Is China Really a Threat

Or is it Self Sabatage?

Update: a pedestrian bridge and a residential building have recently collapsed. I think it’s time we start holding our politicians / government accountable.

Infrastructure spending, free two year college and health care for all. Radcial ideas. Have we gone mad?! Are we in Kansas Toto?! No. We are not. This is The United States of America, and you know what? We can’t seem to get our shit together!

Our report card is in. C- is our grade. According to the Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, a C- is the grade that the American Society of Civil Engineers gives us for infrastructure in America. A C- is all we could muster up. Sad really. Cs and Ds is the grade that we have be getting over the years, since 1998. Here are some simple reasons why:

Photo by Ruiyang Zhang on

Our roads either stink or don’t exist at all. 43% of our roadways are in poor or mediocre conditions. If you live in New York, you surely can experience these poor road conditions on a daily basis driving around on the 495 or Sunrise Highway. Spending on improving our roads has been in the decline for some time now.

Now, let’s take a look at water. We waste water. Did you know there is a water main break every two minutes, and we lose 6 billion gallons of water EVERYDAY. I wonder what the residents of California, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona think about this? I am sure the states that suffer drought conditions and water rationing don’t appreciate hearing that little fun fact.

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Despite the popularity of parks and outdoor recreation, spending on parks is also down. Which means deteriorating parks, parking areas, and drinking water systems within parks. Less parks are also being planned for. Oh well, I guess our kids can play in those run down streets of their neighbors.

It seems our educational system is not fairing too well either. Well I think. I am not really sure. Why? Well it seems to be a lack of information/data on this topic. What we do know is that state capital funding fell 31% for schools between 2007-2018. That equates to about a 20 billion dollar cut. We also know that 53% of public school districts report the need to update or replace multiple building systems. We also know teachers are not getting paid enough, but a topic of discussion for another day.

And lastly let there is our health care system. If you search for information on the ranking of the US health care system you find varied answers. We are ranked last among the top developed countries or we are ranked at 22 or we are ranked at the bottom of a list. It depends on what is being compared which makes the answer to the question where do we rank a bit complicated. With that being said, one idea that does not pop out is that The United States has the top health care system. Nope. We are not aces or tops, not number 1 or even great.

If you look at our report card over the past years, you will only see Cs and Ds and an F or two as our overall grade. Imagine if your child continued to to get Cs and Ds year after year. Some of us would call into question why this was happening, start looking at the different components that contribute to the possibilities that lead to your child getting a constant C or D. We would demand changes. Shouldn’t WE be doing this to our own systems and politicians that are in place.

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Is China or any other country for that matter a threat to us or are we just self sabotaging? We have been hearing how we have to make America great again. But how can we make America great if we can’f fix or improve upon our basic problems. We don’t want to spend on ourselves. Currently there is talk about the budget and spending but there is also a lot of noise out there too. This noise, is a distraction to move us away from the real issues. This noise is to create a divide among us. This noise, is precisely what is stopping us from making us great. The powers that be do not have our best interests at heart. If they did, we would not be cutting spending on education. We need our people to be educated, ALL, our people and EQUALLY, not just some . Instead they are distracting us with issues such as immigration, illegals, benfits to the illegals, crime and the list goes on. BUT what about our own, our own that are homeless, jobless, without health care, without proper education, our citizens. They WE are hurting too, hurting even more I would say. How can we be great if only SOME OF US ARE GREAT ? It’s not like we don’t have the money. We do. We just don’t to spend it on us. Why is that?

Check out how your state is doing. What grade it is earning?


Time and Thanks

It’s the end, al fin. Not of a movie, a song, or of time, although for some it may seem asi (as though). It is the end of yet another year.  2020 has been like no other.  Different, uncommon, particular, distinctive and peculiar or you can just say plain old raro (strange/rare)!   As unique as 2020 may have been, I look back and see that I have discovered or rediscovered many new and exciting things that will most likely affect me for a long time to come, if not forever.  

