Being an adult

11 Sep

Holy F&**@&# Shiz, I’m 45.

When did this happen?

It is amazing and hard to believe. I was with my mother this week talking about what she calls my “middle age crazy” mind, and she said this.  “I remember being in the hospital with you when you were just a little girl and the doctor said to me ‘You know she might not make it to 30 years old.'”



My first thought was “That must have been really hard for her to hear as a mother.”

I could see the pain and disbelief in her eyes.  I know I would be unapproachable if the same circumstances befell me.

But not her. Not my father. They showed tremendous strength and determination, and still do.

And I hope, in my 45 years, I have learned something from them and my beloved step-parents. I hope that I display that humble fortitude they have shown as parents, as role models and as my greatest supporters.

Further, I hope that I am showing my daughter how to resist being moved or broken, with my actions and ability to rise up.

It is a quality that I work on every day.

And boy, some days are more challenging than others. Some years are more challenging than others!

That’s what is called “Being an adult,” right?

I had the very fortunate circumstance of having breakfast yesterday with my first love, Scott.  We talked and talked about our roles as parents, he with two boys, me with one girl.  The common spots, the tricky spots, but mostly about the love. The love we have for these kids and the exhaustive lives we lead, in order to take the best care possible, of them.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but we always try the best we can.

That’s what we call “Being an adult.”

I did smile when I thought about all the ridiculous time we used to spend together doing ridiculous stuff, when we were teenagers and had ZERO responsibilities. Good times. Silly times.

My heart is full with admiration and appreciation that nearly 30 years later, we are still close, still adore each other and still friends. And a special shout out to his wife, Kevin, who is a remarkable woman (driving the crazy team over there).

Another thing I learned from my parents, how to create and sustain lasting relationships.

I have a lot of friends. Real friends.  Friends who would come rescue you when you have a flat tire in the rain. Friends who celebrate and support. Friends who have stood by me in the weirdest and most wonderful times.  Friends that don’t judge, always joke and want the very, very best for me and my daughter.

And I feel the same about them. Yesterday alone, I spoke with four friends I’ve had for decades. And it was a regular Wednesday. That creases my face with smiles.

I have a committed, supportive, smart (and handsome) man in my life, who I love and who loves me and my daughter, without question. He may not understand us, at all, but he treasures us. We don’t agree on everything and that’s what works.  Plus, I know I’m usually always right (and so does he). We just don’t have to make a big deal out of it.

We communicate. We relate. We appreciate. Together.

That what I call “Being an adult.”

I have work that I enjoy. I am always challenged by and if I’m not, I challenge it.  I can recognize the fact that I work with some amazing people, all with their own set of specialized knowledge and I try to make the most of that.  Further, these are amazing people, each unique in their own right. The only thing they all have in common is that they are wonderful.

And I am the fortunate one, to be able to work with them. From money people to magazine editors to hotel managers the lot of them are colorful and creative and full of class.

Being able to recognize that, rather than being intimidated by it has made all the difference.  I am better because they are good.  I feel that way about my friends, why wouldn’t I about my colleagues? Really embracing that fact, has come with maturity. I used to want to run everything – now I want to learn, I want to be a part of a team that runs stuff. (I’d really like a team to run stuff for me, but that’s another post.)

Understanding that has been a great gift and I thank all of them.

That’s what I call “Being an adult.”

So I sit here, in the 45-ness of it all, trying to grasp what it all means and here’s what I say.  The years have not all been sparkly and filled with hope. This year is one of those. That does not make the difficult times worthless. That makes them even more important. Simply because the challenging years are the ones that teach you the most. In retrospect, there is beauty in the struggle.

Adele doesn’t write songs about how happy she is.  Seriously.

More life = better.  Regardless.  I have several close ones struggling through treatments and diagnosis and subsequent set backs, I want to remind us all that someone with authority once told my mother I would probably not make it to 30 years old.

And yet, here I am.

May resilience and pure grit carry you through to smiles and may gratitude, kindness and tolerance surround you always.

Go on with your adult selves.





Obstacle Course

5 Sep

I was riding in the car the other day with my friend and neighbor Kendra, and she hesitated to make a turn. “Sorry, I probably could have gone, but I’m extra cautious when other people in the car.”

Makes perfect sense.

Plus, her delicious, one-year-old baby was in the back seat.  I would be driving about 4 miles an hour, If I were in the driver’s seat.

I told her that she should not worry. I always try to be early, so I’m not rushed.  When I’m rushed, I’m cranky. Things slip. I lose a little control.

It’s not pretty.

It’s all a coping mechanism for keeping impending disaster at bay.

I have a hard time with this.

I have been trying to keep disaster at bay for decades.

I’m on the cusp of turning 45 next week, and for the last 40 years, I have struggled with Type 1 Diabetes.  I am healthy. I take care of myself. I could do better.

