IT’S JUST A NUMBER

Posted: May 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

Some people may ask what is the secret to your success?  There is no secret; it’s a constant battle to commitment. When you get married at 18 or 19, you truly have no clue what life is all about. All you know is that you love or lust for each other and come
Hell or high water nothing is going to keep you apart. It’s even more difficult when you leave your parent’s home and immediately take up with someone else.
Culturally, it was not acceptable to move out on your own to sow your oats.
God forbid you took up cohabitation! The early years were tough. School, no steady job.
Hell, I was getting paid 100 dollars a week via SEEK Program to go school.
We were just trying to get used to not reporting to anyone. Now we had to be adults.
Two years living in Puerto Rico allowed me to be a DJ and fulfill some childhood fantasies. We termed it as a two-year vacation. Then it got serious.
After almost 5 years of marriage the greatest gift arrived. It was at that point I figured out that I was now an adult and needed to act accordingly.
Of course I didn’t take my own advice. I put my marriage under stress!
My priorities were very skewed. I was not even 25 yet.
Over the next ten years we moved around a lot together as a family, but everyday it was a struggle to keep the marriage strong. People come in and out of our lives. Some are forever friends and some are just there to lead you to your next step in life.
Years 20-30 are prime working years. Both careers are flourishing and somewhere in between you lose yourselves to your work and family.
In the years 30-40, you think you’ve come out through the  other side. Your faith is tested your health issues, her health issues become priorities but if nothing else,Trust, Love, Friendship and Marriage have become stronger. Years 40-45 have been bliss. Career is going well, health scares persist but they are manageable. New house, life plans are falling into place. Love and Friendship have become the foundations of what has taken 45 years to almost get it right. Words of wisdom? To quote Hall & Oates  “ When two become one, who is the one two become? “  I guess the trick is to stand together and disagree as long as you don’t lose yourself.

Today we celebrate 45 years of marriage and it is with great joy that we share some precious moments with some precious friends.
To my wife of 45 years, I know another 45 is too much to ask for,  but we are going to have a hell of a ride for the next 44.
US

Love you with all my heart!Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 8.08.41 AM

To those in the resistance you’ll enjoy this; to those on the other side indignation is acceptable. To those on the fence, I hope the facts make you jump to either side.
The man who lives in the White House made lots of promises as he went across the country talking about lying Hilary, draining the swamp and how tired our country was going to be of winning in everything. Well, report card day is here. We have already seen the early polls at 39 or 40 percent approval ratings. Hardcore fans don’t care and no matter what those facts are will never care. This is their man right or wrong.
“I DJT propose a ban on all Muslims entering the country”. The minions quickly got to work on that. The only problem is that it’s unconstitutional. Two courts have stopped the implementation of this. Although the wording has been adjusted it is still a work in progress or a promise unkept.
“Build a wall and Mexico would pay for it”. Sounded very good on the stump with lots people shouting to the rhythm like a chorus line to a song, but the truth is he lied. The first blink was when he said that the U.S. will pay for it and we will get the money from them somehow. Really! Americans are going to pay Billions of dollars when we have so many other pressing needs. Will the man who lives in the White House shut down the government if he doesn’t get this funding?
“I am going to Repeal and Replace Obama care my first day in office”. Well, not even the Republicans could agree on how to get this done without hurting someone’s constituents. They all said, “I can’t go for that!” find another way. So in order to avoid the embarrassment of a house vote, it gets pulled to be re tweeked. Another lie. Maybe before the end of his first term we will see some adjustment to the ACA. Hard to believe to after 62 attempts at R&R the Republican Congress did not know how or what to do to make it work.
Impose tariffs on China and Mexico for the imbalance of trade. Quite the contrary has happened, China is no longer a manipulator of currency and therefore no sanctions will be imposed.
Renegotiate the Iran deal. Guess that is now on the back burner or until he bombs them first.
Remove the U.S. from NAFTA and TPP the intent would be to increase American manufacturing jobs. As of the first 97 days no new jobs have been created.
“Leave Social Security as is”. The Congress is currently working on some sort of tax cut deal, which will be unveiled this week. Up until we see the details we do not know if this statement will be fundamentally true.
“Cut Taxes”. Intent is to cut corporate taxes from 30% to 15%. Hard to see this happening without impacting social security or other entitlements. Once again, tax cuts for the top 1%.
“We are going to take the ISIS oil and use the billions of dollars for the U.S. economy.

So what has the man who lives in the White House accomplished?

