January 2009

I’ve been meaning to post something about this great organization founded by director/photojournalist, Karen Sparacio.

If you’re in the mood to donate, why not check out Project Have Hope. It’s an awesome non-profit that captures its success in beautiful photography and video footage of the women, children and communities that benefit from your donations.

Ms. Sparacio is an old school friend of my older sister. According to my sister, Karen’s been all over the world capturing faces, people and cultures with her awesome photography. By the looks of it, Karen and her PHH team have taken full advantage of the donations over the years. If you really want to know who you’re reaching out to and how your generosity is helping other succeed then pay a visit to the PHH website. You’ll be impressed.

Putting all recent Obama Inaugural Festivities aside, their really hasn’t been much for me to blab about other than another music blurb. Oh, yeah we’re planning our first ever ski/snowboard trip. WhooHoo! Now on with the music…

I love Peter and John’s new song, Nothing To Worry About. I was never a true fan… I just knew that one with the whistling, Young Folks. But I can’t wait for their new album coming out in March.

Nothing To Worry About

Our Saturday paella with son inhaling paella's distinctive aroma

Our Saturday paella with son inhaling paella's distinctive aroma


Nothing is more satisfying than having your husband cook up a meal on a lazy Saturday evening. But to present something so beautiful and delicious as the paella is pretty darn special. I mean look at it. Looks labor intensive right? Well, according to my husband, as long as you’ve got the right ingredients and the right pan and a lot of love for this Spanish dish than it’s not that difficult. He doesn’t follow one particular recipe. He’s made it many times and each one was a little different. I must say, the addition of seafood is what did it for me. F A N T A S T I C.

Saturday’s paella had all six of us loading our plates. All but a few pieces of sausages were devoured and a couple of spoonfuls of rice.  We are eternally grateful to you oh Paella Master!

I like what Norberto Jorge has to say about paella. He gives a nice run down of what it takes to make a good paella.

Like I said, my husband doesn’t have one paella recipe written down. So I must refer you elsewhere. This site, Spain Recipes, seemed to have some authentic good ones. Good luck!

A couple of months ago I posted something similar in memory of Jon. Today, January 10, 2009 marks the 11 year anniversary of his death.

Jon passed away on the very early morning hours of our older sister’s birthday. Every year at this time, I remember Jon as he was and imagine what he would be like today. I don’t think any of us can picture him being any different…youthful, generous, caring, kind. He was young and discovering himself as most young (and old) people do. If you were to ask my mom, he was able to make amends and find closure with some of the important things in his life just before he died.

I know that he would want his sister to celebrate her birthday as anyone should as difficult as it may be at first. That’s just the kind of person he was.

So in remembering today as the anniversary of Jon’s death, we remember that Jewel was born on this day – a celebration of two lives, if you will.

We love you both!


Jonathan Scott Mendoza, May 29, 1977 - January 10, 1998


Happy Birthday Jewel!

Happy Birthday Jewel!

Let me start from the beginning…

It was a week before Christmas. All we were trying to do was get a refund on an overcharged iTunes card at a ToysRUs customer service desk. Then they walked in and planted an unopened Wii Sports package right along side of us. My husband and I looked at each other wincing trying to read each other’s minds. Should we?he whispered. NO,” I whispered right back.

Early in the season we had convinced each other that a new gaming system would be a terrible addition to this family. We were one of the few who held on to the Gamecube and our scanty lineup of games. And every now and then, and we were pretty good about this, pull out the cube from it’s little hiding place and let the kids play for a predetermined time frame. Just when the little buggers thought hey maybe mom and dad forgot about stashing the games away, we’d pull the plug and put away the box for an indefinite period of time.

Out of site, out of mind.

Ok. So Christmas rolls along. Someone told us that you could play gamecube games on the Wii system. I didn’t know that did you know that? I started looking online for the Wii system, just to get an idea, and most of the merchants were sold out or on backorder. Great, then it was never meant to be. No way was I going to wait in line to get one. It was just not that big of a deal to me to not get a Wii system.

There we were standing at the ToysRus help desk and a Wii is placed mere inches from our personal space. The couple who returned it seemed oddly pleased to be getting rid of it. Maybe they needed the money. Perhaps it was a response to kids behaving badly. Whatever the reason, it was sitting there and we eyed it like a cat on mouse. We knew there weren’t any left in the electronics department. My husband placed a hand on it as if to show ownership fearing a Wii hungry passerby would catch on. “Do you want it? I’ll be taking it to electronics soon,” spoke the customer service woman. “Give us a minute,” we replied in unison.

A minute is all it took. She asked us one more time. “Well, do you want it?” Her cheerful smile in all its holiday glow begged for nothing less than a yes. “Yeah, we’ll take it.” my husband responded. “Oh my god.” I replied stupefied. Ironically, the pleased look on my face was a sure enough confirmation to my husband that this was the right thing to do. It was not hard for us to rationalize our impulsiveness at the time. We managed to convince ourselves that the couple returning the one and only Wii system remaining in the tristate area returned it for us.

Since owning one, we’ve broken a couple of glass ornaments, pulled a couple of elbows and woke many a morning very, very sore. If you’re a new owner like us, you’ll definitely like its interactiveness, just give yourself enough room and use the wrist strap or you’ll be cracking more than just tree ornaments.