But still.

If you had any idea what kind of management I have had to put into my life, to deal with this fact, you’d either fall deep into a coma, or cry.

It’s not fair. It wasn’t fair for a five year old to have to deal with it and it’s not fair for a 45 year old or anyone in between.

My body does not make insulin. At all. The well dried up  just about the time Nixon resigned.

As a result, I have to watch every piece of food, every sip of anything, every bit of sleep, stress, exercise all while balancing on a seemingly endless tightrope.

Am I angry? No.

What I am is a control freak.

I have to be.

It’s hard for me to deal with myself most days. Imagine my daughter, or my partner.

I know it was an issue in my previous relationship and sometimes remains as oily residue between us.

I feel that if I can control the variables, the outcome can be managed.

Except I can’t always control the variables. And even when I try, it doesn’t always work out the way I want it to.

Sometimes I make things harder for myself. And the situation.

I am trying to let some of that control go.  And I’m trying not to be bitter about it.

I’m trying to be better for it.

I have a colleague who sent her daughter off to college last week. Clearly on the precipice of an emotional Armageddon, this mom wrote her daughter the sweetest note and posted it the other day.  I won’t show you everything, but there’s one spot that resonates with me.

“you must be open…but cautious, for there is so much to learn and see and do, yet there will always be someone or something blocking the road and throwing stones at you…Address small problems before they become big, but then let them go quickly before they corrupt your thoughts. The mind is a powerful machine and what we think about, we bring about…so it is imperative we bring about positive thoughts so we can love freely and openly.”

I am trying to model this behavior now, for myself and my daughter.  Deal with things, don’t let your ego take over. Fix what you can fix and look forward, positively.

It is a hard concept to embrace honestly.  It sounds like a new age fortune cookie.  Blah, blah, blah positive vibes, good energy, blah.

I know it does.

But I believe it.

As cynical and sarcastic as I may appear, I believe in the power of positive thinking.  I believe in doing rather than don’t-ing. I believe in the good. In love. In the power that people can bring to each other as a “community.” I have to. It is the only way.

A lot of my acceptance has to do with forgiveness.

Forgiving myself for being human.  I forgive myself for not always doing the best I can. Not always being the best mother, girlfriend, wife, daughter, sister, colleague, friend or person with Type 1 Diabetes.

I let that go.

You do the best you can. You survive.

Moving forward, you know better and hopefully act better.

On the other side, I forgive those I feel have wronged me as a mother, girlfriend, wife, daughter, sister, colleague, friend and person with Type 1 Diabetes.

And there are very few that would even qualify.

I hold no bad energy towards anyone.  I am cautious, but clean in my outlook.

I have lived a long time being controlled, by control.  Being controlled or controlling, and I will not do it any longer.

I remove these obstacles from my life.

I want to live the next 45 years of my life with a smile on my face.

I want to be the best mother, girlfriend, ex-wife, daughter, sister, colleague, friend or person with Type 1 Diabetes, that I can be.

That is the only thing that I can control.

Superstitions, Spin the Bottle and Stevie Wonder

18 Aug

If you have never watched National Geographic’s Brain Games before, do yourself a favor and put it on your record list. My daughter and I watched a recent episode that focused on the topic of Superstition.

Superstition is a big part of our everyday lives, and the same power our brain has to learn language, find meaning in chaos, and hit home runs makes us believe things that have no basis in reality.

Our brains are wired to recognize patterns, even when no pattern exists.

brain wiring

Case in point. My advertising/copywriting 101 teacher always told us to proof read our copy backwards. Start at the end of the document and then read to the beginning. That way, our brains do not recognize the pattern of the language and can pick up misspellings and such.

If we read “I think therefore am” Nine times out of ten, our brains will put a phantom “I” in there because it’s used to seeing that phrase.

When processing the world, our brains are always filling in the blanks. Sometimes they fool us.

My advertising teacher knew it. Maybe she was a witch? I digress.

More times than not, we perceive patterns where there never were any.  Then we call them superstitions.

Our superstitions, are really just habits.  We find comfort in them. We feel we will be safe if we follow these complex patters and repeat over and over again.

Most superstitions can be bottom lined into really just avoiding bad decisions.  Don’t walk under an open ladder (Something might fall on you). Don’t open an umbrella in the house (it’s cumbersome and will no doubt knock something over. Don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mother’s back? Really?  That one’s weird.  Maybe it just rhymed?


It’s hard to admit, but I have all kinds of crazy ones.

