When Hilda Met Jeffrey

4 07 2013

It was the last day of my vacation. It began with me being a bridesmaid in my friend Louise Rizzuto (Lee)’s wedding. After that was over, I traveled to visit my sister in Toms River, NJ, then out to northwestern New Jersey to visit my Aunt Emily and Uncle Don, and then out to Long Island to visit friends and family. I was staying at Carolyn Leitgeb’s house (who was now Carolyn Mulderig) in Patchogue. She wanted to take me out to Montauk Point on Long Island to spend the day. When I returned, I needed to go say hello to my foster father and my foster brother Jody. My friend Patty convinced me to go out with her again that evening despite the thousands of miles I had traveled and despite the fact I had averaged about 3 hours of sleep a night during my entire vacation. July 5th my plane was leaving to return me to Houston. Carolyn made strawberry shortcake from scratch and I felt obligated to stay and eat some of that. It was getting really late. My foster brother, Jody, decided to steal my keys. I was chasing him around the yard trying to retrieve them. He eventually gave them to me. Then I picked up Patty, she said she wanted me to meet her boyfriend’s best friend. Patty and I knew each other from Davis Park. Her family would dock their boat next to or very near to our boat where we used to stay the entire summer. I did not want to go out. Patty, however, would not take “no” for an answer.

We were to meet her boyfriend, Larry, and his best friend, Jeff at Mario’s in Setauket. I later found out that we were so late that Jeff was about to leave. They gave us a little longer to get there. When I met him I was very surprised how easy conversation was with him. He seemed very intelligent. Mario’s was closing up and we wanted to continue our conversation. I mentioned that we never got over to Davis Park and I would love to go sit on a beach and listen to the water for a bit. Out at Montauk we were visiting places but the beach was not one of them. He said he knew a place. Patty went with Larry and I followed Jeff to this place on the Long Island Sound.

We sat on the beach. There were others, too, at the beach. In the distance on the water we saw a boat with a headlight just wobbling. This guys runs practically over us screaming, “Hey you guys! It’s the cops, get out of here.” All I could think of is “I cannot go to jail–I have to go home to Houston tomorrow!”  Apparently Jeff took me to a beach that was known for its drug dealers.

I got up and ran. Jeff grabbed my purse which I left behind–the purse with the airline ticket in it–and ran with me. We ran across the parking lot and to our respective cars. But this police car was speeding toward us and I told Jeff we have to stop. Bumbling words came out of my mouth. I told him I was SO sorry. I did not know we were not allowed on the beach. I was from out of town and just wanted to see the water before I left the next day (which was 100% truth). What helped was 1) I had not been drinking; 2) the plates on my car said New Jersey because I flew into Newark. He eventually believed my story and let us go without any tickets (or going to jail). Jeff said he knew some other place we could go continue our conversation. There was a pond near the post office and we could go back there. The police officer followed us the entire time until we pulled up to a house across the street from the post office. As we were walking to this “spot” I got a little panicked that it was very isolated. I did not trust him THAT much so I asked if there was some place else we could go. There was a grassy area in what was like a town square center that had this rock which I sat on and our conversation continued. As the sun was coming up, I realized I needed to get back to Patchogue to pack and get to Newark for my flight.

At the airport I talked to Patty on the pay phone. Larry in the meantime told Jeff that he should send me flowers as soon as I returned home. I honestly thought that evening would be the end of things as so many dates I had in the past. We began talking every night on the phone for several hours. He decided he wanted to come down and visit me and 2-3 weeks later he did. By January of 1991 he moved down here into his own apartment. In July of 1991 he proposed to me; we announced this to his family after his cousin’s wedding in Ohio in August of 1991. Jeff wanted me to meet them before we actually told them. We set the date to get married as October 24, 1992.

Happy Anniversary, Jeff! The Fourth of July may be the day where everyone is celebrating our declared independence from England, the birth of a new nation, but for us, it was the day we both lost some of independence, to become dependent on each other. It gave birth to a lifelong commitment to one another.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all!

25 12 2011
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To all my friends from this blog, Twitter, Facebook, or my travels along this road of life, I treasure you all. I’m sorry if I wind up not being able to acknowledge each and every one of you on a one-to-one level (although God knows I’m trying before Christmas turns into a pumpkin). Thank you for all the support you’ve shown me and my family over the past year. Thank you for laughing at my odd sense of humor and accepting all the craziness that is wrapped up in me. Thank you for those moments where I needed uplifting because I was so exhausted. Thank you for supporting me through my chronic health issues this year. Thank you for the radical honesty for the times when I’ve needed that. Thank you for encouraging me when I had self-doubt. I am blessed by your friendship more than you will ever know. Next to my family, you are the greatest gifts in my life and I will be remembering you on this day.