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Whether you wanted to “Make America Great again” or are looking for a “Time to Heal,” unlike other times, politics most certainly got my attention this year.   I had voted in previous elections but I can not say I was the most informed voter, actually I wasn’t informed at all. I basically voted for the person that “sounded” good.  Hay que pena! How embarrassing, I know.  But not anymore!   Toy al dia! I am up to date, on most major issues that is.  Am I an expert? Certainly not. But I am an informed citizen who listens more closely to the words our elected officials speak about policies that affect our daily lives. 

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Woke and Enlightened are two words that have been used to describe me this past year.  The unjustifiable murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor along with the Black Lives Matter movement most definitely caught my attention.  White privilege became a topic of interest. Why is it incorrect or insensitive to say all lives matter?  Why do we call attention to “the first black” anything? and are black citizens or people of color really treated differently than white citizens by the police?  What is racism, prejudice and discrimination? Needless to say,  I became a student of this topic and other topics and issues related to people of color.  Ojo!  I am considered a minority, but by  just looking at me and talking to me, you would never know.  I have benefited from this white privilege that exists and didn’t even know it.  Now I do.  I have changed.

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Politics and white privilege are the two most recent topics of interest but food is where my enlightenment really began.  I got on the topic of food because I had decided I wanted to eat healthier as I discovered that the true magic of getting thin was not exercise but food.   Yes, exercise helps, but it is what you eat that matters most.  As a result, I began investing in how to eat and what to eat.   I took a free online course at Coursera on the topic of nutrition and Ayyy Papa! that got me going! I bought and listened to books, watched documentaries, I could not get enough.   I investigated food, where and how it was made.  The information is worrisome and the things the food industry hides from us is scary.  If you have not looked into this topic, I highly recommend that you do.  It could save you a lot of health issues in the future.

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My rediscovery of books has brought me joy.  Prior to this pandemic, I read books only related to my profession.  There just was no time for material that was classified as reading for pleasure. Time after time, I would walk into a bookstore, buy a book,  go home, read the first few pages, put it down and pick it up months or years later.  But 2020 has changed this bad habit.   To date, I have read 18 books.  Everything from politics to romance, from biographies to humor, even works from notable foreign authors.  At the beginning of 2020, Goodreads asked me how many books I would like to read this year, as a goal.  I  posted 3 books. At the time I thought, ta duro eso (that’s a hard one), but my goal got met!

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Over the course of the year, I continued to do things I typically did but I did it for longer periods.  I continued to exercise.  When the gyms closed, I brought the barbell and plates home.  Netflix continued to be a staple activity, Hulu and Prime were added on. Did you know, there are 22 seasons to Law and Order SVU? When the pandemic hit, I made a goal to watch all 22 seasons by the end of this year, but I found other things to do.  I did get through 10 though.  My cooking, let’s just say is at otro nievel (at another level)!  And of course, family time, that increased and will be a topic of a future blog.  Stayed tuned.

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For all these things written here and many, more I am thankful.   

But before we part ways, what about you? Que has hecho (what have you done) with your time this year? What have you discovered or rediscovered in this peculiar year? 

Thanks for reading.


“There’s a dead girl in the pool.”

“What?” “What are you talking about?”

“Could you show some concern? There is a dead girl in the pool.”

” umm…We don’t have a pool.” “ok..So, who’s the girl?”

“On no, it’s a song.”



Elated and dazed

Do you know

you are in control? 

If you ask of me, 

I eagerly comply

And yet no reciprocation


Why can’t I…

Have another kiss?

Ask what you are doing?

Ask where you are?

Have a selfie?

Or just ask Why?

And you comply

Could it be…


lack of

from you of me?

Perhaps, it’ s just trust

I enjoy what goes on

Though one-sided

But not the confusion 

That lurks within me

Not Kid, but Realists 

No fantasies needed

Just clarity


Alto y claro! 

Because why?