  • I never put my purse on the floor.
  • I always use the same perfume  “cocktail” (I like to layer).
  • I always use the same soap.
  • I never put shoes on the bed.  (My grandmother is to blame for this one.  She just didn’t want a dirty bed, it’s not that evil will be bestowed upon you.)
  • I always wear the same earrings.
  • If I think of a worst case scenario or a situation where one would normally say “God Forbid” I say “Keynahora” (sp?) The Yiddishism is roughly similar to “knock on wood” and is often spoken to ward off a jinx after praise or good news. I don’t just say it once. I say it three times.  Thank you Christopher Hereford my freshman year boyfriend at Loyola.  He was the only Jew in a Jesuit university. Yep,  I  found him.
  • I write letters and notes to the universe asking for guidance, protection, support, for myself and others. I sign them, date them, fold ‘em up and put them under lit candles.

Why do I do this? It makes me feel, I suppose, like I have some control over things that I have no control over. I hate to not have control. Drives me nuts.

Simple as that.

So I admit, universe, that there are things I have no control over.  I fight it. I really do.  But it’s inevitable.  In my submission to that fact, I guess there’s some relief?

If we spin the bottle with superstition and its root motivator, and lord knows I like a good game of spin the bottle, could we come out of this on the right track?

See if you can follow my logic.  I don’t want bad things to happen.  I want good things to happen.  There is only so much I have control over.  I can control myself (mostly). I get more of what I want when I focus on it.  Therefore I must use what I can control (me) to focus on what I want, in order to achieve it.

The very (non) superstitious writing is on the wall as Stevie Wonder would sing.

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These are my facts, my givens if you will.

How do you get past what’s holding you up? What has you scared enough you’re relying on superstition to deal?

In honor of my newly-retired, math teacher mother, let’s use some geometric proofing skills to solve whatever the problem is.  (I hear her crying proudly in the distance)

  • Make a game plan. Try to figure out how to get from the givens of your situation to the conclusion with a plain English, commonsense argument before you get ahead of yourself.
  • Make a list of your goals, hurdles and opportunities.  Or angles and segments if you’re doing a geometry problem.
  • Look for congruencies , parallel lines and intersections – this is where you problem solve.  I want x but xx and xxx are in my way
  • Use all your givens. Try putting each given down in the statement column and writing another statement that follows from that given, even if you don’t know how it’ll help you.   I always put my goals, hurdles and opportunities out on a big piece of paper and circle them, then I brainstorm and write everything down. Then I connect to the circled concepts they relate to and see what pattern or path (again with the patterns) shows us.  Sometimes it brings together things you never would have thought, because of your aforementioned brain wiring.
  • Check your if-then logic. If I do this, then this will happen…
  • Work backward. If you get stuck, jump to the end of the proof and work back toward the beginning. We talked about doing this earlier. It’s a good practice to sometimes back-into that spot instead of going head first.
  • Think like a computer. Leave emotion out and detail in.  The computer won’t understand you unless every little thing is precisely spelled out. So do it.
  • Do something. Before you give up on a proof, put whatever you understand down on paper. It’s quite remarkable how often putting something on paper triggers another idea, then another, and then another. Life is the same way.  Do something.

Create a new pattern. A new habit. One with more control.  I’m not saying I’m giving up on my tried and true perfume layering in order to have a good day, but I might not rely on just that.


In the meantime, keynahora y’all.


You can’t kill Hitler or shag Helen of Troy

14 Aug

Have you ever noticed that Rachel McAdams has the market on “time travel” movies cornered?

I have.

What’s the deal with that?

I watched her second time travel movie “About Time” the other day.  Actually, I’ve seen it a few times.  If you haven’t, be warned, I’m going to give you a spoiler or two.

While this is not a movie review, it’s important to set up the circumstances.  This British movie features  the story of Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson), who discovers, at the age of 21, that he can travel in time.

And it’s no big deal.  Really.

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Tim’s father (Bill Nighy –  love him) tells his son that the men in his family have always had the ability to travel through time. (no biggie) Tim can’t change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life. Bill Nighy’s line perfectly describes the parameters: “One major caveat: You can only revisit and revise portions of your own life. Or as Nighy puts it, “You can’t kill Hitler or shag Helen of Troy.” 


As you can imagine, he tries to go back and change things in his past, so that he can improve his future. He finds out that there are ramifications and he has to work within some confines but he figures it out. He finds out that his father has terminal cancer and he goes back and does every day a few times, to maximize his time with his dad. In the end, he understands that it’s important to make the most of every second.

It is a sweet and authentic portrayal of just doing the best you can do given the circumstances that you are given.

It’s also a guidebook on really how hard it can be to live in the moment, how heartbreaking it can be to admit powerlessness to fix others – or to fix fate.

I struggle with not being able to fix things for others. I understand that it’s not my job, but my empathy goes into overdrive.

I’m a pleaser. I want everything and everyone to be awesome. I want no one to suffer. No one. I would wear a cape and crusade if that were socially acceptable.  I am compelled to try to make everything ok.

And that’s just ridiculous.  That is a lot of pressure.

