Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Wow - a new blog entry. It's been almost 2 months since I've blogged. Am I lazy? Do I have nothing to say? Am I busy? Yes, yes and yes. But now, as I sit here thinking about the end of 2008 and entering 2009, I've become contemplative. I think about all that happened in 2008 - mostly good things: 2 family weddings, lots of vacations and good times at the pool and parties with great friends, my 10th wedding anniversary, my daughter's 5th and son's 8th birthdays, the 2nd annual "moms gone wild" weekend, getting a new dog, and a reunion with my sister that I've missed for 6 years. And, on a different level of significance, I've discovered facebook, which has reconnected me with family and friends I might not otherwise have talked to nearly as much (but I already wrote about that in another blog post.)

So now I think about what 2009 can bring. So many more possibilities. A few weeks ago, I spent a weekend doing The Landmark Forum, which has really changed my outlook on life. I mentioned to someone else in the Forum at the time that I used to think I was an optimist before (another prior blog post!), but now, I define optimism differently. I have come to realize, through the hard work of the Landmark Forum, that I can decide my future, and not have it decided for me. I control my life - not what happens in life, because none of us can control what happens. But I make the decision how I react to what happens around me. And that is really powerful. Making those decisions based on what you want your life to be is an incredible feeling of empowerment. I create my own life through what I want to be possibile.

So for 2009, I urge everyone else to make their own possibilities. Happy New Year!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Change - it's the big buzz word lately. Everyone wants some kind of change - a change in leadership, a change in the economic landscape, personal change, even just a change of the weather. Everything is about change.

One inevitable change is getting older. Aging is a natural human process that everyone goes through, but some don't do so as gracefully as others. Take Hollywood actresses (or other celebrities --uh...hello. Joan Rivers?!? What were you thinking?!?!) who think plastic surgery to look younger is just a part of life. Use good skin care products, color your hair, exercise, watch what you eat, wear contacts instead of glasses. If you must, you can find plenty of ways to make yourself not look as old as you are that don't include surgery (or injecting a live virus into your facial muscles...another topic that just grosses me out!)

But why must you do that? What makes us, as a society, associate getting older as something negative? Something to be defied and denied at all costs? We ALL - every human being - gets older every day. At the same pace. I will be one day older tomorrow than I am today (38 years and 136 days)...and so will you, and so will everyone else on the planet. What is wrong with that?? I say nothing.

Maybe I'm in a minority - I am proud of my age. I'm 38 and not afraid to say it. 38. 38. 38. And I look forward to each birthday as an occasion to celebrate - I made it through another year of life. I don't care if I'm one of those people who "looks good for her age" - what does 38 look like anyway? What matters is that I feel good about myself at any age, no matter how I look. I am proud of who I am now, and really looking forward to who I will be - not what I look like - when I'm 40, and 48, and 58, and God willing, 68, 78, 88, and 98.

I consider each each wrinkle, each grey hair, each need to squint a little more each day, as a badge of pride - proof I have lived my 38+ years, and I lived them well. I earned these wrinkles, and I don't really care who knows it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


We had dinner together last night - just the four of us, at the dining room table. That's a rare occurance these days - and it was just so nice to have that brief amount of family time together. We talked about each other - what we like and love about each other - and I heard out loud some sentiments that I suspected were there, but rarely, if ever, voiced out loud. Two examples: Ryan really does like it when Katie plays Wii with him; Katie likes that Ryan is sweet. They actually do enjoy doing things together and conspiring against either me or Mark, or both of us. It's not always apparent, but I know it's there, just under the surface.

Katie suggested that one of the reasons that Mark and I love each other is because we kissed at our wedding. That doesn't even start to explain it all.

So on nights like last night, I realize that I'm doing something right. I may not be a perfect mom or a perfect wife, and I'm sure there will be lots of therapy in my kids' future for some reason or another, but for now, I feel good about the mom and wife I am.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I don't usually blog at work, but I don't think any colleagues read this, so I think I'm safe...

October is a crazy busy time of year for me at work. It's the same every year - planning a week's worth of training programs, getting the attorneys to do their evaluations, projecting headcount figures and part of the budget for next year. All the while distracted by what the kids and Mark and I will be for Halloween.

Yet every October, I start out thinking that "it's not going to be that stressful, tiring, that much work this year." Maybe because I've been doing these same tasks every October for at least the past 5 years and think that it's mostly routine - yet it always is as stressful, tiring and as much (or more) work as the year before, and the year before that... Still, I can't help but go into it with a sense of optimism.

Because I'm an optimist. If something bad happens, my immediate reaction is: "Okay, what's going to make it better? Not..."oh my God, this is the worst possible thing." I believe that bad thing cannot be the focus, because it will be fed by my negative thoughts and become a stronger bad thing. So my focus instead is on what will make it better.

