dealing with an addict


sitting at a bedside vigil for 24 hours…praying that things are better when you are taken out of the drug induced coma, praying that the ventilator keeping you from further damage is doing its job, praying that your children don’t have nightmares from seeing their dad strapped to a hospital bed, praying that you’ve learned your lesson.

thinking that maybe we gave up on you too soon, dealing with you and your addiction was too much for us to handle. for more reasons that you will ever know. but still the guilt creeps in.

we still love you. but we’ve done it from a distance. it was too much to bring our kids to watch your addiction take over your life. We built relationship with your kids, poured the love we have for you into them.

Now, we are just where we always knew we’d be….watching your addiction control you.

none us of know what its like to be you. none of know how to help you deal with the storm inside of you, the drive that tells you “its no big deal, i can stop whenever i want.” yes, you can and you did and you landed in ICU. no one wanted this not us, not your kids, not your sister, not your mother and especially not you.

the doctor told us yesterday that it generally takes 5 tries for an addict to get clean. for recovery to finally take place. that sounds like a very long journey.

Step on the Flowers

Image courtesy of

One of the greatest difficulties of being a teen mom are some of the missed opportunities because you are trying to grow up and raise a child at the same time, it’s often difficult to stop and smell the flowers. But there are moments that you know matter, not only to you but to your child.

I had my first child at 18, my second child at 21 and my third child at 35. When my older children were younger, they loved picking the dandelions. They would bring them into the kitchen and I would stick them in a glass until they wilted, which was usually very quick. I always made a big deal about their humble gift to me, it mattered to them so it mattered to me.

A few days ago, my third child aka the bonus child noticed the dandelions as we were walking to the car.

He stopped mid-step and asked, “can I step on the flowers?”

“Yes, you can step on the flowers,” I replied.

He gingerly stepped on the dandelions, watching them crush under his captain america light up shoes. He giggled.

The next day, as we passed the same patch of dandelions, he stopped and stared.

Bending down to study the weeds he asked, “can I pick them for you?”

The memories of the bouquet of weeds I received 17 and 14 years ago flashed in my mind. My heart remembered of all those moments that mattered to my older children and how important it is to pay attention even to the weeds.

I pause more and try to see the world through the eyes of my bonus child. I know one day, he will bring in his bouquet of weeds and I will receive them as if they were prize roses, just as I did when his sister and brother brought them. The gesture of a child is so pure, if only we stop to step on the flowers.

A Thing for Dates!

Since I was a kid, I’ve had an amazing memory for dates. Birthdays, anniversaries of all types, it’s pretty obvious from my blogs. As I sit at home working on some freelance editing, ironing in between but mostly thinking about the fact that today is eve of another important date. Tomorrow we will celebrate 21 years of marriage. 21 years of laughter, fear, joy, pain, tears, celebrations and disappointments.

I was 18 yrs old when I got married and became a mother. Life was rough, we had no education or much family support. We struggled in every way possible. Everything was against us, even ourselves. We both came from very broken homes. Neither of us knew what unconditional love was or how to do it. It took many years of fighting, crying, growing and learning but we did it. We learned to love and respect one another. Do we struggle? Yes! But when I think about my life and what it is like to love unconditionally I am so grateful that we were stubborn enough to make it to 21 years.


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House Music and Shabba-Doo


Hoimage7use music was born in Chicago from the disco scene and that’s the era that Shabba-Doo has his roots. A native Chicagoan, Shabba-Doo spoke about the dance scene, “In  the late 60’s and early 70’s soul music was big in Chicago.” 

“House music influenced a style of dance called the waacking dance. Waaking Dance is a derivative of a dance style called punking,” said Shabba-Doo. In the 1970s like many of straight djs in Chicago, Shabba-Doo went into the gay night clubs in Los Angeles and created a hybrid form of dancing.  “I created the first bi-sexual street dance form,” said Shabba-Doo.

People often ask where does he get his creative dance moves, he replies, “I put the Puerto Rican in it!” Latinos have a major influence on American culture and Shabba-Doo has been at the forefront since the 1970s.

Shabba-Doo gave me an education, a history lesson.  He introduced me to Tom Moulton. Moulton was the original remixer on the national level. According to wikipedia, Moulton “was responsible for the first continuous-mix album side, on Gloria Gaynor‘s disco album, Never Can Say Goodbye, earning him the title the ‘father of the disco mix’.”

“House music was the heartbeat, the pulse,” said Shabba-Doo. The bass and tribal beats of house music gets to the very soul of a dancer. 

When working on a dance routine, he feels the music, like a heart beat, using his body to interpret the music, creating a personal music score. 

Today, Shabba-Doo is still dancing. He teaches all over the world. Often giving back to the community. He recently joined the Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum Development Team. In the Fall of 2014 he is scheduled to release an autobiographical book. He is also working on a film, ” A Breakin’ Uprising: The Movie”.  

One of my favorite Shabba Doo quotes…

“Knowledge is the new swagger, intelligence is the new cool and the new dope. God gave us all potential but education helps to unlock that potential. Without an education, without knowledge, you are like a baseball player that only has talent but doesn’t know how to use it. Talent will get you at bat but education gets you home.” 

Background of this blog: A few months ago, I was scrolling through Facebook and Shabba-Doo was in my news feed. I thought about the movie “Breakin'”  how much I loved it, watching it over and over again in the 1980s and all the great music. I recently discovered that Shabba-Doo is from Chicago. So I wanted to know if and how House music influenced his style of dance. He graciously agreed to an interview.