I intend to kick 2012’s ass. Perhaps it will kick mine. But it will be interesting whatever happens. It is comforting knowing that you will all be a part of that.

Memory Tree

18 12 2011

I look forward to putting up our Christmas tree every year for two reasons. The first reason is knowing Patrick is going to love it. There is something about the twinkling of each delicate light and moving to and fro that allows him to appreciate the full spectrum of colors in a way I wish I could see. For Jeff and me, it is a yearly trip down memory lane. Our tradition is to put up our tree the Saturday or Sunday after Thanksgiving. Two years ago, Patrick was in his bedroom at the time. When he came into the room the next morning, the smile that crept up on his face was brighter than any star in the sky. My Christmas contentment lay within that smile. Last year he became the task-master, voicing his protest if we stopped at all to take a break. We would deliberately rest just to bust his chops and listen to him protest. This year he mellowed out, eagerly watching the lights go up, but still loving every bit. He is not quite ready to put the ornaments on the tree. We have tried. I think he does not like the feel of the artificial tree.

Every ornament I can trace back to a loving memory. After my mother died, of all the items left to me, the six ornaments that date back to my childhood hold the most significance. Being the dysfunctional home it was, our holidays then were filled with a mixture of happiness and heartache. However, when I look at these ornaments, I choose to remember the joy. They are old and falling apart. I do not know how much longer I will be able to repair them.

Ornament from my childhood

The tennis racquet ornament brings to my mind memories of my first love and the Christmas we spent together here in Houston.

Tennis racquet I bought for my first love.

There is the Santa & Mrs. Claus sleeping in a bed, handmade by a physician’s assistant with whom I worked; Mrs. Claus’ head is now missing.

Mr. Claus sleeps with a headless Ms. Claus.

There are the many ornaments I gathered in the first days of my first apartment. I found a wonderful company called Cracker Box who makes kits for these homemade ornaments with beads and lace and pins. For two years, one each year, I made these works of art. Their instructions were hysterical, injecting the personality of those who wrote them.

Those pins hurt putting in after awhile.

Before getting married I joined a Disney ornament-of-the-month club. There is Minnie, Mickey, Pinocchio, Donald Duck, and several others from that period of my life. Pinocchio’s nose has broken off.

Pinocchio's nose fell off.

Received as a wedding gift is a Lenox ornament of 2 doves kissing and labeled as “first Christmas.”

We moved on to our Star Trek ornament collectible obsession.

Picard stands watch of the Enterprise (the original) below.

It was then we began our golden retriever ornament collection.

Golden retrievers are now our obsession.

After Patrick was born, we added a “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament. Three ornaments are a result of my trip to Disneyworld in Florida in the late 1990’s with some friends. I have an ornament or two from an overnight trip to Kemah, Texas. During our 2001 trip to Vancouver, BC, I picked up an awesome golden retriever ornament on skis and with goggles on from a store in Whistler (where the 2010 Winter Olympics were held).

From Whistler, BC to our home.

I remember each ornament given to us as a gift and by whom. I think of those people with affection as we are hanging them.  Adorning our tree, too, are the handmade ornaments Patrick has made since he was a toddler.

Two years ago, MGM put out a Stargate SG-1 ornament (that I got half-price the bargain shopper I am). I was gravely disappointed to find our local Carlton Cards went out of business.

Stargate SG-1

Once done, we sit back and marvel at our memory tree, a symbolic diary of our lives.

What are your Christmas tree traditions?

Terra Nova Genesis

25 09 2011

By Hilda Clark Bowen

Forewarning: This preview may contain spoilers, but such spoilers are already readily available on the internet from interviews, previews and the like.

“Welcome to paradise.” And welcome to the one of the most awaited shows in television, a show so ambitiously graphic, the original premiere date was cancelled for this later date, a show so heavily publicized on so many different channels and venues to every possible demographic imaginable, it cannot possibly fail. But as one Twitter friend pointed out, it is going up against Monday Night Football; he felt it was only a matter of time before it was moved to another day. I doubt there is any show that wins over Monday Night Football, but Fox must have great confidence that this show can compete.

After viewing the first 60 minutes, courtesy of Fox VIP, I can say this show has something for everyone. It is not primarily about dinosaurs. There is drama, humor, love, action, angst, heartthrob-status rebellious teenagers, adorable children, betrayal, mystery, idyllic tropical backdrops, and out-of-this-world visual effects.