Sometimes I just have to walk away.  Find my Zen. Put some good into the universe and hope it all evens out somehow.

bird 2

I was corresponding with a mentor of mine today, who is going through some pretty heavy medical treatment.  I feel helpless because there’s really nothing for me to do.

So I talk to him. I try to support him from afar.  I try to let him know he’s surrounded by people who are pulling for him.

I told him that this year has brought a bunch of frazzled mess to all of us.  Different degrees of madness and disruption as far as I am concerned.

While I never want to wish away the time, I want the mess to end. Lots of hurdles, it’s a thing, apparently in 2014.

I told him that while I know that doesn’t help his situation any, it might help to know that he is not fighting alone and or alone in the fight.

None of us are.

I told him that I hoped he could approach his days like the guy in About Time – experiencing his days three and four times each. If not more. Just to make sure he got all the juice out of them he could.

I told him that if I could, I would do my time with him over in the same fashion. If I just could.

I’m not writing him off, but as we have been reminded this week especially, time is precious.

The mark that we leave on the world is great and deserves all the energy we can give it.

If we were staging a third time travel movie for Rachel McAdams to appear in as the unknowing wife, our message would be as follows: The awkward and painful parts of  life are essential and unavoidable. Sometimes the bits are ugly and leave you bruised.  You cannot control this.  You can control how you feel about that. How you manage it.  Who you manage it with.

You can’t kill Hitler or shag Helen of Troy but you can make the most of these days you are given. Even the bad ones.

They only come around once.  (even if you’re Rachel McAdams)

This much I know is true.




Restless Rigor in the Nest

28 Jul

There’s a pod of young hawks living on my street. They race through the leafy canopy of mahogany trees, zipping past us overhead. Long necked in flight with short, rounded wings, they resemble something of a flying cross. With rapid wing beats and a short glide, they squeak and squawk, sounding more like an energized dog toy than an avian predator.


And boy are they predators.

Their proximity brings the circle of life to the forefront, almost daily. I am a witness.

Their raw blood thirst, as a means of survival, is nature at its most rudimentary level.

As I see them circle through the shaded airspace above, I am reminded of that constant struggle we must engage in, in order to stay alive.

It’s eat or be eaten, as the hawks have illustrated.

I can attest to this struggle. I’ve been involved with it, intimately, this year. From illness to obstinacy, depression to divorce, paranoia to pedantic persistence I have either experienced it first hand or been close to someone who has.

Parenting, has also been more of challenge. Daily.  Being nearly 10 years old and all that hormonally entails, is rough. Pair that with the fact that it’s summer and there’s no real routine – we have a restless rigor in the nest.

And I’m tired.


Sometimes, you want to glide. Wings pointed forward to catch the currents of rising air. I just can’t find that current.

When we can’t find our way, we revert to practices and rituals that are familiar. That work for us. The routine brings peace and normalcy to our state of flux.

For now, I listen to the hawks and try to focus on today.

I will set attainable goals and move forward with a smile.

I will tread lightly on my expectations.

I will remember those things that are wonderful and try to focus on the positive.

I will be thankful that I am so, so fortunate in this life.

I will radiate kindness, love and support for those close friends and family who are struggling as well.

I will attempt to be patient, tolerant and calm.

I will put good into the universe.

I will try to not hold onto anger, frustration and negativity.

I will try to fly.

For now.

Shut Yo Mouth

7 May

Mother’s Day.  Sigh.  It’s a bad Mother (shut yo mouth).

Here’s what I think.  Mothers for the most part, do the work and get little glory.  We are the most and least important in every thing. We cannot be lived with or lived without.  And we do not realize that last fact, until sadly, it is too late.

me and mom

We get one day to be celebrated, and the commercials promoting the holiday make me want to hyperventilate they are so sad.

It’s a no-win situation. No one loses, but you don’t really win here either.

I’m not down on motherhood. No.  Being a mother is the single most important part of me.

If I had to choose one person to be with, forever, it would be my daughter.  No question.

Motherhood brings me the greatest joy and pride that could ever be imagined.  Mountains are moved every time I see a change in my daughter.  Every time she smiles, or dances when she’s feeling silly. Every time she tells me a joke, even if it’s not funny. Every time I see her turn a little bit more into the person she is going to be.

It is humbling.

It is also a lot of work.

It doesn’t matter if you’re married, divorced, husband deployed or don’t even have a partner.

Motherhood is hard. It’s important. It’s remarkable.

I get about three or four days off a month. That’s more than most.  That said, I work 24 hours a day, the other 26-27 days a month.

It gives me some perspective.

I don’t have time to worry or get caught up.  I have a schedule, and I have to be on it.

I don’t even like schedules, but it’s necessary in order to fulfill my work order.

What else works? Well, I surround myself with women who are successful, happy and supportive.

