I am a Nerd!

Ok maybe this is no shock to those who have known me for a while but it’s been a bit of a blind spot for me. Or maybe at the tender age of 46 I’m done striving to be someone I’m just not and am embracing the real me. Either way, I am somewhat elated to realize that being a nerd truly makes me happy and has energized me way beyond what I thought possible. As I recently rewatched the Stranger Things Episode with Suzie and Dustin’s Never Ending Story performance, I am realizing that I’m in good company.

To step back to my New Year’s “Proverbial Get Your Shit Together” post, Happy New Year!, I have always said, one day I’m going to be my best self, which looked something like this in my head:

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

That woman is fabulous, with incredible hair and a gorgeous look. Her face is perfectly contoured, her lips lined to the nines and on her head nary a hair out of place. I bet she can wear white with the best of them, without splashing oil on it while she cooks her dog hamburger for dinner (guilty).

Guess what y’all, that’s not me. I can’t have white clothes and my hair is always somewhat frizzy, no matter how much I blow it out. I’m done sacrificing comfort for platform heels, largely because of an incident where I fell in the middle of a Michelin 3 star restaurant. I had done my face up for a webex call below, which gets me looking half way decent, but my damn hair is still a mess because I haven’t been to my stylist in months (sorry Lisa!) and even though I blew it out it’s still looking somewhat scary… I just didn’t get that gene where you prioritize your looks and all the maintenance that goes along with it.

BUT I got the nerdy gene and it’s AWESOME!!

Aside from reading some great time management books over my last vacation, which have already helped me manage my workflow significantly better, I have delved head-first into my latest obsession with science. During covid, my daughter got me watching Grey’s Anatomy, which led me to https://youtube.com/c/crashcourse, where you can basically get an entire education for free. Plus, Hank & John are ridiculously entertaining, flying the nerd flag high and achieving wild success along the way. Check them out below. By the way, while most women are lovin’ on the Brad Pitts of the world, I have a relatively large crush on Hank. He’s the one spraying champagne in his face below.


My new interests led me to spend a small fortune on science books because this entire field had passed me by. And of course, whenever I get interested in something I must go out and spend $500 immediately. In high school I was completely anti-science; I just didn’t connect with the material and I couldn’t see the big picture. But now I’m bouncing back and forth between YouTube Videos and books, all excited, learning about the world around me. My latest puchases below:

I am excited about knowing how polarized molecules help me clean my dishes better. I now know how and why my proteins coagulate in cooking. Let’s talk about the magnitude of sequencing the human genome!!! Who knew which system the spleen was part of? Thermodynamics, where have you been all my life? I never thought that these sentences would come out of my mouth, but here I am, embracing them and loving every minute of it. They make me happy.

Happy isn’t something you eventually achieve when all your big plans fall into place one magical day. Happiness is every small minute you claim for yourself to feed your soul.

Ditching the Crutches!

I am so thrilled because for the first time in two and a half weeks I can walk (sort of) without crutches! If you didn’t read my latest, I recently tore my calf muscle. For the full and entertaining story, click here: Finding Humor in Injury. This week, I sported better compression socks and have been heating my leg regularly, both of which have led to a speedier progression out of this hell hole. By the way, that hell hole is both metaphorical and actual, as all my stuff strewn about me on the couch made it appear to be a literal hell hole as well. Unfortunately I didn’t get a full shot of the mess, but you can see a bit of it below behind Benji, and he looks super cute as well.

