The Color of a Rose

Posted on August 15, 2014. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Color of a Rose



Roses are red

Violets are blue

How we judge one’s love

By a sweet flower’s hue.


Red, deep in romantic love

Orange is burning desire

Passion and Admiration

Colors of a heart afire.


Gratitude and appreciation

Conveyed by deep pink

Gentleness, elegance

Femininity we should think.


In times of old

Jealousy was yellow

Today, friendship, joy, and caring

Are the meaning for this fellow.


Oh white, you are purity, innocence

Humility, loyalty, truth and reverence.

But what do I see in this gift you gave me?


You see my love, passion, admiration, gratitude, appreciation

Joy, humility and reverence of the beautiful rose.

The color of a rose matters not.

Thank you for seeing me.


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A Slip of the Tongue…

Posted on June 19, 2014. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


Auto correct.   Sometimes the messages are shocking.  Please people, check your messages and make sure of what you want to convey.


A dear beloved friend and I were exchanging emails.  I said jokingly,  “I couldn’t keep Janet (my wife) locked in a basement (right?)”.  She replied, “No, you cannot LICK Janet in the basement, but the bedroom is another story.”.

Scandalous auto correct.

After screaming and bursting into laughter, I wrote back and informed her of the typo, knowing she must have meant LOCK. Her next two words took scandal from the frying pan into the fire.

“Freudian slip.”

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Yeah, But Did You See the Juggling Penguin?

Posted on June 6, 2014. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Have you ever done the “Brain Game” test where you count how many times a team bounces a ball within a circle?  You are diligent in counting those bounces and at the end, you give an answer that is close or spot on.  The next question from the tester is, “Did you see the Juggling Penguin?”.  Say what?  Then the tester replays the video and sure enough, there is a Juggling Penguin that walks on set,  juggling, even waving to the camera, then walks offscreen.  How could we not notice that?  Sometimes, we focus so much on one thing, we miss Giant Juggling Penguins right in our face.wpid-img-20140524-wa0002.jpg

Recenty, I’ve met some amazing women and have embarked on a wonderful exploration with them.  My day started with a laugh and updates from Annie Lim, then a beautiful and moving video from Sahar Paz.  Next was a reconnect and update with Jenny Craig (Live Your Power, not the diet!) and settling my day with Ladina Greenwell.  As Ladina and I discussed motorcycles and crashing them (I lo-sided, she hi-sided OUCH), we touched on spirituality. Ready to roll! What Ladina said stopped me in my tracks, I got a chill, then a startling reminder 27 years in slumber.

When I was in college, both of my parents fell ill.  It was an incredibly stressful time and I remember being in a dark place most of, but not all of the time.  Talking to Ladina showed me that in telling my story, I missed Cindy.

Cindy was the Juggling Penguin.

In my despair, I did have support, friendship, and a beacon of positive energy.  Cindy was a free spirit, a hippie-chick, and I started to remember how I would feel when she walked into a room.  Everyone smiled with her, she always brought a calmness of spirit.  I remembered that she did reveal some of her challenges and how she addressed them.  Now I realize 27 years later that I’ve incorporated the lessons she shared with me.  Cindy was there all along, my Juggling Penguin, my light in the darkness.

How many times have the wings of angels brushed up against us?  How many times will we, being carried by those wings, brush against another’s life?  Honestly, we’ll never truly know.  Keep your mind open and know we all have blind spots, moments we don’t fully comprehand especially under stress.  Perseverance often comes at the hands of a Juggling Penguin.

juggling penguin

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Fallen? Get Back Up!!!

Posted on May 22, 2014. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Don’t give up,  get back up!

At the California Women’s Conference, we listened to Bonnie St. John talk about a Para-Olympic race she was in and sustained a fall.  Every racer fell during this race with some requiring medical attention.   One other racer fell but got up quicker than St. John,  winning the gold.  The difference was down to who got up quicker.


That’s Bonnie and me backstage,  y’all!

We are not perfect creatures, we all fall.  Successful creatures GET BACK UP.  Only then can you realize your abilities and potential.  How powerful can DON’T GIVE UP, GET BACK UP be?  Watch this:

Inspiring Heather Dorniden Takes a Fall But Still…:

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The Wisdom of Others.

Posted on April 21, 2014. Filed under: Memes and Quotes, My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

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Ode to an Inspiration

Posted on April 9, 2014. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , |

frankie beautiful


Last week I lost a friend, mentor and inspiration.  Frankie Knuckles, the Godfather of House, passed away from complications linked to type 2 diabetes, which I stgruggle with as well.

