We’re coming up on the home stretch of the A-Z Challenge. University Avenue was where I had my first apartment at 20. It was between Fordham and Kingsbridge Roads.

A to Z Challenge

Jump Around and Make Friends

I went through most of my new adult growing pains while living there. The man who got Mami’s apartment after we left Papi, got mine too. He was a Managing Agent by then. His name was Bill Whalen. I was the one who introduced them; he was my first mentor.

I met him when he opened a small recreational center in my neighborhood when I was about  15. He’d recently graduated law school and working as part of a local community action group. In addition to some of my teachers, Bill played a major role in steering me back in the right direction.

Good times were had at my new place. Visits from my parents, parties with friends, and Mandy spent her first five years in that apartment. That just jogged some funny memories. I had Mandy at 22. Don’t remember exactly where I worked, but during my third trimester, my daily meals were the same.

  • Breakfast: Coffee and English muffin with butter and jelly
  • Lunch: Coffee ice cream, Black Cherry soda, and Dipsy Doodles
  • Dinner: Hot roast beef with cheese, mayo, oil, vinegar, and oregano from the Blimpies on the corner of University Avenue and Fordham Road. After the first week and a half, they had my order down and knew what time to expect me. As soon as I  wobbled in, someone would start prepping it. :)

Three days before my due date I started having pain coming home from work. Didn’t worry much because it wasn’t very painful and didn’t last long. The intervals were far enough apart, it didn’t occur to me I was going into labor. So, of course, I stopped for my sandwich!

I got home, ate, no problem. Then the pain became more frequent and a helluva lot more painful. I called Mami, who lived about fifteen minutes away and she practically ran over. Did I ever mention what a punk I was when I was young? Zero pain tolerance. So, Mami came and I let her in. Contractions were about twenty minutes apart and I was between them.

I shed my clothes and went to shower. Mami freaked out, wanted to know what in the world I was doing. “I need to take a shower”, I told her. Her shocked face was priceless. Once it wore off, she told me off up, down, left, right, and wanted to know if I’d even called my hospital ride yet.

I was so stressed about having eaten that sandwich earlier and having to push later… I forgot. Finally called Mandy’s soon to be aunt who drove over with her soon to be paternal grandmother, and off we went. By the time we were on the highway, I was a such a mess that Mandy’s aunt missed the exit for the hospital. The rest of the story is pretty funny, but I’ve already gone past my intended word count. Ask and I’ll be happy to post it another day.

Did you know this person was born in the Bronx?

  1. Underdue, Rashawn – Actor, Writer, Personal Trainer

Anyone else have a funny or unusual labor story? Don’t let me be the only one! How did you feel in your first apartment?



We’re up to T in the A-Z Challenge. I’m going to tantalize you with some tidbits of my past shenanigans today. I may live to regret this…

A to Z Challenge

Hop Around and Make Friends!


Photo courtesy of Morguefile

When I was little, I had big dreams. I was good at a lot of things, albeit sometimes a little backwards. From the time I was about four, my mom would take me to the Mullally (sic) ice skating rink in winter and pool in the summer.

At first, Mami would rent ice skates for me. As I got older and better at it, she bought me my own pair. I did well with crisscrossing, reverse skating, T-stops, and spins. I never did get to aerial jumps because then I became obsessed with: Gymnastics!


Photo courtesy of Morguefile

My parents and I always watched the Olympics, both Summer and Winter, without fail. Summer was always the favorite. When Nadia Comaneci scored the first 10 in gymnastics in 1976, I was hooked. I ‘trained’ every day. :) I’d go to the park across the street (still lived on Jerome) and practice my floor exercises: somersaults, cartwheels, back bends, and all that good stuff.

My balance beam was two long  pieces of pink yarn taped to my hardwood bedroom floor and I’d practice my ‘routine’ by staying between the yarn. I got my measurements from the book below. Don’t judge me! :( It was a long time ago.

