Friday, December 31, 2010

Smart Cookie

Would you be distracted?
I love rainbows. There's just something about them that seems so hopeful; almost magical. 

Unless of course you're in the car with Chrissy and me. Then they're just hazardous. 

New Years Day 2009. We were headed to the Waterloo Premium Outlets (great shopping, by the way). It was cool and clear but it had been sleeting/freezing rain earlier in the day.

The result of our schizophrenic Upstate/Western New York winter weather? A rainbow - crisp and clean in the winter sky. 

Mid-sentence, Chrissy screamed, "Oh my God - look!" 

As I said - I love rainbows. So, I looked up from my phone and leaned forward, to get a better view through the windshield. My leaning forward prompted Chrissy to do the same. So there we were, both leaning forward, looking up at the sky through the windshield of Chrissy's car. Why is this funny, you ask? Who do you suppose was driving, as we were mesmerized by this rainbow, at 65MPH? (Chrissy was driving; probably closer to 80MPH) 

The lesson? I like rainbows, Chrissy is easily distracted and tire tracks aren't really an issue when the ground is frozen. The engineer who built the New York State Thruway along a very wide, open field is one smart cookie.

Also - the best way to start any year is by laughing with a good friend.

Happy New Year to all my family and friends!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

With Some Resolve

For years, my New Years Even tradition was to go to First Night in Albany. Part of the tradition was to visit City Hall, write my resolution on a post card and hang it on the tree. The post card was mailed to you in July, so you could see how you were progressing.

In theory - a great idea. In practice - not so much.

It was then that I decided this whole weight-loss thing was not a good resolution. Mostly because it's a whole mind-set, lifestyle-type change that requires more than just a wave of my pen. I decided my resolutions needed to be more task-oriented. In 2009, I resolved to learn to back into a parking spot - a skill I sorely lacked. It worked. In 2010, I resolved to go on a roller coaster - and I came pretty darn close.

With that in mind, I've decided that 2011 is the year I will:

Become a paid writer/blogger
Take a class that is not insurance related
Make some healthier choices
Save some money for Christmas
Eventually get through that pile of mail

What will you do in 2011? 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

At a Glance

You had to know this was coming: My "What happened in 2010" post. I thought about not doing one - I thought it might seem corny and cliché; then I remembered - I am corny and cliché! Fabulous - so, on with it, then.

If you'd asked me six months ago, I would have told you that 2010 was the best year of my life. I had bunches of adventures, tried new things, discovered new music, new movies, new places - and really had a lot of fun. 

If you'd asked me three months ago, I'd have told you that 2010 was the worst, because I felt like I lost everything - again. Which seemed unfair, since it wasn't that long ago that I actually did lose everything, and had to start all over. 

But then a funny thing happened. I started to uncover all the good that actually came from all that bad. Have you ever done that? It's like dusting off an old piece of furniture, and then shining it up; what seemed dull and tarnished is actually full of beauty. 

The truth is - a lot changed for me in 2010. The biggest change? Don't you dare judge... twitter. Why? The people I've met. I've found more true, honest friendship and support through that social circle than any other - ever. I've met people who are unbelievably special and important to me - friendships and relationships that are as real as it gets. Twitter also helped me find blogging, which has made a huge difference in my life. Not only has it given me an enormous creative outlet, but it helped me sort through some very difficult feelings. What's more - it may eventually lead me to a much better place career-wise - which is a change I desperately need to make.

With all these new friends, and new interests and hobbies - and honestly, all the wonderful experiences - it's impossible to look back on 2010 with anything other than a smile. (Okay, maybe a small tear - but mostly smiles!) 

Bring it, 2011. I'm ready.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I caught a tweet the other night about the new movie The Dilemma. Based on the description, it's about a man finding out his friend's wife is having an affair. The tweet said that's really no dilemma - if you find out a secret like that about a friend, you tell - no question. I used to think the same thing.

I had a good friend who was having problems with her husband. Through a series of coincidences. I found out about some of his indiscretions, and had a long, internal debate about whether or not I should say something to my friend. Without revealing who she was, I asked a few friends what they would do. One who had been through something similar told me that he appreciated when people told him about his ex. It helped knowing the truth, even though the truth hurt.

So I told my friend. That was over a year ago, and she hasn't spoken to me since.

Maybe she didn't want to believe what she was hearing - so, she blamed me, rather than taking her anger out on him. Or maybe she believed I was making it up, to be mean. I truly have no idea. She was not angry that night, and ended the conversation like normal. So I never had the chance to ask.

Do I regret it? I regret losing my friend. I regret that her feelings were hurt. I regret that she went through a divorce without the support of one friend who might have been able to help.

I don't regret telling her the truth, because I think she deserved to know. I don't regret if that truth led to the divorce, because she was too good for him anyway. I knew that, even if she did not.

What would I do if I was ever in that situation again? I'd like to think I'd do the same thing - tell the truth. Why? Because my friends deserve honesty. And because I'd want them to do the same for me.

What would you do?

Monday, December 27, 2010

For a reason

I notice a lot of people on twitter and blogs talking about exes. Usually, they say something to the effect of, "They're exes for a reason," or "Some people are meant to be exes." It's usually said with anger, grief - or is just plain mean.

Breaking up is definitely tough, especially if you're not the one who did the breaking up. I know how much a broken heart hurts, maybe more than a lot of people. When we're with someone, we focus a lot on what we like about him. When he's gone, it's easy to want to shift that focus to the things we didn't like - it makes the heartache easier to handle. So the "they're exes for a reason" sentiment is easy to understand.

But here's the thing; if you have an ex - that also means that you are an ex. Doesn't it make sense that someone is saying those same things about you? How would that make you feel? Did you suddenly become some awful person, because you aren't with him anymore? Are you an "ex for a reason?"

