As I wrote to my niece about the places I’ve been, I really thought that I should share some personal things about myself with her. Throughout this almost ten years that we have been sucked into a turmoil we still can’t understand, it has been all about my niece, to my niece. Details, facts, red flags, but nothing about me as a person. I’ve written her so many handwritten letters with little things here and there about myself, but never made myself the focus for her to just get to know things about her auntie.
Since I scheduled my final surgery date, I’ve really been reflecting on my life since anything can go wrong when you go under the knife. I’m so nervous and scared. I’ve been doing a lot of praying, more than usual, and asking God to help get me through this because I have a very important date when a special little girl turns eighteen. So I’m trusting that He will get me through the procedure and the excruciating recovery that will have me in bed for at least a month with black eyes and a little cast on my nose. I’ll have a little bell next to the bed because it will hurt to even talk.
On weekends I’m usually out on the town, but I’m just taking it easy these next few days, spending time with my niece the only way I ever can which is through my writing. I’m six days away from surgery to reconstruct my nose after an accident last year. An accident that was a blessing in disguise because they found an infection at the base of my brain, which was not good and they were able to take care of. I’ve already had one nasal surgery last year but this one is to fix the damage inside and outside my nose.
So these next few days, I’ll be writing some personal things. I just want my niece to know me as a person. So without further ado, I want to sort of ‘introduce’ myself to my babygirl by just telling her things that I love and things I don’t love so much, some of my eccentricities, some of my dreams, some things that touch and hurt my heart.
I’m awaiting the time I can truly be her auntie, and here’s some things about me I’d love for her to know….
I’m a preschool teacher, event planner, soon to be private investigator, and I’m also an Adoption Reform Advocate.
I’m a mommy.
Terms of Endearment: Lisey, BabyLisa, Tiny, Cara Mia, Lisa Love
I’m loved by so many but only love one.
My Favorite Colors: Turquoise blue, black.
My Favorite Foods: Sushi, seafood, tacos, almost all fruits and vegetables, especially cherries and asparagus, Jell-O, pasteles, tamales, pizza, carrot cake, Togo’s sandwiches, medium rare steak, anything my mom makes, and I have a major weakness for French fries.
My Favorite Drinks: Orange juice with crushed ice, ginger ale, Slurpees, and whenever I dine out, I always order a Shirley Temple.
Foods I’m Famous For Making: Taco dip, fruit pizza, roasted red potatoes, soy chicken, shishkabobs, taquitos, tacos, stuffed mushrooms, lumpia, chile verde, grilled oysters and shrimp skewers, chocolate covered strawberries, guacamole, enchiladas, patio potatoes, French toast, scrumptious bacon ( I never ate bacon until I made it), shrimp ceviche, beef skewers, fried green tomatoes, bean and two-cheese dip, custom cakes and cupcakes, homemade baby food, perfect steaks, pot roast, garlic bread, eggs Benedict, homemade applesauce and baby foods. Really, everything…. I make everything with love and it shows. One of my kids’ friends came over one day while I was making an appetizer tray and with great excitement said, ‘ You’re a food artist ! ‘ That still makes me smile to this day !
My Favorite Books: I absolutely love to read and still go to the library that I’ve been going to since the second grade on a regular basis. I could spend all day in a bookstore. Some of my favorites are: The Bible, The Diary of Anne Frank, Night by Elie Wiesel, All Rivers Run to the Sea by Elie Wiesel, The Help, The Prince of Tides, Beach Music, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, Hind’s Feet on High Places, Battlefield of the Mind, Rutka’s Notebook, all Holocaust survivor books, God: Please Help Me ( a collection of prayers), Sybil, When Rabbit Howls by Trudy Chase, Diana: In Her Own Words, The Art of War by Sun Tzu, A Child Called ‘It’ trilogy, The Summer House, Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust. I hardly ever read anything that is fiction and never anything science fiction.
My Favorite Movies & Such: Sybil, Imitation of Life, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Not Without My Daughter, Beaches, The Water is Wide, Somewhere in Time, The Color Purple, anything by Stanley Kubrick or Quentin Tarantino, She-Devil, My Chauffeur, Legend, God Bless the Child, Beautiful, The Secret Garden, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Dolores Claiborne, An Eye For An Eye, My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding, The Money Pit, Years of the Beast. I love black & white movies and I hardly watch regular television but if I do it’s anything with Gordon Ramsay or Joyce Meyer Ministry, and I admit I do love ‘ Teen Mom 2 ‘. I love the History channel, Discovery and the Military channel. I love documentaries.
