Happy Birthday, Mom

October 14, 2011

Today is my Mom’s 71st birthday. I still miss her terribly. A better person has yet to walk this planet.


To 50 wonderful years

May 9, 2009

i50 years

Today is my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. They were real people with real lives and problems, but they had the epitome of a strong and happy marriage. My dad is with family today, looking back at what an amazing wife my Mom was. Like everything else she did, she thrived as a wife. Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad.


And a great weekend to all

February 6, 2009

Here’s hoping you enjoy your weekend as much as my Mom enjoyed them.


Samba Bill and the Road to Carnival, Part 2

February 4, 2009

Having gone over and over it, it’s clear now that there really is only one difference between myself and Colombian pop sensation Shakira. My hips lie.

In fact, they go much further than lying. They commit monumental acts of fraud against humanity. They are more like Bernie Madoff in that way. Put as simply as possible, my hips are a complicated Ponzi scheme, and are selling the rest of my body a fraudulent bill of goods.

This is basically where I am with learning the samba in preparation for my performance at Carnival 2009 in Rio, where my wife and I will be a part of the Imperatriz Leopoldinense Samba School. I’m dealing with blatantly lying hips that are bent on wholesale destruction.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that I just discovered that I actually had hips. In nearly 42 years on this planet, I have lived a relatively hip-free existence. The only real difference between myself and a sheet of plywood is width. Aside from that, our movements are almost exactly the same.

Each time we go to our samba class, it is a non-stop battle between myself and my hips. My patient and annoyingly talented instructor Fabinho gives me simple instructions on how to over exaggerate the swinging hip motion that more or less defines the samba. Then he shows me how it’s done, looking smoother than butter on the dance floor. Then I attempt it and look like Gumby on acid. Then Fabinho tells me to loosen up more and I manage to look someone’s playing hacky sack with a long-dead jellyfish.

Emilia, however, has found her inner Brasileira. If her hips are lying, I’m buying it. She’s taking to Fabinho’s instruction with gusto, and I’m positive she’ll be a huge hit during the Carnival celebration. My samba queen has moves, I tell you, and is loving the whole experience, no matter how often I question why we couldn’t have started our dancing careers by learning a pleasant waltz.

But so far, this whole experience is bringing back very pleasant memories of my Mom, however. Because while I am forever grateful for the positive attributes my Mom instilled in me, my inability to dance can be traced right to her. Did you ever see the “Seinfeld” episode where Elaine danced and left everyone in stitches? Well, Elaine was Ginger Rogers compared to my Mom. My Mom danced as if some was shooting small amounts of electricity into random parts of her body, all to a rhythm only she seemed to know. But she would have such a great time doing it that it worked. Her natural adorableness made her a dancer to enjoy. That was my Mom - whatever she did, she enjoyed, and you just couldn’t help enjoying it with her.

When Emilia and I were married in Brazil, my parents flew down and participated. And they got to see Brazilians party with their very own eyes. What was great about it was that they took a very “when in Rome” attitude, and partied, drank and danced. We even have pictures of my Dad sucking on a huge lollipop while dancing along with the three transgendered females who made an appearance at our reception and took it to the next level of festa. It was an epic party, to say the least, and years later friends still tell us how much fun they had.

When my parents left our reception at 4 a.m., my Mom, who was never opposed to enjoying a glass of wine or two and had a very pleasant buzz, saw that we had a table near the exit with shots of Baileys. My Mom stopped and said “Hey, Baileys!” and downed a shot and went happily on her way with my Dad.

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I see,” said my wife, laughing.

No, this apple sure doesn’t. Which is why I’m taking samba classes and preparing to dance center stage at one of the world’s largest parties. Because, like my Mom, I want to try and take advantage of every opportunity that life throws at me. And I want to enjoy it all to the fullest. Regardless of whatever devious schemes my lying hips have in store for me.

P.S.: While I don’t have any photos or videos, yet, I feel this artist’s re-creation will give you a good idea where I’m at so far in my quest to samba:

(See “Samba Bill and the Road to Carnival, Part 1″ by clicking here)


Barbara Wolfrum - a life worth writing about

January 11, 2009

My Mom was featured in a story in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune today, and was also included in a story from the Victorville Daily Press. I truly appreciate the work of Maritza Velasquez and Brooke Edwards on the stories.

But I’ll just never have the words to express how much I miss her.


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