Some people think that is unrealistic - that it is just my way of not facing reality - that this bad thing is there, and the possibility of it getting worse is very real, and what if that worse thing does happen? I know that. I realize that bad things do get worse. And if that bad thing gets worse, I'll face it when it does. But in the meantime, my energy is focused on believing it will get better. Because that does happen too. In my 38+ years of life, I've learned that some bad things get worse, and some get better. So I make the choice to focus my energy on the possible better, not the possible worse.

So next October will inevitably come, and I'll go into it thinking, this year will not be that bad. And I might be wrong. But I believe that someday, I'll be right.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I was with a few friends earlier tonight for an informal 40th surprise party; and only now that I think about it, I realize how different we are from each other. There was: our nanny - who is really a part of our family - and her husband, 21 yr. old daughter and 11 yr. old son; her niece and nephew and their 1 yr. old daughter; all of them are Mexican. The birthday "boy", his wife and 2 daughters (3 and 1) are black. And finally, the couple with their 3 yr. old daughter (who are expecting a second baby in the Spring) are from India.

When I was 8 or 5 - my kids ages - I had very little interaction with families not like mine- white, middle class, suburban. I would never have been exposed to a night like tonight because all of my parents friends were white, middle class, suburban. I didn't sit in a classroom with someone who had a different color skin than me until I got to high school. And even then, the only minority represented was a handful of black girls.

How times have changed. For the better. My kids live a completely opposite childhood from mine. Differences in people's skin color, language, accent, mean absolutely nothing to them. They spend their school day with children who are so diverse that their school is nicknamed "the Rainbow school."

I started this blog by saying how different we all were - but as I write more I realize we're really much more alike than different. We all work to provide for our family, we all get together with friends for life celebrations, and we all teach our kids that people are people - no matter what they look like, what language they speak or what neighborhood they live in.

Hopefully, my kids will never have to teach the same lesson to their kids - it will just be a part of their life.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dancing with the Stars

I started writing about the tanking stock market and the economy - but I got depressed and angry. So I stopped.

Then I started watching Dancing with the Stars. It's anything but depressing. I never watched this show before last week. But now I'd be happy to watch it any day. It doesn't bother me like some "reality" shows like Survivor or Big Brother. It's entertaining, fun, and the stars look like they are really having a great time. I could do without all the "fluff" but I guess they do have to fill up two hours. And the Stars don't trash each other - they like doing what they are doing and they don't have to scheme, plot, and bad mouth each other to succeed.

My favorite is Warren Sapp - he's having a GREAT time. For such a big guy, he can move pretty gracefully. He's really enjoying it and just having fun.

Watching the show is just plain fun. Mindless, enjoyable, fun. It's great to lose yourself for an hour or two just watching people dance. Makes me want to take a dance class.

Now that's exercise I might actually enjoy.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fall and Baseball

I love fall. The leaves changing, the cripsness in the air, getting my fall and winter wardrobe out of the closet, and many other reasons. But what also defines fall for me is baseball.

I've always been a sports chick. As a kid, I played sports with my town boys and girls club, and at my elementary school. I played basketball, bowling, and softball - because back in the 70's, girls didn't play baseball. And I loved watching sports too: football, basketball, but especially baseball. I went to baseball games at Yankee Staduim as a kid - and have always loved the sport. I still love going to games when I can and was lucky enough - thanks to my Red Sox fan husband committing what is probably considered illegal in Red Sox Nation - to go to a game this past July during the last season in the original house that Ruth built.

Baseball has become a part of my life like no other sport. I can't really explain it. It is still my favorite sport to watch or attend in person. I don't watch much during the summer - it's such a busy time of year. But when fall rolls around, and playoffs start, I'm there. I'm watching whoever is playing - be it the Yankees, Red Sox, or other teams I could care less about. I've got "fall fever" for baseball. I just love it.

Of course, I'd love it a little more if the Yankees were playing - but there's always next year.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ahh... the video game. I'm old enough to remember Atari and Pong, and then the way more advanced Asteriods, Frogger and Pac Man - and let's not forget the Gloria Steinem version, Ms. Pac Man. And now... along comes the Wii. We thought we were teaching our son this great lesson in that whatever allowance he saved from January until his birthday (last week) we would match it and buy a Wii. He saved about $100; we matched it 2-1, and now the Wii takes up a prominent place near the big screen TV.

We try to be good parents - in that we limit our kids to 1/2 hour a day on the Wii - which would sometimes become more like an hour if they behaved extra well, or if friends were over. And it didn't bother me so much when they were playing tennis, bowling, or boxing because at least they were moving around. Now I know those don't take a lot of physical activity, but at least you're standing and moving your arms to play those. And now we've moved on to Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Smash Bros. Brawl. And we've gone back in time - almost counter to what I thought the Wii was supposed to accomplish. For those games, the player is back to sitting on the couch, a controller in each hand, with non-stop fingers moving on both remotes.