Things I Enjoy: Writing, reading, cooking, cleaning while listening to loud music, traveling, painting, photography, pool, darts, Dominoes, playing Spades, chess, having BBQ’S for the Superbowl, boxing and UFC fights, the beach in Santa Cruz especially in summer for Movies on the Beach, the sky at night, going to the library or bookstores, taking the kids to the park, teaching preschool and a kids’ cooking class, tea parties with the kids, hosting a kids’ book club, reading to children and elders, interior/exterior design, event planning, getting tattoos ( I have 16), being out on the water, sunsets, road trips, room service, taking care of everyone I love, making costumes, baking and decorating cakes and cupcakes, going to the gun range, learning anything I can, candlelight bubble baths, dancing, deep tissue massage and acupressure, rainy days, playing board games with the kids, the finale of fireworks shows.
Some of My Talents: Teaching, cooking & food design, party planning, interior/exterior design, reading aloud to others, photography, painting with puffy paint, writing; and my revolving door of house guests tell me I’m a gracious and hospitable hostess. I multitask and I take the lead to get things done.
Places I Go To Escape, Reflect, & Be Inspired:
Santa Cruz: The beach is so relaxing and the boardwalk has the best comfort food. I can stay there from morning until night enjoying the fun and scenery. Every summer, my family and I go to see the movies on the beach. ‘Glamping’ on the private beach with a fire, tent, cozy pillows, and sound of the waves is incredible.
Secret Spot in the Hayward Hills: There’s a place I’ve been parking since I was 14 where you can see the city at a distance. From one secret spot you can see all of Hayward, from the top of the hill you can see the entire Bay Area. It really does look and feel like the top of the world. I’ve only been there with a few people because it’s a very personal and intimate place for me. You see a million lights through all the cities from San Francisco to San Jose, the moon reflecting off of the darkness of the water is breathtaking. Sometimes I sit there in complete silence, sometimes I talk it out with God for hours. On 4th of July, you can see all the fireworks from San Francisco to San Jose.
Hayward Library: I’ve been going to the same library since I was in second grade, and I still go regularly to get away from it all. I get a stack of books, put on my glasses, and escape into different times and places. I so easily get lost. It’s euphoric and fulfilling.
Lake Elizabeth: The perfect place to barbecue, have a picnic lunch, get cozy on a blanket on the grass with a good book, where the kids play all day and love to feed the ducks. It’s such a blessing to have such a beautiful place to go that is ten minutes away and brings such great solace, serenity, and best of all, brings the family together.
Places I’ve Been:
* Miami and Fort. Lauderdale, Florida ( separate trips )
* Lake Tahoe, Reno, Genoa, & Las Vegas, NV
* Seattle & Oak Harbor, Washington
* Quito, Ecuador ( I went on a 16-day missionary, stood on both sides of the Equator, visited historic churches. )
* Puerto Rico
* Nassau, Bahamas (Atlantis, horseback riding in the water)
* St. Thomas, Virgin Islands (Butterfly Garden)
* Turks & Caicos (Resort)
* Acapulco & Mazatlan, Mexico (House of Masks, Botanicals, La Quebrada)
* Inca Ruins
* Galapagos Islands
* The Amazon Rainforest
* Monterey Bay, CA ( Aquarium )
* Napa, CA ( Wineries )
* Bodega Bay, CA ( Where A. Hitchcock filmed ‘The Birds’ )
* San Francisco (Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Warf) and the entire Bay Area, CA
* Santa Cruz & Carmel, CA ( Love the Boardwalk )
* Yosemite, CA
My ‘Wish List’ of Places to Visit:
* Maui, Hawaii
* Paris, France
* Summer Fiestas in Mexico
* Anne Frank Museum
* Niagara Falls, NY
* A Joyce Meyer Conference
* Grand Hotel, Michigan
Things I’m Afraid Of: My niece never coming home, the ocean at night, flying, losing anyone else I love.
Things I’m Passionate About: My niece knowing the truth, the protection, nurturing, and education of children, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, studying the Bible, studying the Holocaust, tending my garden, helping those in need in any way I can, having dinner at the table, rocking my babies to sleep, showing people I love that I love them. I have a special place in my heart for soldiers. Five of my family members are serving or have served this country proudly in the Navy and Air Force, so programs like Soldier’s Angels are dear to my heart. I make the best care packages to make our heroes feel that some of home came to them and that they’re not forgotten. I study history, particularly WWII and The Holocaust. The more I learn about it, the more books I read and footage I watch, it makes thankful to even be alive. I made a beautiful and colorful memorial piece with paperclips and handwritten names to represent the people whose stories I’ve read or names I’ve come across. ( People who were against the war wore paperclips on their lapel, originating in Norway. ) It has seven different frames put together that hangs on our dining room wall, just to remind us of how blessed we are and to bear witness to those lost so they’re never forgotten and always remembered.
Things I Despise or Disturb Me: Shows like Family Guy and South Park, science fiction, crimes against children, injustice of any kind, video games, how technology is so out of control that people are so out of touch, bullying, the fact that people are so distracted by the garbage of Hollywood that hardly anyone cares about real issues like starving children, the homeless, and important world issues. Everything Disney, adoptions that are immoral or unethical, how demonic the world has become, reality t.v. and talk shows, the Illuminati and those pushing a New World Order, those who are non-appreciative and lack compassion, the death of Lacy Peterson, those who abuse their authority, Satan and his evil deeds, always having to defend my faith.