You're probably saying to yourself, "Well I don't care what so-and-so has to say about me...." and maybe that's true. If it is, I bow to you - and wish I could say the same thing. 

Anyone I would call an "ex" is someone to whom I allowed myself to get close. So, they're obviously someone I care for and respect; maybe even admire a little bit. To just pretend that evaporated is like saying that I was wrong all that time. Otherwise, their opinion would still matter. 

I've been questioned and criticized for having friendships with my exes. I personally don't like to label relationships - they are what they are, and my opinion is that we just need to stop fighting it and let them be. If someone is important enough to me to be an "ex" anything - than he's important. The whys, wheres and hows of that importance may change - but he's still a guy I loved. His opinion of me, himself and others still matters a lot.

Or maybe it's just that I don't like to be wrong.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

May you find all your favorite things underneath your tree.

Merry Everything and Happy Always!!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

For the Rest of Us

Always celebrate the Miracle of Festivus!!

Sometimes, you just need a break from the shopping and baking and wrapping and spending and lugging and smiling and caroling and.... whoa....!! Please excuse me while my grievances air....

  • It sucks that this is my busiest month at work. While everyone else is going from one holiday party to the next, I'm stuck working through lunch, and usually long past quitting time. I feel like Bob Cratchet. Could please pass me some coal?
  • It also sucks to be broke this time of year. The one thing I could do that would be fun is to buy gifts for others, without a budget. Ah well, there's always next year. 
  • You know when you walk through a door and you hold it for the person behind you? I hate when they yank the door away from me. I'm holding on to that, darn it - and I have bad knees. Why don't you just swipe the leg, and be done with it?
  • I don't even like to bake - or cook, for that matter. But I do like to eat. This is tough this time of year, because I've determined I need to go on a diet - STAT. 
  • I'll never understand why so many places salt their sidewalk - but ignore their parking lot. I walk as much in the lot as the sidewalk (if not more). I could use a little help (bad knees, remember?). 
  • I love decorating to my own taste and making quick get-aways. But, it would sometimes be really nice to have an "other" this time of year. Plus, I was really hoping to have a place to wear those shoes that were on my list

Okay - those are my grievances. Feel free to air yours below. We all need to vent sometimes. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Favorites

Last week, one of my favorites blogged about her take on the 5 worse Christmas songs - ever. I never commented because I couldn't get past some of the over-the-top comments her readers made on the topic.

Also, because I was already working on this post, and I giggled - because a few of my favorites were on her worst list. Ah well - if we all agreed, life would be boring, right?

I really only have one song I don't like - Twelve Days of Christmas. Although, I did find a version that makes me giggle. So, I'm listing a few of my favorites instead. I needed more than five because...well...I just couldn't choose.

Believe - Josh Groban

Yule That's Cool - Bette Midler

Where Are You Christmas - Faith Hill

Santa on the Rooftop - Trisha Yearwood (w/Rosie O'Donnell)

Christmas Shoes - Alabama

Santa Claus (I Still Believe) - Alabama

Grownup Christmas List - About a million different artists

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer - Elmo & Patsy

Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey - Lou Monte

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas - Gayla Peevey

Sleigh Ride - About a million different artists

What are some of yours?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

True Gifts

I've admitted this before, but: I'm spoiled. I'm an only child, a child of divorce and I was raised by my Dad. I may be repeating myself, but I'm like the perfect storm of all things that spoil a little girl.

Over the years, I've gotten a lot of great gifts, especially at Christmas. Pretty much, whatever I've asked for, I've gotten (except a car; my Dad drew the line there and stuck to it).

The first wonderful gift I remember was a doll house. It was three levels, and the door bell worked. It came with a little family; mom, dad, older brother, younger sister. I think there was even been a baby and a dog. The truth is, a lot of the details have faded. The one thing that has stuck with me was the feeling of utter joy when I found the house waiting for me on Christmas morning.

Even as an adult, I've been spoiled at Christmas. My Dad has given (read: paid for) several major projects for my house. Of course I appreciate the stuff; I wouldn't have most of it were it not for the gifts.

More than that, I appreciate the show of support. My Dad's gifts, no matter how small or big, make me smile because they show that through all the mistakes, the stuff I've messed up and the choices that he may not understand - he's still proud.

It makes me think back to all those years ago, when I found that doll house under the tree. Maybe the joy wasn't in the gift itself, but in the love behind it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Silver and Gold

The other day, I was looking for a necklace to wear with my outfit. I noticed I have a lot of silver in my jewelry collection. That strikes me as funny, since I used to wear mostly gold.

Personally, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that my wedding band was gold. I'm big on things matching, so I wore jewelry that complimented the wedding band, since that never came off.

Until, it did.

Once it was off, I found myself switching to silver. At first I figured it was probably a subliminal rebellion against the wedding jewelry. But now I find I really like it. What does that say about me, I wondered?

According to this article, it says I follow my heart and not the crowd, I'm self-confident and independent, I'm more interested in natural beauty than glam and I am stylish. I like that. My style is my own; if pressed, I would define it as classic. I'm aware of trends, but I only follow those that speak to me. I am pretty independent and have moments of self-confidence (sometimes fleeting, other times not as much).

What does your jewelry say about your personality? Here's some more reading on that very topic.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Twelve Days of Derek Jeter

All I want for Christmas....
In high school, I worked at the mall, in a kiosk that sat in the middle of the food court. So, I heard the mall musak for my whole shift. At Christmas I heard The Twelve Days of Christmas at least twelve times a day. Horrifying.

To this day, I can't stand the song. But here's a version to which I could become accustomed.


