Archive of ‘LWOAM’ category

Coffee Walk

A few years ago, my goal was to have coffee with as many people as possible throughout the year. The idea was to catch up with friends and network with colleagues while drinking my favorite beverage. I’m happy to say that I’ve had a lot of talks and a lot of coffee. But now, I’m thinking about changing things up. Coffee talks are enjoyable and productive, but I’ve discovered a flaw in my plan. We are just sitting there.

Sure, the walk to the coffee accouterments table could make you break a sweat. Like everyone else grabbing their morning coffee, you want to make a beeline to the table to get your Splenda and half and half to achieve your perfect drink. Let’s face it – that’s a workout. And, I suppose the reach for the pitcher with the milk or flavored creamer you want could count as stretching. Right? 🙂

Anyway, I’ve changed my approach to these coffee talks and want to turn them into a “coffee walk.” Bring your iced coffee with you and let’s find a neighborhood to explore. It doesn’t have to be a strenuous walk during the week because we all have to get to work eventually. But, let’s get moving!

We sit all day long. We sit on our commute to work. We sit at desks all day. We sit down to eat. We sit all the time!  So, let’s have our coffee to go… who’s with me?

Milestones

Parenthood is a slow and steady process of learning to let go. Every year brings one (or often several) new milestones. As parents, we are proud of their accomplishments and look forward to the next one.

When she was little, there were so many milestones! I watched her walk, heard her first words and helped her explore the world around her. Once, she climbed the ladder to the top of the tallest slide on the playground. I stayed right behind her to make sure she didn’t fall. I held her little hand and saw her big smile when she realized how high up she had gone. Fearless, she released her grip and slid to the bottom, faster than I would have liked, laughing all the way down.

She was perfectly fine. I had to let go.

When preschool began, I only signed her up for 2 days a week, thinking she couldn’t handle much more than that. In reality, it was me who couldn’t handle it. I busied myself with errands like grocery shopping and dropping off dry cleaning. At first, my tearful eyes watched the clock until it was time to pick her up. She often greeted me with the picture she drew and a new friend by her side.

She was perfectly fine. I had to let go.

Birthday parties were part of our weekend routine. I read my book, ate some cake and exchanged funny toddler stories with the other moms and dads while she bounced, painted, or made a pizza. Then, the day came when I went to the party and someone handed me a waiver to sign. I was confused when the young man behind the counter told me, “you don’t have to stay.” I was confused. What did that mean exactly? I didn’t know what to do. Was it safe to leave her behind for a few hours? Would the other parents frown upon me for leaving her unattended?

But, she was perfectly fine. I had to let go.

In fourth grade, she rode her bike to school by herself–sort of. I followed her in my minivan making sure she looked both ways before she crossed the street and arrived safely. At one point, I waved at her from the driver’s seat and saw the first of many spectacular eye rolls. Of course, she made it to school and after that she rode to every day without me.

She was perfectly fine. I had to let go.

Every year, I gave her a little more independence. I let her walk around the mall on her own with friends. She went to overnight camp for 4 weeks over the following three summers. I even let her fly by herself to attend a bat mitzvah in South Carolina. Then, there were dates with boys in cars and learning to drive and senior week at the Jersey shore.

She was perfectly fine. I had to let her go.

In three weeks, I’m about to hit a new milestone; one I’ve been in denial about all for quite some time. In the beginning of the school year, there seemed to be plenty of time and still so much to do. Back then, this day seemed far away and now it is so close. Our family dynamic is about to have a seismic shift that hasn’t happened since we brought her baby brother home from the hospital.

She is going to college.

We will pack up our car with all the “must-haves” from Bed Bath & Beyond. Her MacBook Air tucked away in her backpack. Her first semester tuition paid and class schedule in hand. Of course, I will lecture her on drinking and staying safe. I will tell her that college was the best four years of my life and I want her to have fun, but don’t do anything stupid.

The next part goes a little fuzzy in my mind. We will park near her dorm. I imagine it won’t take too long to unpack the car. We will wait endlessly for the elevator, but I won’t complain. Jenna will be giddy with excitement and I vow not to embarrass her in front of her roommate. After lunch, we will say our goodbyes. Family weekend is only a month away.