I first met Frankie Knuckles at FTR, not even realizing who he was (some guy always throwing balled up paper at me) . He, Manny Ward, Darrin Friedman, Junior Vasquez, Johnny Vish Vicious, Danny Krivit, Danny Tenaglia, Harry Soto, Gant Johnson, Johnny Dynell, Kevin Williams, Kevin D Hoover, Carlos Sanchez, Tedd Patterson, Judy Weinstein, Jeffrey Allen and so many others treated me like family, an inspiration for starting my own collective, House of Musique. I learned to find my creative voice, then shout from the rooftops fearlessly. Frankie Knuckles simply and effortlessly touched every life he came in contact with, a treasure for the universe. I honor him by letting my spirit soar.

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Posted on March 13, 2014. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |


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When I was in Prison…

Posted on September 2, 2013. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Image  This is a happy story.  Really.

Some of you know that I worked in the only women’s correctional faclity for the State of New Jersey. For roughly 10 years, approximately 85% of women sentenced to state prison entered through my housing unit as the Reception Officer.  It was challenging and stressful many times.  During my tenure, I found a few allies.  One in particular was Nurse Jen.  We were of similar age and shared good humor.  More importantly, we shared a subversive attitude of social justice, quite scandalous in such an environment.  In such a negative, draining realm, we worked, laughed, and conspired for good, together.

While I was getting fired, Nurse Jen was giving birth.  That was 1998.  When I returned in 1999, I found out my dear friend had retired.  I never saw her after that.

Two days ago, I woke up in excruciating pain, my left arm swollen and hot to the touch.  I am used to my normal chronic pain, but this was above and beyond.  I tried to push past it, but  the pain in my left elbow and shoulder was unbearable.  I knew I had damaged something, this was the same pain when I fell during a martial arts tournament (I won the match).  Ice and Aleve did not work, my ortho was not available until later in the week.  For the first time in many years, I had to go to the emergency room.

The emergency room was rather vacant and quiet, and I was ushered along quickly.  They did my intake and escorted me to a room, with the Mrs. at my side.  As we were talking, I heard a familiar voice, then saw a very familiar smile:  Nurse Jen!!!!  For a moment, the pain took a back seat as my old friend and support entered the room.  15 years had passed, but the happiness of seeing each other was just as great.   The stars aligned, this was no coincidence.

Let me speak about the Law of Attraction.  Jen Myers is also an inspirational speaker, focusing on the Law of Attraction.  She speaks on positivity and how it draws people to you.  She asked me what I do now (smile).  Imagine, two people in such a dismal space, lifting each other up and then those around us.  15 years later, taking the ball and running with it, we walked our talk.  My dear friend had her share of heartbreak, I knew some of her lemons.  She is KINTSUKUROI.  She is also proof of how positive energy will always find its kind.  In this case, a reconnect of sisterhood.

Diagnosis:  I tore the tendons, a bad case of tennis elbow.   I still don’t know how I did it.  Hurts like hell, but I’ll be alright in a few months.

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Good Nutrition!

Posted on March 15, 2013. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , |

As I am typing this on my new phone (thanks Lamar), the house is filled with the aroma of brown basmati rice and chicken andouille shrimp gumbo.  I prefer home cooked meals from scratch now, but it wasn’t always that way.  Growing up, it was a treat to eat out, even fast food.  That got turned upside down in my adult years.  Bluntly, my health paid the price and now I know better.  You can’t subject your body to junk, then expect top performance.

Your body has a keen way of letting you know when you are not getting good nutrition, and it’s not a good feeling.  Some people seek a doctor, some a nutritionist, some ignore the symptoms unitl real damage is done.  it has been my experience that it’s best to correct the nutrition, then maintain optimal behaviors.  I know this is easier said than done, but we must do our best.

Oftentimes, people overlook how the presence of others affect their lives. To be in optimal mental and emotional health, you must take care that your circle of influence, your community, is good nutrition. No one is perfect, but if you have people around you that constantly throw negativity, GET RID OF THEM. If you hold on to nothing else, please know that you are a unique person with a unique gift for the world. You have a purpose to tap into. When you allow negative people to disrupt your presence, you lose focus on your greatness.nyt-cj-and-dr-judy

Through the years, I’ve experienced poor and good nutrition. I much prefer good. Just like an athlete, the good nutrition of people can help strengthen you and help you aspire to personal bests. Good nutrition can help you get through challenging times. Good nutrition sometimes just makes you feel good!