On the twelfth day of Christmas, Steinbrenner gave to me:

Twelve million dollars (roughly)
Eleven All-Star games
Ten pinstriped jerseys
Nine double plays
Eight RBIs
Seven more years of A-Rod
Six Louisville Sluggers
Five World Series Rings
Four more where those came from
Three years (with an option)
Two is (still) our Captain
And a Yankee cap atop our tree!!

Happy Friday!!


Thursday, December 16, 2010


I suck at losing weight. As I said during a twitter conversation earlier this week with a couple of my favorite tweeps, I have a lot of trouble getting over my mindset that food is comfort. I blame boys and their cooties.

I may (eventually) seriously blog about weight loss. For now, though, I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite diet loopholes. Because if you need a corner cut - I'm your girl.

    You lose weight when you eat this stuff.
  • If you're eating with a friend, and you both eat the same thing, the calories cancel each other out.
  • Birthday cake has no calories.
  • Taking the birthday cake rule one step further; a lit candle sucks the calories out of any food.*
  • From Cute~Ella: Calories eaten on your birthday don't count; on your friends' birthdays only count for half.
  • Food wrapped in bacon has no calories.
  • From Mike: Alcohol calories don't count against you.
  • Cookies eaten in December have no calories.
  • Any holiday meal has no calories.
  • From kicknknit: Crumbling cookies releases the calories; be careful that calories fall on the ground, and not your feet, to avoid cankles.
  • If you lose weight in December, double it (holiday bonus).
  • Food received as a gift has no calories.
  • From Patrick: Relate your food back to a random conversation to cancel the calories. [Example: "My fantasy team laid an egg" means a huge, egg-centered breakfast will have no calories.]
  • Adding fruit to anything makes it a health food (pies, cookies, etc.).
  • Also from Patrick: When watching sporting events, if your team is winning, you get a free cookie. If you're team is losing, two free cookies.
  • Since it's required that you eat McBreakfast when on a roadtrip, those calories don't count, either.
  • From ndkelly29: Leftovers have only half the calories of the original dish. Reduce the number further if you serve the dish cold. [Example: Pizza]

 Have any to add? Leave me a comment!

*Must be used sparingly; avoid getting greedy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I've mentioned before that I love lights. It's been said that if you come to my house the day after Thanksgiving and stand still long enough, I will drape lights over you. [Put lights on a dog one time, and you get a reputation forever...]

I love to put lights up outside. When this job belonged to someone else, the light displays at my house were tremendous. (don't tell X I said so) Nowadays, it's a bit more reserved - largely because there's no freaking way I'm climbing a ladder. Still, there are ways to make your exterior illumination put on a terrific show.

First of all, timing is everything. Don't put your lights up too early, or wait to take them down after the holiday is over. Being outside in the cold and snow, fighting with frozen cords is all part of the fun. If you take the easy way out, and you live near me - please note I'll be tweeting sarcastic comments about you. 

Once you've come to terms with the fact you're going to be cold, the trick is to pull the display together. Here are some tips to help you avoid leaving the display looking like you were chased away by zombies mid-way.
  • Don't mix all-white and multi-color lights. Choose one and stay with it. It's like mixing plaids.
  • Don't drape lights over just any old thing, with no rhyme or reason. They should fit properly and make sense.
  • Don't decorate a tree halfway up and then leave the rest bare. It looks like you just got lazy. Either go to the top, or leave the tree alone.
  • Don't leave that one strand blinking while everything else is steady. Just don't. If you're so technically challenged that you're unable to fix this problem, take the lights down and go inside.
  • Don't leave lights just dangling - from your railing, gutter or a tree. Attach them to something, somehow. Leave it neat. No one wants to look at your mess for the next five weeks.
Tips and tricks aside - decorating is like life. At the end of the day, it's what is inside that matters. The outward appearance should reflect the inward style and focus. It doesn't matter if you're classy and reserved, traditional or funky, quiet or loud, or march to your own beat. What does matter is that you are not afraid to show your style to the world. Be who you are and show yourself off with pride and respect.

Because who you are is pretty darn cool. Right? 

Not my best work, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Open Letter to Little Miss Know-It-All

I know you. In fact - I used to be you. I was a little-miss-know-it-all. Not just any know-it-all, either - a married little-miss-know-it-all, with a house and a car and business cards. The whole thing.

It's easy to think you have life all figured out. It's easy to assume you have all the answers, and to judge others for being unsure; for asking questions and having problems that seem easy to solve.

I thought the same way. I remember thinking, "What is wrong with her? Why does she care so much about being single? What's the big deal?" Or even better, "Why would she ever put up with someone treating her that way? I would never."

It's easy to look down on life from a high, I-got-it-all-figured-out horse; to judge others and pass out "advice" like you know everything (which of course, you clearly do). You've got it all figured out, right?

Take it from someone who looks at life from a much lower, turns-out-I-wasn't-so-smart perspective: You don't know half of what you think you know. When life knocks you off your horse (and it will, trust me), you're going to look back on all you've figured out, and all the advice you've given, and wonder - how did this happen to me?

Then, you'll realize that life isn't something you "figure out." It's not a puzzle, where everyone finds the same answers. Everyone's journey is different, and everyone's answers are unique. If we're really, really lucky, we find people along the way who are willing to help us find our own answers, instead of always trying to give us theirs.

Here's hoping you find some of those people to help you climb back up on your horse, after you fall.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Free to Flee

It's no secret that I like Christmas. The lights, the movies, the music...the presents. The more, the merrier, I say - for one month a year, there is no such thing as too much. Except when it comes to one thing:

Don't get me wrong; I love my family. It's just that I don't necessarily relate to all of my family members. Some of them don't understand my life, or my goals. [I do have some family who are pure awesome. They know who they are.] So, how do I handle family parties, dinners, etc.? In a phrase - Exit Strategy. 