I’ll get in the car and likely cry. But I know this…

She is perfectly fine and I have to let go.

My Reading Status

Sometimes I think it would be a wonderful idea to set up a GoFundMe page to feed my reading habit. My desire for more books–new ones, old ones, fiction, nonfiction, business or biography–is insatiable. Take a look at my current reading status and you will see what I mean. (For your convenience, I’m adding links to Amazon if you want to purchase a book for yourself).

Actual Books On My Nightstand 

I’m in the middle of 4 real books right now:

  • The Other Einstein (Chapter 9, page 95) – This is an interesting read based on the true story of Albert EInstein and his first wife Mileva “Mitza” Maric who was just as smart as he but has the extra challenge of studying physics in a men’s world in the 1890s. I’ve been enjoying this book off and on. It is an easy read and I will continue reading because I enjoy Einstein’s clumsy attempts at winning her affection while her laser-like focus is on her studies. But, I’m in no hurry to finish it and it isn’t as interesting as…
  • The Book of Unknown Americans (Page 157 – no chapter numbers)  – Truth be told, this was our book club pick from 3 or 4 books ago. The characters have depth and their immigration story and assimilation into America is not one that I’m as familiar with as I’d like to be. I wish I had finished this book in time to talk about it. Maybe my book club friends will allow me a few minutes to discuss before we talk about our current book (which is Before We Were Yours – an excellent read and one that I finished!)
  • Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault: Essays from the Grown-Up Years (Chapter 4 page 60) – If you are close to my age, you probably read the comic strip Cathy as a kid. Heck, you may have cut a few out and put them on your fridge because they were so true and so funny. This book is by the creator of Cathy. She writes essays about her life in a way that makes me LOL as if I was reading her comic strip all over again.
  • I See Life Through Rose`-Colored Glasses (Essay 24, page 96) – Lisa Scottoline is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read several of her mystery novels which are mainly based in Philadelphia. Her fictional stories are always engaging page turners, but when she writes essays based about her actual life, I’m all in. She is the kind of writer I want to be when I grow up.

Plus 1 Book on My Kindle

  • Herding Tigers: Be the Leader Creative People Need.– I honestly don’t know what page I’m on because I’ve jumped around a lot…and its a Kindle. Page numbers are optional. But, if you lead a communications department like me and work with incredibly talented and creative people this book may come in handy.

So, if I set up a GoFundMe page, would you support me? My to be read (TBR) list is even longer than this list. This is part because I’m a sucker for summer reading lists. So far, this list includes:

Barely…

Have you ever been so exhausted you cannot even exchange pleasantries with the people you love anymore?
This is how I’ve felt for the last few hours.

Barely able to hold a conversation without snapping at people (even though really I didn’t mean to-sorry!).

Barely able to sit down without taking a brief nap.

Barely able to finish the dishes.

Barely able to hold a coherent conversation.

Barely able to write this….zzz

I’ll do better tomorrow. I promise.

Happy Easter and Passover everyone!

Good night.

Prepping for Passover

I’m a little behind on my blog posts right now, but I have a good excuse. I’m hosting a Passover seder on Saturday night and the whole mishpucha will be here. Parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, kids and cousins will gather around my dining room table (and partly into the living room) to hear the Passover story.

I’m actually pretty excited to open up my home for this holiday. Typically I’m the house for Break the Fast during Yom Kippur. Since everyone is starving when they get to my house, no one complains that the food was ordered instead of home made. As long as it isn’t late getting to the table. Being trusted to host a Passover seder means you’ve hit the big time in a Jewish family. It’s a lot of coordinating from the food to the set up to the service, led by yours truly.

Some of my best family memories took place around the seder table. When I was little, we had somewhere around 30 people at my aunt and uncle’s house every year. I don’t know how she did it, but having her and my mom in my corner is making all of this much easier. Back then, she cooked and set it all up. My uncle led the seder.
Everyone had a part. It was amazing.

