Where are You Going? Here’s to Strong Women

May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.

May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.

With all the turmoil and sickness plaguing us these last few weeks, I want to take a moment to celebrate my daughters’ January birthdays.

If we were having coffee today, I would invite you in for a hot beverage of your choice (coffee’s ready!) and perhaps some virtual birthday cake.

Today is my oldest daughter’s 32nd birthday. My younger daughter turned 29 on the 21st. They spent many of their childhood and teen birthdays with just me, when I was a single mom raising them with little financial help.

There is something about our children’s birthdays that incites reflection.

Two years ago I wrote a reflective piece when my oldest turned 30, a milestone birthday for the both of us. Here is that post, Where are You Going, My Little Ones.

Through the grace of God, some luck and sheer grit, I raised these incredible women to be strong and independent. Perhaps you can see this in the photo of them fist-bumping after walking me down the aisle after my second wedding in 2013.

Daughters celebrating after marrying off their mom!

My oldest (pictured on the right) is an Aerospace Engineer living in the San Francisco Bay area and has happily worked for the same defense contractor since 2007. She put herself through 4 years at UCLA, graduating with honors, then receiving her master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering. She lives with her boyfriend and two cats and does not plan to have children.

My youngest (on the left), after a long, stressful educational journey, where she was academically expelled from university, ultimately clawed her way back in and graduated with her bachelor of science degree in Recreation Therapy. One year ago, she sat for the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist exam and passed on her first try.

She chose to move away from her friends to a town on the California Central Coast and now works for a State Hospital as a Recreation Therapist. She shares her first apartment with her dog and a fellow co-worker. She is not dating at the moment, but hopes to have children someday.

We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.Both daughters make more money at their young ages than I ever made at the height of my career.

And I am damn proud.

I want them to live their lives in a world where choices matter and living the strength of their convictions takes no effort.

My oldest daughter was severely affected by the outcome of the US elections. I sat helpless as she sobbed over the phone in her disappointment. Not to be stopped, she recently took part in the women’s march in San Francisco.

But even with all this recent turmoil, I am still a mother.

If you have children, enjoy them at every age. I am blessed to be a mom of these lovely, talented young women. Enjoy this lovely version of the song, Turn Around. Here is a sample of the lyrics:

“Where Are You Going (Turn Around)”

Where are you going, my little one, little one,
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you’re two,
Turn around and you’re four,
Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of my door.

Notes: by Harry Belafonte, Malvina Reynolds and Alan Greene. Published by Clara Music Publishing Corporation (ASCAP). Administered by Next Decade Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved.

I am also linking this song to Hugh’s Views & News 51 Weeks: 51 Songs from the Past.

Winter Weekend Coffee SharePlease join the coffee clatch at Part-Time Monster’s Weekend Coffee Share




Happy Two Year Wedding Anniversary to Me



Today is my shameless plug to announce my two year wedding anniversary to my wonderful husband. I have been so busy with STUFF that I literally forgot what the date was today. One of my Facebook friends wished me happy anniversary on my timeline this morning! Oh yeah! It’s my anniversary!

I cannot express to you how wonderful a second-time around marriage is. I am not encouraging you to run out and experience one, unless, a) you are single and looking, or b) you are in a great relationship after a previous divorce and still deciding to tie that knot.

I am blessed with a wonderful man who adores me. Of course I adore him. He brought spontaneity and fun back into my life and in turn, I gave him the structure and support he needed in his life. Then he went and introduced me to windsurfing and a life of excitement and travel.

Gushing much? Yes. I am thankful to God for this relationship.

If you want to read more about my wonderful relationship, read here about how we met.

I would love to hear your second-time around stories.

Facebook, Second Chances, and Love

Dancing at the Delta!

April 9th was the 6th year anniversary of our first date. Read more for the whole story!

After living in San Diego my whole life, I married young at age 20 to a young man who was from Northern California and ended up moving there. After 17 years we divorced and a few years later I got into another long-term relationship. Some men aren’t the marrying kind, especially in mid-life, so the relationship fizzled out since it was not going to become permanent. I was single again, now aged 48 and figured I was destined to be alone. I was interested in a couple of men but nothing happened.

At my 30-year high school reunion in San Diego, I thought I could meet someone who might be single…geez, I sound like a prowler (not cougar…). So yes, I met someone, but…naaaa! I had hoped to see a couple of men there but they did not attend the event.

Soon after the reunion, someone invited me to Facebook, so I joined, and connected with a large group of high school alumni. Fast forward a few months later, I noticed the photo of a particular man on Facebook who happened to be single (and amazingly still looking for his soul mate!). He was always someone I thought highly of in school (handsome, amazing athlete, you know…). He was still as handsome as ever and had posted pictures of himself windsurfing and was now living in Northern California.

Somehow between a friend request and a couple of e-mails back and forth, we started communicating. Every evening for a week, I would open Facebook hoping for another message, but alas, nothing for several days. So I did what any red-blooded, albeit slightly desperate woman would do, and I e-mailed him my phone number.

Right before Easter, my daughter, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, had broken her arm, so I had to drive there to help her (she had to have surgery, etc). As I was driving, my phone rang and I saw a number I did not recognize. I answered and it was HIM!! His first question was “How are you,” and his second question was, “How is your daughter?”

