job from the bible and how his faith was tested. How he passed with flying colors and was rewarded with 100 times what he lost. How he was abandoned by his friends because of illness and his refusal to curse God.

I’m afraid that I have flunked that test. Yes I have cursed God. Not because of my losses but because of the suffering that I see going on with my parents, who in my opinion could have more peace and meaning if they were no longer here.

It’s not that I want them dead. I just can’t imagine a life like theirs. Not being able to walk. Having to be assisted with every aspect of life. For me that would be a living hell. Not to them, or at least it doesn’t show if they consider their lives less than great.

This got me thinking. What is happening in my life right now? Are my friends and relatives right? Am I in the way of my parents ability to leave this earth?

The more I thought and prayed on it, the more the answer began to flow. It wasn’t an answer that I wanted. It wasn’t filled with the rewards that I had expected.

You see, I had an expectation. Don’t we always?

What I came to realize was that this action of caring for my parents eliminated many things in my life that I swore were stable. I would have told you that my friends would never abandon me. I would have stood against mobs to defend close family members that would never turn their back on me. But I was wrong.

Like Job, the things that were taken away, or should I say drifted away as a result of my commitment to this task were not stable forces in my life. I was wrong. I counted on things that didn’t really exist. It was a fantasy that I had about my greatness.

Turns out that I am not so great. Turns out that I am not Job. Turns out that I am not alone.

The removal of this illusion has made way for more important, true and stable forces that really drive me.

My relationship with God is clearer. Who I really am and what I can stand is clearer. My knowledge of love is clearer.

In these last days when I have pondered the meaning of things I realize that this life isn’t just about what I accumulate or attain. It isn’t about how many people I can get to say my name. It isn’t about the score.

What is it about? The question lingers because the lesson is never over. You never have it all. Having it all is the illusion that I have lived under for far too long.

I am accused constantly of creating the circumstances in which I am now in.

Guilty as charged. Yes I did! I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. Especially that delusional world in which I was living yesterday.

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Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Uncategorized


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I’m not joining you on that Unicycle

Last night I had a dream that I was riding a unicycle with my mother. Now everyone knows that my mother is reaching the last stages of Alzheimer’s and she cannot hardly walk without assistance much less ride a unicycle.

The unicycle ride was scary and unbalanced, nevertheless I stayed on. The most amazing part of this unicycle was that it’s seat was 100 feet from the ground. I could see for miles and I am very much afraid of heights, but I stayed on.

Finally I fell off of the unicycle and was sure that I would die. I wound up landing on some power lines that caught me and cushioned my fall. I went to the hospital and was surprised that while I was in some pain, I was not seriously hurt.

When I woke up I realized that I had been riding my mother’s one man machine. I was letting her drive me in any direction she chose to go. The hours that she spends crying is getting to me and the verbal abuse was angering me. Anger is not my best suit. It makes me sick and I am aware of it’s affect on the heart.

I realized that I don’t have to get on that unicycle with her anymore. Besides the unicycle was designed for one person.

So today at the first opportunity to let her take me for a ride I decided to say…

“I am not joining you on that Unicycle.”

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Posted by on December 2, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Fight for a Livable Wage!

This was posted on facebook by a friend of mine. She is a college professor and I can understand her point of view, very narrow.

“Dear Mr. / Ms. McDonald’s worker: Your industry’s business model was built upon the idea of temporary, part-time workers, NOT career employees. I cannot write this loudly enough GO TO COLLEGE. PURSUE A REAL CAREER. THERE IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A POT OF GOLD AT THE END OF THE ARCHES.”

First I would like to say Ms. College pro, $15 an hour is not a pot of gold. If you made $15 an hour you would be screaming and striking too. Maybe you are making $15 an hour to which I must ask is this the standard.

When my daughter was in high school all I heard from other parents was how much pressure they were under to send their kids to college, especially when they didn’t have an interest in going. My question all along was…

…If everyone attends college then who will be left to do the work of our economy. We have to eat, entertain ourselves and of course someone has to build the houses and offices out which we will work and live. Who will do the plumbing and electrical work? These are trades that do not require a college degree.

Before Reagan CEO’s earned 44 times more than the average worker. Today it’s 400 times.

When did 44 times more become not enough? 44 times more house, more cars, more everything.

On the same day my friend posted another note to the McDonald’s employees who think they deserve better than minimum wage.

“Dear Mr. / Ms. McDonald’s worker, me again!
Don’t you realize that if you start making $15 an hour that the price of a McSomething will skyrocket to the point that Taco Bell employees will not be able to afford to pick up dinner at your “restaurant” on the way home from work?”