If we learned nothing from the Dubya era, before you enter a conflict, you should always know how you will retreat when the time comes. You have to plan carefully, accounting for all factors and contingencies. Here are some helpful tips from my years of successfully limiting family mayhem.

Know your opponents. Who will be at the party? What is their motivation? Are they there to show off their own, perfect little family unit? Are they there to gather (and spread) gossip about others? 

Know the layout. Have you been to the venue (home, restaurant, etc) before? Where are the restrooms? Is there a room/outdoor area to which you can make a quick retreat for a break? Is a quick exit possible? 

Keep your stuff in check. The hostess will offer to take your coat and purse. Never surrender your purse. If you must surrender your coat, make note of its location. If possible, bring a coat you can leave behind. Better yet, dress appropriately and don't bring a coat at all. 

Make it a team effort. At family events, I'm often the only person in the room without a date. Certain family members think this is a cause for sympathy; ironically, it's one of my favorite things. Why? I don't have to work out my exit with anyone else; when I'm ready to go - I can. 

If you are with a date, you'll have to plan carefully. Make sure your other knows the hand/eye signals and other visual/verbal cues for "let's get the f*** out of here." If he misses a cue, you may have to fake illness or emergency. If your other can't pivot quickly - you may have to leave him. [Hey, this is a family party, not the Marines. We mean business.] It helps if you think of your other like your coat - if possible, leave him at home, but if not, make sure he's one you don't mind leaving behind. 

It's all about the defense. Long goodbyes and take-home plates of food are strategies employed by the enemy family to detain you. Don't fall for that. Decline the food; if you must, feign a "diet" you're starting. [This is especially effective if you're a single female because, well, obviously you must need to lose weight or you'd have a date, right? *rolls eyes*] 

As for goodbyes, identify those few people to whom you must say goodbye - and catch them right away. Then, when you've announced your departure to your host, you're free to flee. 

How about you? Any tips/tricks for avoiding/surviving the dreaded family gathering?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dear Santa

Why did we ever stop making lists for Santa? Does it really hurt to write down what you want from life? Whether it's stuff, or people, or a feeling - it's important to know what you're looking for. How else do you plan to get it? Even if the list is just for your eyes - you, at least, will know what your wishes are. 

So, in that spirit, I'm going to share you with you, dear reader(s), my Christmas wish list for 2010. Some of it is sappy; some of it is your run-of-the mill Christmas "stuff." All of it's honest.

A new job. I'll even make this easy, Santa - I already know the job I want. I just need a little help to put it in motion.

Happiness and health (and maybe some money) for my friends. Santa - they've put up with so much for so long. I mean, I know that life is full of challenges - but seriously?

Love. You know what I mean. Make it happen.

A new cellphone and/or e-reader because, let's face it, love, happiness and health are not going to fit in my stocking.

I'd really love it if snow could land on grassy surfaces only. That way, kids can build snowmen and friends can go skiing, but I don't have to shovel or slip while trying to walk. I've seen A Year Without Santa Claus, so I know you're tight with Mother Nature. Work a deal, k?

These shoes, an outfit to match, and New Year's Eve plans worthy of the whole ensemble. 

I'm asking my friends to list their wishes below. I'd love for you to deliver those, too. Although - not by UPS.

Please and Thank You, Santa!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Forget to Remember

Christmas is supposed to be a time when we remember all the people who bring good to our life. We're supposed to show love for one another, and kindness towards strangers. It's supposed to be a time when we're focused on dreams, and possibilities for the future. When we should be concentrating on what makes us happy. 

Instead, we get caught up in finding the right gift, at the right price. We want to give the biggest and the best - and we want to receive the same. We want the best parking spot and the shortest line. We want to be invited to all the right parties. We want to be the best-dressed in the room, and we want someone to meet under the mistletoe. 

Kids get it. They look, wide-eyed as they pass Santa in the mall. Or rather, as we drag them, running from one end to the other. Kids stop to throw snowballs while we're plowing through the parking lot, bogged down with heavy bags and snarling at fellow shoppers. Kids wake with excitement on Christmas day and want to spend the day laughing and playing; we hurry them up, so we can clean the house and get ready for company.

We need to take a lesson from the kids. Let them remind us what is important. We need to make sure we don't forget to remember. 

(I can't take credit for "forget to remember." Credit goes to this guy.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Sparkle

I can't begin to explain how much I like Christmas lights. Enough that I put a tree in every room, so that no matter where I'm spending time, I have a tree to enjoy. I've been wanting to show them off; so here they are. 

I put smaller trees in the kitchen and bedroom. 

Yankee Tree
Yes, that's Derek Jeter. No, I don't have an A-Rod ornament.
Kitchen - Red & White Sparkle
The plaid ribbon matches my table linens ;)

My main tree is in the living room.

Close up of the decorations. 

Why go to all the trouble? It's simple....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Show Some Respect

I went to the New York State Museum the other day to check this out. When I was done munching on chocolate dropping big cash supporting the local vendors, I decided to visit an ongoing exhibition at the museum dedicated to the events of September 11, 2001

I cry every time I see this exhibit. It brings me back to that day; the fear, sadness, anger and confusion that I felt. But it's also a beautiful reminder of the victories. It showcases the heroic efforts of rescue workers, lives that were saved, and memorial projects like the USS New York, a ship built from steel from the fallen towers. 

There was a lot going on that day at the Museum and Plaza. The Chocolate Festival, a craft fair, a train show and a tree lighting to name a few things. So the place was filled with families, and kids. I noticed a group of three kids come in to the 9/11 exhibit right after me. The boy jumped up on a display and sat on a piece of steel - to pose for a silly picture. 