As I reflected upon the last two and a half weeks, there have been some really humorous outcomes to share. For example, I discovered Grub Hub, as my injury is basically a license not to cook. I know I’m late to the party on this one and thankfully too because I would have done far more damage during the pandemic. If you aren’t familiar, you can basically get a complete meal for your entire family from a nearby restaurant of your choice delivered straight to your door within 20-30 minutes. Or you can happily get secret snacks for you! If you recall from my New Year’s resolution post Happy New Year! I am supposed to be watching what I eat. I wasn’t doing badly and had dropped about 15 pounds. Don’t be too congratulatory, it’s the same 15 pounds I always drop and inevitably put back on, but nonetheless it was gone for a short time. I suspect however that once I can stand on the scale again without falling right back off, the chickens will come to roost. (I had to look this one up because I don’t use this expression that often. Apparently the chickens come home to roost. So I was a bit off on their exact location, but basically those bitches are coming back fast and furious, and I’ll be chunky all over again)

Today was a great example. Through our recent move to New Jersey, we have discovered Playa Bowls, which began in Belmar NJ and apparently has 140 locations nationwide. I hope they have one near you because they are awesome! http://www.playabowls.com. Their bowls are made of all sorts of healthy stuff like chia pudding and fruit. The only issue is that I also end up getting peanut butter and nutella added so, probably a wash in the end. And even though I have my exciting, newfound mobility today, I am still somewhat limited. For example, let’s review the aforementioned hell hole on my couch. I was able to collect and sort all my essential belongings, but I needed to put them all in bags so that other people could carry them up the stairs for me. This methodology was not only for my own safety but also for my family’s quality of life, becuase I inevitably would somehow fall back down the stairs and end up once aggain in the hospital. No one wants to keep going down that road.

Because I sometimes have a bad habit of not including all of my family members in the food ordering, I assessed the current situation. My son will be doing his own thing so he won’t need in and I don’t think he’s into the bowls anyway. I believe my husband secretly thinks this whole food delivery thing is a slippery slope but he’s trying to keep his mouth shut because he knows the consequences with messing with me in a hungry and somewhat inconvenienced state. So I facetime my accomplice (daughter) across the house because I know she’ll be into it and she’ll get our food from the door and bring it to me when it arrives. I’m super comfy in my blanket and wouldn’t want to inconvenience the dog sleeping next to me.

After making fun of me because my face is super red from writing at the computer too long, she agrees to the plan. I am happy to say the bowls arrived safely and I have the sustenance I need to keep moving! I probably should take all that energy and shower.

So while on the mend, I still have a long road in front of me. First to phsyical therapy, then back to the constant struggle of eating like an asshole and then trying to develop better habits to counteract it. But today I had something to celebrate! While I’m told by my Noom coach that I’m supposed to change my celebrating habits from eating and drinking to some kind of group yoga session, I figure it’s all about balance. Cheers to a new day on my own two feet!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Finding Humor in Injury

As I sit here waiting for someone to take pity on me and make me my bagel, I’m reflecting on the humorous aspects of my most recent injury. Let me catch everyone up.

About a week and a half ago I was merrily thinking about everything else while carrying my dog into the groomer’s. Our adopted stray is wonderful with us but suffers from certain anxieties, one of them being the groomer. As I was carrying him in, I neglected to pay attention to the large cement parking barrier, much like the one below:

In case you are wondering, it was very prominent with its fluorescent yellow coloring and I believe they paint it that way so people notice it.

As you can imagine, I was not one of those aware folks. Mind you, I had just the week before finished my physical therapy from falling up my concrete front steps and destroying most parts of my left ring finger, the bone, ligaments and such.

My physical therapist upon parting said something like, don’t fall again and we’ll see you soon. I think they can just tell who will be back….

So I ended up like this with crutches and a dream that it would all be ok soon. Notice by the way, the dog is fine. I made sure that I didn’t fall on him.

When I went to the orthopedist earlier this week, she gave me a boot which seemingly improved my mobility and made me feel invincible! I was walking up and down stairs like a normal human! I got all gussied up for my work webexes and felt like I was ahead of the curve! I look all intense and ready to conquer the world!

Until everything collapsed and I had to reel in my bad self and get back on the couch for the foreseeable future. Now I’m confined to watching my leg turn spectacular hues of yellow and purple and contemplating my newfound existence.

