This blog posting is going to be a tribute of sorts or a shout out to women who have influenced me to be the strong woman that I am today and a recognition of women who have touched my life in one way or the other who deserve that recognition because they are strong women too who deserve that notoriety!!!
Well first obviously I have to thank my wonderful and adoring Mom. I wouldn't be where I'm at today if it weren't for her undying love and support in my life. My Mom isn't the type to say "look at me" and she certainly doesn't have the bitchy attitude that I've come to develop but she's the one who has cultivated the sweet disposition that I've been known to have!LOL!If it weren't for her nurturing and her unbelievable caring nature I certainly wouldn't possess any of those qualities. She has been through so much in her life and has turned her back on her family who were so negative towards her and focused on raising our family. She has persevered through a tough upbringing from an alcoholic family and has put all of that behind her to give me the best parenting a girl could ever want.I can't even begin to thank her for all the countless hours of talks that we have had with each other and I will be forever indebted to her for her devotion she has showed to me as her daughter.I know it hasn't been easy at all, but I thank her for the patience that she has shown me and the dedication that she has given to me to be the best Mom that I will ever know.She truly is my best friend and I couldn't ask for anything better. I love you Mom!
The second person I'd like to thank is my hero Julia Child.Julia, I know you're not here to hear this and even if you were here I'd doubt you'd read it but you by far are my biggest hero ever.She paved the way for women in the culinary field.Her no-nonsense attitude has driven me to be the chef that I need to be and the well-rounded person that I have become.She single-handedly inspired my entire culinary upbringing and is still an inspiration to this day.She was a forerunner to a movement that I hope no one ever forgets and because of her I am a female chef in a very male dominated society and I'm here to stay.That attitude I know she would love and I will do everything I can to pass on her legacy as long as I'm alive and here on this earth.Thank you from the deepest depths of my heart for being my role model. I love you Julia Child!
The third person I'd like to thank is Sensei Cindy Hayashi.Sensei, if it weren't for her I know for a fact that I wouldn't be the martial artist that I am today.The very first martial arts seminar I went to was an Aikido seminar that she was teaching at.She had buzz-trimmed hair dyed blond and to me she was the Blondie or Pat Benatar of the martial arts world.Being in such a male dominated "arena" I never had a female role model to look up to.I learned so much after that seminar, not only technique-oriented, but also in how I wanted to be portrayed in life and as a female martial arts practitioner.To me she paved the way to success because she showed a no bullshit attitude and she persevered in not only being a high ranking female martial artist, but she did it in an art that is so traditional and usually only for men.To see that confidence that she possess' made me want to be a better person and she didn't even know it, but she was about to become another one of my many role models in not only martial arts but in my life.She has been instrumental in making me the worldly person that I am today and the martial artist I am today.Thank you for your tutelage and your charisma.It'll never be forgotten.I love you Sensei Cindy Hayashi!
Fourth, I'd like to thank a newcomer to the group, my adopted grandmother Mrs. Beverly O'Sullivan.I never had the pleasure of meeting my adopted grandmother until about 3 weeks ago when I was vacationing in Hawaii.Her husband is my dear, sweet martial arts instructor/adopted grandfather.Immediately I felt like I was already a member of the ohana, or family.She welcomed us with open arms and immediately adopted the role of Grandma to me.I wasn't fortunate enough to have my grandmother in my life for very long.Half of the time she was ill and she lived in Virginia so it was tough to see her on a regular basis.This amazing woman, Mrs. O'Sullivan, filled that void of a grandma that I had lost many years ago.I admire her work ethic even at her age and the fact that she raised 5 children to be amazing people in life.She did this in Hawaii where the attitude towards haole's or foreigners was running rampant.She lived during the time of WWII and came out a stronger, successful woman for having experienced it.To have gone through all she's gone through: wars, prejudice's because she's not Hawaiian, having 5 kids, a successful long marriage, etc..., makes her another mentor/role model in my life.I can only strive to be that great of a mother/grandmother one day and I thank her for teaching me how to be a better person.I know she doesn't know it, but I certainly do and will be forever indebted to her as well.I love you Mrs. O'Sullivan!