Take a look at your dreams and aspirations. Now take a look at your nutrition. How healthy is your circle of influence? You may have to distance yourself from some, or completely remove others. This is also about boundaries, protecting what you need to protect. Remember, you are worthy of good, so cut back on the junk food people!

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The Most Expensive COOKIE In The World

Posted on February 5, 2013. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This is my 40th post, so make sure you check out the previous 39!



People that know me, and those that have viewed my post, Taking Things In Stride ( ) know I like my cookies.  My father used to go to the bakery and pick up cookies that were 6 inches across!     Born into a sweet tooth family, a dinner treat was something revered.  At my grandmother’s, there was an endless supply of ice cream.  She was well known for her brownies, apple pies and sweet potato pies, which all went well with Breyers.  Weekends were spent sitting on her couch after a family meal, eating dessert while watching captivating cinema, like Beastmaster in LA, Trolls, Escape from New York or Leprechaun.   My Grandmother snacked on danish cookies almost daily.  For the divorcee whofamily pics 001 worked until she was in her 80’s, having treats was the simplest of comfort and reward.

My Wife loves sweets, which are in abundance in the Philippines.  Halo-Halo, Buko Pandan, Boba Teas or Sago’t Gulaman, she’ll take them!  My favorite of Filipino desserts is Biko, a sweet sticky rice and coconut treat my mother-in-law made for me.  Very time and labor intensive, it was her way of showing her love.  Sweets convey a kindness, a warmth, a belonging in any language without uttering a word.  I paid $50 for some biko, but the store skimped and made it with regular rice.  That’s the most I’ve ever paid for a dessert and it was a waste of money for something so unauthentic.   I’ve heard stories of extravagant desserts, like Serendipity NYC’s edible gold foil desserts, which cost in the thousands, and a cake encrusted in diamonds from Japan that cost over a million.  However today, the question is about the most expensive cookie.  I’ve waxed nostalgic, but now I must tell you what happened over the weekend.

I was walking in the store and there was a mother walking with her daughter.  The daughter, who looked to be about 9 years old, turned to her mother and said, “Mommy, I want a cookie!”.  The mother, looking forward without making eye contact, replied, “And I want a million dollars.”.

I watch the life and excitement leave that little girl’s eyes in that heartbreaking second.  I had witnessed The Most Expensive Cookie in the World.

Comparing the want of one cookie to the want of one million dollars spoke volumes.  In our youth, we compared something unobtainable to the millionth power.  Not in a million years!  You’ve got a million in one shot!  Removing whether or not that child was deserving, the issue is the comparison attached to the request.  Sometimes the smallest ripple becomes the biggest wave, and small disappointments can become ground zero for the biggest obstacles in our psyche.

Two dear friends created organizations that have programs supporting positive development of girls, and I’d like to take time to give them a shoutout.  Linda Arrey is the founder of W.I.L.D.E., Women in Leadership Development and Empowerment.  Based out of Atlanta (Hotlanta!),  thier mission is to empower a new generation of women leaders to benefit whole communities. .  Amy Siskind is the co-founder of The New Agenda, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls by bringing about systemic change in the media, at the workplace, at school and at home.  Please visit their websites and LIKE them on social media, give your support!

Support is what we need to give to children asking for a cookie, a little piece of comfort.  Support is needed for the child that was told no, whether no was for their own good or otherwise.  Disappointments will always be there, but they don’t have to stay there.  I couldn’t recover fast enough to say something to that mother, and maybe it was for the better.  Time brings a cooler head, so more than likely my words now would go further.  If I did see them again (I would recognize the mother), I would tell her that if she gave her a cookie for every book the child read that made her stronger, wiser and taught her how to obtain wealth, that child would reward her with 10 million dollars.   That 10 million might not manifest in currency.  It may be the child who received the encouragement to become something too valuable to quantify in currency: saving lives, changing the world, etc.  It may be the child that overcomes odds such as disabilities or environment.  It may be the child that just smiles and lives an average life, grateful to know what love and support feels like and able to share it with others.  There are no guarantees, you do what you can and hope for the best outcome.

Who wants a cookie?