Wow, handsome AND caring!! He had seen my post. So we yacked for 90 minutes as if we had just spoken the day before. We had not seen each other since our 20-year reunion in 1998. We obviously hit it off and he liked talking on the phone (unusual for most men). He had just gotten back into town and of course I was two hours away helping my daughter; oh the irony!

In between surgery and doctors’ visits with my daughter, we talked on the phone over a four-day period. We made a date for a few days later. Our first date was dinner at Olive Garden. When I drove in to the apartment complex where he was staying with his friend, and as I got out of the car and walked up to him, he put his big arms around me and flat-out just picked me up (I’m not a small gal—5’8’’). In person, his sparkly green eyes and incredible personality was enough to make me swoon (hmm, maybe I should write romance novels…)

Of course dinner went great and we went back to his friend’s place and chatted. They showed me these windsurfing movies and I could see how passionate they were about this sport. So (being a pretty good swimmer and water enthusiast), I looked him in the eye and said, “That looks like fun, maybe you can teach me how to windsurf.” I’m pretty sure it was his turn to swoon!

We're Married
Something he said was funny! Image edited by TWSchrandt

Four and a half years later, we tied the knot at a small church wedding and we are still newlyweds in our mid-50s. I told him just today that I smile every time I think to myself “I’m married and I have a husband.” I consider myself blessed and lucky and I thank God every day for bringing him into my life!

Happy FIRST DATE Anniversary to by wondeful husband and best friend!

Where Are You Going, My Little Ones?

Yosemite Girls
Summer Day in Tuolumne Meadows
Summer Day in Tuolumne Meadows

Thirty years ago today marks the birth of my first daughter, “MAM.” First off, I am in awe that 30 years has gone by. Secondly, how can I be the mother of a 30-year old?

At age 24, working a part-time job with no benefits, and having just moved back to my home town in San Diego, my then husband and I broke the news to our family that we were expecting. The pregnancy was a bit of a surprise, since I had an ectopic pregnancy prior to that. With one Fallopian tube, the chances of getting pregnant were much slimmer.

When I announced this news to my grandfather, he changed the subject and asked how my car was doing. He was concerned that neither my husband nor I had full-time jobs at that time. I didn’t have medical insurance, either, so I was able to access Planned Parenthood’s prenatal program for a reasonable monthly fee.

MAM was due to be born on February 4th.

On Sunday, January 27th, my youngest brother and I were playing Trivial Pursuit. He had to answer the question, “What was the horse’s name in ‘Jingle Bells’?” He was 14 years old at the time and as he sang the song, it came out “bells on ring-tail rise” (instead of “bells on Bob’s tail ring”) which resulted in uproarious laughter on my part. As we both laughed uncontrollably for what seemed like hours, I suddenly felt a cramp. Much more than a Braxton-hicks contraction, this was painful!

Yes, I went into labor. I told my doctor the next morning that I laughed myself into labor. MAM was born on January 29th, six days earlier than expected.

January 29th in our family holds significance. Most of the family hales from Kansas. January 29th was the day that Kansas was admitted into the United States. My curmudgeon grandfather, who so blatantly ignored the pregnancy, was amazed. Why? Because January 29 was his 70th birthday! MAM came early to be born on his birthday and be his first great-grandchild, forever endearing her to him. Today, Grandpa would have been 100.

And that was 30 years ago.

Youngest daughter, “LAM” was born on January 21, three years later. Again, the surprise of “I’m pregnant again?” This time I was working for the City parks and rec where I eventually spent 30 years of my work life. My husband was in school and working full-time.

Both pregnancies were textbook. Had I been a pioneering woman from the 1800s, I would have born a brood of kids. With LAM, since it was my second pregnancy, I looked pregnant sooner. My doctors worried I might have gestational diabetes, but no, she was just a big one!

We had to take a few prenatal classes, and with this health plan I was able to use a midwife under the supervision of an obstetrician. When the day arrived (why are so many babies born in the wee hours of the morning?) I started feeling the rhythmic contractions, we headed to the hospital. I kept having these painless contractions, thinking they were just the Braxton-hicks’. As the nurses and midwife checked my blood pressure, the nurse asked me if I was having a contraction. Because it was painless, I said no. At the same time, my midwife, who was monitoring me, said “yes.” I thought they might send me home since there was very little pain with the contractions.

My midwife announced that I was one in one-thousand women who have painless contractions during labor. Two hours later, they broke the water and my 10 pound baby girl was born! Pushing out a bowling ball with no epidural effing HURT!

Thirty years later, MAM is a successful aerospace engineer with a Master’s degree, working for a defense contractor in the Silicon Valley. LAM is finishing up her last semester of school with a major in Therapeutic Recreation (that apple did fall close to the tree). Both amazing young women.

This milestone year of 30 birthdays for MAM sparked my maternal emotions, and I am reminded of this old song (partial lyrics):

“Where Are You Going (Turn Around)”

Where are you going, my little one, little one,
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you’re two,
Turn around and you’re four,
Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of my door.

Notes: by Harry Belafonte, Malvina Reynolds and Alan Greene. Published by Clara Music Publishing Corporation (ASCAP). Administered by Next Decade Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved.

If you have children, enjoy them at every age. I am blessed to be a mom of these lovely, talented young women. Enjoy this lovely version of the song.