My seder will not live up to that caliber, but I know it will still be wonderful. And I have a lot of people cooking the traditional meal of brisket, chicken, matzah kugels, matzah ball soup, and so many vegetable dishes plus dessert. I’ve rented a table and chairs, ordered flowers, cleaned my house (well almost done with that) and all that is left now is to set the table with all the accessories-including the finger puppets depicting the 10 plagues.

A seder AND a puppet show! You are impressed now, right??

I expect my Passover experience will lead to a lot of blog material so I will end for now, but there will be more to come.

Ever Have A Day Like This?

At 5:30 this morning, I checked my calendar and realized I had 5(!) meetings today.

The thought of that many meetings in stuffy conference rooms made me want to crawl back under the covers. Lots of thoughts raced through my head. Maybe I could call out sick. Maybe I don’t have to attend all 5 meetings. Maybe I should block out time for bathroom breaks and eating.

Upon looking at my calendar again, I made up my mind and reluctantly got dressed. I’m too Type A to miss that many meetings and I know my Jewish guilt would eventually kick in. My first meeting was to on-board a new employee. Since I’m her boss, I kind of needed to be there. My 11 am was a full-on team briefing which we haven’t had in over a month where everyone could attend. I didn’t want to be the only one to not show up.

Following those two meetings, I thought I had a break to read and answer emails, check in with my other direct reports and maybe get a little lunch and cross a few things off my to do list. But no, scratch that. My 1:30 was moved up to 12:30. Honestly, THIS was the meeting I could have skipped if I had the guts. But, I was the one who called the meeting in the first place so I was sort of obligated to be there.

My 2:30 meeting ended promptly at 3 pm and I went back to my desk forgetting I wasn’t done yet. I had one more to go. And I was 7 minutes late.

Ever have a day like this? Please don’t let me be the only one.

Reclaiming My Time

Recently, someone asked me why I’m participating in this blog challenge?

He wasn’t being rude about it. He was just curious. Seriously , what’s the point of stressing out and searching for an idea for my next post. Then, slave away over a warm laptop, choosing the right words and fighting off writer’s block and self doubt each day until I publish 30 consecutive blog posts?

The answer is simple. I’m reclaiming my time.

Time is a precious thing. Use it or lose it. Waste it away on mundane tasks or channel it towards something you love to do. In the end, it’s up to me.

I love to write and my biggest excuse for not writing is that I never have the time for it. But, to be honest, that really isn’t true. Instead of watching re-runs of The Big Bang Theory, I could be writing. Sort through piles of paperwork or write? Fold laundry, take out the trash, do the dishes and other household chores — heck I have teenagers for that now. I choose to write.

Reclaiming my time means creating space for me to do what makes me happy. I also hope it helps me establish a writing habit. I’ve never really had one before. If you asked me what my process is or how many hours I write a day, I couldn’t answer because I thought it depended on the day. But again, it’s just not true. I may have to wake up a little later or skip out on the antics of Sheldon, Leonard and Penny.  And that will be okay, because to me writing is time well spent.

A Prom Dress Shopping Complaint Letter

Dear Department Store Conglomerate,

A few weekends ago, my daughter and I went shopping for her senior prom dress at your store in King of Prussia. Your selection was lovely and we easily identified several gowns we liked until we found the one she loved. Right there in your dressing room, her face lit up when she saw herself in the well-lit mirrors. We all knew this was the dress for her.

I didn’t “check-in” on Facebook at your store and when I paid for the dress I didn’t sign up for your member rewards program or provide my email to get a receipt. I simply used my credit card and walked away with the dress of her dreams.

I knew once I handed over my email address to you, I would give you the authority to send me whatever deals you wish for as long as you’d like in order to lure me back into your store. Yes, I can always unsubscribe to emails, but that’s not the point. I thought I beat the system.

Sure enough when I returned home 30 minutes later, I found several Facebook ads from your department store. Just 30 minutes later! Geez, you guys are fast!

Was I micro-chipped without my knowledge when I stepped through your doors? Did someone from the store scout out the parking lot for all the cars within a 300 foot radius of your front door, run license plate numbers and steal my right to be left alone?