I wondered how anyone could be so disrespectful. I mean - this is a very big deal; a big thing that just happened. Then I realized - no, it didn't. It happened over nine years ago. These kids couldn't have been more than 12 or 13 - which means 9/11 is something they'll only learn about in school. It's not something they lived through. It's not real to them - it's just another exhibit in the museum.

Still - to people like me, it's very, very real. Which got me thinking about all the anniversaries I overlook. Things that I learned in a text book in eleventh grade, but don't pay much attention to since passing my final. Dates that mean a lot to others; that represent their own loss, sadness and anger. I overlook those dates and, without meaning to, show disrespect to people who lost a lot, and sacrificed to make sure I'm safe, and free.

I grew up in Albany. I've been to that museum dozens of times. I don't think I've ever learned a lesson that will stick with me as much as this one will. I wish I'd thought to say thank you to that boy and his friends. 

Instead - I'll remember to say thank you to someone today. Not sure why? Google today's date. Then find someone to thank. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Small After All

Every time I think of how facebook has made my world smaller, I think of the song "It's a Small World, After All" which brings me back to the ride at Disney World. What a nightmare! Trapped in the dark, in a boat, listening to that song over...and over...and over... you get the idea. I almost got out of the boat and walked to the end, just to escape. 

Okay, so that's not really the point here, but that would make a funny story, dontcha think? 

I heard somewhere that all the people we know in our life are people that we've known in past lives. That we keep moving in the same circle of family and friends. In different lives, people take on different roles, but we're always connected to the same people, and we recognize them by their souls. 

So, I'm on facebook the other night, and I notice a friend's status. Something drew my eye to a comment, in which one of her friends said she'd run into a guy who they both knew, and she mentioned him by first and last name. I recognized the name - it belongs to an a guy I dated in college. I'd had the biggest crush on him in high school. He was a total bad-boy, can't-bring-him-home kind of guy. Ah - stupid choices we make as teenagers. 

So, I messaged my friend to ask if it was the same guy. She responded and said yes, she'd gone to high school with him. While I was contemplating how small the world really is, I remembered him introducing me to a girl who he'd dated in high school, and with whom he'd remained friends. She and I talked several times back then, because we all worked in the mall, and all knew each other. I remembered she had the prettiest name, and the most beautiful red hair.

Wait a minute.....

Yup. The same girl. So this woman, who is in my friends list; who I met by chance through a friend of a friend;  and with whom I've been to the movies and hung out and chatted on facebook over the last year, is the very same girl who I became friends with at the mall all those years ago.

Small, after all, no? 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Football Gnomes?

I'm the first to admit that I ask stupid questions. All. The. Time. In fact, just today I asked twitter, "What is a Cavalier?" I kept seeing all these tweets - cheers, jokes, etc. I should have realized they were talking about the Cleveland Cavaliers. I don't follow basketball, but that's no excuse. Luckily, I have very cool tweeps who helped me out. (If you don't know why they were trending, and are curious, click here.)

The whole conversation reminded me of a Chrissy story I thought it might be fun to share. This actually comes from Chrissy's LBS (Life Before Sue). Though I wasn't present, I've heard first-hand tellings, and I assure you - it's a gem.

She was at a sports bar on a Sunday with her (then) boyfriend (Maybe fiance? Not sure.) and some of his friends. Beer, wings, laughing, football - good times, right? 

Wait for it....

Chrissy looked up at the TV and noticed the first down line. You know, that yellow graphic that the TV adds? (Special thanks to this tweep and that tweep for clarifying.) She looked away for a second, and when she looked back, it was gone. Because it's a graphic. (Which, for the record, I knew - I just didn't know what the line was called.)

Halftime Break
Very innocent, but also very serious - and very loud - Chrissy asks, "How do they get that line on the field? Do they have little men who go out on the field and paint it? How do they get rid of it so quickly?"

Nah, I'm not kidding. I don't believe she was invited back to watch football, either. Not that she would have gone anyway. I mean - no sense of humor, those guys. At. All.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Time to Celebrate

I love Christmas. I'm sure I'll be sharing with you the ways that I celebrate. With that in mind, I thought I'd take a minute to explain exactly what I'm celebrating.

I know Christmas is technically a Christian holiday. But, let's face it, it's also become a commercial holiday. I'm not going to debate the merits of any Christian faith. You believe what you like, I'll believe what I like, and we'll all be happy. Life's too short. 

If I am a disciple of anything - it's consumerism. So when it comes to Christmas - here's what I celebrate.

Lights and Decorations... I love them. Well, I love to decorate, period. This just gives me another excuse to change things up. As for lights - I just adore pretty things that sparkle.

Shopping!! I don't really think I need to elaborate any further. For the record though - mine is mostly done online or before the actual season starts. While I love shopping, I hate crowds of angry, stressed out people. That's what work is for.

Gifts... I love to give 'em. I love making people smile, especially little kids. I can barely contain myself waiting for other people to see the gifts I've picked out for them. 

Stuff!!! I'm an only child, my parents are divorced and I have no kids of my own. I get the best Christmas presents. It gets even better when I'm going through a rough time. So, to anyone who has made me cry or hurt my feelings - I thank you. I'll be thinking of you while I'm picking out my new Coach bag and filling it with my nook and new cell phone.

Hope... There is truly nothing better than a season built on the idea that dreams will come true, if you believeNothing.

Call me shallow or frivolous. Call me tainted or immature. Call me spoiled, if you like. You're still invited for Christmas dinner. The lights are on, and there will be a gift under the tree.