My dear friend Sherry,

Really? You have friends that aren’t college educated. One friend comes to mind that spent her life in the entertainment industry. Now she is a widow struggling to do better than minimum wage. You don’t think that she deserves a livable wage? Are you really concerned for the Taco Bell workers being able to afford McDonald’s? By the way, Taco Bell employees have also been on strike for the same reason.

I’m going to tell you what I know about this “business model.” I have worked closely with corporations that rely on this model. I worked for a small marina whose owner came out of Disney and also loved this model.

Here is what I took in.

The marina owner’s would find homeless and desperate souls to work for them for less than minimum wage. They would hire say, three of them. The three of them put together did the job that one man could do by himself. These owners could never see themselves paying one man the wages of three when they could get three to work for the wages of one.

Guess what? These cheap laborers cost them money. If they weren’t crashing a boat they were suing the marina for unlawful labor practices and winning.

I recall their desperate search for a boat mechanic. The mechanics that they were going through couldn’t fix a boat motor. One of the mechanics was so bad that he lied and said that he had fixed and test driven a boat.

The owner of the boat takes the boat out with his mentally challenged son only to find that the boat began to sink. Something the mechanic would have been able to avoid by doing his job, which he was grossly underpaid to do.

One day a man walked in and asked for a job. He accepted way less money because he was desperate to feed his family.

Turned out he was an expert mechanic. The best this town has ever seen. Once he was able to show them what he was worth, he sat down with the owner to renegotiate his salary. The marina was charging $80 an hour in labor. The mechanic asked for $40 an hour.

The owners said goodbye to him and he landed a mechanic position in Naples where they are paying him $50 an hour and the marina hasn’t been able to find a reliable mechanic that can fix everything that comes their way.

So they sit on a lake where no one who lives on that lake will take their boat to them for repairs because of the terrible reputation they have for fixing boats.

I say let them strike. Let them protest. Stop making college graduates the only grain of sand on the beach. We are all in this together.

Yes a college graduate deserves more money but does that somehow suggest to you that those who didn’t get a degree deserve less than a living wage?

The problem is that this “business model” has spread into industries that used to give people like me and some of your uneducated friends a living wage. Doesn’t that have an impact on you?

Believe me when I tell you that even college graduates are having trouble finding work with a living wage. Oh yeah you must know that because your wife has a degree and she isn’t automatically getting paid more.


It is so because the “business model” has become so popular that everyone is bound to be exploited. If we don’t start to buck this system, it will take over and who wants that?

Cooking and serving burgers should not pay a livable wage? Why?

All work should pay a livable wage. If you don’t impact the employee’s life in a positive way, he won’t impact your business in a positive way.

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Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Going Home

The minute I changed my mind about what I am doing right now I began to feel better. I knew that I wanted to get out and get some exercise, but I couldn’t figure out how.

Yesterday I put my mother in a wheelchair and walked her for 45 minutes. It was the best I have felt in a long time. To have every pore in my body gushing out toxins. To feel my heart pump blood into every crevice of my organs. To breathe long hard breaths. To be physically challenged for the first time in many, many months was the best high ever.

The beat goes on. I am still in the same place, doing the same thing and enduring the pressure of what must be done next.

Next is the decision to place my parents in a nursing home by July 2014. It is the very thing that I was trying to avoid. I was avoiding this step when they were able to walk. When they were somewhat active. When there seemed to be hope and of course it wasn’t as cumbersome.

Right now my stepfather lays in a bed 22 hours a day. My mother sits in a recliner all day with the exception of bathroom calls.

That means that every glass of water, every snack, every meal and every bowel movement is up to me. Every question, however insignificant is a calling of my name. This is 24 hours a day seven days a week.

You would think that placing your parents in a home when it is so hard to care for them personally could be an easy decision.

If you have ever walked through a nursing home and you think about walking your parents into a place where old, frail humans are sitting in wheelchairs and staring away as the life is leaving them. To tell your parents, “this is your new home,” to leave and wave goodbye as their eyes scream for you not to leave them there. This is the task at hand.

I realize that it is a journey for me and them. They are going home, I can’t hide that from them. I realized how fearful I am of facing that possibility myself. Walking the halls of the dying is a quick realization of the very fact that we must all return home some day.

I have some standard idea that if I were old and frail that I would automatically want to go. Now I know that isn’t necessarily true for everyone. I think that there is work to be done in order to feel so free.

This “work” I speak of is being in tune with our existence.

I’m talking about the answers that our faith is giving us. Not just the things that we say we would do if there could be trouble. I’m talking about the very things we say and do when we are smack in the middle of hell.

As I approach the most difficult task of my life to date, I pray for guidance and ask forgiveness for what I must do.

We are all on our way home. We are just on a path there.

I’m thinking about a yellow brick road.

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Posted by on September 16, 2013 in Uncategorized


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