But... is there anything really wrong with that? We all grew up with some influence our parents thought bad for us - be it Atari, the Walkman, or Madonna. And we are came out okay in the end. So if my kids get plenty of time outside to balance the 1/2 hr. to hour they spend playing Wii and if they do everything they are expected to do (chores, get dressed, brush teeth) before turning it on, I'm pretty confident they will turn out okay too.

And I'm really looking forward to Santa bringing me the Wii fit for Christmas.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Being a mom who works outside the home full time is tough. My friends tell me that being a stay at home mom is also tough. Many women straddle them both by working either in or out of the home during non-traditional work hours. All of us moms face challenges no matter what our category. We are all the same - it's the challenges that are different.

There are days when I just want to give up working and trade it in - I want to stay home, if only to make my life's logistics easier. Tomorrow is a day off from school, and my usual child care provider is out of the country. Back up plans fell through, so I'm left making yet more arrangements. Would this be an issue if I stayed home full time, or worked non-traditional hours? Probably not.

But then I ask myself if that is the right decision, or just the emotionally right decision right now. Would it make logistics easier? Absolutely. Would my children be able to play more than one sport or activity at one time? Heck, yeah. Would I be able to volunteer more at church, the elementary school, or for some other cause? Probably. Would I be happy? Probably not.

I know me - and I know that staying home full time would only result in resentment years from now. I need to be away from my home and my kids and do the work I really like doing in order to be fulfilled. Without that, I could not be a good parent or a good wife because I would not be happy. And then there's the economic impact it would have on my family which, especially these days, is a frightening thought.

So I figure out my childcare situation, I only volunteer in the classroom for Halloween and Valentine's day (one party per kid), and participate in church when I can either go to evening meetings, or take my kids with me. My kids pick one sport/activity at a time, and usually only those that happen on weekends.

Mostly, I rely heavily on all of my friends - a lot of whom are SAHMs - to fill in the gaps when they can. Somehow, they always do. They offer help before I even ask. They don't get aggravated with me when I do ask, again! for help with transportation, child care, or anything else. I don't know how they do it.

Thank you friends. For you all, I'm incredibly grateful. You've taught me that it really does take a village.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I have writer's block. Three blogs under my belt, and now I'm at a loss. I guess all I had on my mind that was dying to get out was how I had a self-revelation in Florida, how addicted I am to facebook, and that I'm a proud Jersey Girl. Nice. I always thought I was deeper than that.

I think I'm just too tired to think straight. I've been up too late this week writing those posts, watching TV, and chatting on Facebook. I've got a busy weekend ahead with Mark's elbow surgery, my son's 8th birthday party, his baseball game, my daughter's Irish Dance class, a friend's surprise birthday party, and a new dog that my daughter won't even be in the same zip code with.

So I'll turn off the computer early tonight, maybe watch the season premire of my favorite TV show Criminal Minds (Shermar Moore can profile me any day!) and then get some sleep.

Stay tuned; I'm sure after this weekend, I'll have lots to say...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Jersey Girl

I've only recently totally embraced my identity as a Jersey Girl. Oh yes, back in the day the hair was sprayed with cans and cans of Aqua Net - I may be solely responsible for that hole in the ozone layer; I sported a gold "J" inital ring on my right index finger; and had an "Italian Princess" charm necklace thanks to an Aunt who indulged me (my parents would NEVER have bought that for me). Our family went "down the shore" in the summer, and my friends and I loved going to Great Adventure when we could. My favorite music was Billy Joel (NOT Jersey; I think I was somehow part Long Island Princess) and Bruce Springsteen - a native Jersey boy. I had a soft spot for anything Sinatra. But I wasn't into hair bands then - that was a little too "wild" for me. Regretfully, I didn't appreciate Jon Bon Jovi until much more recently.

When I moved out of Jersey for college, and summers during college, and then post-college to the DC area, I really didn't miss it. I have to admit that I was a little ashamed to be from NJ - it tends to be the armpit of the Tri-State area (Staten Island being a close second.) So I was glad to be able to establish an identity outside of what mall I shopped at and what exit I lived near. I was certainly glad to drop the "Joisy" accent that still subconciously creeps back when I spend any amount of time there. The hair is no longer permed and teased within an inch of it's life, the gold jewelry got pushed to the back of the jewelry box (the "J" ring was lost on a beach somewhere - thankfully!), and I really don't remember when I was last "down the shore."

But almost two years back, Jon Bon Jovi triggered my re-connection to Jersey, and now I wear my Jersey Girl identity on my sleeve. I saw him interviewed by Larry King late one night - ironically while staying at my mom's house in NJ - and developed a whole new appreciation for him. He is a ridiculously smart businessman, incredibly talented singer/songwriter, and quite cute (uh... understatement of the year; my husband reads this blog). And he's really proud of being from New Jersey. I now know the lyrics to most Bon Jovi songs, and I'm teaching them to my kids. My 5 year old daughter even wants to go to the next concert with me. And in case you missed it, this blog got its name from a Bon Jovi lyric.