15 12 9

A  meaningless number combination for some,  but for others this number combination invokes extreme feelings such as dread, relief, hate, fear,  happiness,  and or possible thoughts of “Oh, that’s not too bad,”  “ Oh god, I am going to die.”  “I can do it,’  and finally the “That’s easy”  thought.  Now imagine if we added 21 and 3 to the number combo because 21 and 3 are missing.  Even more extreme thoughts and feelings!   Depending on what is written on the board, anyone of these feelings or thoughts could cross your mind as you walk into the gym.   It all It depends on the set of exercises of course.   You see, those numbers represent the amount of repetitions you need to do for each given exercise.  Let’s take sit ups,  upon seeing that written on the board immediate thoughts of “ oh that’s easy” and feelings of joy enter you, but what if you walk in and see you have to lift an extremely heavy barbell  and jump over a box and do burpees,  well, your feelings and thoughts might change drastically.  That’s how the cookie crumbles at a Crossfit gym.  

Spicy and grueling was my word combo for the exercise routine I chose to do this day.   Yes, I chose the workout routine.   Why would anyone choose to do a workout purposely if it is grueling or could be labeled as spicy?  I don’t know actually.  Who knows why I choose to torture myself 5 days a week with insane routines that push my body and mental capacity to their limits.  But I do and so do many other athletes of Crossfit.  

The idea for this routine came to me from my friend @amandajbarnhart.  Ok, so to clarify,  Amanda is really not my friend, but when you follow someone on social media for a while and watch them compete you tend to think you have some type of “friendship”  or relationship with a person, a virtual one anyways.  I happened to see her post on her workout for the day and I thought to myself I want do that,  it looks fun!   But then I thought to myself,  can I do that routine? I doubted myself.  You see,  Amanda is in her 20s and is considered to be an elite athlete who competes in national competitions, while I am almost 49 and struggle to get out of a seated position at times,  so you could see why I might doubt myself.  I consulted with my unofficial trainer/ coach, more about him at a later time, and he immediately said “ We are doing it tomorrow!”  Great! I thought to myself.  Let me mentally prepare!  My mental preparation consists of me thinking about the routine and thinking about if I am capable of doing the exercises within a decent amount of time without dying of course.  I thought to myself I can do it but at a much lighter weight and it will take me like almost an hour to do the routine.  My trainer/coach was like 20 minutes top.  I was like no way dude, your cray cray!

The routine: 

3 sets of 15 12 9 

set 1 

push press

step over box with a heavy ball

set 2

push press

box jumps

set 3

push jerk 

bar facing burpees

the weight:  85 95 105lbs

Today I walked into the gym extremely nervous with the thoughts of “maybe we shouldn’t do this,” but I knew my coach would never allow for this, so I was doomed even though I begged and pleaded and tried to bribe him with some cookies.  It didn’t work.  I had to do the spicy routine.  

Like everyday, I did it.  I survived and I loved it.  Like I said before, who knows why I choose to torture myself on a daily basis.  Maybe it’s to challenge myself and to push myself, to look good,  or to say I did it when I thought I couldn’t.  Perhaps its for the glory of hearing people say “Wow that’s incredible Michelle!” or “You’re crazy!”  as my mom would say or it could be for the simple satisfaction of being able to squat over a public toilet while wearing high heels and not struggle.  What ever the reason, I know one thing for sure, I going to keep doing it.  

Thank you @amandajbarnhart for sharing and being an inspiration and thank you to @michaelyauz for being my number 1 cheerleader. 

That’s So White!

I know,  by the title of the entry a person will  automatically think I will be writing on race.  A touchy subject, at these times.   Some may even find the title to be offensive.  Should I change the title?  Maybe. But no.  I have to say there are things that happen from time to time that I just consider to be SO White. 

Let me try to explain.  

I find myself using this expression quite a bit when I return home to NY to visit my family and friends.   I would be out and about and all of a sudden a situation would occur that would cause to think,  “wow that’s so white!” At times, I even say it out loud, and of course my family looks at me in disbelief and I get the comment that I am racist.  

But I am not. 