Things That Have Hurt Me The Most: Losing my niece, losing my grandmother, losing my love to a motorcycle accident, losing three best friends due to dangerous drug use, losing friends as my faith grows stronger and I become a more devout Christian, the end of my parent’s marriage because of this horrible situation, the miscarriage I had ten days after I found out about the adoption, that life was never the same after losing my niece, not knowing what happened to my friend who tried to commit suicide because she left the hospital without staff approval or knowledge. (She had over fifty staples from her sternum to her belly button from a self-inflicted stab wound.) Seeing a woman take her last breaths after an accident, the recurring nightmares about the adoption, the haunting memories of having to leave my niece behind after visits.
My Favorite Flowers: Pink Gladioli, Pink Stargazer Lilies, Purple Lotus, Yellow Snapdragon, Purplish-Blue Hydrangea, White Gardenia, White Magnolias.
My Favorite Fragrances: Juicy Couture, Love Spell, Ed Hardy, Exclamation.
I Admire: The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit, Saint Jude the Patron Saint of Lost, Desperate, or Impossible Cases, Saint Christopher, Job, Diana: Princess of Wales, Bruce Lee, Sun Tzu, Hattori Hanzo, Cathy O’Brien, John F. Kennedy, Anne Frank, Elie Wiesel, my family members, Judith Land, survivors of trauma, the doctors, staff, parents and patients at St. Jude, single parents, military personnel, Joyce Meyer.
My Favorite Sports and Athletes: Football ( Raiders, Cowboys, and Bears ), UFC & Boxing, Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, Danny Garcia, Miguel Cotto, Felix Trinidad, Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino, Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson.
My Favorite Musicians: Sade, Mary J. Blige, Aaliyah, Davina, Andre Nickatina, Tupac Shakur, Phil Collins, Tears for Fears, Simply Red, classical musicians, my friend Marinda. I don’t just listen to the beat of songs, I listen to the words and if I don’t agree with the message I can’t listen to it. I used to listen to so much music, but now it’s been cut by about 80%. I just can’t listen to any music. The quote below is so true.
~ “ Music directly represents the passions of the soul. If one listens to the wrong kind of music, he will become the wrong kind of person. ” ~
My Favorite Comedians: Katt Williams, Dave Chappelle, Paul Mooney.
Things I’m Looking Forward To: Having a relationship with my niece, visiting the places on my ‘wish list’, getting my house boat, decorating my new classroom, watching the kids grow up, getting more grounded in my faith, the printing of my book, completing my private investigator’s course, being fluent in Spanish and Sign Language. The kids’ baptism in April, going to the fiestas in Mexico next summer, obtaining a ‘Helping Hands’ volunteer position at St. Jude. This year’s vacations.
My Favorite KJV Bible Verse: Ephesians 6:12 ‘ For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places ‘
Things I’m Thankful For: My family and loving protectors, my relationship with God that continues to get stronger, that God gave me many talents, that I learned from mistakes I made and was able to forgive myself. The food, shelter, and clothing we have, that I am becoming the best me I’ve ever been. I’m so thankful that my eyes have been ‘ opened ‘ and now I see things differently, people who have loved me and stuck by me through all this pain. I’m thankful for feeling safe, secure, loved, appreciated, and valued.
Some Odds & Ends: I love sneezing, vacuuming with my Dyson, I can still do the cherry drop from the monkey bars, I believe in Angels, I stood on both sides of the equator in Ecuador, I was first published when I was ten years old for writing a story about a math book that the school bully destroys. I changed an entire company with an anonymous letter I wrote about discrimination, I’m a night owl, I’m a writer, I love Chinese, Japanese, and Greek culture, I cook from scratch, I’ve never been stung by a bee, I love music, I love bamboo plants, I’m a great speller, I make brunch every Sunday, I love learning sign language, love thigh-highs and platform heels, I love thrift stores because you find treasures there, I’m a poet and love poetry, I love the San Jose flea market and their famous flavored pistachios. I love Santa Cruz, miniature golf, camping on the beach. I love Marilyn Monroe, drive-in movies, I’m a Pisces, I was and continue to be a straight ‘ A ‘ student, I’m a member of ‘ Couch Surfers ‘ which is for travelers. I never drink alcohol or smoke, other than French fries, I don’t eat fast food. I love puffy paint, I never take a bite of food without praying first, even if I’m at a restaurant. I’m the neighborhood mom, things that I cherish have no monetary value, I’ve been baptized twice. I love being a teacher, my classroom is my second home.
I hope one day I won’t have to keep record of such things, but for now, I do. I’ve gotten lost in the commotion of all this and I at least wanted to give my niece a little glimpse of who her aunt is as a person. I want her to know that I am not defined by this case alone ….