Archive of ‘LWOAM’ category

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!

Top 10 Random Thoughts

  1. Happy National Siblings Day to my sister who amazes me with her quick wit, her resilience and her ability to pull the perfect movie quote out of thin air that relates specifically to whatever we are discussing at that particular moment. INCONCEIVABLE!
  2. Happy National Siblings Day to my son and daughter. I am incredibly grateful for both of you and love the fact that you get along with each other more often than you fight and you always have each other’s back.
  3. Don’t panic about the college admissions process. I’ve read so many articles about it over the last few years and the overwhelming amount of advice and information out there will make your head spin. But know this: Yes, it is stressful. Yes, you will doubt yourself (why did I let her stop taking piano lessons?). Yes, it is not fun. But, they will go to the university where they were meant to go. You got this. Trust your kid and trust the process.
  4. After a rather large kitchen renovation last summer, everyone in this house seems to still have trouble locating the dishwasher which is less than a foot away from the sink they are dumping their dishes in.
  5. Thank God for Randy Rainbow (pictured right). He is the only thing that is getting me through the Trump administration these days. If you need a good laugh, stop reading and go check out his YouTube Channel. This is one of my favorites. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
  6. Passover is coming and just like every year, I wish someone would consider re-branding Passover candy packaging. It looks so unappetizing especially compared to the brightly-colored Easter candy it sits next to at the supermarket. Also, did I mention I’m hosting a Passover Seder for 23 people next weekend? I should stock up on egg matzah.
  7. I love baseball for lots of reasons (Go Phillies!), but mostly because I think there is an element of kindness to it. Don’t know what I mean? Watch this.
  8. Spring break is next week for the kids. Soon after that will be the senior class trip, senior prom, Memorial Day and then high school graduation. And soon enough, I’ll be packing my daughter up to go to college. I wish time would slow the hell down and let me catch my breath.
  9. I had a dream about my grandmother the other day which was odd because I rarely dream about that particular grandmother. All of a sudden, she was there smoking a joint. What do you think that means?
  10. It took me over an hour to come up with 10 random thoughts. 🙂

The end!

Hugging It Out

Flattery won’t get you far with me, but my kids know a big hug will every time. Lately, I seem to be getting a lot of hugs and you won’t hear me complaining.

My oldest is counting down the days until the end of her high school career. She has a bright future ahead of her and she is excited about it. I’m sure leaving the nest gives her some trepidation. We’ve all been there. It isn’t easy. We have been her safety net for the last 18 years and soon she will fend for herself at college. Of course, we will always be there for whatever she needs and offer our words of wisdom and support. We just won’t be right by her side or waiting in her dorm room for her to return from class. Actually, I think she would be mortified if we did the latter.

So, I’m getting a few extra hugs from her lately. It is extra nice because I admit I’m having a hard time with this big change too. This isn’t like going away to overnight camp and I’ll pick her up in 3 weeks. This is quite a reality check and it is happening sooner than I’m willing to admit.

When she hugs me, my only rule is that she must let go first because I’d hold on forever.

My son is getting in some hugs of his own these days. He was always one to cuddle up next to me and snuggle when he was little. He’s too big for that now, but I’ll take a great big bear hug from him anytime. After all these years, boys are still a mystery to me. I’m never quite sure when he needs one and when he just wants to be left alone. I think it’s his way of checking in with me before he goes off with his friends. Or maybe he just wants to give me a hug just for the hell of it. Either one works for me. I don’t need a reason to get one of his hugs.

Mainly, I think it is his way of showing me that even though I nag at him to clean his room and use a bath towel more than once before throwing it in the hamper, he loves me as much as I love him.

Hugs are the best, especially from my teenagers, and I’ll take every single one of them in for as long as they let me—without question.


The Name Game

I have a first name that you will never find on a key chain or a coffee mug.

Once though, I found it on a nail polish label. I hated the color, but I bought it anyway. Just so I could have something with my name printed on it.

As a child, my sister always found her name on everything. Karen is an easy name to locate. I was a little jealous. I always had to settle for Lisa and then draw a big E in front of it to spell it right.

It took my rabbi three times to spell my name correctly in the prayer book I was given at my bat mitzvah. Somewhere out there are two prayer books that have the inscriptions Mazel tov Alisa and Mazel tov Elissa.

Collectors items, right?  I’m sure of it.

I also have the kind of first name that is hard to pronounce. One person will say Alyssa, with a short i. Another says Elisha with an h. Still others say Eliza. That one is where I draw the line. There is no z in my name and when I’ve been going to the same doctor for 20 years, you would think he would get it right.

I’m extremely appreciative of the people who ask me how to pronounce it or if they got it right. I think it is a kindness to do this. Sometimes, I get so tired of correcting people and, let’s face it, there are worse things in the world so I just let it go. Call me whatever you want, I think. But then, someone called me on that too. A friend pointed out the right way to another friend and that person was mortified that she was saying it wrong all this time. And she was upset that I never corrected her.

I can’t win. Honestly, I never could figure out the proper etiquette for this kind of thing.

For all of high school, I went by Lisa and I didn’t mind. It helped me fit in with my fellow classmates. But after college, I gained a lot more self-confidence and realized my name was pretty and different and I embraced it whole-heartedly. From day 1 of my career, I introduced myself as Elisa and never went back. Now, I no longer care if I ever find it on a key chain or a coffee mug again (although I’m happy when I do 🙂 ).
So thanks Mom & Dad for giving me a beautiful name.

And for the record, it’s pronounced Eh-Lisa or Uh-Lisa. But, its okay. I still love you if you get it wrong.