I permanently borrowed a gymnastics educational hardcover from the library by stuffing it in a bag. No, I’m not proud; I was 11, poor, desperate, and stupid. It was the only coach I had. I even hid it from Mami, sure she’d whoop me, even though she wasn’t a spanker. Karma paid me back; my cousin stole it from me on a visit to MA the following summer.


Photo courtesy of Morguefile

I know I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that I’m introverted and shy. I carried a couple of extra pounds too. Soon after 6th grade started that fall, cheerleading tryouts were coming up. I wanted to go, but didn’t want to be laughed at. I didn’t have many friends, but I had a couple, Katie and Lisa. They convinced me to try out for the squad with them. I sucked it up and did.

Two days later, the cheerleading coach (who was also our English teacher, I think) came class to class announcing  those who made the squad, and thanking the girls who tried but didn’t make it that year. Lisa and I both made the squad, but Katie didn’t. I was officially a member of the Sacred Heart boys basketball team cheerleading squad.

At our first meeting, the teacher pulled m to the side and told me I had wonderful tumbling and cartwheel skills. Now if I only had coördination… I’ll have to save that for another post.

Did you know the following people were born in the Bronx?

  1. Ticotin, Rachel – Actress
  2. Tepper, William – Actor, Writer, Producer
  3. Travalena, Fred – Entertainer – specialized in comedy/impressions (1942-2009)

Do you have any tidbits you’d like to share with me from your childhood, hopes and dreams? I’d love to hear them. How’s your day going?











I had many choices for S in the A-Z Challenge, I didn’t know what to choose. I was going to go with some shenanigans from back in the day but then said, nah. Instead, I’m going with a Puerto Rican shining star.  I’m Hungarian by heritage, but being raised in my neighborhood makes me Puerto Rican/Dominican/ Black/ Italian, among others, just by association… Plus my daughter is a Hungarican.   :D

A to Z Challenge

Hop Around and Make Friends!

Sonia Sotomayor is a Bronx born and raised success story. She was born on June 25, 1954 to Juan Sotomayor of Santurce, Puerto Rico and Celina Baéz of Lajas, Puerto Rico.

An excellent student, Ms. Sotomayor graduated Valedictorian from Cardinal Spellman High School and attended Princeton University on a full scholarship. She credits Affirmative Action for helping her to achieve that goal.

After graduating Princeton, she attended Yale Law School, also on scholarship. She worked her way up the judicial ladder and on August 6, 2009, she was confirmed as a new justice on the United States Supreme Court. President Obama commissioned her the same day. Courtgavel

Ms. Sotomayor was sworn in on August 8, 2009 by Chief Justice John Roberts and is the first Hispanic female justice to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Click her name at the beginning to read more about her accomplishments.

Did you know these people were born in the Bronx?

  1. Siff, Maggie – Actress
  2. Selleca, Connie – Actress
  3. Santiago, Saundra – Actress
  4. Serrano, Nestor – Actor
  5. Simon, Neil – Writer
  6. Spitzer, Eliot – Lawyer, Politician, and um…

Now to work on my T. How’s your week going? Stressed yet? :)


A-Z Challenge – RAP and HIP-HOP

I apologize for being a day behind, so today you  get a two-fer. For R in the A-Z Challenge, I’m going to focus on Rap/Hip-Hop beginnings. Generally speaking, most people agree that rap and hip-hop originated in the Bronx.

I’m listing an excerpt from an article written by an old school rapper, Kurtis Blow:

The History Of Rap: Vol. 1: The Genesis
‘In the early 1970s a musical genre was born in the crime-ridden neighborhoods of the South Bronx. Gifted teenagers with plenty of imagination but little cash began to forge a new style from spare parts. Hip-hop, as it was then known, was a product of pure streetwise ingenuity; extracting rhythms and melodies from existing records and mixing them up with searing poetry chronicling life in the ‘hood, hip-hop spilled out of the ghetto.’