Regardless of if they are mothers or not.  I need people to hold me up, when I cannot accomplish that on my own.  I need to be led down the right path sometimes.  I need to be distracted sometimes and I need to do the same for them.

These women are a bank of “good” that I can deposit and withdrawal from when necessary.

I have fantastic role models with my own mother and stepmother. Different in their approach, but unconditional in their nature. I try to emulate them as much as possible.

I have a bonus mom/sister/friend who taught me everything from how to figure out where an address was on a map to how to drive.  My friend Laura mothered me, when I needed it and has been a significant role model for me my entire life. Now she is working on Zoe, and it reaffirms my love and admiration for her daily.

My father and stepfather are stand-up men, who have supported my mother and stepmother in their parenting journeys.  They are formidable.

Co-parenting is a complicated thing and I have a fairly good situation where that is concerned. Parenting together is better.  These men help show me the way.

These last five years of going at it as a single mom have taught me a few things.

1. Pick your battles. Not everything is worth an uproar. Somethings really are – choose wisely.

2. Be honest. With yourself and with your kid. I’m not saying you have to tell the kid the whole truth and nothing but, however authentic messaging, teaches exponentially. Sometimes you’re having a hard time. It’s ok to say “Hey, child, I need a few minutes” rather than blow up because your frustrated with something else.

3.  Focus on what you want.  You will get more of it.  This is hard. We want to correct (or at least I do) all the time.  Be specific. Set expectations. This will make you happier and your kid more able to succeed in the future.

4. Step away some times. Let them figure their stuff out. Show them how to make good decisions and then let them make them.

5. Participate.  Be active with your kid, with your kid’s school, with your kid’s sports team – whatever. It brings you closer to the kid and the other parents/adults who are around your kid. Being involved is good parenting, good modeling and good for your community.  You cannot complain unless you participate.  Then you can complain all you want.

6. Don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s good to goof off every once in a while. Rock out with the windows up. Wear crazy headbands with antennae out to lunch.  Honk every time you see a pedestrian and wave.  Being kooky helps make the times when you have to be serious, less boring. More manageable.

7. Realize you cannot do it alone, and you wouldn’t want to.  Staff it out when you need to. Call on friends, family, domestic help or even Disney Cruises (childcare all day/night, hello!) when you need to.

8.  You’re not going to do everything right, and that’s OK. That’s more than OK, it’s wonderful. Don’t be afraid to eff up.  That’s part of the process.

So mother’s out there who work hard in or out of the house, or BOTH, know that you are understood and appreciated this Mother’s Day.  You are praised by your sisterhood of women who are dedicated to your success (and survival). We know what it means to start your day at 6am and end it in a heap of exhaustion at 11pm. We also know what it feels like when your kid comes home with a medal from the science fair or when she leaves you notes like this one.


note 2

We salute you. I salute you.

I’d also like to shoutout to my girlfriends who are motherless daughters.  I do not know what this feels like. I do know that Mother’s Day is difficult for you. I wish that I could help you with that and make it less painful. I send you big hugs and wonderful memories of your mothers. Some of which, I remember so fondly, myself.






Post It

11 Apr

I realize that most of the population is not going to understand this next statement.  

Remember when Mer and Der got post-it married?

That makes sense to me.


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What do we want to promise each other? That you’ll love me even when you hate me? No running. Ever. Nobody walks out, no matter what happens.That we’ll take care of each other, even when we’re old and smelly and senile and if i get Alzheimer’s and forget you…This is forever. Married.

This is forever.

I know it’s really superficial to get life lessons from television shows, but Shonda Rhimes is well, Shonda Rhimes.

I’m 44 years old. I’m divorced. I have a daughter. I have a man in my life that I love.  I have a good relationship with my daughter’s father. I have a solid job, family, life.

I worry that I’m going to be alone. I worry that I won’t live to see my daughter be my age.

Not all the time. Just in the back of my brain, when up late or early. When I’m staring at my baby girl (who’s nearly as big as me) and wondering where the time went. And how long I can hold onto this precious time with her.

I wonder when I sit waiting for my main squeeze to file some time away for me. When will that change or will it? I’m ok with time alone, but not most of my time.  

To be fair, he’s transitioning some major life changes, so I’ll give him a break (for a while). 

It’s not rational. I know that. I know that the only thing that you can count on is change (and an abacus).

And yet, I am prepared for the worst.


But in that preparation, I don’t want to miss the best.

The other night, Zoe had camped out with me because the main squeeze is out of town.

I fell asleep watching her sleep.  Her warm little body as happy as can be, snuggled and sidled up to her mom.  We were a proper dog pile.

The lull of her breathing worked like a magic metronome and I was out in a matter of minutes.

And despite the warm, delicious feeling I was marinating in, I had crazy dreams that night.