I guess you can take the girl out of Jersey, but you'll never, ever take Jersey out of the girl. I have quite a few Jersey Girl friends here in Maryland and I think we all feel the same way. None of us really want to go back to live there (even I'll admit it still smells a lot) but we are proud of our Jersey Girl status. We'll always be Jersey Girls no matter where we live. And I guess we're so cool that we have at least one "wanna be a Jersey Girl" friend. We've given her "honorary" Jersey Girl status. Now if only we could get her an initial ring for her right index finger.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


So as not to make my friend cry, I've decided to not write about anything serious today. Instead, I'll write about Facebook.

I've known about Facebook for quite sometime, due to an incredibly smart husband who knew what "social media" was and the power of it long before it was even invented. But only recently did I create my page and really start using it. And it's become an addiction. There's really no better description than that. Someone else's Facebook friend called it "Facecrack" and it's totally true in my case. Right up there with my daily Starbucks.

There are a few things that surprise me: first, I commuicate on there more with friends who I see more often than with friends I rarely see. I thought it would be opposite, but I guess it makes sense that even though I see them every day - or just about - I still have the most to say to them.

Second - the family I've reconnected with. We've had two family weddings this past spring and I was lucky to connect with two particuar cousins at my sister's that I hadn't seen in at least 10 years. We don't communicate every day, but we'll send each other virtual drinks, add to each other's sea gardens, or just shoot a quick comment to on occassion. I've learned so much more about another cousin, his new baby and his recent successful book tour that I MIGHT have heard about a few months from now after the next time my aunt talked to my mom - and my mom, much as I love her, would have gotten some detail wrong - like the book tour being in Paris instead of London. So I'm really happy to have the personal connection myself. And the encouragement to keep writing from an actual writer who enjoyed my first blog post. (So blame him if the rest suck!)

And finally - the most recent connections I've made are with a few friends from college. At first I felt unsure about opening all those doors again. I thought that if we were such good friends, why did we lose touch to begin with? And I'm such a different person now than I was back then. But connecting with two particular friends today was such a good experience, I really think I'm ready for more. Yes, I'm a different person than I was 15 years ago. But then, aren't we all??

So I'm sure I'll be even more and more addicted as time goes on. I'll talk to some friends more than others; send more flair, bumper stickers, and shots; take stupid quizzes; chat; share and tag pictures; brag about my husband and kids. And to all friends and family not (YET!) on Facebook, get on there and be my friend. I'm dying to know more about you.

One more thing... if anyone out there can feed, water and pet my virtual dog Brownie, please do so. I'll be too busy super-poking more and more friends.

Monday, September 22, 2008


My husband has had a blog (two actually) for quite some time. A good friend recently started one as well. So I thought it was now my turn. Not long ago when my son asked why I didn't have a blog, I told him I didn't have much to say. I realize that's not true - I have a lot to say, but the question is, I don't know who wants to hear it. I guess I'll find out.

There are four priorities in my life - my husband, my children, my friends and my family. I'm sure most of my posts will be about those subjects. This time, I'll start with my friends.

I had an amazing weekend with my friends. It was Moms Gone Wild 2 - a weekend we started when two close friends moved to Texas and Florida. I thought it would be all fun and games - drinking games actually. But when I returned home last year, when I was asked how the weekend was, all I could answer was: spiritual. Not in the religious sense, but in that my spirit was touched - deeply touched - by these 7 women of various ages, strengths, backgrounds. Our kids may all be in the same age range and the reason we know each other, but we each brought something different that weekend and each of them touched my life, my spirit, in ways I had never imagined.

I returned home this year with another, different revelation. I was again expecting fun and games - again, drinking games; I was again expecting to be spiritually touched, perhaps in different ways. But more importantly, I realized something about myself that I've probably always known. I'm the "responsible one" - I was like that when I was 10 years old, and I continue to be that way now. I took care of my siblings then, and I take care of my friends now (and my family of course, but that should go without saying!). It's who I was, who I am, and who I always will be.

Why is this a revelation? As I said, I've probably known, realized, been aware of this forever. But this weekend made me face it head on. It connects me, validates me, gives me purpose. I HAVE to take care of others - it's not what I do, it's who I am. I am the one who sits in the visitor chair and gets my hand squeezed when the doctor gives the prognosis. Yes, any of the other four strong women could and would have done that in a heartbeat. But I MUST be that person. Not because I think they can't, but because I can't not.

Thanks to my friends for teaching me this without even knowing it. I look forward to learning so much more from you than you'll ever know.