Recently the “so white” thought happened to me again, and I am not even in NY.  Hmmm…

What caused me to have this so white reaction was an email from Melissa, a customer service rep, who works at a company in Massachusetts. I have been waiting for a book order and I have been after the company to find out where the books are as its been almost a month since I purchased the books. The exact line from the email that triggered my thought of “so white” was, “Call your local post office to find out where it is.” Now at first, one might think, well, what’s the big deal?! Call the post office and your package will be delivered. Ummm sure, if I lived in US, that is how it might work, but living outside the US things don’t work the same way as they do in the states. Hello!? Get a clue and stop being so white! You see, here, where I live, we have something called a post office but it’s not, nor does resemble the one in the US. So when I read “call your local post office,” that triggered me.

I shared this with my husband and he asked me is that a “so white” thing or a “so American” thing?  And that got me thinking.   What do I mean by “so white?”  Is it a race thing or a cultural thing or is it a mix of the two? 

 I thought about it for a bit and came up with this…

When I say,  something is “so white”  I am referring to the lack of cultural awareness or knowledge that is happening at the moment, not necessarily a race related issue although I am sure some of thing that happen can be stereotyped as being white.   In this case, an email written by Melissa who seemed  to lack cultural awareness, or have an egocentric view of the world and its workings, that caused my reaction.    

In the age of Globalization, and the fact that the US has immigrants from all parts of the world residing within its borders, along with technological advances and communication, how is it that people are still so culturally unaware or insensitive? I mean the world is “smaller” in a sense. You really don’t have to leave your home or your country for that matter to experience the world. So why is cultural awareness or lack of it still so abundant?!

I am bicultural, and I find people who are raised bi-culturally seem to be more aware of these differences than those who are are raised mono-culturally. There just seems to be a lack of understanding and empathy, among mono-culturally raised individuals. It is this monoculturalistic upbringing in my opinion, what contributes to my “so white” or “American” reactions.

When I look around, I see groups of people, Latinos, Asians, Indians, Blacks,  Jewish, Christians, and so on.   People seem to stick together, gravitate to their own kind.  This sticking together has many individual and community benefits but it also contributes to the “so white” phenomena.   The non mingling of groups of people creates a lack of understanding,  stereotypes, intolerance, and racism.  Not mixing with other cultures actually creates closed minded people.  

I remember when I first discovered this.  I was in high school.  I had attended a private catholic school.  One year I told my mom that I no longer wished to attend the catholic school and wanted to go to the public school.  So she switched me.  The public school in my area was 95% black and the rest of the population was either Italian or Greek.  When I transferred into the school, I hung out with the “white people”  the Italians and Greek .  I ended up having a Greek boyfriend.  One day I went to his house,  which happened to be my birthday,  and my Greek boyfriend gave me a ring,  opal ring, beautiful, I still have it.  But what I remember most about that day was what his mother said to me.  “ Nice ring but you two can never get married because your children will come out deformed because you are not Greek.”  And that, my blog reading friends, is when I realized that race or culture was an issue.  

I have heard, that when you travel a lot internationally for business you get a crash course on cultural customs and differences of the country you are going to, so that you don’t offend clients or business partners. I am not sure how true this is, but these types course offering should be given in schools. This could a small step in helping raise the level of understanding amongst people that there is a world out there that is different in thinking and in ways of doing things that is no better or worse than your ways or ideas, just different. Maybe if we could teach and learn this fundamental idea, things could stop being “so White,” “so Latino,” “so Indian,” “so Asian,” or so Jewish” and create a better understanding, acceptance or sensitivity to those things and people that are different.

Boxed Pancakes to Healthy Pancakes

My cousin and her husband are big health freaks.   They go to bed at 9pm to make sure they get their proper eight hours of sleep.  Durning the summer, they have their food delivered from the local farmer and their poor child does not get to enjoy things such as fast food burgers, fries or chips.  Pobresito (poor thing).  When I would visit her, I thought her and her husband were a bit over the top when it came to their eating habits.  They stay away from processed foods, and mostly eat fresh food. Box mashed is not a thing in their home.  At the time, I didn’t quite get it.   Back then, I myself exercised on a daily basis about 3 hours a day and I would say I ate semi decent.   But then I got breast cancer and things changed.   After cancer,  I started paying more attention to my food intake and focused even more on exercising.   