I had a dream that we converted our garage into a work and living space for the MS. That part was great.  A writer’s studio of sorts.

Then it all went weird.  I dreamed that I bought myself an engagement ring?  Why?

And not only that, but I was also lying to people saying that we were engaged.

Again, why?


I honestly don’t have any kind of urge to get married. At all.

I even ask myself, as a test, what would I do if the MS asked? I love him ridiculously. We’ve been together for nearly four years.

I just don’t know that we “need” to get married. Legal contracts and all.

I have a friend that’s getting married for the second time, and I love that she is.  LOVE that she is. Maybe there’s a piece of me that misses that excitement of the engagement. The love. The ridiculous glow you have when you know and can show the world with your empirical proof, that someone loves you? 

Maybe because the MS has been traveling less and working more. I’ve been busy.  We have mismatched schedules with different priorities and responsibilities. Sometimes we just don’t match up. Again, not forever, we are just in a weird period of connectivity.

Our time together is random, at this point. It’s like have a one hour window to get married.

Rare 52 Carat White Diamond Amongst Jewels To Go On Sale At Sothebys

Maybe I just watch too much Shonda Rhimes TV before bed? 

It’s been festering in this brain of mine.  I’ve made a few jokes about it to the MS, which really means that I don’t know what to do with the information.

I would promise to love regardless. And to be there forever.

I even have post-its in my office drawer.

And that’s what’s most important, right? At the very core of your relationship – whether it’s romantic, platonic or familial, you must honestly commit to love and support.

Regardless of how often your brother burps in your face or your friend cancels plans so she can go out with her boyfriend. Or how much your boyfriend works or doesn’t work. Or your daughter who cannot figure out how to put her dishes in the sink.

Those things are minor bumps in the majorly bumpy road of life.

I promise to love you even when I hate you. 

At the bottom line, the quiet reserve of your heart, you feel connected and loved – needed and wanted.

That’s where the I do’s need to happen.

I remain committed to evaluating that honestly, and with kindness and compassion.

I remain open, to possibility and post-its.

This is forever.






I Raise My Hand

11 Mar

I’m bossy. I don’t care. I said it.

The fact that being bossy is perceived as pejorative or unseemly is lost on me. I was raised to be a leader, by leaders. I am not a follower, meek or weak-willed (all words I find more restrictive than “bossy”).  I have been called names, cowered to, and run from. I often think the male gender breaks out in a rash, categorically, when over exposed to me.  There are no vacancies here for the easily intimidated.

I am not palatable to everyone. I am an acquired taste.


Again, I don’t care. Or, rather, I like this about myself.

What I do care about is the evolution of my daughter. I care about her experience. Her feelings. Her understanding of “leadership.”

Every week, Zoe is required to select and summarize a current event for her class.  I help her select, she does all the summary on her own.  As we review the news each week, I am careful to point her in the path of the positive.

She’s reported on teenage scientists, Olympians with disabilities, innovative technologies, possible agriculture on the moon and the occasional panda birth.

This week we selected the #BanBossy campaign.  Set forth by Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, the campaign aims to ban the word “bossy,” arguing the negative put-down stops girls from pursuing leadership roles.

Sandberg’s organization Lean In has joined forces with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Girl Scouts USA CEO Anna Maria Chávez to launch a public service campaign called “Ban Bossy.” The website gives tips for parents, kids, teachers and others about how to encourage young female leaders.

This is a handpicked group of professional women reaching nearly cultural hot point. The campaign is also launched to support and celebrate the 1 year anniversary of Sandberg’s Lean In book. It’s a bunch of self-promoting hype, but the end message is good.

As a publicist, I’ll admit, it’s a genius bit of marketing for Lean In.




That said, I applaud Sandberg and the celebrities/public officials for continuing to push for female empowerment, in the public eye. It is unfortunate that we are still having this conversation, in 2014 – but we are.

I have never been a fan of separatism. Just as I don’t classify or separate people by their race, ethnicity, or religion, I don’t think we should do this for gender either.  I understand why we do it.  I understand the need for “girl power” push, but feel it should really be “people power.”

I get it though.  There is a dire need to support our girls so they can support themselves.  The #BanBossy campaign states that “the confidence gap starts young: Between elementary school and high school, girls’ self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys’.”


Gender roles are more confusing than ever. There are also more women in the workforce now than ever.  We are competitive.  We need to shore up the confidence with current and future generations of C-suite women. We need to shape the public perception of a female leader.

What I’m concerned about is shaping my child’s perception of a leader. Female or otherwise.

This morning, we talked about the article selected for her current event.  We watched the video.

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Women of considerable power and visibility speak throughout the video. Women of all colors, races, religions and professions.  Entrepreneurial women I admire, like Diane Von Furstenberg.