The show centers on the Shannon family: Jim (Jason O’Mara) and Elisabeth (Shelley Conn), and their 3 children, Josh (Landon Liboiron), Maddy (Naomi Scott), and Zoe (Alana Mansour). That is a problem in 2149 because the air is toxic and population is controlled to a maximum of 2 children. It is an even greater problem since Jim is a law enforcement officer. Their secret is discovered and the family is put through an ordeal that would tear other families apart. Love wins and without giving the details of how it happens, they manage to arrive to Terra Nova for a fresh start, but not without heartache for one of the members of the family. Jim has to prove himself to Commander Nathaniel Taylor (Stephen Lang) before he entrusts him with a secret. Not everyone is in harmony in Terra Nova. Expedition 6 left the compound for unknown reasons, and there is violence between them. The leader of expedition 6, Mira, will be quite familiar to every “Stargate SG-1” fan, Christine Adams. There will be trials ahead for the Shannon family as well as they adjust to their new lives.

The show has the potential to be the next “Lost” with mysteries already being unlocked in the pilot episode. The writers, knowing how intelligent their audience will be, give a great explanation of why the butterfly effect will not occur–this is an alternate timeline. What is fantastic about that is that the writers will not be bound to what our knowledge base is for prehistoric history, being free to create new and interesting theories and–of course–fascinating new dinosaurs (and I’m sure other creatures).

The executive producers on Terra Nova are:  Steven Spielberg, Peter Chernin, Brannon Braga, Rene Echevarria, Alex Graves, Jon Cassar, Aaron Kaplan, Katherine Pope, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Craig Silverstein, and Kelly Marcel. The director for “Genesis”, the pilot episode, is Alex Graves. The episode was written by Kelly Marcel, Allan Loeb, and Craig Silverstein. It premieres Monday night on Fox at 8 p.m. /7 p.m. central.

While it is airing in the United States, the finale episode is being shot in Australia. Several of the people associated with production have expressed a desire to try to live-tweet while the episode is occurring if time permits. So follow these Twitter feeds Monday night:


My Other Son

25 08 2011

My baby in utero, Matthew Joseph Bowen, died at 20 weeks. Today was the approximate date of his death, although it could have been Aug 24; we are not quite sure. His due date was approximately Feb 18, 1994 and he would be reaching the milestone of being age 18 near Feb 18, 2012.

The milestone-age years are a little harder for me to cope. On top of the not so fun day I had on Aug 24, 2011, this one is going to be difficult.

Vatican Angel

Vatican Angel Available at Northstargallery.com

I see shadows of him in my house, go through in my eyes what I imagine would be a typical day with him, excited to be a senior in high school.  He might be in love for the first time with a girl or a boy. He might have had his heart broken many times already. I think he would have been smart, charming, good at least 1 sport and play at least 1 musical instrument. He would have been caring of others, stood up for others being bullied, he would have respected authority figures. We would have started looking at colleges he wished to attend or alternate schools to create a profession.

But now, he has a very important job, being Patrick’s special guardian angel, and comes to me to support me through very difficult parts of my life. I feel his energy, the essence of who he was while still in my womb, and it has a unique signature that is not confused with any other possible thing.

I miss you, Matthew. I talk to Patrick about you and sometimes I wonder, when we say prayers, if you two are not giggling with each other, because Patrick is looking up in the air at something, smiling and giggling like it’s his little secret.

Please come visit your mother today; she really needs to feel your spirit. My first child and sweet boy, although I never got to hold you, I wait for the day that I can. Just come visit as you have before so I can take comfort that you are still there watching over us.

I allow myself to cry for you on just this one day; the rest of the year I serve to honor your memory by helping those grieving the loss of their children. 

On this day, however, I await you.

Get “Mobbed” on Fox

28 03 2011
"Mobbed" on Fox March 31, 2011

"Mobbed" on Fox March 31, 2011



While most people have seen a flash mob on television or perhaps in the movies, I wonder how many of you have at least seen one in person.  They serve to brighten people’s spirits, to make them smile, to make them sing, and to make them dance. 


As a member of the OFFICIALFOXVIP program, I receive many privileges, one being previews of new shows on Fox. On Thursday, March 31, after the American Idol’s results show, a new show called “Mobbed” comes to your TV screen. Without spoiling the story, this one centers on Justin and Nikki. Hosted by Howie Mandel, they pull off an elaborate flash mob for this couple who want to share their news/event in a BIG way. Napoleon and Tabitha, two well-known award-winning choreographers, most recently on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” are in charge of getting over 1000 people dancing in unison in very little time.