This time period has given me a good indication of the level of love my children and husband feel for me. At the beginning, they waited on me without reserve. Now, at the mere sound of my voice, there is immediate eye rolling and sighing complete with the “whaaaaaattttttt?????” response. They know I’ll be asking them to bring me something and they are over it. I reflect upon the months of carrying and the labor with which my children were delivered and think, god forbid when I end up in my twilight years…

There have been many choice quotes as of late that if you heard on any other given day shouted throughout my home you might be frightened. Such as today when I shouted to my daughter upstairs, “can you throw down my tweezers, I’m going to post my leg picture to the world and I haven’t been able to wax!!!” I also have been quite judicious about taking the pain medicine they gave me but on Friday night I felt like I had earned it and shouted to my husband, “can you throw me a hard seltzer so I can wash down my Vicodin?”

My husband keeps asking me “what did we learn”, and I’m supposed to dutifully reply, “Look down, pay attention to where I’m going, slow down” I think I’ll make a habit of topping off my daily to do list with, “don’t hurt myself.” It’s a wonder I’m allowed to leave the house unsupervised sometimes. Cheers to finding the humor in pain.

Because We Knew You

The tinkling of the chimes, the voices of women glorious, the light streaming brilliant through the magnificient stained glass windows of the Cathedral. The church bells as they struck somber at exactly 11am, the pain felt as the casket came into view.

The music was pure and perfect, just as she would have wanted; Karen’s cymbals and Diane’s keys. The classy hot pink scarves placed perfectly upon black garments, the hope in the face of darkness. The quiet, brief interlude of Glory of Love, reminscent of Beaches and the tears I cried when I was so young. I remember not being able to fathom how I would ever live without my best friend, knowing how those closest to Chris were facing that now.

The solists had incredible poise and without a tear delivered the most incredible performances, capturing hearts, as Chris often did, time and time again. For those of us not able to be there in person, gratefully watching from all over the county, 450 viewers and increasing as it went. Hearts, tears and hug emojis poured out as if we were all there together in person. The incredible duet of “For Good” from Wicked, said exactly what we all felt. “Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.” And the small, subtle embrace at the end by these two incredible singers showcased the simplicity of how we must be there for each other through this incredibly difficult time.

By watching Chris over the years, we learned that you practice until you get it right. You project. You enunciate. You glorify. You stand with poise. You exude the pride and the honor from which you came. You show how proud yet humbled you are to be there.You are representing a generation of women who accomplish great feats and who share their gifts with the world for good. Chris influenced the entire Bay View sisterhood, whether you worked on those shows or not. We are all leaders in our own way because of her. We all shared in her magic. Whether on the stage, behind the curtain or in the audience, we all are better for her gifts.

The ending of this funeral was pure inspiration. Her son brilliantly delivered an incredible eulogy of all that was fantastic about his mom. His stories of humor and love showcased a woman who was multidimential in all the best ways. Chris was brought back down the aisle accompanied by the glory and percussion of “Let the River Run” which was the most triumphant exit I have ever witnessed at a funeral mass. Those who spoke of her throughout the mass referenced her light. “We should all be shining lamps, giving light to all those around us.” Dostoevsky’s quote “Beauty will save the world” will live long in our hearts.

To me personally, Chris left a legacy of an incredibly deep love and appreciation of music and lyrics. Certain songs have shepherded me through my greatest days and my darkest nights. Today, I sit with the beauty and simplicity of “The Glory of Love”. Mrs. Kavanagh’s life was a model of putting love at the center of all you do. In the movie Beaches, Bette Midler reminisces about her lost friend. “This is a song I’ve been singing for a long time. It’s like an old friend. But, you know, I think it, it’s only recently that I discovered what it’s really about.”

“You’ve got to give a little, take a little,
and let your poor heart break a little.
That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.

You’ve got to laugh a little, cry a little,
until the clouds roll by a little.
That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.

As long as there’s the two of us,
we’ve got the world and all it’s charms.
And when the world is through with us,
we’ve got each other’s arms.