She asked “what does Beyonce mean when she says ‘I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.'”

I told her that I thought Beyonce was saying,  “Hey don’t mess with me. I’m smart. I work hard. I make the decisions. If you don’t like it, to the left…”

Sound words from Mrs. Carter.

Personally, I’m not a fan of her parading around mostly naked as a role model. I’m not slut-shaming, I just think it’s sending mixed messages.  Bey, I know, you’re in control of your own sexuality – bravo for you, but my 9 year old doesn’t need to understand that yet. That’s all.  She’s surely enjoying the fruits of her labor more than I am, so more power to her.

We watched that video again, just before school, and I teared up.

Why? Because I want my daughter to be empowered. To be a decision maker instead of someone who deals with the decisions of others.

So I gave her the best advice I could give her regarding leadership.  I told her that it’s OK to not always be in charge.  Just because you’re the smartest or the best at something, doesn’t mean you get to, or should make all the decisions by yourself.

The most important quality of a leader is to listen.

A leader observes and listens to those around her. She sees the talents and influence and uses them to make the best, most informed decisions she can.  She is not afraid to make mistakes.  She engages participation.  She builds on ideas to innovate and problem solve.

She is inclusive not exclusive.

If you are a parent or a teacher, it’s important to get on board with the information contained within the #BanBossy campaign.  Understand the middle school drop off and support our girls at home FIRST. Then school, sports and volunteerism.

We need to lead by example. They will understand the support of strong friendships (female and otherwise), the power of problem solving and the effect of thoughtful and collaborative decision-making.

“The girl with the courage to raise her hand in class  becomes the woman with the confidence to assert herself at work. As parents, grandparents, and
caretakers, there are small changes each of us can make that have a big impact on girls’ confidence and ambitions.”

For that, for my daughter, for your daughter, for all the daughters out there,  I raise my hand.


Wreckhausted. It’s a Thing.

24 Feb

I traveled for 12 years, without a hitch.


I used to be that “don’t date a girl who travels” girl. Except I traveled for work. It was a glorious respite from the responsibilities of the world.

I had a dozen years of carrying my passport, enthusiastically, around in my purse.  Looking for any and every chance to use it.

And then, I had a baby.

It’s cliche, I know. But this commonplace event was and is cherished.

I put down my roll-aboard and picked up my life as a mom. A committed, uncommon mom.

It’s not as glamorous as sitting with high ranking government officials at a black-tie tourism event, that is for sure.

Nothing glamorous about sleeping four winks at a time while your child fights a fever or throws up all over you.

Not one thing.


But that’s your job. That’s what you signed up for.  The hardest work you’ll ever have.

It’s underpaid, under appreciated and to be honest, underwhelming most times.

But the rewards are intense. The love is exponential and the companionship, at least in my case, far surpasses anything I’ve experienced. Other than my relationship with my own parents, of course.

I have created and grown this funny little person, who looks just like me but has her own vibe. Her own style. Her own mind, for which, she is not embarrassed to share.

She is an amazing person who completely owns me.

I try to take her everywhere with me. I figure she can only benefit from our travels and her interaction with new people and things.  Taking her out of school so she can experience the summer home of Salvador Dali or learn about the migration of wild Atlantic Bottle-Nose dolphins first hand – not a problem in my book.

dali egg

There are rules though, now that she’s in 3rd grade. I can’t take her out of school for too long. Especially not in the spring, when they’re getting ready for testing. 

Boring. Totes McGotes.

So these days, when I have to leave her for work trips, I am lost. Devastated. Anxiety-ridden doesn’t even begin to explain it.

I have been preparing for a three-night trip away from her for at least a month. I have a mental checklist – find the right caregiver or place to stay; let the school know, let the aftercare know, reschedule guitar, make sure projects are done…the list is ENDLESS.

Also note, the list is the only way I can manage my madness. If I don’t make a list I over, over prepare to a level of OCD that cannot be heard on any frequency because it is too high pitched.

All of this, for three nights.

I’ve laundered her clothes.  I’ve packed her bags.

Purchased everything she could possibly want to eat for three nights + enough for the two friends she’s staying with. I’ve purchased components of a dinner for the parents of the two friends she’s staying with, as a thank you.

I have an air mattress and bedding packed up.

I have made lunch for the time I’m gone, so the mom doesn’t have to. I’ve printed and signed notes to go in the said lunches.

I’ve sent an email to everyone who is on the contingency plan, alerting them of everyone’s contact numbers, emergency plans, what ifs and all.

Tomorrow I will drop off her pillows and bunny.



And I will still have anxiety over it. Until the moment I get back. 

I’m exhausted with wreck.  Wreckhausted.

Best case scenario, she won’t want to come home. She will have so much fun that she is unmoved by my return.

How’s that for a kick in the taters? I hope she’s so happy she doesn’t even notice I’m gone.