Fifth, I'd like to thank my amazing pastry chef instructor JoAnn Ayres.Thankfully enough I was exposed to her long before I became a student at the Art Institute of Phoenix.I took several summer workshops with her all before I actually started school.I love the fact that she is also a very strong, determined woman in a very male dominated atmosphere.Besides the fact that she's damn good at what she does, she's an amazing woman as well.She also single-handedly helped me get to be the well rounded culinarian that I am today.She is a pastry chef, but irregardless of that, she taught me a lot of life lessons and how to deal/handle with stress in the food service industry.Her talent is un-Godly and I really don't think she gets the recognition that she deserves.And I definitely plan on doing that.I thank her for being an amazing pastry chef and for passing on her experience and knowledge on to me.Not only am I a better chef because of it, but now I'm also a better person for having spent time under your tutelage.Thank you for letting me be your apprentice.I love you Chef Ayres!
Sixth, I'd like to give a shout out to some of my friends who have been instrumental as well in my life.Angie Childs has been my best friend for about 6 years now.Not only did we not get along very well when we first met, but she flat out told me she thought I was a bitch.LOL!Nothing spells beautiful friendship like complete and brutal honestly.We worked together at La Grocerie Bistro and Wine Bar that later became Spencer's Food and Jazz.We meshed so well as a team and our work strategy really worked great together because we were constantly feeding off each other's energy and constantly bouncing ideas off of one another.When she moved to Utah it just about crushed me, but I knew she needed to do what was best for her husband and for her.She has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer that she is currently undergoing treatment for.Not only has she not let this cancer get her down, but she's kicked that cancer's ass!LOL!Nothing's going to keep her down, and as debilitating as this illness might be for her, she's not going to do anything without a fight.I admire her tenacity and wish I could be a part of that struggle with her so she would never experience another drop of pain in her life.I value our friendship more that anyone could possibly imagine and I'd take a bullet for that girl any day.I am forever grateful to have her as a friend in my life and I can't wait to see where our friendship continues to take us.Thank you for the memories!I love you Angie Childs!
Michelle Ortega is a new development on the horizon.I went to high school with her and just knowing her has made me a better person.She has struggled with so much in her life from depression, to a nearly fatal car accident, to divorce, to never-ending family and guy drama, to having a child.I look at her and see this amazingly strong woman who doesn't take shit from anyone and who puts her daughter before anything in life.Her strong will and devotion to me as a friend has truly won her a place in my heart forever.I'm a much better person for even knowing her and I hope I continue to have this amazing woman in my life forever. We were out of touch for far too long so hopefully now we can do some much needed catching up.Thank you for being a part of my life.I know I'm better for it!I love you Michelle Ortega!
Tiffany Meyer-Portlock is probably a friend that I have known the longest in my life.I had the pleasure of meeting Tiffany when we both went to Marshall Ranch Elementary and then Cactus High School.Although we did lose touch and re-connected on Facebook years later I feel like I've had her as a friend my whole life. Not a lot of words can describe Tiffany, but she has such charisma and energy to her that I feel like I just flock to her.It's almost like a magnet, that the charge is so strong that I just can't back away.Tiffany has 2 kids: Ryan and Brandon plus in a couple of weeks she will be delivering, what I am sure will be a beautiful baby girl named Kaitlynn.Not only does she have to take care of 2 boys who are toddlers, but she's got another bun in the oven.If it weren't bad enough to carry a baby here in the blistering heat, Tiffany also is suffering from kidney stones along with the general concerns of a pregnancy.Normally when a person has all this shit to deal with they bitch and complain all the time, but not Tiff.She keeps on keeping on and really proves to me what it's like to be a great Mom.She epitomizes a hard-working, dedicated Mom.I have never seen a Mom at my age be such an incredible mother to her kids then Tiffany is.She makes me want to be a great Mom someday and I'm grateful for having known her because she has truly touched my life.Thank you for showing me what it takes to truly persevere Tiffany!I love you Tiffany Meyer-Portlock!
