Navigating the Middle

through adolescents, menopause, aging parents & other flying debris



The Power of a Single Moment

IMG_2922There are times when I can’t help but return to the scene of the crime (my first cancer diagnosis nearly nine year). I can travel there a number of ways, but today I quietly crossed its path during a major household purge. Tucked away in a basement bedroom were the words of support I received from you so many years ago. I began (re)reading them and instantly knew they had laid dormant far too long. They were meant to be shared…again.

Maybe you will recognize the words from a card or letter you sent. Or they might be the words your soul has been craving, but you hadn’t realized it. My hope is that by sharing, we will discover TOGETHER the power of words to heal, uplift and encourage.

Here’s the first one:

Believe in the promise of each new day and the healing, hope and beauty a single moment can hold…





Last July I Disappeared

I think I am finally ready to publish this.

Re-entry is harder than I thought it would be. You’d think that nine months following my transplant, I’d be eager to “get out there.” But the truth is, it causes me a bit of anxiety each time I imagine being surrounded by people, especially people I know.

This may sound counterintuitive, but strangers don’t know “my secret” and don’t care. On the other hand, the people who know me have been willing me back to health, and I don’t want to disappoint. I smile, sometimes pretending. Even now, my need to please others is at the expense of resembling how I genuinely  feel.

I don’t fault them, everyone is so happy to see me doing better, looking normal. It makes them feel better.

I feel…


It’s like a tiny fissure appeared when I went away last July. Friends either took flight; became overly concerned with my health, or were more concerned with expressing their distress over a “weave-gone-bad.”

Maybe those cracks always existed, but I experience them like small tremors now.

Except for my most intimate of connections, I am detached like I’ve fallen off a ledge; my shattered parts spilling out from beneath me. I doubt myself…a lot. I distrust my decisions, my next move.  FOR SOME REASON, LIFE CHANGED WHEN I LEFT!! And I find it hard to integrate back into a world that seems to spin faster now.

So until I reappear as another version of my former self, I will learn to be patient. Realizing that while my recovery might look complete, it is yet beyond my grasp. It isn’t as distant as it was several months ago, but I am still isolated; feigning a smile; and fighting to maintain. My inner self struggles to find the women it fully recognizes.

This may take a while.



Dear Donor,

Regardless of your faith, gender, sexual orientation, race, education or income level, you are more like me than anyone else in my family.

Source: Dear Donor,

Stephen Hawking

Day 11: However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. – Stephen Hawking


I ain't beaten yet wop logo 3Hey y’all! In my career I’ve met a lot of achievers, both famous and not so famous and I loved collecting their stories. One thing they all had in common was an absolute blind refusal to give up when the load became too heavy.
The ability to pick oneself off the ground…(yet again!) and dust off the seat of our pants is in all of us. If you are experiencing tough times this little series of stories is for you. For some folk, who seem to have been handed it all on a plate, their stories will surprise you!


WHO? : Stephen Hawking

IS? : Professor, Physicist

SAID? : ‘I have had motor neurone disease for practically all my adult life. Yet it has not prevented me from having a very attractive family, and being successful in my work.  I have been lucky…it shows that one need…

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Day 12: We’re Pregnant


Finally someone has addressed the misuse of the words, WE’RE PREGNANT. Pregnant, as in the development of one or more offspring, known as an embryo or fetus, in a woman’s uterus. Where’s the “we” in that definition?

I’m unsure when this phenomenon took hold. Maybe it was started by an overexcited mom-to-be who wanted her husband to be more involved with her pregnancy. Or it could have been a nervous father-to-be, who was trying to empathize with his 8-month pregnant wife. Whoever, whenever, wherever it started, it needs to stop.

There is a better way –

A woman says, “I’m pregnant.”
A woman says, “I’m expecting or we’re expecting,” (as in expecting to have or adopt a baby.)
A man says, “I’m going to be a dad.”
A man says, “We are expecting.” Notice, he doesn’t say, “I’m expecting.”
A man, however, cannot lay claim to, “We’re pregnant” because “WE” are NOT pregnant.

There is no embryo or fetus developing inside of his uterus because he doesn’t have a uterus. The woman having the baby is the one who is pregnant. HE impregnated her. See how it works?

Perhaps I’ll let my friend Mila Kunis explain it. She did a really great job on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night.


After watching that, I feel totally validated.



Day 15: Always Strive and Prosper

Me: Your bus was a little late today, huh?
Son: Yeah, we had a bus driver that didn’t know the route.
Me: Oh, that’s not good, especially so close to the end of the school year.
Son: Do you know ASOP (sic) Rocky?
Me: Whaaat? (I was thinking : Esop’s Fables)
Son: He’s a rapper. He’s been our bus driver this year.

(This is not unlike many of the conversations I have with my 14 year-old son.) But for some reason, he was convinced that rapper, ASAP Rocky was his bus driver for most of the school year.

Since I had no idea who he was referring to, (and why would I? I’m a G-A-W), I took to Wikipedia to find out. According to the online encyclopedia:

ASAP Rocky sold drugs while moving around homeless shelters with his mother. By age 15, he had been selling crack cocaine in the Bronx.  He was arrested in July 2012 for beating a man in a New York clothing store, and two photographers who had been filming the altercation outside. The confrontation began after Shenick Alcine witnessed ASAP Rocky doing illegal drugs inside the clothing store, sparking the assault. Rocky then attacked two amateur photographers who were recording the incident. ASAP Rocky was eventually charged with assault and robbery for striking the photographers and attempting to take their cameras.[49] In December 2012, Rocky struck a plea deal in the criminal case, pleading guilty to attempted grand larceny, with the assault and robbery charges being dropped.[50]

Yes, I know! It’s impossible to believe that a character like this would be operating a school bus in a suburban Maryland neighborhood. So before I went all “Mom-zilla” and fired off an outraged email to the school’s assistant principal, I considered a couple of things:

1) A (successful) rapper from Harlem probably ISN’T driving a school bus here. And if he were a bus driver, wouldn’t he be taking kids to PS 175 or something like that?