That’s what I hope for, although I will miss her terribly.

“I’ll be ok, mom” she says, when I tell her that I don’t like to leave her. 

She’s growing up. I’m happy and crushed all at the same time.

My tagline? Motherhood, it’s wreckhausting.





A Glock and A Good Eye

18 Feb

According to the Urban Dictionary, “Having a Good Eye” is and expression meaning “Great observation.” Used to commend someone after they notice a particularly subtle yet important thing or detail.

I never felt like I had a particularly “good eye” towards things.

I have style. I have brains. I have a way with words. I have some outstanding dance moves.

That said, I also sometimes pick the most hardest, most ridiculous path, people or pastimes a person could imagine.

There’s a 40+ year track record to consult, if you doubt me.

That’s why when Bob, the elderly attendant at the Trap and Skeet range, told me I had a good eye, I had to marinate in the idea for a while.


It could have been that I busted up those clay pigeons  like they were Rhianna and I was Chris Brown (I hate that guy, never miss an opportunity to stick it to him), on my first go at the sport?

It could have been because I shut down my male counterparts while they “babied” me?

It could have been because my mother was in the spectator area (telling me to hit the low end of the parabolic curve – math teacher) and he wanted to make nice with her?

Or it could have been the thing that is. The thing that I have denied for so long.  The thing I didn’t realize until this week, upon my first attempt at firing weapons….

…that I have a good eye.

It took a Glock 18 Submachine gun on Valentine’s Day to bring it to light.

Before last week, I had never picked up a handgun or any gun to be honest. I never saw the need. Didn’t really understand them. Always tried and mostly succeeded to disarm people with my sharp tongue.

I started boxing recently and found that in excess of a wonderful workout,  I started to feel more confident in my ability to protect myself physically, should the need reveal itself.

It hasn’t, thank goodness, but if it did, I am 1000% sure I could punch someone right, square in the nose or throat and get away. Or stay there and punch the crap out of someone if I chose to.

I don’t imagine myself to be very aggressive on the surface, but poke a bee’s nest and you’ll see what happens.

(Ok, maybe I am a little aggressive)

In my evolution into modern day mom/badass, I have found my stride.

I am trying to do new things and let go of old ones that don’t work, I’ve developed deeper friendships and opened myself up to new experiences.

When the Main Squeeze asked me what I wanted to do for Valentine’s day, I shrugged and said “let’s do anything but go out to dinner.”

Having worked in the hospitality industry for 20 years, dinner out on New Year’s or Valentine’s day (Easter and Mother’s Day too), is such a bummer to me.

The MS started sweating a bit then, I think. I later joked that he has no short or long term memory, to a mutual friend and that was it. He was determined to show me that he could “retain” information.

“You’ll see” he said.

I went to the gym on the morning of Valentine’s Day and when I returned he said “We have an appointment at 2pm.  It’s nearby, it will only take an hour.”

Hmm. Interesting. I’m listening.

We ended up at Lock and Load, a machine gun range in Wynwood, Miami.  I shot three machine guns and one handgun.  25 Rounds on an HK MP5 (both semi-automatic and automatic), 25 Rounds on a  Glock 18 Submachine Gun (both semi-automatic and automatic) and 25 Rounds on a Colt Commando 9mm (both semi-automatic and automatic). Then to finish it off, I had a Ruger handgun (I think).

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It. Was. Crazy.

My instructor, Mike, was great. His passion for the weaponry was infectious. He was a skilled instructor and even harassed me a little bit about focusing with the wrong eye.

It’s adorable when they do that.

When I was done, he pulled my target in and let me see my work for myself.

I have to admit, I was impressed.

lock and load after

 The next day, I traveled back to the Westgate River Ranch for a weekend with my little girl.  We met some friends and family for a weekend of fun.

While we were there, I decided I should shoot a rifle, just for sport, because I needed to round out my one week of weaponry training.

The sheriff who signed me up, chuckled a bit when I said I wanted to shoot stuff. I am sure he was thinking I’d never even show up.

But I did.

And I shot stuff.

I wasn’t half bad either. I was the only female but not the only first-timer.  I hit six out of twenty pigeons. On par with the other shooters of my same experience.


I was happy with that.

With all the guns and ammo of the last seven days, here’s what I found out about myself – all apply to my gun experience and my life.

I like precision over buckshot.

I don’t need that much power to be effective.

Bigger is not always better.

One good shot is all you need.

My performance is enhanced by practice.

I have aim.

I have a good eye.

I am formidable.

The question is – what will I shoot next?


Lock and Load – 2545 N. Miami Ave, Miami FL, 33127/Phone: 305-424-8999- reservations accepted

Westgate River Ranch – 3200 River Ranch Boulevard, River Ranch, FL 33867 /(863) 692-1321