The only criticism I have is they felt they needed to create some drama, and this drama made someone cry, which I felt was not necessary. They could have still pulled this off with the dramatic flair they did without anyone becoming suspicious.
We need some “feel good” television shows on the air, and this show will raise your spirits and make you want to get up out of your seat and dance.
To my readers out there, have you ever actually performed in a flash mob (singing, dancing or a combination) and if so, what did you think about it? How many of you think you will tune in to see what this “Mobbed” is all about?



Love Languages

14 02 2011

During our 18 years of marriage, my husband and I have read many relationship books to help improve our marriage. One of the books that have had an exceedingly profound impact on our lives was “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. With Valentine’s Day here, I thought I would share what we learned.

Everyone has a love language; you may have a primary and a secondary. Many times, we will try to communicate our love to our partner based on our own love language and then we don’t understand why this person doesn’t feel loved by us. For example, my husband’s love languages are quality time and physical touch. For me, words of affirmation and acts of service are my love languages. When I buy him cards (which would be “words of affirmation–my love language), although he appreciates them, they don’t make him feel deeply loved. When we would quality time together, I was fulfilling his need, however, mine went unnutured. When he let me sleep late without me having to ask, or would tell me how proud he was of me for doing XYZ, my heart swelled. At that moment, I never felt more in love with my husband. That is how you can recognize the differences between the love languages.

My husband and me on our wedding day

My husband and me on our wedding day


After you read the book, you think to yourself, now that just seems too obvious, why didn’t I get this? Recognizing what your love language is and making an effort to do that every day are two very different things.

He also has a chapter for parents and their kids. You often hear parents saying, “I raised them exactly the same way and this one turned out differently from this one.” Likely the one who turned out well was the one whose love language was being met. Let’s say child 1 likes quality time and child 2 likes words of affirmation. If you spend quality time with both of them, child 1 is going to feel loved, but if you never say affirming words to child 2, they will appreciate the quality time, but won’t feel truly loved.

Love Language #1:  Words of Affirmation. These are verbal compliments or words of appreciation, like “You look sharp in that suit.” “You must be the best potato cook in the world. I love those potatoes.” These are encouraging words (how can I help?), kind words, and humble words. If this is your significant other’s language, then help improve your relationship by writing “Words are Important” as a reminder, writing down all the words of affirmation you gave to your spouse and then reviewing it at the end of the week to see how well you have done (or not). If you are clueless as to what to say look in the media and observe people in conversation and write down things people say. Write a love letter, paragraph, or sentence, compliment your significant other in the presence of parents or friends, look for your significant other’s strengths and tell him/her how much your appreciate those strengths, tell your children how great their mother/father is.

Love Language #2:  Quality Time. Go places together, do things together, sit quietly together (not necessarily together but at least in the same room). For example, a father sitting on the floor rolling a ball to his child, the focus is not on the ball, but the child. If the father, however, is talking on the phone, then his attention is diverted and this is not being together. It also can include quality conversation, sharing thoughts, feelings and desires without distractions. If this is your significant other’s language, some suggestions are to ride bikes together and go to a park and watch the ducks, roll on to the rose gardens, find out what each other’s favorites plants are and why. Surprise your significant other with an impromptu lunch, ask him/her what their favorite activity is and join her/him in this activity and learn more about it. Ask questions “Who was your best and worst teacher at school and why? and other questions like that. Have a picnic in the living room and talk like you did when you were dating.

Love Language #3:  Receiving Gifts. Gifts must be purchased, found or made. Some gifts are expensive, others are free. If this is your significant other’s language, you could stop along the roadside and pick a bouquet of wildflowers or you can make a card. There is also the gift of self.

Love Language #4: Acts of Service. This is when your significant other does things for you without having to be asked. If this is your significant other’s language, you should ask what four things that you could do that would make her/him feel loved. If they are within reason to you, then you should do them with joy and with love, not done out of fear, guilt or resentment.

Love Language #5: Physical Touch. This would include holding hands, kissing, embracing, etc. Obviously, if this is your loved one’s love language, you need to do more of it. However, the author cautions not to think that a desire to have sex means your love language is physical.

To help you figure out what they are, he says to ask yourself these questions:

1. What does your significant other do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply. The opposite of what hurts you is probably your love language.

2. What have you most often requested of your significant other? The thing you have most often requested is likely the thing that would make you feel most loved.

3. Finally, in what way do you regularly express love to your spouse? Your method of expressing love may be an indication that that would also make you feel loved.

What is/are your love language(s)?