I was annoyed to say the least. I specifically chose not to give you my email because we only shop at that store for special occasions. And, I honestly am doing you a favor so as not to waste your time, printing or postage on little old me.

I just wanted the dress.

I’ve heard of people who live off the grid and while I don’t see myself doing that anytime soon, I see its merits. I just want to be a 40-something year old woman who has control over who can enter into a marketing relationship with me. Is that too much to ask?!

So, thanks for the selection and the memory of when and where we laid eyes on the perfect dress. Please keep your ads to yourself.

Much appreciated. 🙂

The Writing Sweet Spot

I imagine one day I will turn a bedroom into a writing haven for myself. The room will be cozy, but not in a distracting way. I’ll have a comfy chair to curl up in and an ottoman to put my feet up, plus a writing desk situated by the window. Thus offering me two places to write my page-turning memoir or novel. The room will be well lit and there are plenty of places for all my books. I may even put a twin bed in there for cat naps between moments of brilliance.

But, I’ll also sit in my beautiful room and suffer from writer’s block because I could be in the perfect setting with no one home to interrupt and hours of free time on my hands and nothing inside of me to write.

So then I wonder, why bother with my own writing room when an idea can strike at any time. I can be at the baseball field watching my son play and a story line will come to me. I could be eavesdropping on an incredibly loud conversation between a parent and a coach on a cell phone while standing in line at CVS. A conversation that you want to walk away from but also desperately want to hear what happens next.

Honestly, I need only a few things to find my writing sweet spot: a notebook or my laptop, a good pen, a place to sit and a fantastic idea. All of this and the above sticker so people think twice before interrupting me.

 

 

At the Flea Market

Did you know today is National Eight-Track Tape Day?

It doesn’t get nearly the social media attention it deserves, especially when it competes with National Pet Day. But, you could say this plastic covered, music technology means a lot to me.

Before I was a mall rat with my ’80s big hair and off-the-shoulder, neon tops, I was a flea market chick. The Berlin Farmers Market in South Jersey was my hangout on Saturdays and Sundays. For a good part of my childhood, I’d accompany my dad on weekend trips to the flea market which was complete with colorful characters and lots of “collectibles.”

When I was there, I learned to keep an eye on the merchandise, talk to customers and make change as I helped my dad with his record business. Known as “Bob the Record Man,” he carried pretty much every rock album produced in the ‘60s, ‘70’s, and ‘80s genre, plus ’45s for the random jukebox owner that stopped by. It was an impressive collection and my dad was incredibly knowledgeable about his inventory, even though he never listened to it on the radio and preferred Oldies ’98 and‘50’s rock and roll music.

He also sold eight-track tapes which came in everything from the Beach Boys to the Bee Gees. If you are too young to remember albums, you certainly won’t know what these things are but just know that they came before the modern age of cassettes, CDs, the iPod shuffle and on-line streaming. Eight track tapes were cumbersome, but revolutionary at the time. After all, you couldn’t plug in your turntable and take it with on a 6 hour car ride to Boston or Williamsburg while listening to your favorite bands (I’m just saying…). So, the eight-track was the way to go.

To keep me busy and out of trouble, I had a few important jobs at my dad’s outdoor record stand and most of them were related to the eight-tracks. I alphabetized them. I applied the price stickers. I re-alphabetized them after a customer carelessly took them out and then replaced them anywhere they could fit in the box. And most importantly, when someone wanted to purchase them, I was at the ready to test them out in my dad’s tan Malibu station wagon. This was my favorite part of the job. At the age of 7, I was so excited to climb behind the steering wheel and turn the car key towards the windshield and then insert the tape in the proper way so it would play. I was careful not to jam it into the player which could cause the outer plastic casing to crack and certainly affect a $5 sale.

When the crowds faded, Dad & I would sit on the car bumper with the trunk door wide open to provide shade on hot sunny days. We played the Beatles eight track tape almost every weekend and ate funnel cake while talking about random things. A nice treat for a hard day’s work.

And now, whenever I hear Baby You Can Drive My Car, I’m immediately taken back to those days at the flea market—even if I’m listening to the song on the XM radio Beatles Channel.

Happy National Eight-Track Tape Day!

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