What Goes on Behind Closed Doors…

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In light of the recent events involving Baltimore Ravens football player, Ray Rice and his wife Janay, I feel completely compelled and obligated to express my deep concerns about the matter. In no way is this scripted or rehearsed; nor is it edited or revised. It is my raw account of the situation. At this time, I am sure just about everyone in the nation is aware and/or have seen the shocking video footage of the incident in the elevator. I don’t have to know “all the facts” in order to give my opinion. In fact, I don’t even need a video. I would like to first and foremost say that this is not about the fault of the National Football League Commissioner. Nor does the finger get pointed to the media and the general public. The blame lies solely on the coward. It really, REALLY upsets me to know that Domestic Violence exists. Some things in life are preventable; such as obesity or some types of cancer. I fell that DV is alive and well because of US. All of US. As a DV survivor, I can say first hand that there is a way out. No one is deserving of forced misery and fear. To be honest, I don’t know where the disconnect started; giving someone total control and power over your own well being. The mind is a powerful force and unfortunately not always for the greater good. It pains me to see a women give up a part of her soul and spirit, to strengthen someone else’s. As women, we are natural-born nurturers. We want to confront and protect. Maybe that’s why it acceptable to forgive. Where did it start for someone to have such a damaged self-worth?? I wish I could answer my own question, since I was once had that state of mind. I do not even know when or where I gained the courage to walk away. All I can account for are the excuses I made for him and HIS actions. I didn’t want anyone to see the external and internal bruises. I remember the incredible fear; fear of what will happen next; will he really hurt me next time. I was lucky. I am alive. For some people, the results are fatal. Men too are victims; and the numbers are rising. I don’t want it to seem that I am reaching out to just women, no, males too are subjected to DV. It is not socially acceptable for a main to be abused by a woman. But abuse comes in all shades; physical, emotional, finically and psychological. I don’t know a better way to say this: love NEVER hurts. Manipulation does. There should never be a time or an incidence in your relationship where you feel the “need” to get violent. NEVER. NO EXCUSE. No one can tell me differently. I don’t want to hear, “it was only one time”, “what if I served it”. ” shit happens”, ” it was an accident”. All of these are nothing but pathetic lies to cover up the ugly truth. If you are a victim of DV, I urge you to seek help immediately. You don’t have to be alone. If you feel stuck, reach out to me. I have plenty of resources. Just know that you are not by yourself; there are people that can help you and your family. It will take time to build your moral strength to finally comprehend that YOU matter.




Dear Mama…

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When you had me, you were 32 years old…

…and when I moved out of the house  to start my grown-up life, you were 54 years old.

ImageThat means you spent over 7500 minutes of your life raising me, feeding me, worrying about me and basically being  my #1 source of support in the world…MY #1Image

Being al that you’ve done for me, there is no way that I could possible thank you enough.

But I’m going to try.


I’d like to give you over 7500 minus of pure bliss, love, peace and laughter. If it was up to me, you can have the whole world in your hands. That is not nearly enough of what you deserve.

Thanks for being my mom–for all that you’ve done and all that you continue to do. Plain and simple.

I am so in love with the person that I’ve grown up to be, and I wouldn’t have the life that I’ve got without your trust, support, guidance and care.Image

Thanks for giving me life….and thanks for making it good.

Happy Mother’s Day


Ronda Chenese



The City of No Illusions

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Ok, soooooooo I’ve been in in the Big Apple for almost 9 months and I’ve had the opportunity to soak what New York has to offer.  It just so happened that I have not returned to my home town of Buffalo, NY since I relocated. There are  different reasons, I haven’t went back to visit family and friends; but I think it was a sign from Heaven that I have stayed put. I needed to take my time to learn and adapt to my new surrounding;and i didn’t want any interference from home sickness to cloud my judgement.  Even so,  I am true and loyal to the Queen City. In honor of  The City of Good Neighbors, I have devised a list making Buffalo a reason to still be one of the best on the map.



I hate that food is the first, but I cannot hide the truth.  Buffalo has some of the BEST restaurants for every taste bud. Everything from Greek, to Thai, Buffalo houses the best food on Earth.  Some may say that Buffalo may have one of the highest population of obesity, and i may have to agree.  In my book, eating is a pastime. Enjoying incredible cuisines  will definitely put pounds on the hips. What I love  is when it is warm enough, you can smell the aroma from the backward BBQ’s in EVERY neighborhood. Of course, the wings are what Buffalo is known for the most.  We can argue about who has the best wings, but since this is MY blog I will put my claim in: LaNova’s, Caputi’s, and Duff’s are some of my choices.  What are some of your favorites?


