Appreciating Time

As my birthday was approaching my kids were either, (a) very secretive about what they wanted to do or give me; or (b) flat out telling me what they are making me (my youngest can’t keep a secret to save her life).  As they are getting older they want to buy me things and, while I absolutely appreciate that they want to do that for me, I would rather they didn’t spend their money on me.

This is all my Papa’s fault.  😉

Growing up, I remember that my dad never wanted any gifts; not for Christmas, not his birthday and not for Father’s Day.  The way I saw it, I had a job and I wanted to get him a gift.  To me, it was almost showing appreciation for him being the best dad he could be.  A couple of times I even asked him what he wanted and he said “I don’t want anything.”  I’d still get him something but, being the man of few words that he is, it’s not like he got excited about it.  It was almost anticlimactic to watch him open the gift.  I got over it.

Eventually, as I matured into a “real” adult, my siblings and I would have parties and get everyone together whether it was for a special occasion or “just because” and he really enjoyed those.  If someone was missing, he’d ask where they were.  We realized that it truly made him happy to simply have us together; to BE together and enjoy our TIME together.  Today, that’s how I feel.

My oldest wants to take me to dinner and it will be very nice to spend more time with her, but a part of me doesn’t want to have a fancy dinner; I’d rather she didn’t spend her money that way.  We can have a nice dinner and enjoy each other’s company without the expensive bill at the end of the night.  I don’t want to crush her plans so I’ll make a light suggestion that we go somewhere else and see if she takes the bait.  I will appreciate whatever it is (like the manicure and PAINFUL eyebrow threading that I endured already as part of her gift to me).  Ultimately, my hope is that I instill the same appreciation for time that my dad did for me and my siblings.  We don’t “stress” about gifts like we used to because the most important part is that we all take the time out to spend together.  God blessed me with a wonderful family that I love to spend time with.  I can’t ask for anything more for my birthday.

Thank you, Papa.  🙂


A TV turned into a puppy…

Maximus.  When I first saw my favorite movie Gladiator back in 2000, I knew I wanted my future dog to be named Maximus.  (No, that’s not an odd thing to get out of a movie.)   I went years learning from my brother who had a dog, and a sister who had dogs that she eventually gave to my brother once she started having children, and I knew from what I saw that I didn’t want to get a dog until I was not only financially able to care for a dog, but also be able to maintain the lifestyle of dog ownership – walking, exercise, playing, feeding, less vacationing unless you take the dog with you and spend thousands of dollars to accommodate it, and basically Cesar Millan’ing up my life.  I revisited the idea of getting a dog on and off for a long time.

Fast forward 12 years later; my kids are older and the man of the house has brought up dog ownership on multiple occasions…..BUT, he’s also brought up the idea of having a TV in our bedroom, go figure.  So for his birthday/Christmas I decided i’d get him one – a TV, that is.  I went and did so much research on what kind of TV I should get for the room; from what size to where it would be hung to whether it should be a Smart TV or just the best HDTV on the market.  Not to sound sexist, but TVs seem to be a guy’s thing, so I asked the advice of my male friends, family and even my brother who actually told me that a 50″ TV for the bedroom was what I should get – what the frack?!  So, after researching the best TV, I had to then research which website or store would give me the best possible price for it and which ones I could haggle with to give me the best deal possible.  Then, after DAYS, it was done.  I made the purchase.  I was relieved yet uber excited about giving it to him.  The TV went home with me and I hid it.

A few days passed and he was sitting on the couch with my teen, Dominique, talking about who knows what and, because i’m so excited about the dag-on TV, I decide to make sure i’ve made the right decision by asking him, “hey, what do you want for Christmas?”, as if I hadn’t already purchased his gift – *wink* wink*.  This man turns his head to me, grins from ear to ear, and in an almost child-like tone says to me, “I wanna puppy!”

…………………………*blink* confusion *blink*…………………..

How in the heck do I respond to that?!  It’s a joke.  It must be.  So I ask, “Are you for real?  Ooookay.”  Nope, no joke.  So, at that moment, we read and researched and researched and read and dog-matched and quizzed and everything and finally decided we wanted a Doberman Pinscher.  He grew up with one and I had always wanted one when I was a kid just because I thought they looked awesome.  Then, again, after days and DAYS, it was done.  We visited, we fell in love, we visited again, and he came home with us on New Years Day.

Meet Maximus Ortiz Dominus Rachal


This is the falling in love picture – see my face?  Image

Maximus is still cute here and freshly cropped.


Maximus at 8 months, the big oaf.  We have a love/not-so-loved relationship because he and Daddy are BFFs and, well, i’m just Mommy.  Ok, and he’s still cute.

Oh, and that TV, I took it back to the store and the dialogue went something like this:

Man: “So, can I ask why you’re returning it?  Was there anything wrong or did you find a better deal?”
Me: *sigh* “Nothing wrong.  Just got a puppy instead…….”
Man: “Yeah, we can’t really compete with puppies.”
Me: “No, you can’t.”