Executive order to Buy American, Hire American.
Executive order to promote Energy Independence.
Executive order establishing a task force to eliminate unnecessary regulations.
Executive order starting construction on the Keystone Pipeline.
Executive order to withdraw from the TPP.
Executive order freezing all hirings of Federal Civilian Employees
Executive order directing the removal of illegal immigrants who have committed a crime.
Executive order directing the Attorney General to establish a Task Force on Crime Reduction.
H.R.321 Directs NASA to encourage women and girls to study STEM
Nominated and passed Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. He was confirmed after the Senate changed its rule so that it would only take 51 votes to confirm.

So what about the tie to Russia? Currently 5 members of the campaign are under some sort of Federal or Congressional investigation.

Not for nothing, but this doesn’t pass the smell test. But, like I said, the hard cores will find nothing wrong with this!

IN RECOGNITION

Posted: April 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

About 6 years ago I moved from Arthur Ashe Middle School to Indian Ridge Middle School.  Though it was expected it was still a little shocking. A.A. was considered at the time the worst school in Broward County. It had been an “F” school 3 times in the five years prior to our arrival. By our arrival I mean the Principal and his staff of Administrators and teachers who left Attucks Middle.  During my tenure at Ashe the staff moved the school to a “C” thanks to the influx of the City Academy. These were superstar kids from all over Broward County being bussed into our school. Many were 3rd graders and 4th graders bringing their “Gifted” skills to Arthur Ashe. The staff worked very hard just to make sure that the school was never an “F” school again. Thank You Cynthia Park (she wrote the most fantastic letter of recommendation anyone has ever written.) I cherish every word. Thanks to Ms.Frazier, Mr. Laton, Ms. Leroy, Mr. Dembin, Mr. Poder, Mr. Moody, Ms. Wynter and Lauren Brown. The staff had just too many stars to recognize all. Your hard work and love for low performing children was inspiring. We were never defined by the results on just one test. My day came to move to another school and have new experiences. My first few months there were interesting (I didn’t trust many people or teachers at the time) I used to do all of my own office work since there was only 1 secretary to go around for 3 Assistant Principals. At Ashe we needed to fend for ourselves. About one month in Ms. Tower tells me that she would help with the work and that I didn’t have to do it alone. The Principal pulled me over one day and said “Hey this is not A.A. “, and that I should lighten up. I took their advice.

I convinced the Principal that I wanted to start a debate club and a chess club. Thanks to Liz Bowers the debate club got off the ground and a 5 year plan was put in place. It took 3 years to get where wanted to go. The school created a debate class which now holds district wide debates for 7th and 8th graders. I am so proud when those students go out and take first and second place in district competitions.  Caitlyn Dang, and the early crew look at what you’ve started.

Now we get to the chess club, thanks to Gloria Mercado who over 47 years ago taught me the game that has been my passion and sometimes my all consuming event. I still play 10-15 speed chess games almost every night. That first year I had 20 members. Year two 40 members, year 3 close to 60 members.  We have now settled into a solid 30-40 members. A few years ago we had gained a reputation throughout the district as a good chess club. Thanks to a grant from the Broward Education Foundation I was able to make 25 students members of the United States Chess Federation and even earned a few newspaper articles and recognition. Last year we actually had our best team thanks to Michael Wong, Kris Wallin and a rising star Jordan Applebaum. I decided to show us off against Miramar High School figuring that maybe we could break even against the High Schoolers. Well I bit off more than I can chew. I demanded that our kids do chess notations of their moves. Miramar students just played. We got our asses kicked.

We lost 11 games and won 1.  The one win was a 6th grader who beat an 11th grader. We celebrated our one win. My 2 top players moved on to to High School. My rising star is now the leader of the team.    This year I decided to play more games against my players instead of just strategy and teaching.  Jordan has beaten me a few times, don’t know whether to celebrate or feel bad. Went for the celebration.  All of my players were ready for this year’s matches, no more fear of those High School kids.

This year we invited Franklin Academy (Elementary school students) West Glades Middle and Miramar High School to the show. Dozens of parents were there to watch their babies enjoy themselves for a few hours. That is what chess is all about, kids having fun, learning and experiencing wins and losses and knowing that your world doesn’t end just because you lost. I told my guys that we split with the Miramar kids and we win all the other games.  Today Indian Ridge won the tournament, it’s a validation of the program and the hard work of each student and the trust that their parents have placed in me.