2. Real Estate



I am at a point in my life where I am looking to invest in some property.  The shocking revelation was the HUGE difference in property value in homes.  Seeing the vast contrasts in real estate in both NYC and Buffalo, did I realize what I took for granted.   A modest home in a modest neighborhood in NYC can cost anywhere between $400k-$600k.  Never in my wildest dreams would I associate a 1000 sq ft home with those figures.  In Buffalo, your dollar goes a longer way.  According to the US Census Bureau, homeowners in Western New York paid 34 percent less than the national average for their homes and 17 percent less for mortgages than those around the country.  The assessments are accurate and truth be told, Buffalo has really beautiful property.  Do you love your home you live in?


Unwavering sport fans



Alright, it is no secret that Buffalo has sport teams that have proven to be disappointing….downright embarrassing.  Nevertheless, there is NO other city that has fans that  exhibits tremendous love for Buffalo. It is an unspoken fact that when there is a home hockey or football game, the city is a ghost town. Why you ask?? Because either people  are the stadium enjoying the game, at a local bar or pub, or hosting a party in their own living room. It really doesn’t matter if the team wins…it will certainly be a victory, but the real enjoyment comes from the drinking, shouting, dancing, drinking, showing off the new jersey and drinking. 🙂 Have you ever had the pleasure of going to a Buffalo Bills game?




I know Buffalo is know for the harshest  of winters; with even that being said, the city still presents each and every season change.  I have always appreciated cities that have consistent warm weather; places such as San Diego.  But Mother Nature has blessed Western New York with Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn…which is rare in some cities.  Whether its skiing at Kissing Bridge,  picking flowers in Delaware Park, enjoying a crisp night at Hamburg’s Haunted Hayride or spending a hot Saturday afternoon at Allentown Art Festival, there are activities for every liking.  What do you like best about the seasons in Western New York?

I have spent my entire life in Buffalo, NY, and I will defend my city to anyone who decides to make disses.  There are infinite reasons to stay, live and grow in that incredible town.  There is something about being born and raised in a place with that has tremendous character, tradition and acceptance. What do you love most about your hometown?

Sometimes You Don’t Have a Choice…

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Choice-noun.. /CHois-/an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.

Daily, people have to make  tough decisions that will dictate the rest of their day; and in some cases, the rest of their life.  Choice.  Many, rely on their  “gut instincts” to come up with a decision. You often hear people say  “I hope you make the right choice.” Who is to say what is the right… choice.  That’s how I felt when I had my career in Child Welfare. I held different job titles in the occupation, but the  denominator in my daily tasks were: choice.

ImageMy longest title I held in child welfare was in Adoption. If you like children, I do not suggest this career choice for you:  I earned a living following Federal and State rules;  under the microscope of Administration; sometimes looking out for the best interest of the Agency as well as the child; dealing with uptight attorneys who often wanted to set a precedent with their political views at the wrong time; and the toughest of all, retaining dignity and self-respect as you face scrutiny, ridicule and resentment from family members, the media,  Judges and the Community. Choice.   Instead of being the Case Manager, I should of been called the Choice Manager.  My role was simple, yet complicated:  ensure that a child that is in foster care is adopted to a suitable family.  That was the simple part.  It became complicated when you as the Choice Manager, had to use your professional opinion to achieve the goal.  Remaining objective often was challenging.  As I think about it, now that I stepped down from that role, I can see a different side; from subjective end. I recently watched the dramatic  movie Losing Isaiah which tells the story about a crack-addicted african-american child who was illegally adopted by an affluent  upper class caucasian family.  The birth mother did not formally sign over her parental rights, and the case was taken to trial.  The Judge made the decision to return the child to the natural mother; deeming that children should have the chance to be raised by their birth parents/family members.  Of course race, class and economic status were the factors that each party argued. What it the right choice? I’ve Imagewatched that movie dozens of times.  However, since I no longer hold that position of constantly watching with child welfare eyes, I was able to look at the movie with a different pair of glasses.  The numbness that I have been accustomed to for almost a decade immediately crumbled.  Tears flowed with ease as I watched both families struggle to love a child.  I was finally allowed to feel; and it was a bittersweet moment.  Then I started  thinking about all the choices I had to make in my career.  I personally choose specific families to be forever-parents to foster children.  I interviewed them face-to-face, ask them personal questions, as if they were applying for a bank loan to buy a home.  I saw the fear in their eyes,  I noticed the perfect fronts they put on for me.  They wanted to be the chosen one. I had to make the right choice. When a mother and father conceive a child, that child doesn’t get to choose their parents.  Those parents don’t get to choose their offspring. But I as Choice Manager, played an instrumental role in creating family units.  For the rest of their lives, their own choices would be stemmed from the foundation of MY choice. When I received the heart felt cards stating how much of an impact I had on their family after a successful  adoption, I would smile at the jester and move on.  Never would I treat it as nothing important, but unfortunately my heart would not allow me to feel the gratitude.  Today, while having a moment of refection of the lives I’ve changes,  I can say that I have made some of the most critical and live-changing choices of my life.  I still humble myself when I say that I created these life-changing choices.  I don’t want to take the credit of a system that often times works. But I will say that  it has been a true blessing to know that the possibilities that I was faced with professionally, were successful to someone personally.