In this house, we believe.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Match Made in Heaven

"Maybe our friends are our soul mates, and guys are just there to have fun with."
Sex and the City

Talk about a match made in heaven.
I came across this article and started thinking about soul mates. The article says that soul mates are matches made in heaven; not necessarily permanent, and also not a one-shot deal. They are about work, not play - and most guys don't think about soul mates (shocker).  

We spend so much looking for our soul mate, assuming it has to be in the form of romantic love - but what if that's not true? What if Sex and the City is right (it wouldn't be the first time) and our romantic relationships are not our soul mates? Maybe it really is our friends. 

Soul mates are not permanent, and are not a one-shot deal. So, we have more than one. Now, when people look for love, they're usually looking for a forever love, a lasting love. Not so with friends - there's always room for more friendship. So, where better to find our soul mates? 

Soul mates are about work; they make us face who we really are - and who we are meant to become. That could be your love; but for me, that has always been my friends, and family. Those are the people who are there to pick me up when I fall, when love has let me down. They're the people who make me face what I need to change, and help me find my path. That's a soul mate. Someone who makes me face my...stuff.

As far as soul mates being a match made in heaven... 

"Friends are angels sent down to earth to make good days and help us find our way." [Author Unknown] 

Have you met your soul mate? 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Say What You Want...

...but I love twitter. I've posted before about my love for the (somewhat) popular social networking site. Still, friends and family say to me constantly, "I just don't get twitter. What's the point?"

Let me tell you. First - the point is to meet people. I have several friends (yes, actual, in person, I'd know 'em if I saw 'em) who I met on twitter. How do you meet people? The same way you'd meet them at a cocktail party or any other function - just start talking tweeting. You can also search for people in a specific geographic area, or people tweeting about specific topics.

People still doubt me. So, let me share a couple of recent success stories.

I've started tweeting for my cousin's flower shop/floral design business, Ambiance Florals & Events. In the few weeks I've had her business on twitter, I've networked with other local business, gotten her free advertising for her floral design classes (and found some new participants) and I was able to use twitter to find an awesome contact to redesign her website.

Personally, I've been having some problems with my mortgage lender. There's been some mix-ups with paying my city and school taxes on time. I thought I was able to solve the issue a couple months back, through several phone calls and faxes. But then I got a notice a couple weeks ago that my taxes were still delinquent. (Not a notice any homeowner wants to see.)

Rather than calling my lender again - I tweeted. A short message saying I had a problem, and I mentioned my lender's twitter handle so I knew they would see my tweet.

Within about 5 minutes, I had a response from the person who was monitoring the bank's twitter account. She followed me so that I could direct message her my contact information. Within an hour I had a customer service manager contact me for more details. Later that same day, that same manager called me back to tell me the problem had been resolved.

So, if you were wondering - THAT is the purpose of twitter.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Yes, Billy - There is a Santa Claus

Dear Billy,
I heard someone whispered in your ear that Santa isn't real. So now, you're wondering - if no one sees Santa, or knows how he does what he does, and there's no proof or explanation how can Santa be real?

What does love look like to you?
You use things all the time, like your DS and Wii, but you're not really sure exactly how they work. You've learned about places and people in school - you've never seen or met them, but you know they're real, right? Me too. I'm been many planes, but I still have no idea how they work. I've never seen Las Vegas, but I know it's a real place. Maybe we don't need to understand how something works, or see it in action, to know it exists.

But I know how you feel, Billy. For a long time, I didn't believe in love. It seemed impossible; no one could show me proof that it was real. I was too afraid to trust. I didn't want to be disappointed, or be laughed at for believing. Then I started spending time with you, and your parents, and now your little brother. Know what? You showed me love. It's not something I can touch or see - but I feel it fill my heart, every time you smile. That feeling makes me happy when I'm sad or hurt, and it makes me smile through my tears.

That's pretty powerful, right? Do you want to know what I think? Anything that powerful has to be real - even if it's just real to me. And, if something that I can't see or touch, like love, is that powerful - then there's really no reason not to believe in Santa, too.

So, Billy - I say Santa is very, very real. Let's make a deal: I'll believe if you do, okay?

Love & Merry Christmas,

For those who believe, no proof is necessary. ~ Stuart Chase

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday (Necklace) Fun

I tweeted on Wednesday that my Friday Fun post was going to be pictures of my new necklace, just because I like it that much. I wasn't kidding.

It might surprise you to know that I have a crafty side to me. Crafty Sue actually has some creative hobbies, like floral design (that's another post) and making Christmas ornaments (for which I'm considering an etsy site). Crafty Sue also likes to go to craft fairs and find unique items as gifts, as well as for myself. Last weekend I went to this craft fair at Hudson Valley Community College and found a very cool necklace.

This is the necklace I bought. At full length, it's about 20 inches (shown below). Just right with a turtleneck sweater. 

Perfect length for the winter wardrobe.
But, those clever crafters gave us some options. When worn full length, the toggle connector is hidden behind your neck, and the the circle is part of the design on the end. But when brought together, they close the necklace up, cutting its length in half. 

Arrows show the toggle connector. 

Once the toggle is closed, you have two options for wearing the necklace. See? 

You can wear it as a strict choker, or place the toggle in front and give yourself the added length. 

While I love my designer brands, this makes craft finds such a great little thing. Add this to my list of things that make me happy.

Hope your holiday was great, that you're loving the football or shopping and that you found lots for which to be thankful. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Hope and Thanks

Today is a day to be thankful. I started a list: Familyfriends, my Dad, my homekids and the little things. Then I wondered - what do all those things have in common?

One way or another, every one of those things has helped me survive hurt. In the process, I learned about people; we all know love, we all know loss, and we all have something to offer. I've also learned about myself; I've figured out what I like, and what I want to change and improve. Without the hurt, there are friends I wouldn't have met, and experiences I might not have had.