You’ve got to win a little, lose a little,
yes, and always have the blues a little.
That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.
That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.”

We’ll miss you dearly Mrs. K, but we’ll carry on your love.

Happy New Year!

Time to get your proverbial shit together!

Fear not, this is not a typical article on 5 ways to get your shit together in the New Year. I would definitely not be the person to write that post. I would be more the person to write the post, how to get it together for maybe 2 and a half weeks at most.

Without getting too graphic, I have a rather large bookshelf replete with books supporting the self-help industry. I have been trying to become “the perfect me” since roughly 1997. I’ve had this image in my head of who I’ve wanted to be. She looks like this:

But the problem is, I can’t escape the real me, who shows up most often times more like this…

At the tender age of 46, I have begun to try to embrace the authentic me. I’ve always been that person who has been accomplished on the resume and somewhat of a mess “off-stage.” But in reality I’ve prided myself on my “real” side. Or sometimes I’ve referred to it as my “F-you to society” and it’s barbie-like expecations. Or maybe I just don’t feel like doing my hair. In any event, I try to embody Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook:


So here we go again…

5 Ways I’ll try to get my shit together AGAIN in 2022

  • Once again, I will try to lose weight and shake off the myriad of bad eating sins heretofore committed. These include but are not limited to: the chocolate cheesecake from Christmas Eve, the mashed potatoes and gravy from Thanksgiving, all the mini Reese’s cups I ate in secret just before Halloween, the cheese fries from the shore this summer and the unlimited amounts of cheese stolen by the refrigerator light at night.
  • Once again, I will try to cook ahead of time in bulk so I can properly feed my children so that I can stop singlehandedly upholding the restaurant industry. I feel bad when they come to my desk at the end of a long day and say, “Mom, is there dinner?” and I don’t have a dinner or even a semblance of a plan to make dinner or actually any of the ingredients truly needed to make that mythical dinner if I so chose.
  • Once again, I will try to keep the house clean so that if someone visits unexpectedly, they will not call CPS. It never ceases to amaze me the filth that we can acumlate over a mere 12 hours time…truly, it’s a family talent. From laundry accumulation to dish pilings by the sink to socks on the floor and finally the mound of mail by my desk, they are all a never ending existential representation of my inner state of mind.
  • Once again, I will try to exercise more so that I can somehow capture that energy that all those healthy people have because they work out. Those people always amaze me. They glow with the radiance of vitality. I glow more with the pallor of one who can’t tan.
  • Once again, I will try to not let work dominate my every evening thought so that I can escape the cycle of OCD that most definitely has found it’s way to me from my gene pool. Unfortunately, it’s not the kind of OCD that keeps your house clean. It’s the one where I just keep obsessing over every little thing I could have done differently over the course of the day, how I could have been better, where my shortcomings were and the overwhelm of not being perfect for the start of the day tomorrow. No wonder I’m always exhausted…

No matter the outcome of all these plans, I just want to embrace more often the humor that has kept me going all my life. If I can harness that more in daily life, I’ll be on to something. Cheers to your resolutions for 2022!


This past week I had the good fortune to travel back home for a small, off-milestone, high school class reunion. Maybe better said, a small gathering of interested parties. I had been back and forth lately from my home in New Jersey to help my aging mom and this get-together fit perfectly into my schedule. What I didn’t see coming was how impactful the experience would be for me.

I suppose my leisure reading as of late had put me in a mindset of being open, curious and grateful. The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, had reminded me to keep searching for my “personal legend” or follow my heart, no matter what responsibilities had clouded its vision. Ada Calhoun’s Why We Can’t Sleep had reported that Gen X women are currently sandwiched in between caring for elder parents, growing children and suffering from the heavy and huge expectations that were placed upon us as kids. We were the first generation of women who could truly have it all. The issue was that no one told us how large a load that would be, or how we’d constantly be asking ourselves if we had made the right decisions along the way. If you didn’t have kids you’d have to justify why in public settings, or if you did you’d be constantly worrying about the level of attention you were giving based upon all your other duties.