Erin Gallagher is another strong woman to add to my repertoire.She is a newly acquired girlfriend and I'm so thankful that I did acquire her because she's another perfect example of a strong, diligent woman.I had the pleasure of hanging out with her for the first time, and I'm much better for it.How many women do you know can call up one of their girlfriends on a Saturday night and want to know if they want to work out with them, and then go get something to eat?Not only did we work out pretty hardcore, but we ate at Pita Jungle in our work out clothes, all sweaty and totally nasty.Her and I mesh so well on a friend level it's almost creepy.We have a lot of the same thought beliefs from some of the hideous clothes that we wouldn't wear at Forever 21 to the fact that we both don't like wedding registries.We have both had to be strong women in our current job positions and to have that kind of companion, hanging right in there with you, is such a treasure.I can only hope that I continue to have an amazing friendship with her because she's such a positive, hard-working, no bullshit-taking, hardcore fitness guru that I know and love.I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to get to know her and keep her in my life as one of my favorite girlfriends.I can't thank her enough for all the times she's picked me back up after a shitty day at work.Thank you for your kindness and your strong-willed attitude.I love you Erin Gallagher!
Amy Scerra is another fun female to add to the list of strong, charismatic females.I don't get along with most women and there's good reason for that.Most of them are gossipy, chatty, and drama queens.It's so refreshing to meet a girl like Amy who I can have a decent, smart, intelligent conversation with.She is by far one of the most beautiful women inside and out that I have encountered.I love the fact she's intelligent, with an amazing head on her shoulders and is so down to earth.She's one of the most worldly women that I have ever met and she makes me strive to be the independent, strong woman that I want to be.If it's not just a simple hello and a stop by my station to just chat then it's giving me advice on men and hearing me bitch and complain about my drama.Thank you for going the extra mile to make my day that much better.She's truly one amazing woman who has shown such kindness but has also showed me a spin on how to not take things personally and to persevere through all of it to become a better woman.Once again I'm a better person for knowing her and for having her as a part of my life.Plus she's Italian, likes to cook, and loves the Yankees, how could we go wrong here?LOL!Thank you for being that solid female rock that I need in my life!I love you Amy Scerra!
And here's just a chance to throw some shout-outs there so no one feels under-appreciated: To Kathlyn my favorite salad frequenter: She is truly amazing and I'm so glad that I have had the chance to get to know her and include her in as part of my family.She has accomplished quite a bit in her life and to share that with me has been a memorable experience.I'm glad that I get to experience some of her worldliness with her and to have such a strong, female presence in my life has been great.Thank you Kathlyn!I love you Kathlyn!
Andrea, even though I haven't had a lot of contact with her over the years, she's another long-standing friend. I've known her since Marshall Ranch elementary school days too.Although, she doesn't think she has the confidence in herself I can see it and seeing it makes me want to help all the women in the world cultivate their strong values.I'm just happier knowing her and having her as a part of my life.I adore the fact that she knows how to truly make me laugh and she cares about you above and beyond.She's my favorite person to share in guy drama with because I know that we'll always see eye to eye.Thank you for being a part of my life! I love you Andrea!
Dollie and Suzie who I work with are two of the most amazing women in the world.I've never quite met two women who show such compassion towards other human beings.Dollie works her ass off at our job and at the age she's at I totally admire her hard work and dedication.If it's not her work ethic that I've fallen in love with it's her compassion for things going on in my life.She has taken over that Mom role and I like to refer to her as my "work Mom." I'm so lucky to have such an amazing, giving person like that in my life.Thank you Dollie, I love you!Suzie has embraced me as practically one of her own since I started working at the Thunderbird School of Global Management.Suzie is like the cool aunt that everyone wants to go out with.I have had some really amazing talks with that woman and her support, guidance and kindness is beyond what I could ask for in a friend.What other women would bring you a PMS tackle kit at work filled with chocolate, wine and bath salts?Suzie's the only one I know that could do that and I thank her for showing me that there truly are great women out there in this world.Thank you Suzie Q, I love you!
And to those I forgot it's like an Emmy speech, you're going to forget someone!LOL!Thank you Christina, Caroline, Erica, Donna, Micah, Marlene, Julie, Sarah Dillon, Hilary, Roxanne and my future strong-willed niece Layla.If I forgot you I'm sorry!Either you're not strong enough in my book or I just genuinely forgot about you!LOL!
Thank you to all you strong women out there who have really influenced my life and who will forever be a part of my heart.You have all made me the person that I am today!
Love you all!