We had 4 students go 3-0. In my years in chess I have played many up and coming stars. Today I want to tell the world that Jordan Applebaum will eventually become a chess master and I will claim my piece of turf. Congratulations to the Jaguars of Indian Ridge.

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ODE TO THE LITTLE GIRL

Posted: March 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

It’s been almost 6 months since Isabella joined our family on a daily basis. Quick report, she has grown almost 3 inches, lost a lot of baby fat and she is all legs. As many of you know I am not the easiest person in the world to get along with. I’m grumpy, grouchy and set in my ways. I don’t like distractions; I like sitting home and vegging after coming home from work. That being said this little girl has brought joy, love and disorder to our lives. It is with great anticipation that I walk through the door at night to see what mischief she is getting into or got into at school. Her presence has made my life richer (I can only speak for myself). Even though she is still searching for her R’s she has allowed us to become substitute grandparents on a daily basis.

 We assist in the civilizing of a young child (hey, we’ve had lots of practice over the years). Manners are mandatory, behaving appropriately is the expectation. Speaking to adults and not yelling or demanding is a requirement. Like I said I’m a grouchy guy. I go to bed at night and tell Lil that we are blessed by having her with us. She brings life into our day…many days that’s exactly what we need to relieve the doldrums. Over the months she has enhanced her swimming skills, she is going to be a good swimmer. Is it perfect, of course not, she is 5 years old. She throws tantrums, becomes confrontational, and wants it her way.

Well, that doesn’t work in this house. That’s why it’s a continuing work in progress. At school the teachers tell her if you don’t behave I’m going to call “Uncle Pete”. Guess she has heard stories of Uncle Pete sitting in the back of her daddy’s High School class and embarrassing him in front of peers and friends.  Kids just hate that!

So what is the purpose of today’s story? Well, it’s to Honor all grandparents everywhere. We mix love with the appropriate discipline so that they can learn lessons to carry with them for the rest of their lives. Emphasis on the love and caring, kissing and hugging, laughing and crying. Attending recitals, school performances, weekend activities, soccer games, hockey games, bike riding and roller-skating.

These have all been positive experiences when we look at the totality of the last six months. Lots of love and recognition to grandparents Ray & Gloria, Nilsa Hernandez, Elizabeth Caban, Sandy Green, Jody Sherman, Maurice & Carin, Olivia Vega, Andre Ponder, Sylvia & Tom Knight, Rose Levy, Vivian Levy.

                                                            WE LOVE GRANDPARENTS!

                           yaya                                                   YAYA THANKS FOR BEING HERE!

 

65

Posted: March 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

What did you say?   You’re going to be 65, impossible!

I remember making out in the back of Ray’s car in 1970. I remember hanging out in the basement of Gillette Hall at Lehman College, playing pool and listening to music. I clearly remember cutting classes and being at the Apothecary all day.

My aunt Lala allowing us to paint one of her extra bedrooms black and us putting a peace sign on the wall, boy was my mother pissed at her.

I remember picking out your engagement ring at Sam Yellin’s. Then walking almost 40 blocks in downtown Manhattan till we got tired and then needed to ride the subway home. I remember Pastor Bellve shouting to the crowd “Is there anyone here who objects to this marriage?” and then repeating various times.                   Great honeymoon at Niagara Falls, both of us on our own and not having to look over our shoulders. How is it possible for the two of us to scratch out a living on my $110.00 a week SEEK check from school and your night shift at Imperial Carpet store? We did have a great apartment though.

Puerto Rico and a career opportunity, thank you for being by my side. Our time there was like a magical vacation and an extended honeymoon.

Reality, moving back to New York and becoming parents. Fun and games seemed over with. We now had to be grownups!

Those early years with Jason, meeting Ronnie & Sandy, Gil & Marcia. That was our travelling crew early on; Marcia’s doting over Jason creating a rift with your sister-in-law. Oh what fun.

Trips to Hunter Mountain, cooking for 100 guests, sleeping in a barracks, freezing our asses off.

My working at Irving Trust and later Bankers Trust. You working as a housewife and working at the medical center. Somehow those first ten years just flew by.

You went back to school to finish off your degree. Good move following your dad’s advice that with your education intact you will never be beholding to any man.

We seemed to always be on the move, our friends continue to make fun of our instability even today.