That's all wrapped in one thing: Hope. That's the thing for which I am most thankful. 

Hope has taught me that the best thing about happiness is you never know when or where you'll find it next. It's taught me to never, ever give up. If you do, you might miss something wonderful. 

I've been told that my advice and support has helped friends survive difficult times. Complete strangers have commented that I validated a feeling, made them laugh, or made them think. Without the pain, and the lessons that followed, I wouldn't have been able to offer any of that hope. So it hasn't only helped me - my hope has helped me to help others.

That's a true gift - one for which I am very thankful. Hopefully, what I share makes you smile, laugh, cry or think. Maybe it even makes you hope a little. 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Friend or Foe?

So, I talked yesterday about cheapening the meaning of friendship through facebook. How I pretty much add anyone (although, I do have to say, I still prefer to add those with whom I have some relationship, even if it is all electronic.). So, here's the dilemma in reverse:

Once you've added someone, when do you unfriend them (if ever)?

I've unfriended when I never had a real life relationship. Friends of friends, people I met only briefly, etc. Never being real-life friends, I'm sure it didn't matter when we were no longer facebook friends.

But what about real-life friends, who are suddenly not friends anymore? I have two in my facebook list right now that sort of meet this definition. One is a woman with whom I was really good friends a few years ago. We spoke everyday, we exchanged birthday and Christmas gifts, and I attended her wedding. Then, we had a falling out and we haven't spoken in over a year. She was the one who was upset; so should she be the one to unfriend?

The other is a guy who I used to date, and after we dated, we remained good friends. We hung out, he introduced me to new friends who we still have in common, and we used to talk every day. Then he found a girlfriend fiancée. I haven't heard from him - not even a response to my congratulatory email. I know his fiancée doesn't approve of all his female friends. I'm not necessarily angry - just disappointed and missing my friend. Again, the rift is on his end, not mine - so should he do the unfriending?

A few weeks back I heard Peter Shankman talk about social media. One thing he said that stuck with me is that social media is just life - and your network is the people who are a part of your world. Some people are more relevant in your life than others - and their relevance can change, and then easily change back again.

I tend to agree with him. With this in mind, it seems like no one should unfriend anyone. I mean - just because we aren't relevant in each other's lives right now doesn't mean we weren't once, and might not be again someday.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Friends of Mine

Did you hear/read/see how Jimmy Kimmel called for a national Unfriend Day recently? A day set aside to "clean house" as my friend calls it, and get rid of anyone in your facebook friend list who is not actually your friend.

Everyone uses facebook differently. Some people use a facebook page to promote a personal business. Some people use it as their primary social network, and add anyone with whom they're connected - even a little. Other people treat facebook like their home - something to be protected, and kept private. Or, as private as a website can be, anyway.

The landscape of my facebook page has changed drastically in the last year. The first big change was some real education on facebook privacy settings and how facebook uses our information. That prompted an overhaul to the information I share, including customized privacy settings, and  deleting applications. While I fully support your right to tend a garden, run a mafia or feed fish on facebook, I won't be joining you.

The second major change was my friends list. I've made some new friends online (twitter and blogs). At first, I thought my twitter/blog life should be separate from my facebook life. But after a while, that seemed silly - and complicated. Really, what's the difference between someone whom I've never met in person, but with whom I talk everyday - and someone from grade-school who I've certainly met in person, but haven't spoken to in fifteen years? 

Does it cheapen the meaning of friendship when we broaden our definition? I don't believe so. I'm opening myself up to friendships I might not have otherwise found. I can connect with people by commenting on their status or post, sharing their blog, or posting on their wall. That connection is friendship - and it can happen with someone I've known for thirty minutes as easily as thirty years.

That's friendship. It comes in all shapes and sizes. Thanks to facebook, and social media - it's just easier to find.

What about you? Has facebook changed the way you look at friendship?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Time Well Spent

Look to your right. No, your other right - below my picture, where it says, "About the Blogger." If you know me in person, you know I am definitely not a tall, pretty blonde. What you might not know is that woman really exists. She's my friend and often-times roommate, Chrissy.

No Joke.
Chrissy is really her nickname. Her friends nick-named her after Chrissy Snow, the character from the show Three's Company. I know, many of you are in your twenties and have no idea what I'm talking about. Go ahead, google it. We'll wait. 

It has always been my lot in life to be friends with someone taller, thinner and prettier than I. Always. It's a role to which I've become accustomed. But Chrissy is....different. Spending time with her is like time spent with no one else. 

It occurred to me the other night that sharing some of my Chrissy stories with you would make for a good blog read. I had this thought as she leaned over and tried to change the station on a TV on the wall at the gym using the audio controller attached to my treadmill. 

Why would she think that an audio controller would change the station of a TV? And why on earth would she leap to the conclusion that the one attached to my treadmill would have more control than, oh, say the one attached to hers? Those are the sort of questions you ask yourself a lot when you hang out with Chrissy. 

Make no mistake - I love her. She drives me absolutely nuts sometimes, but she's my best friend. She's more than a friend, really. She's like a sister to me. If it wasn't for her and her kids, I honestly don't think I'd be alive right now. So, any fun I make at her expense will be just that - fun. Besides, she could embarrass me right back if she wanted.

And I really do make sarcastic comments about her shoes. All the time. Mostly about how they often don't match her purse. Drives. Her. Crazy.  

Friday, November 19, 2010

Who are You Calling Sexy?

You might have heard that People Magazine recently announced their pick for Sexiest Man Alive - 2010. You can the details here. Certainly, they have some good picks - I'm particularly fond of their pick for age 36 in the sexy at any age gallery.  *sigh*

I decided to come up with a Top Ten list of my own. My taste is pretty specific - and unique. For me, looks   take a backseat to things like intellect, sense of humor and class. And no, that isn't a line of BS.

