How I Ended Up This Way's Blog

As I sit here getting everything prepared for my daughter’s high school graduation today, I can not help but think about the little girl she was. As a matter of fact, I have a picture of her taken by her pre-school teacher so many years ago. I have always kept this particular photo on my refrigerator. It’s one of those pictures of her that I just love. You know the photo I mean; we
all have that one special photo that for whatever reason, hits us in a special way.

 As I look at the photo of my then, preschooler, I think back to the events surrounding the day I was given the photo. It was near the end of her preschool year. She is standing there, with her special “all-happy” smile on her beautiful face, wearing one of the dresses I made her. The dress is covered with different colored flowers. There had been another kid standing with her until she made me cut the kid out of the picture because the kid was mean and she didn’t like him. I remember how stubborn she has always been. She has such a strong personality. As a matter of fact, when she was three years old, she was so angry with the fact she could not read like her older cousin did. I explained to her that you had to actually learn how to spell the words in order
to read them. It didn’t come automatically as she thought everything should. She wanted to know how to read. She wanted to learn how to spell so I started giving her spelling tests. We would study the words throughout the week, and on Friday’s, she would test. People,
this was her idea. I didn’t force her. So don’t be all “mommy dearest” on me.

It wasn’t long before she was reading small books. Once she proved she could read, she was satisfied. It amazed me how easily she picked up each new word. It shouldn’t have, considering she started talking when she was a little shy of four months old. I’ll never forget when we were at her six month check up. The doctor offered her the “tongue presser-downer” thingy (don’t mock me, you don’t know the technical term for them either!) to her. April took it, and promptly told the doctor “thank you”. I will never, in my life, forget the look on the doctor’s face. She did a double take, looked at my baby, who was already playing with the thing, then turned to me and my mother for verification. “Did she just say thank you?” With all of my vast knowledge which came with my twenty-three years (yea, not near as much as I thought) I looked at the
pediatrician and with confusion in my eyes, answered “yes”. I couldn’t figure out why she was so surprised. This was just two words of my daughter’s vocabulary. She says many things. She sings even. She started walking when she was just shy of seven months. What was the big deal? Little did I realize how naïve I really was; I was so stupid.

It was so difficult to let her go off to pre-school. She is my oldest and has a vivid imagination. Even my two younger children went through withdrawals not having her there. She definitely kept our days filled with things to do. Even now, at 18, she can open a big ole can of worms and turn it into an all day conversation or debate, whichever way she what she chooses it to go.

Yet, it’s this spirit that lives inside her, that has made her the person . . . dare I say, the woman, she is today. She is full of life, love and conviction for what she believes is right. And she is not afraid to stand up for her beliefs.

I know as she walks tonight, as she receives her diploma, and takes those first steps towards her adult life, she does so with a strong belief and determination to make this world a better place. And I know, with all that is within me, that she will make a difference in our world. As she does, I hope she’ll forgive the tears I know will be falling down my cheeks. And I hope she knows I could not be any prouder than I am at this moment . . . tears and all.

Until  next time……Peace


{October 25, 2010}   “A.J.’s Rules”

Hi Everyone! Welcome back!

I absolutely love the show NCIS on CBS. Sean Murray shines in his portrayal of the tech-geek, McGee, while somehow maintaining the charm we have learned to love. DiNozzo, played by the adorable Michael Weatherly, is a mixture of jock, attraction, cocky and a goof-ball personality that leaves me shaking my head and laughing at him (my type completely!). It’s hard to remember this is the same DiNozzo that put his heart on his sleeve only to have it shoved back by the beautiful Jeanne Benoit. Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) is the heart of the team. She’s like the “Energizer Bunny” just give her a ‘Caff-Pow’ and she recharges and comes back for more.

Then there’s Ziva David. She is the most “wickedly awesome” female on CBS Network! I thought, Sasha Alexander (ex Agent Todd) was the perfect fit for this NCIS team, however, since Ziva had to step in due to Agent Todd’s death Ziva has certainly cemented her place on this wacky team It is hard not to love her. It’s not because I’m scared of her or anything, so what if she worked for the Mossad as an interrogator. Shhhhh, hold on, let me check and make sure the doors are locked. Ok, we’re good.