You are Now in Bedford Falls

“You are now in Bedford FallsBedford Falls

At the age of 13, I wanted to take my own life. My small world was crashing around me. I was doing horrible in school; my parents had transferred me out of public school back into a catholic school, a very small private school, with uniforms and the not so cool kids. My boyfriend had broken up with me to go out with someone who called herself my friend. I was told often that I was ugly and fat. No one understood me. I believed no one loved me.

I thought many times how I could take my life. I would write, “I want to die, everyone hates me” on my school books. One day my parents discovered it but I assured them that I was fine. I really wasn’t, I was lost and lonely. I got the all the Fs on my report card up to D minuses to get out of 8th grade. I chose to go to a small all girls’ catholic school that was a ten minute bus ride or about a 30 minute walk from home. Things got slightly better once I got to high school, my grades improved and I started to make some new friends. But I was still sad, still thinking about taking my life.

In the first semester of my freshman year, my English teacher thought she would torture us by making us watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” right before Christmas vacation. At that time, there was no real respect for the movie; it was on TV every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, surprisingly I had never seen it. Each day, as I went to English class I fell in love with George Bailey but most importantly, I discovered the impact of one person’s life on so many. I began to see the value of life, even my life.

For the last 20 years I’ve kept a little ceramic sign (in the photo above)  where I could see every day that says, “You are now in Bedford Falls”. It serves as a reminder that I may not be exactly where I want to be but I’m exactly where I need to be. Our lives intersect with some many others, we matter to more people than we realize.

An Interview with Byron Burke


I received a call to go and interview a female dj from Europe. She was on vacation, touring the USA and was available for an interview. The request came through a friend, I was hesitant because I prefer to set up my own interviews. It gives me the opportunity to prep the interviewee prior, giving them the choice to talk with me or not. But I trusted my source and drove 20 miles to conduct the interview. When I arrived, I was told I had just missed her.

But Rocky Jones of DJ International was wrapping up a business meeting with Byron Burke. Jones suggested I interviewed Burke. So here I was sitting across from Bryon Burke. I was not prepared in any way to conduct an interview of Burke. I enjoy preparing interviews and I love to research the subject before I conduct an interview.  As I was introduced to him, I was told he was from the group Ten City. I knew Ten City but I didn’t know Byron Burke. Burke was also put on the spot but being so gracious and kind, he agreed to the interview.

I listened to Burke talk about parts of his life journey; from growing up on Chicago’s West Side, as a trumpet player, dancer in Shy Boys dance crew, became a well-known dj and then signing with his group “B Rude, Inc” to DJ International Records all before he was 19 years old.

Music was Burke’s sanctuary. He played the trumpet in Grammar school. In the 8th grade he began djing on Technic 1100s, he practiced 6 hours a day for a year. He made over 200 mix tapes until it was just the right mix to be submitted to a promoter to get a gig. His first major party, at the age of 15, was with Shawn Robinson and Farley Jack Master Funk.

He grew tired of mixing records and wanted to make his own records. Burke called Rocky Jones, and began to hang out at the office of DJ International Records and eventually got a record deal with his group “B Rude, Inc.”.  The members of the group consisted of Byron Burke, Anthony Nash, Shaun Robison. Shortly after the group was established, Tommy Williams and Byron Stingily paired up with the team. However, the group struggled to get anything off the ground. After a year, Burke got out of his contract with DJ International Records.

He continued to work with Byron Stingily after the B Rude Inc. disbanded and joined forces with Marshall Jefferson and formed a group called The Truth, followed by Ragtyme which included Herb Lawson. Ragtyme was signed to Atlantic Records and changed their name to Ten City. Ten City’s debut album, Foundation, included “Right Back to You” and “That’s the Way Love Is.”

According to Wikipedia, along with his work on Foundation he also co-wrote and produced State of Mind for Atlantic Records, one album entitled No House Big Enough for East West Records and one album entitled That Was Then, This Is Now for Columbia Records. The records spawned ten Top 20 Billboard magazine dance songs, five Top 10 Billboard Magazine Sales Chart Singles, ten Top U.K. Pop Chart Singles, a Gold Album from South Africa and a Silver Album from the U.K. that received international acclaim on four continents.”

Today, Burke is the founder and president of BB Media Global Group. According to their website, BB Media Global Group works “with a select group of Start-up and established corporations develop creative strategies to position their brand for success.” Burke is also a co-owner of 905 FM Brooklyn New York, a 24 hour internet, smartphone and In-car radio station.

Burke’s faith has been a major influence throughout his life. The voice of God has guided him throughout his career. Since 2002, he has led weekly online bible studies and attracted people from all over the world. Burke’s sermons can be heard on

First set: Numark dm500 and Technics Slb10s

Favorite house song: Love Dancin’ by Roger Sanchez

Favorite quote: This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success–          Amplified Bible

Midwest DJ Fest

September 8, 2013–Perception Lounge, in Berwyn, hosted the Midwest DJ Fest. About 100 Djs from around Chicagoland gathered to network, to check out new equipment, trade music, listen to other djs and have a great time.

I’ve hung out with djs for more than 20 years, unless the are behind the decks, they find it very difficult to turn off their critical ear and enjoy the music. So this event was a breathe of fresh air. People were mingling, laughing, cheering each other on.  The only ones dancing were the bartenders, although the music was great, a mix of old school and EDM. Most of the djs were just lost in the music or caught up in their conversations.

I got to mingle with other djs’ wives. That is always a treat! Meeting other women who love house music despite it being our husband’s mistress. We understand the lingo, the music and the passion even if the only time we touch a turntable is to dust it off.  🙂 and sometimes not even that!

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