Awesome Swim Moms

I am at the age when making new friend groups doesn’t happen all that often anymore.

Between my husband and I, we already have high school friends, college friends, work friends, synagogue friends, and neighborhood friends.

I think the last time we made a set of new friends was after my daughter was born. Every weekend, we took her to endless birthday parties and preschool events which paved the way for what continues to be years of wonderful friendships. When she started kindergarten, we made even more friends. Let’s face it. First children are friend magnets.

By the time, our son was born though, we already had a well-established social circle. Sure, we met other parents who shared the same classrooms and weekend activities as we did and we laughed and talked and schmoozed, but for some reason the friendships never really stuck. This always made me sad because they are the nicest people and had we met them the first time around, things might be different.

But this year, we miraculously found a new friend group. After Andrew joined the high school swim team, we were invited to a party at the beginning of the season. I admit I was a little reluctant to go because I didn’t know many people. But that one party changed my mind instantly. As soon as we introduced ourselves as the parents of a freshman swimmer, we were literally embraced by the other parents as if we had been there for years. And by the end of the night, I’m happy to say that we made some amazing new friends.

Friends to work the snack bar with at swim meets. Friends who saved seats for us when the stands above the pool deck were crowded with parents. Friends that I could text in my newly-minted “Awesome Swim Moms” group chat and within 3 text messages learned what brand of purple shampoo was best to use on my son’s bleach blond hair- a tradition among the swim team members.

And even though swim season is over, our friendships are secure as ever as we sit at water polo games and carpool for lifeguard training. Each family belongs to a different swim club so there is already talk of spending our summers together.

I didn’t think it would be possible to find a new friend group. But my fellow swim moms are a rare find and we are all becoming fast friends and this fish out of water is forever grateful for all of them.


On the Nose

Do you need a Kleenex? Do you have a cold?

If you spend enough time with me, you will inevitably ask one of the above questions. Why? Because I sniffle–like a lot.

Until recently, I hadn’t looked into why this is the case. After all, this isn’t anywhere near an emergency medical situation. I can breathe fine and my seasonal allergies are treated regularly. But, recently, I began to notice how often people ask about my “cold.” My office is an open floor plan so you can imagine how annoying I must be to my co-workers. Of course, they are too polite to say anything.

I admit that there is another reason I’ve been reluctant to do anything about this condition. Years ago, I had a traumatic experience at an allergist appointment. (Sniff. Sniff.) With very little warning, this jerk – I mean doctor –  stuck a scope so far up my nose I thought at one point it was behind my eyeball. I had to lay down in the waiting room afterwards because I was so freaked out and his lack of a bedside manner did not help. So, I haven’t been keen on a return visit to get this resolved.

And then, one day I had a face-to-face appointment with someone I met on LinkedIn to interview for a book I’m working on. It took her less than 5 minutes to hand me a tissue box and inquire about my non-existent cold. First impressions being what they are, this was the last straw.

I called a family friend who is an ENT and made an appointment. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious about it. Anxiety is a funny thing. I tried to talk myself off the ledge by spending the entire day convincing myself that after giving birth to 2 children, enduring multiple dental procedures and a colonoscopy, I can handle a scope up my nose. Right?

Anxiety can be a crippling thing, Even for something as minor as this. But, my anxiety teaches me an important lesson that I continue to re-learn. When I empower myself to face the things I once feared, I am better for it in the long run.

And I’m proud of myself because I can honestly say that it was a much better experience this time around and thankfully I didn’t pass out. And although my blood pressure told a different story,  I was finally able to relax and take charge.



21st Century Jury Duty – A Guest Post

Why everyone cringes when they get a summons for jury duty by Jackie Diamond
You get the summons in the mail and immediately you’re like, “oh sh*t”. You’re not alone. The majority of us cringe at the prospect of serving on jury duty. Now some of you are going to tell me that it’s our civic duty to serve on a jury of our peers. Fundamentally I agree. Except for the fact that the entire process is completely antiquated. And it places a burden on everyday modern life. The system is built on old, archaic platform from a time where mobile communication didn’t exist. And at times, it can feel demoralizing. Being stuck in a room, sometimes with little or no information or what to expect, and even worse, being cut off from the outside world. Having recently experienced this process, here are a few proposed enhancements to bring jury duty into the 21st century.
Enhancement 1: Scrub the juror database It makes sense for some people to be immediately eliminated from the jury pool. Are you a lawyer? A cop? Or work in the court system? Then you probably have a bias and even know the prosecutors and/or defense attorneys on the case. Therefore why would the court waste their time to ask you to serve in the first place? Believe it or not, there are plenty of people of people in these professions who are provided with a summons and asked to serve.
Enhancement 2: Online pre-screen Think of when you apply for a job. You are pre-screened with an online application. Why don’t we do this for potential jurors? It helps even further weed out people with certain “possible” inherent biases. Why does this process need to be conducted in person? Docusign is a much-respected and recognized way to legally sign a document. If you pre-screen potential jurors before they even have to take off of work and travel to the courthouse, you create efficiencies and save everyone a lot of angst and stress.
Enhancement 3: Schedule juror interviews What if jury selection panels could schedule interviews with potential jurors, based on their pre-screen (see Enhancement 2). Wouldn’t that make a better use of everyone’s time? And jurors wouldn’t have to worry about wasting an entire day sitting around being completely unproductive. Will any of this ever really come to fruition? Not sure. But it’s nice to contemplate when you’re wasting away in a jury room waiting to find out if you’ve been selected.



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