I tell you all of the above so that I can tell you this. Agent Gibbs, played by the wonderfully talented Mark Harman (give me a second while I gush over his strikingly handsome features), is very hard to define. At first, he appears to be a cold, I don’t care, it’s my way period sort of guy. Well, he is. However, he is much more once you scratch the surface. He is the most honorable, caring and trustworthy man we all hope for one day. Now, the most important thing with Gibbs are his rules. He has 51 rules you must know. You are not given a list of these rules. You have to learn the hard way. However, each one is as important as the next. Such as Rule #7, Always be specific when you lie (love that one). And Rule #23, Never mess with a Marine’s coffee if you want to live. Then there is my personal favorite Rule # 18 It’s better to seek forgiveness than ask for permission.

I was thinking this morning, “what would it be like to have a set of rules that I strive to achieve on a daily bases?”. Now, I know my rules would be vastly different than Gibb’s rules, after all, I don’t interrogate people. I don’t deal with suspects. And I don’t hunt down terrorist. However, the principal remains the same.

So, here are my rules, AJ’s Rules if you will. They are not in any specific order, just have some fun and go with me on this.

         1. ALWAYS be thankful even when you’re going through a rough patch.

                       Someone else is having a much harder time than you.

       2. Never, ever let your anger get the best of you.

       3.  When dealing with someone who seems to just want to argue or fight

                   with you, react with your head and not your emotions. Act rationally not


       4. Protect your friends and family as best you can. Good friends are

                 difficult to find and family well, they are your family and thereby

                 deserve your protection and respect.

      5.  Children first . . . ALWAYS.

      6.   Don’t lash out just because you are in a bad mood. Better to keep your

                 mouth shut than say something you will never be able to take back.

      7.  Don’t judge people. You don’t know what that person is dealing with and

            you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. More importantly,

            you do not have the authority to judge, that is reserved for God alone.

     8.  Going with #7; never jump to conclusions about people. You may be

            passing up a great friend because you think that nose rings means

            this person is trouble.          

     9.  Reach out to people. Say hello when you pass a stranger on the street or

           give them a warm smile….they just may need it.

  10. God made us all in His image, however, we are all different. We have

          differing opinions. That is what makes us who we are. Respect others

          decisions whether you agree or not. Even if they do not respect your opinions.

         You can’t do anything about their reactions, however, you CAN do right by

         how YOU hand it. STAY FIRM IN WHO YOU ARE!!

   11. Don’t believe everything you hear. Just because you try to be honest does

            not mean everyone is as honest. There are at least two sides to each

            story. You are ONLY going to hear what this person wants you to

            believe. Especially, if you have not first hand knowledge of the

            situation. Then….it’s just gossip.

 And isn’t gossip one of the worst things we can do to someone as well as ourselves? Imagine how we look to others when we are seen gossiping.

Well, there you go, my blog family. My first set of 11 in the A.J.’s Rule book. I hope you had fun reading them. I’m sure I’ll come up with more!

If you are interesting in reading Gibb’s rules here is the link:

 Til next time……Peace


{October 14, 2010}   Yankee, Mets and Braves

Hi everyone, welcome!

I am in a bit of a dilemma. Everyone that knows me, knows I bleed red and blue….Atlanta Braves red and blue. I mean, everything I sign up for I try to use the name asjbraves. I sincerely get pissed when it’s taken and I have to add to it. But there are enough players that I love and I can add their jersey number to it.

Since I was ten or so, and saw the Braves play on TBS I have loved them. But as soon as I saw that magnificent #3, Dale Murphy, I was HOOKED. I still love Dale. He’s a wonderful guy and does a lot for the youth, even if at last count, he had 8 boys of his own. You heard me right.