2) The company that hires drivers is supposed to conduct background checks. I imagine (and hope) they frown on ex-drug dealers and felons driving kids around.

3) ASAP Rocky is fairly busy working on his music, touring, and building his clothing brand. Judging by his Facebook page, a number of young women really seem to appreciate it.

But what disturbed me most was the thought that my son (and a number of his friends) might actually think that all black men, under the age of 30, look like rappers.

…including the bus driver.




Day 36: Coffee Fungus

Notice anything different about your morning cup of coffee? If you’ve been awake and paying attention, you would have realized that you’ve also been paying more.

The reason for the increase in price has much to do with a fungus that’s been infecting Arabica coffee beans. An orange-colored rust called roya (coffee rust) is highly contagious, and while it affects different varieties, it has already caused more than $1 billion in damage across the Latin American region. The result? Rising coffee costs in the high-end specialty coffee that we drink.

I may be a LONGHORN, but right now, I am a HUGE fan of Texas A&M. To be precise – I love Texas A&M University’s World Coffee Research for partnering with the Global Development Alliance to eradicate this devastating disease that has devastated the region since 2012.

Because the real problem isn’t rising coffee costs.

The main concern is for the economic security of the small farms abroad. If farmers lose their jobs, it increases hunger and poverty in the region and contributes to violence and drug trafficking. Washington estimates that production could be down anywhere from 15 percent to 40 percent in coming years, and that those losses could mean as many as 500,000 people could lose their jobs. 

“The fungus is among us.” So pull out your wallets and get ready to pay more for the coffee that come from those small, high altitude farms in Central America.




Day 37: 10 Things I Didn’t Know Last Week

It may not be age-appropriate “quite” yet, but I found the AARP blog: 11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week, and thought it would fun to create my own: 10 Things I Didn’t Know Last Week. Looks like I knew one MORE thing than AARP knew.


1.  When selecting a prom dress, be careful when purchasing from Vogue Prom Dresses online. The dress may be unwearable or “not as pictured,” forcing you to scramble to find your 16 year-old another dress, costing upwards of $500. She won’t be crying anymore, but you will.

2.  The word discipline, when used in Hebrews 12, means “to train” not “to punish”. I think many of us think it means something altogether different.


3.  Michael Jackson, like Tupac, is still releasing music.

4.  The term “LARPer,” was used to describe a male, walking around outdoors, dressed as a witch hunter. The acronym LARP stands for Live Action Role Playing.

5.  While still scratching my head on that one, my son pointed out that the guy was more-than-likely a COSPLAYer, someone  who blends costume and play.  I’m still not quite sure I understand the difference between t#4 and #5, but I’m okay with that.

Lizzie Biscuits as Madame Vastra and Victoria Kahl as Jenny Flint at the Sci-Fi Weekender. Photographs: Peter Gatehouse
Photographs: Peter Gatehouse. From

6.  Major-league baseball players can choose to have whatever kind of music they want, playing as they walk up to bat. I’d love to have a theme song playing as I walked into Lord & Taylor.

Zombies made of simulated undead military prepare to eat their latest victim at Transit Center Manas, Kyrgyzstan, on Oct. 31, 2013. The "zombies" were servicemember volunteers dressed up for the Transit Center celebration of Halloween for a "zombie run" in Frunze Forest. ROBERT BARNETT/U.S. AIR FORCE (Stars & Stripes)


7.  The Pentagon has a plan to stop the zombie apocalypse. Did we pay for that?

wmagazine via Tumblr
wmagazine via Tumblr

8.  Gugu, short for Gugulethu, means “our pride”.  After seeing Belle, I think she is well-suited for her name.

9.  MERS, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, is a viral respiratory illness that first surfaced in Saudi Arabia in 2012. 


10. I DO like green smoothies, but I’m not giving up the coffee. Sorry JJ!







Mind Your Facebook Ps & Qs

So this morning, I jumped on Facebook, checked out Twitter and added a couple of friends to my Google+. I also have a LinkedIn profile, but I’m rarely there. It is like a vacation home that I don’t visit due to lack of time.

But what I really want to talk about is SoMe etiquette, or social media etiquette. It’s been a long time coming, and I’ve largely kept my comments to myself…or shared them with those of you who know me personally. But when I saw a story that was covered in today’s news, I realized the time was ripe for me to finally say something. And that something is –


In case you missed the story, I’m talking about Secret Service agent, David Chaney, who was assigned to handle (no pun intended) Sarah Palin while she was running on the McCain Presidential ticket in 2008. Instead of doing his job for Mrs. Palin, this creep was busy ogling her. The worst part is that he didn’t have the decency to keep his thoughts private.

Chaney wrote of his assignment guarding Palin: “I was really checking her out, if you know what i (sic) mean?” after a friend commented on the picture posted in January 2009 (originally reported by the Washington Post).

We all use social media to share our thoughts on a range of topics. But using social media does not mean “making every private thought, public.” In this world of instant messaging and real-time tweets, what magic potion convinced Mr. Chaney that his post would remain “between friends?” Even a lapse in judgment can be quickly corrected with a touch of the “remove” post button. Why do you think it exists? It’s not just for other people. Use it!

It could save your job.

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