Lets see, Nelson Avenue, Cacique Street PR, PR Mountain Home, White Plains Rd., 196th off Jerome Ave., Lefrak City, 176th street by the Concourse, Co-op City, Wally’s house in Throggs Neck, Middletown, New Jersey, Randall Ave, Ellsworth Condo, Tuckahoe Road, Sommerville street Basement Apt. in Tuckahoe, CRAP, THIS LIST IS NEVER ENDING. Moving to Florida, Coconut Creek, Lighthouse Point, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield on the Beach, Pompano Beach, finally Boca Raton!

I’m sure anyone reading this has gotten a good laugh. Don’t know if anyone visited with us at all of these locations if you did let me know.  As I review each move I can see the intent was always to better the family.

I even remember your 40th Birthday party in Tuckahoe. It was Lily and the Tarts at their best. I have the pictures to show!

Left for Florida at age 40, when we arrived we were still young and spry.

A few illnesses along the way for the both of us, but when did you get to 50 or even 60?

We’ve added a few new friends along the way and have only lost a couple. Maybe they weren’t friends at all.

And now you tell me you’re going to be 65, for the life of me I don’t know how I’ve lost time. I can see my own 65th and even retirement. I am looking forward to your 75th and beyond. What a life we have had. I have loved every minute including all the bad times. There is truly nothing the two of us can’t do.

Thank you for being here with me Through The Years.

HAPPY 65TH BIRTHDAY………..LILY MUNIZimage

 

A Valentine’s Day Story

Posted: February 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

It’s early summer of 1971, Lil and I are a few months in our relationship. The fire is still burning brightly, love is in the air. It’s that kind of love that you just can’t think of anything else but being with that person day and night.

One day I decided to surprise her and visit her during the evening, that almost never happened since we spend daytime together.

I got my neighbor Betsy Carrasquillo to teach me how to ride a bike. Yep, that’s right almost 18 years old in New York City and did not know how to ride a bike. Betsy agreed that our projects would not be the best place for everyone to see that I didn’t know how to ride so we went to a small park called Pulaski Park on 133rd street a sparse area where only the locals would play ball on weekends.

For 2 nights we worked on balancing my butt cheeks on the saddle. I kept tilting to the sides…very spastic for a so-called athlete. After 2 days and a total of 5 hours training I’m ready. I of course borrowed Betsy’s bike and headed up the Grand Concourse to Lil’s house.

I lived at 137th street and Lil lived at 176th street. The Grand Concourse has six lanes of traffic 3 North and 3 South. Yet I would not be deterred, I was going to surprise my love and show her that I could ride a bike! I decided to ride against traffic, that way I can see when a car is going to hit me…I wanted no surprises.

During my ride uptown I started thinking what if she is not there, what if she is out with friends and family. I would have made this whole trip and have been disappointed. For my 30 minutes of pumping on those pedals that’s all I thought about.

Was it worth it you ask? Well of course, I got there she was there…I don’t remember if she came down or if I had to yell up to the 3rd floor. It was my best 15 minutes in a long time. I made it back home with no incidents or accidents. It would be 3 more years before I rode another bike. But for that moment in time LOVE conquered all.

 

And now for another story; 2nd semester the first year at Lehman College. Lil and I have signed up for the same History class. I’m all fired up because History is my thing and I plan on becoming a History teacher. The classroom is a large auditorium setting, maybe 250 students. We are sitting somewhere in the middle where we can disappear (the old trees in the forest situation) maybe we can become invisible.

So there we are attending class and making plans. We figured if we ever got married and had kids we would call the boy Wong Foo Muniz. Apparently Lil thought that my eyes were a little slanted at the time and figured our child would look a little oriental. We talked about Wong Foo’s eyes, his hair, what kind of student he would be, what kind of person he would be. We were just having a fun old time in that class. Suffice it to say that we got what we deserved; I got a “D” and she got a ?????

We never took another class together again. The memories of Wong Foo have never disappeared; when Jason was born his nickname was Wong Foo for a while.

He exceeded all of our expectations and dreams.

Just to show that sometimes there are lessons NOT LEARNED Lil and I ended up working together at Berlitz School of languages and at Radio Rock when we lived in Puerto Rico. We would bring our work home everyday and night.

In 2002 we did it again, we both worked at Crystal Lake Middle School, She was in the Magnet Program teaching Spanish and I was dept. Chair for our two man team.  That was favorite year in Education working in the same building and just knowing that she was always close by filled my heart with joy.

Sometimes love is all you need to keep you happy.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

 

 

ROBERT GARCIA

Posted: January 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

screen-shot-2017-01-28-at-11-09-39-amIn my many years I have worked with and worked for many many people, some I have even respected a great deal. Some have been heroes others villains. Writing obituaries is not my thing, but reflecting on my experiences with them is.