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The Person Inside of Us, Conclusion

Posted on February 2, 2013. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Whatever pain or grief you have experienced, it takes a positive force to get through it.  Sometimes, you need a balance so you can take the necessary steps.  The Therapy Dogs brought a neutral ground to the grief-stricken people of Newtown allowing some of them to find that balance and get their footing.  Some found their balance with friends and family.  Some found their balance with people sitting down and talking with them.


I am a reflective person by nature.  911 taught me that love cannot wait, whether it be romantic or friendly or familial.  I studied the 5 Love Languages, a concept that categorizes how people express love and receive love.  I wont go into detail, follow the link at the end to learn more.  My greatest Love Language is Acts of Service. One love language I learned (and still working on) is Encouraging Words, which ties in well with my intuition.    I’ve learned to say what needs to be said, because you never know if you’ll have the chance later.   Sometimes, your words are the difference between someone pushing on and someone giving up.


I smiled and greeted everyone I could.  I spoke to and listened to anyone who needed it.  I hugged and held.  I hung out with the Therapy Dogs.  I passed out tissues.  I prayed.  I made friends.

So many times I heard, “How could this happen?  How could anyone do this?”.    I do not know what was going on inside that young man’s head, or truly anyone’s head.  What I do know is that we all struggle.  We all have a fight within to go left or right, up or down, and what we perceive as good or bad.  Our decisions start a chain reaction, defining us for that very moment.

Let me talk about this moment.  In one moment, a troubled man became a murderer.  In one moment,  teachers became heroes and protectors.  In  a moment, the aggrieved became champions.  Whatever or whoever you are in this moment can change.  If you look in the box, there is so much you can be:  courageous, bitter, content, jealous, angry, generous, affable, violent, loving, comforting, the list goes on.   You cannot control what happens to you, but you can choose the response.   You can choose to be a blessing or a curse.  The scales often tip side to side, it is up to us to make a choice.  We are that “man in the mirror”.  It is up to us to let the person inside of us, the one we NEED to be, rise up and shine through.


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The Amazing Transformation of a Guy who Didn’t Give Up.

Posted on November 25, 2012. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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Courage Under Fire

Posted on July 2, 2012. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


We all start off dreaming.  Some dreams big, some small, but they are the clue in which direction to take our heart.  As we get older, there are things that take a bite out of our dreams, reducing them cruelly with the concept of “reality”.  Our hearts, which once flew, are grounded, sometimes with anchors.  Why fight reality?

I love the movie Finding Nemo!  Apart from the moving performance by Ellen DeGeneres, there is a story of encouragement, and taking risks in spite of the nay-sayers around you.  Reality does not permit for growth.  Dreams make you grow, because they make you look at life beyond what your eyes can see.  Dreams are your heart and soul, talking to your mind.  Dreams pave new roads.

With so many benefits, why are people afraid to follow their dreams?  Get ready for the answer…

False Evidence Appearing Real.  FEAR.

Risk is scary.  It requires you to embrace shaky ground and uncertainty.  So people stay in reality, in comfort zones, content with wherever they are in life.  Not everyone is a full on adventurer, but without adventure in some aspect of your life, YOU ARE NOT LIVING, YOU ARE MERELY EXISTING IN MEDIOCRITY.

I talked much of my houseguest, friend and sister, Afsheen.  I’ve learned a bit more what courage looks like through her, as well as humility.  I’ve learned more about being concerned about challenges, but never giving ground to FEAR.  It takes a bold move to erase FEAR.  It takes courage.

COURAGE – Keeps you moving forward.

COURAGE – Lets you see the difference between legitimate concern and FEAR.

COURAGE – Keeps your dreams alive and makes them come true.

COURAGE – Brings hope to others.

COURAGE – Opens up new, beautiful worlds.

Courage is that defining moment when you stand tall, no matter the pain, no matter what is thrown your way, and demand that life be greater.

Thanks to Blackman’s Cycles for the Can-Am Spyder test drive!!!  Now, back to work.




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3 Reasons: Keep Women Free

Posted on May 30, 2012. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I’m listening to Michael Baisden and he’s touching on a topic close to home.  I spent over a decade in law enforcement, and I have to shoot off three observations as to why incarceration rates are rising with women, especially women of color.