During this short, 4 hour or so homecoming, I had conversations that shed light on the 25 year life choices of all of us. Some of us chose to have families, some did not. Some made choices where they said goodbye to long held dreams in the pursuit of something unexpectedly better. Some laughed in the face of conservative normalized traditions to follow what their hearts told them was right.

We came clean about how had we had viewed the world back in high school. Caste structures of classes kept many of us from truly getting to know one another. We told stories of how we were suddenly shunned, or had to find new friends, based upon the whim of social popularity standards so intensely craved during those formative and sometimes harrowing years. We learned about true, lasting friendship. Some had to bear loads far too heavy for any young high schooler, given the dirty politics of real life and relentless press coverage on top of it.

In my life right now, I’m going through the middle/high school years with my own children, which are so evocative of memories of my past, both good and bad. I am trying to shepherd an aging, strictly conservative aging mom through the next stage of her life. During this small reuniting, I spoke to girls I hadn’t spoken to in 25 years, maybe more given our cliques, and received short but brilliant nuggets of advice which filled my heart with the determination to move forward. I was inspired by those who had made choices in the face of adversity, with the fortitude of a true, living superwoman hero.

As I said goodbye with robust hugs, hoping to capture my true emotions, I was offered future rides for my mom to church, heartfelt “I love yous” from those to whom I hadn’t uttered a word in 25 years, and a myriad of invitations for my next time in town. But most importantly, I left with the courage to keep going. I would take with me examples of the strength to face any and all challenges head on. I left with the spirit of a group of strong, accomplished and fearless women who would light the way. I had realized the true meaning of returning home, grateful to have been so lucky to experience it all.

New Beginnings

This past year was a scary one for our family. We took a complete leap of faith and moved to a new place. It was an agonizing decision which came complete with many sleepless nights. The fear of the unknown was palpable and this decision could completely dismantle a steady, anchored life. But Jay and I knew it was best for the family and that North Star guided us the entire way.

We made many promises to our children ahead of the move. We told them they would make new friends and double the friend base they already had. We told them it would make them stronger and more resilient people. We told them we would have closer access to the city and to the beautiful Jersey Shore. We told them they would enjoy a beautiful new neighborhood and be out all the time with their newfound friends. Secretly, I wondered if all this would really come true.

As we are finally completing the school year, I can say that everything actually came true! We are all so thrilled with our new home and both the incredible neighbors and experiences that have come with it. As someone who grew up in the same house and went to the same school all my life, I was fraught with fear on how the move would impact the strength and stability of my kids. But they rose to the challenge of making new friends and I have been so impressed with the depth and quality of those relationships.

Monumental change is terrifying. But resilience and all the personal growth that comes with it is incredibly rewarding. I am so proud of my family for keeping its roots and growing new branches. When the winds come, we will be both stronger and more flexible. Challenge accomplished.

Finding Energy

Have you had days where you have energy in complete abundance and others where you are struggling just to exist? I have had plenty of instances of both. In my quest to harness the maximum amount of energy each day, I have found resources which differentiate several types of energy and how to recognize deficiencies in each and how to replenish. These findings have been amazing for me because I no longer blame lack of energy on sleep alone.

The four types of energy which are cited are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. What was so important for me to learn in all of this was that not all exhaustion is cured with sleep. The emotional category especially hit home for me because being a highly sensitive person, I always absorb everyone’s emotional energy around me. It is a clear personality trait. But if I am cognizant of it, I can more easily erect barriers or talk myself down when it’s happening. I can also recognize that I will need some extra down time when I encounter highly emotional situations. It’s obvious they can’t be avoided, but how I deal with them can give me back massive amounts of energy that I was previously losing.

These pieces also explain why just talking to a friend for even 15 minutes per day can give us that extra little boost. It is amazing how much stress can evaporate simply by taking the time to relate. That amount of replenishment can actually give us back hours that we might have otherwise lost to feeling exhausted from stress. Little adjustments can make a big difference.