Today,  you can say I have seen the light and have transformed. I am very similar to my cousin and her husband in their ways.  I still have a few things to learn or master but everyday is an achievement. I now sleep early to get the recommended minimum of 7 hours of sleep during the weekdays and on weekends I shoot for the 8 to 9 hours, which by the way burns an amazing amount of calories! I  I went from around 600 calories to a 1000 just by increased sleep time.  When I saw that, I was like Oh hell yeah!    I mean with that kind of calorie burn, why wouldn’t you wanna sleep more!   I also  spend more hours at the gym, I am up to 5 hours now.  I know it seems like a lot but you have to take into and the warm up, breaks between workouts, the stretching after and of shooting the breeze with folks.   That adds up! My eating habits have evolved.  As I said they were decent before but my family seems to think they are extreme.  Well, if you think not eating food that comes out of a box or can as extreme, well then I guess I am.  I also stay away from sugary things, unless I make them myself at home.  

One day my kids asked me for pancakes, so the healthy me whipped up a batch of my pancakes.   My healthy non boxed pancakes did not go over so well with my kiddos. They thought they were gross. I used my cousins recipe. 1 egg 2 bananas add oats if you like. Since then, my kids have not asked me again to make them pancakes and if I suggest that I am going to make pancakes they politely decline.  I of course took offense to this and asked them what was the problem with my pancakes. They said they prefer the boxed version of pancakes. Ok. So, I have to admit, with my cousins recipe the pancakes they came out a bit weird, like mushy and slimy.  Kinda nasty actually, but they tasted great! They were super difficult to flip too. I have tweaked the recipe after doing some research and the pancakes now look their boxed counterparts. My kids say the newer recipe is better but they still prefer the boxed ones over the healthy ones.  Give them a try and let me know what you think.   

Recipe for Healthy Pancakes

  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • cinnamon (to your taste)
  • oats (optional)(I added 6 teaspoons because that is what my diet allowed)
  • 1/8 baking powder

Blend all ingredients. Grease pan. Pour batter. OJO! make them small for easy flipping! Top with butter (not margarine) , natural honey or maple syrup.

Flavor changers: add cocoa or peanut butter instead of cinnamon.

Super simple and yummy.

Produce Something

“Do something that stays or sticks, produce something.  Instead of watching a movie or reading about other topics, why don’t you produce something that will stay or last.”   

Words of wisdom from my husband this morning.   My response, “Well everyone is posting IG videos on cooking or on being healthy, I will be just another person doing the same. I mean my friend Luis is posting veggie cooking, a chic from gym is posting healthy food recipes/videos on IG.  I thought to myself, if I am gonna do that, I want it to be different. And with that, I went about my daily business of doing nothing.    

But the fact of the matter is my husband got me thinking.  I thought, well,  I have a Fit Chics chat on WhatsApp, where I am the “coach or motivator” as I have been told, although I don’t see myself like that.  I have made some cooking videos for my friends, I have thought about creating a wine club, I am baking and have taken photos of the final products both good and bad, with all these things which do I concentrate on to create that “something that lasts or sticks as my husband says?!”  I thought about it for a bit, like twenty minutes, and decided NOT to choose one topic or theme and to include it all!

And so, here I am, writing my first blog post.  I have decided to write about everything and nothing all at the same time.  Sounds interesting, right, or maybe not!? I mean, why do I have choose or decide to focus on one topic or theme?   I have some many ideas and so much to say it’s too hard to choose just one, so, I have decided to share them all.  

As you read my blog, assuming you will be back, you will find random ideas and topics.  At this point I can’t even say how often I will posting, but I what I do know is I want to  share my ideas with others for the sole purpose of just sharing and for you to know that there is someone “out there” who possibly thinks like you, has provoked a new thinking within you, it is just plain crazy!  Which ever the case,  I hope you are entertained during this pandemic time.

  1. I totally agree, Meeshell. I’m not a child of divorce; however, I am a child of one parent dying. And…

  2. GREAT thoughts! In my opinion, it is not the “perfect” model I need, it is to look at all those…