My list would look something like this:

The original sexy guy in my life.
Jon Bon Jovi - He's been on my sexy-guy list since I was old enought to know what sexy meant. He's been with the same woman for all of those years, with nary a word of infidelity or trouble. He's the guy next door. If, you know, the door next to yours is attached to a mansion in a gated community.

Chris Daughtry - That voice! And those arms! Plus, he tweets photos of his wife and is so proud of his family. Nothing sexier than a guy you might actually be able to trust.

Gene Simmons - His charisma, of course. His business savvy. The fact that he, also, has been "happily unmarried" to the same woman, with no cheating, for over 20 years. He's a marketing genius - and he once cleaned litter boxes on his reality show.

Dontcha just want to run
errands with him?
Ben Affleck - Still on my family-man kick. Plus - he always has  just enough Saturday scuff to make me smile. You could totally dress him up in LL Bean and take him to a farmer's market.

Seth Rogen - Funny? Check. Smart? Check. Honest? No proof yet to the contrary, so he gets this check. He's on my list because he makes me laugh.

Kevin Smith - See Seth Rogan. Add: He talks adoringly about his wife, which in my opinion, is very sexy behavior for any guy. Not to mention, he took his favorite hobby and made himself a millionaire. Genius!

John Cusack - Another old-school favorite. His annoying tweets aside, I find him to be smart and funny. He's a baseball fan who stands by his convictions. Sexy.

Stay off his mound.
Dallas Braden - He argued with A-Rod, which by itself would land him my list. When Rodriguez made snide comments that Dallas was using him for his 15 minutes, Dallas responded with a perfect game. Double sexy, in my book.

Rob Thomas - He sings, he writes, he adores his wife and they seem happy. Plus, he tweets all the time, which is a sure-fire way to my heart.

So, who is my Number One? As if there were any doubt....


Derek Jeter - Yes, he's a pretty boy. Yes, he has very classic, attractive features. Make no mistake - he's a smart guy. He says and does all the right things to maintain his image, and therefore his marketability and value.

Even if it's just an act (which I've been told it is not), he carries himself with class, showing respect for the game, his team, his family and his friends. He appreciates the opportunities that he's been given, and isn't afraid to show his gratitude. He takes his parents to all his public appearences - how adorable is that?!? He seems like an upstanding guy. That's sexy.

He makes me smile, and as of right now, is the ONLY guy on planet earth who has never fallen short of my expectations. Who else would be number one?  

Like you're surprised.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Thanksgiving is next week. I know this because my father started texting me four weeks ago asking what we were going to do about dinner. Also, although dates frequently sneak up on me, that almost never happens when they're attached to a four day weekend. 

You call that a meal?
They aren't even throwing any food!!
Other than nagging and fighting, my family doesn't really have "traditions." We used to eat as a large group when I was younger. When I got married, X thought it would be "fun" if we hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our home. Thankfully, my immediate family is not very large, so we he only ever cooked for four-six people. 

Honestly, the only family with whom I concern myself when it comes to holidays is my Dad. Since I don't cook (much), we're still figuring out what the new "tradition" will be. I expect it to be something that will change over time, which is fine. Were it up to me, I'd stay in bed, eat donuts, watch the parade and then have takeout while I start putting up my Christmas decorations. 

For the record, this year we'll be joining my cousins and some of their family. This would be a perfectly fine tradition with me, since Bill is probably the best cook I have ever encountered. Sorry, X. 

What are your Thanksgiving traditions? 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Did you read this article about the sweetest couple EVER?! No? Check it out.

*patiently waiting*

Done reading? Are you shocked? I was. I find it hard to believe that anyone could be that selfless and content. Aren't most of us always looking for the next best thing? A big break? Can't something always be just a little bit better?

It got me thinking - if I won all that money, what would I do? I like to think I'd be that kind - but the truth is, I'd probably only be a little bit kind. Observe:

I'd pay off all my debt - which includes a mortgage, a car and a credit card.

I would make a few improvements to my house.

I would set up college funds for Nathan, Emily, Tiffany, Billy and Joey.

I would give some money to certain family and friends who I know could use the help.

I would quit my job and try to make a writing career for myself. In my current situation, I can't really afford to be a starving writer; but if I had the money, I'd like to give it a shot.

Would I donate to charity? Of course. I'd give some to several animal charities and some to charities supporting our soldiers and their families. I'd also donate to charities that support counseling and advocacy for at-risk youth.

What would you do?  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Might be Right

In case you're not already aware - I'm divorced. Since our divorce, X and I have become pretty good friends. I'll admit, at one point, that didn't seem possible. But, we've both forgiven each other (and ourselves), and moved on. That has allowed us to continue our friendship.

Okay, okay. You're right. I'm wrong.
There is one thing that I didn't like when we were married, and I continue to dislike in our post-nuptual friendship: I hate it when he's right. When we were married, it was usually computer, house or worry related. I dealt with it through finely honed sense of denial - I simply didn't admit he was right. *shrugs* Now that we're just friends - it's often related to dating and relationships (he's become very enlightened). Since he's my friend, I feel I have to treat him like any other friend, and give him credit when he's correct. *sigh*

The thing is - he's always right. What's more, he has absolutely no vested interest in protecting my feelings - so he's always honest. He doesn't just tell me what I want to hear. He's been right when he said I'd find out a guy was actually seeing someone else. He's been right when he's said that a friend was being unfair and would apologize. He's been right when he's said family drama was going to head into overdrive, and I should take cover.

People have asked how I can be friends with X. I think it comes down to this: Some people are meant to be in your life forever. It may be not be the way you expected or planned - but there they are. So, listen - you never know when they may be right.