These resources also ask that you take note of your own energy patterns so that you can maximize your own rhythms. These are always specific to each person and it necessitates that you spend some time being mindful of how you feel and react during individual situations. After observing myself for only a short time now, I can honestly say that I have been able to discover some really interesting findings. Most importantly, I know when I am at my best and can give more of my best to the world.

Check out the following couple resources on energy replenishment:



Seasons Change

There’s both a celebration and a melancholy that happens during the change of seasons. This season’s change is especially difficult, as we say goodbye to our pools, beaches, long warm nights and glorious early morning sunrises. This weekend, Instagram is filled with trips to the beach with captions focused on capturing those last summer days.

The rain that falls in the background this morning is a perfect backdrop to reflect on the summer that was. It was a summer of great loss when we lost my best friend’s mom. But I was asked to celebrate her life in the eulogy which gave me the opportunity to pay her great tribute. I remember one day in college talking to her about what I wanted to do for a living and she asked, “Why don’t you write?” I feel that through this blog I’m fulfilling at least part of those dreams. She gave me wonderful summer memories of our trips to the beach, with Billy Joel’s Koheupt album blasting through the speakers of the red islander jeep with its top off.

We rode plenty of roller coasters this summer as my 9 year old daughter has become far more adventurous than me. I have gone along for the ride and conquered many of my own fears. Everything seemed to become easier for me with each more difficult coaster. I believe they call that, “leaning in to discomfort.” Sometimes, the child teaches the parent, if you are open enough to listen.

I am often reminded at times like these that it is the journey, not the destination, which is most important. I know that these years with my children will be some of the best memories of my life. Every moment I took their hand or we leaned on each other on the couch, comes together in a magnificent mosaic of a lifetime. The summer memories of each trip, which we as parents painstakingly took to plan, will be the good times they will rely on in their darker times. I know I recall my summer moments growing up with great love and fondness. May all your special summer moments remain with you as we step forward to our next autumn journey.

Book Review: How Children Succeed

In case you weren’t aware, I was an English major with an education minor in college. My favorite classes of all were the ones in education. I think it might have been because my teacher was absolutely incredible. She had a way of bringing me out of my shell and actually opening my mouth, for the first time in my entire school career. She made me feel like my opinions and thoughts actually mattered. She was truly trans-formative for me. Maybe we can all remember someone like that in our lives?

How Children Succeed is an amazing read if you are interested in the intersection of poverty, education and the education-reform movement. It discusses that SAT scores are not the path to a fulfilled life. It highlights grit and character as the pieces that truly matter in making students successful and shows that they lead to a more rewarding life. It follows a girl through an upbringing filled with major traumatic events who ends up having more courage and grit than any of her more privileged counterparts. It also describes the intervention that made it possible for her to overcome her past and climb mountains like none of us will ever know. The book further details how learning to fail is one of the most crucial parts to becoming a successful adult; how taking risk can lead to a life most exceptional.

There are many non-for-profits out there within the educational space that are searching tirelessly to intervene during the middle school years and get to those students who might not be showing up as exceptional within the test scores nor showing any type of “typical” promise. But for the amount of trauma they have seen in their childhood, it is almost as if they are doomed from the start. How can any of us truly expect that these kids will self-select and without any help or support suddenly gain the self-discipline to get there on their own?

There is no doubt that exceptional teachers are a crucial part of the system and I have many friends that face very difficult days trying to make a difference in children’s lives. To all of you, I salute you and always have. The energy and resolve you bring to your job each and everyday is so admirable. As far as the rest of us go, we can make a difference if we keep our ears, eyes and hearts open. Successful children who were once at risk often name someone who came into their lives to show them that there was a different path. This could be a neighbor, volunteer, family member, etc. There is no limit to the difference we can make if we are conscientious and jump in with both feet to raise each other up. Community matters.