The Braves have been a constant in my life. Dale, Bob Horner and Bruce Benedict, those are the people I knew and grew up watching. Back when Bobby Cox was the Assistant Manager and Joe Torre was the manager. I have a lot of memories that center around the Braves. I remember when Pascual Perez stubbornly went to the locker room and put a turtleneck shirt under his jersey instead of taking off a “disrupting” gold chain then went on to continue pitching (hey, I was with him all the way on this one). Did I mention it was in the mid to high 90’s? I remember, very clearly, how I cried and cried and then cried some more when they traded Brett Butler. They even played a song for his last game “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, showing clips of his career in Atlanta. They are really inter-grained into my life.

This brings me to this unusual confliction I am having. See, when I became an adult, I still loved the Braves. But I also loved…..Mike Piazza. Whose with me on that? So, it was ok for me to like the Dodgers and then later the New York Mets as second best because Mike played for those teams. However, the Braves have always stayed in the top spot. And still do. I even once considered getting a Braves tattoo. Either the tomahawk or the “A” that stood for the Braves.

So what is the problem? A little over a year ago, I moved out in the middle of no where. I was so far into the country, cable didn’t come out that far. We had so many trees that satellite could only get a 50% signal. Needless to say, I was limited to local channels. Whatever baseball that the local channels aired, I was restricted to. Surprisingly, even though I live so close to Georgia, they did not show many Braves games, very few Mets games but A LOT of Yankee games.

I began to know the Yankee players like I had known my Braves. Watching CC Sabathia pitch was like a work of art! Such a huge guy, but oh so smooth of a pitch!

Mark Teixeira at first base….beautiful site! Speaking of beautiful sites, watching Derek Jeter stride around the bases with amazing speed….well, let’s just say Jeter has a lot going for him!

So, now I have watched the Yankees for 2 years and not been able to watch the Braves at all. Holy crap! I was a Yankees fan!!! WHAT???? I had committed the ultimate betrayal.

I had to reassess everything I knew. I like the Yankees. I have followed them for 2 years. However, now that I am back at my dad’s and I have satellite, the Braves are now “actively” back on top!

I don’t think I’ll ever shake the fondness I have for the Yankees since they wormed their way into my heart. I’m just glad I bleed red and blue again!

Until next time…..Peace


{October 10, 2010}   Happy Birthday Tim

Hello everyone! Welcome.

I am posting this Sunday night, so the actual date is a little off. Just imagine, as I intended, the posting date is Monday 10/11/2010.

Today is my brother’s birthday. I told you about him. Tim was my best friend growing up. As a matter of fact, when we both became adults and I got married, we lived next door to each other. My husband became his best friend as well.

It was the three of us. Well, the four of us when he was with his girlfriend. But no matter what, Tim, Guy and I always hung out together. It was a daily routine for one of us to call the other and say “what are you fixing for dinner?”. Whoever was fixing what sounded like the better dinner, that’s where we all ate. It was a great time in my life. I am so blessed to have this memory of him, of us.

When my brother died in 1991, needless to say, my world changed. But I do not want to dwell on the tragedy of his death. Instead, I want to celebrate his life. We had him for 26 years. We have 26 years of memories, good and bad.

When I think of all the good memories, there is one that sticks in my mind and always has. It may sound silly to you, but it’s one of those “you had to be there” things. See, when my brother drank, when he was into his third beer or so, he would get on this kick about …..HESS gas. Of all things to talk about, he would always fall back into his typical rant about the benefits of Hess gas.

It is so funny to me now, actually it was funny then as well! Tim would get “in his cups” and spout the superiority of Hess gas. I’d like to share his drunken view on this subject, if you’ll allow me a moment of reminiscing.

        Tim:  “I don’t care what anyone says, there ain’t nothing wrong with Hess gas. They

                     may add detergents in it; but they ain’t nothing wrong with Hess gas. It’s cheaper

                     but it’s just as good as any other and better because it’s cheaper. Nothing wrong

                    with Hess gas.” This would go on for hours.

He said this with a grin that went from ear to ear and in such a happy mood. With all the years of depression he battled, these moments were rare at times.

I know it sounds dumb and well, just plain crazy…..but this is one of the most endearing memories of him that sticks with me. He was sooo proud of that “Hess gas”!

So, Tim….I will remember the benefits of Hess gas, today on your day, and enjoy a laugh as I know you would be still doing if you were with us.

Until next time….PEACE


et cetera