Read the entire article here.

A to Z Challenge

Jump Around and Make New Friends!

About.com describes it this way:

Hip-hop is a form of popular music that’s comprised mainly of four elements: emceeing, deejaying, graffiti and breakdancing*. As hip-hop evolves into big business, new elements are constantly being added to the culture. Today, hip-hop is also a cultural lifestyle that impacts fashion trends, lingo, trends, and attitudes.

Rap vs. Hip-Hop:  Rap is a form of music that originated from hip-hop culture.
Hip-hop is a lifestyle with its own lingo, dress code, etc. In the words of KRS-One, “hip-hop is something you live, rap is something you do.”

*The old school term is B-boyingI briefly dated a guy back in the early ’80’s whose brother was a B-boy. Interestingly enough, I wound up spending more time with his brother than I did with him. He was a fantastic dancer. A group of us would ride with him and his crew on the #4 train and watch them entertain the passengers while heading to Grand Central. They’d wear all white outfits from their hats their sneakers. By the time we got off the train they had pockets full of money.

Then we’d all head over to Times Square and they would put on a rockin’ street show and battle each other. It was a sight to behold. I miss those days.

Did you know the following people were born in the Bronx?

  1. Roberts, Tanya – Actress
  2. Reiner, Rob – Actor, Director, Producer, Activist
  3. Reiner, Carl – Standup Comedian, Actor, Director, Producer, Writer, Singer
  4. Reilly, Charles Nelson – Actor, Comedian, Director, Drama Teacher  (1931-2007)

Are you falling behind yet in the challenge? Ever hear of B-boying before today? How’s your Wednesday going?




I’m adding a bit of fun to my A-Z Challenge day! Not only am I helping Author Eva Pohler by publishing the cover reveal for her new book, I’m also going to take part in the Rafflecopter giveaway for a $50 Amazon gift card. Check below for details. I love me some Amazon. I’m just sayin’….

Vampires, Demigods, and Gods–Oh, My!

It’s time to reveal the cover for the second book in Amazon bestselling author Eva Pohler’s The Vampires of Athens series.


Gertie has become friends, and has possibly fallen in love, with both a demigod and a vampire, who happen to be at war. Although she sympathizes with the vampire uprising, she distrusts the leaders, especially when they plan to kill humans to cull out the demigods before ambushing them. As the three unlikely friends discover that neither side is perfectly good or evil or right or wrong, they work together to try to bring about the best outcome; but, when their parents and the gods undermine their efforts and hang them out to dry, the three teens realize they’re on their own and no one will save them.

To celebrate the reveal of Vampire Affliction: The Vampires of Athens, Book, Two, we are giving away a $50 Amazon gift card! You can enter the Rafflecopter widget below each day through April 21st, which is PARTY DAY!

If you haven’t already joined the party, you can do so here!

We are also celebrating by running a special on the first book in the series. For a limited time, you can purchase the first book, Vampire Addiction, for 0.99 cents! Go here for purchase links, or click on the image below to go directly to Amazon.

Vampire Addiction Ebook Final

Here is a list of places participating in this reveal. Go check them out!

Charles’ Book Nook
Lisa’s Book Lair
The Power of Three Readers
Wicked Women Book Blog
Dowie’s Place
Pure Jonel
tanyas book nook
Escaping Life’s Craziness With Books
Word Wenches Guilty Pleasure
Tia Bach, Author
Rose Garcia
Dina Given, Author
Devouring Books
The Crazy Booksellers
Blame It On The Books
Book Crazy Gals
Steph’s Reads & Reviews
Author Erin Danzer
Jeanine Walsh Palinkas
Kristi’s Bookreadery
The Paranormal Bookworm
Sarah Darlington-Jones
A Thousand Worlds Book Blog
The Paisley Reader
The Schwartz Reviews
Beth Pabalan Leneberg

Here’s the Rafflecopter Link!
a Rafflecopter giveaway