  1. Crimes against Women unrecognized.  Some women are victims of crimes that are mishandled by authorities.  Often you will have a human trafficking victim drugged by her captors, then put out on the street.  It’s easy to arrest a drugged prostitute, even when the prostitute is a minor.  Those b*tches and h@3s are the women and girls that were failed.  CLUE:  Little girls don’t play “turn tricks” with their Barbies.  Don’t leave out women who were victims of abuse who fought back after their complaints were ignored by authorities.  They end up with the assault charges, or risk being killed when the violence against them escalates.  The violence ALWAYS escalates.  The Criminal Justice System needs to support and not prosecute victims.
  2. Community Support.  When you don’t have community infrastructure, life is an uphill battle.  Computer programs, gardens, vocational trainings, faith based support, and crime victim resources can help. Support by successful members of the community, such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and business groups can make an impact.
  3. Support at Home.  Today, there was a story about a mother incensed at an award issued by her daughter’s teacher.  The award was for ” The Catastrophe Award, the most excuses for not having homework”.  The mother said she did not know there was a problem, but that the daughter was enrolled in an after-school “homework assistance program”.  Ya know what my homework assistance program was?  A whole lot of friggin’ punishments.  PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY.  Bring a life into this world, and YOU are responsible to provide for that life, to the best of your ability.  Being a “baby factory” is not being a parent.  Give a child a chance.  All that drama with reality tv and celebrities getting locked up, AINT CUTE!  Prison fashion  (wearing your pants low, pajamas, etc) makes more people rich off your skin than you realize.  An 8 yr old cannot buy their own clothes, nor can a teenager who does not earn their own money.

This is a start, not nearly a cure.  Once again, there are more people in mental prisons than physical prisons, the mentality must be confronted.  Let’s start here then see what strides can be made.


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Losing Your Job, Part Three (Finale)

Posted on May 26, 2012. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This is the last of this series on my blog,, but not the end of the story.

Life is not a straight line.  If it were, I’d be a veterinarian.  Life has twists and turns, and nothing is promised, other than nobody gets out of this life alive (except Enoch and Elijah).  I’m not religious, but I am a woman of faith, and I have relied on my faith to turn the corners of life.  When my parents fell ill almost at the same time, I left my veterinary studies and joined law enforcement.  When I got fired, I took on modeling and ran an apparel company (and still DJ’ed around the US and Canada).  I accomplished things I never pictured myself doing.  Now that I was separated from the apparel company and was driving back to NJ from the St. Louis area, I found myself crying from the instability of my circumstances (no job, no home, almost broke, etc), but little did I know I was driving smack dab into a reality check.

I made it as far as Indianapolis (Nap Town!).  All the time I was in the Midwest, I didn’t experience any tornados.  That day, I drove into my first tornado. No, make that FIVE tornados!!!  It was May 1999 and the area had five different sightings.  I stopped crying about instability, and prayed to see tomorrow.  I remember the howling, how the sky lit up.  It was unreal and I was scared, and alone, painfully alone.  I managed to get a call in to my mom before the power lines went dead.  There was one conversation left for me to have.

I got down on my knees.

The next day, my Chulo (Toyota 4Runner) was waiting for me, not a scratch on him!  I found a working payphone and called Mom.  She told me mail just came and there was a letter from the State of NJ.  They wanted to settle out of court and give me my job back.  Life made another turn in 24 hours time, and faith kept me on course.  I was reinstated time and position-wise, but of course they weren’t giving back pay (that would be another lawsuit).  I walked back in and those that caused the issues tread lightly in my presence.  Those that were victimized, officers and inmates alike, called upon me to help them with their challenges and issues of injustice.  They knew I was fighter, but more importantly, I knew I was a fighter.  I knew I was a survivor.  I knew the challenges, the lemons of life, were there for a reason, even if we don’t know or see why immediately.  I accepted life’s lemons, and made it my business (literally and figuratively) to amass as many recipes to deal with all these dang lemons, giving thanks for each one.  Even my car accident in 2002 which left me with permanent injuries was a blessing.  I have no regrets on this journey.

To close this series, there are certain things I would hope the reader could take away.  Life is tricky.  We all have challenges.  Our challenges shape us because we are works in progress, and we come out of it sculpted as works of art.  That’s character.  Some of us are “pieces of work” as some folk would describe it.   We ALL are the offspring of survivors and fighters.  We all have it in us to take adversity and reverse its course.  Hope and Love will forever be your friend and often show up when you are alone.  Looking at these, my hope for the reader is to take those lemons, create something beautiful from them, then turn to this big ole’ world and say “More Lemons Please”.

Feel free to drop me a line and share your recipes.

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