When I was 17 years old I worked on 2 campaigns for Robert Garcia. I loved every minute and worked hard for someone I believed in. At one point when he found out that I went to Aviation High School he offered to send me to West Point. I chickened out and deferred. Forever grateful for all the opportunities he provided to me.

Robert Garcia, who represented a South Bronx district in Congress for 12 years until a jury convicted him and his wife of extortion in a 1980s corruption scandal involving Bronx Democrats, Reagan administration Republicans and a military contractor in his district, died on Wednesday in San Juan, P.R. He was 84.

His wife, Jane Lee Garcia, said the cause was a bacterial infection related to emphysema.

Garcia’s first experience in politics was circulating nominating petitions for John F. Kennedy‘s 1960 presidential bid, and he quickly became active in local politics along with Herman Badillo under the tutelage of Felipe Torres. Garcia was elected a Democratic member of the New York State Assembly in 1966 and 1967.

On March 28, 1967, he was elected to the New York State Senate, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Eugene Rodriguez.[2] He retained his seat in the Assembly until the end of the session of 1967. He took his seat in the State Senate at the beginning of the 1968 session and remained in the State Senate until 1978, serving in the 177th, 178th, 179th, 180th, 181st and 182nd New York State Legislature. In the Senate he was Deputy Minority Leader from 1975 to 1978. He was a delegate to the 1976 Democratic National Convention.

A Democrat, Garcia was first nevertheless elected to Congress (95th United States Congress) from the Bronx on the Republican and Liberal tickets on February 14, 1978, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Herman Badillo;[3] He took his seat on February 21, 1978 as a Democrat, however, after being accepted by the Democratic Caucus in the House. He was re-elected to the 96th, 97th, 98th, 99th, 100th and 101st United States Congresses.

  • Garcia was the official representative of the United States Congress to NATO, and was instrumental in developing better relations between Spain and Latin America and both the Carter and Reagan Administrations.
  • He was instrumental in the release of DEA Agents being held by Cuba, meeting repeatedly over several days with then-president Fidel Castro.
  • Garcia also had a prominent role in designation of the Martin Luther King National Holiday.
  • He joined with Republican Congressman Jack Kemp to draft and pass the Kemp-Garcia Enterprise Zone law designed to create jobs in inner-city neighborhoods.
  • As a member of the US Delegation celebrating the establishment of diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China in 1979 he met with Chairman Teng Hsiao-ping and other Chinese leaders.
  • Garcia was a pioneer in helping American Hispanics achieve political representation and benefits to which they were entitled due to their growing population. He convinced President Carter to include “Hispanic” as an option for the first time in the history of the US Census Bureau in 1980.
  • As the only Representative of Puerto Rican descent with a vote on the floor of Congress (Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner could then vote in Committee, but not on the Floor), Garcia was the de facto Congressman representing 3.6 million US citizens on the Island-Territory, and was often called upon to represent their interests in legislation before the House.

Garcia remained in Congress until January 7, 1990, when he decided to resign following his trial on charges by US Attorney Rudy Giuliani that he was linked to the Wedtech scandal.[4][5]

Robert Garcia was born on Roosevelt Island — then known as Welfare Island — on Jan. 9, 1933. His father, the Rev. Rafael Garcia, worked in a sugar mill before moving to New York City. A Pentecostal minister, he founded an Assembly of God church in a Bronx storefront. Robert’s sister, Aimee Garcia-Cortese, also became a Pentecostal minister. His mother, Rosa Rodriguez, was a homemaker.

Robert graduated from Haaren High School in Manhattan in 1950, then served in the Army in the Korean War and was awarded two Bronze Stars for valor. He attended City College of New York and RCA Institutes in Manhattan.

Mr. Garcia worked as a computer engineer until he was elected to the State Assembly in 1964. He was elected to the State Senate two years later and served there until winning a special election in 1978 to fill the congressional seat that a political ally, Herman Badillo, had vacated to become a deputy mayor.

Mr. Garcia’s first marriage, to the former Anita Medina, ended in divorce. He married Jane Lee Matos, then his administrative assistant, in 1980.

When I worked in his office Congressman Garcia had staffers specifically designated for Senor issues, Blacks, Hispanics, Italians and the Jewish community still left in our district. He cared about all of his constituents.

ROBERT GARCIA, A SPECIAL PERSON!