Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Eve?

So here's what's happening and why I never have time to write my own blog -- only other people's blogs.

My dog has giardia. Google it. It's gross. It's a parasite. It affects her stomach. We are not getting any sleep here. But it all started as an unresolved case of swollen lymph nodes and we have no explanation for that yet. And that also makes me lose sleep.

Tonight we were attempting a "shoot" of an amateur music video with our son Will. Because who else would be more qualified to shoot a music video than my 51 year-old husband and I on our iPhones?

We will see how it turns out. At least it won't have dog noise in the background this time because I put the dog in the Tiguan while we filmed it. We call the Tiguan her apartment. She loves her apartment. 

I love my dog and I love my kid but I'm about as tired as I can get at this point. There's no more tired.  I'm so tired, I'm contemplating getting my AARP card finally. That's right. Bring it AARP. Bring it Depends and Metamucil and all the other indignities that await me. 

It's okay. I've been in this spot before when I was much younger. Like the time my mom and I had dynsentery at Abu Simbel. But that's another gross story for another day.

In the meantime, merry elfing Christmas all as my husband says. Here's the "music video." It looks like it was made in Yugoslavia.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Sharp Dressed Man

I'm putting together some blogs for my son about becoming an adult. So if some of my posts seem a bit "master of the obvious" just bear with me. He's graduating this year and I want him to have stories that he can read, or not, about life and lessons learned. This one is about shoes. 

Shoes. Just writing the word makes me want to go shopping. At the Marshall's shoe superstore of course, because I've got a kid leaving for college in a year. Shoes are my Achilles heel.  Even when I've sworn off shopping, shoes will lure me back. My other weakness is travel. For example, this summer I went to France with my friend Sylvie completely on a whim, partially financed by credit card debt, and I'm so glad I did. 

When I was a kid, our family traveled quite a bit. My dad worked for IBM and was very successful, always winning trips to beautiful places like Hawaii. And then we moved to various places too, as all IBM'ers did back in the day. The only trip I recall taking outside the US as a kid was crossing the Rio Grande into Mexico via rowboat. Then small donkeys took us to a tiny border town. I'm pretty sure we made that crossing illegally, but it was back in the 70's when there wasn't a wall.

In college, I spent my junior year in Paris. Lucky girl. I know that now. I probably knew it then, but I definitely know it know. Having a home base in Europe gave me the opportunity to train it to lots of other destinations and I traveled as often as I could. When I got out of school, I continued to travel frequently. My mom planned this wild trip to Egypt and India and it was on that trip that I learned the lesson about shoes. 

I also learned about dysentery. But here's what I learned about shoes. 

We were riding on a barge down the Nile for several days with a group of fellow travelers from England, New Zealand and Canada. One of the women traveling was a headhunter in London. She had a very scary demeanor, even with the Egyptians, that said don't mess with me. And she had one of those classic English hairstyles like the Queen. I have no idea how she kept it so rigid under the conditions we were living in on that boat.

We were talking one night about her job and the interviewing process. She told me she makes an immediate decision based on the job candidate's shoes. If their shoes are scuffed or not cared for, they're out. That's it. Not because they don't have the credentials or the education. She makes a snap decision based on their shoes. 

I thought wow that's harsh. Then she explained that if the job candidate doesn't take care of their shoes that says something about them. Maybe it says this interview isn't important to me or I'm disorganized, I'm sloppy etc... She explained that the shoes don't have to be new or expensive, they just need to look sharp. Today, I have pairs of shoes I've had for years and I make sure when I'm headed out to a meeting or a party, those shoes are polished and look good. Sometimes I take a black sharpie to them to fill in scuffs.

My advice for you Will is to buy the best shoes you can afford and then keep them looking sharp. You never know who's watching.


Is Nothing Sacrum?

It's been so long since I've written a blog, I think I've forgotten how. Here goes.

About a month ago I visited my mom in Savannah to help with some things around her house. I love Savannah. Man they know how to eat in that town. We tried two new Savannah hotspots, The Grey and The Florence. For those of you who've never been to Savannah, time's a wastin'. What's happening in Savannah is local entrepreneurs and powerhouse art school SCAD are reclaiming dozens of old properties that have fallen into disrepair. They repair them, bringing back their history and add their own dash of cool.

The Grey is the site of the old Greyhound Bus station in Savannah so the restaurant and bar feature classic elements from the original space. As they put it, "Occupying a 1938 art deco Greyhound Bus Terminal that they painstakingly restored to its original luster, The Grey offers a food, wine and service experience that is simultaneously familiar and elevated." Bon Appétit named The Grey the best designed restaurant of the year for 2015. 

The Florence is the work of celebrity chef Hugh Acheson, Top Chef judge and a Canadian who has apparently fallen in love with the South. I googled him - his wife is from Georgia, so yes he is literally in love with the South. Formerly an abandoned ice factory, The Florence is part of a mixed use space that includes a hipster coffee shop and dorm-style residences targeting SCAD students. The Florence bills itself a blend of Southern and Italian food using farm fresh local ingredients. Both The Florence and The Grey are well worth the airfare to Savannah.

Anyway, back to the whole sacrum idea behind this blog. Actually my veering off course to discuss food when I started out thinking about yoga is another perfect example of my ADD brain. And why I can't do yoga. 

On the day of my departure from Savannah, my mom and I took a Barre / Pilates / Yoga class at the Savannah YMCA with instructor Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a local but she left Savannah for a time to pursue dance in New York. So she's got the Southern accent and the lineage but she's not exactly marching in lockstep with the other locals. 

During the class, Elizabeth kept referencing the sacrum, pull in your sacrum or be mindful of your sacrum -- but in my mind, I was thinking what is my sacrum exactly? What does it look like? Are you sure I have one because i can't find it. And this is why I can't do yoga. This is why it's amazing that I can even sit down to write for an hour each day, much less hours every day. Because my mind is constantly racing to the next thing, and the next thing and something shiny that I see out of the corner of my eye. 

The weird thing is my shooting thoughts often intersect as they do here in this blog. Because my sacrum is a bone that supports my upper body which is supporting my food habit which is supported by The Grey. When you go, may I suggest the Red Rice Cakes and oysters if it's an "r" month. We had the Blue Points from Connecticut.  

Formal definition of the sacrum here: The sacrum is a large wedge shaped vertebra at the inferior end of the spine. It forms the solid base of the spinal column where it intersects with the hip bones to form the pelvis. The sacrum is a very strong bone that supports the weight of the upper body as it is spread across the pelvis and into the legs. 

And yes, I have one. I just don't know how to be mindful of it. That's me and my mom at The Grey. Thanks lady bartender for taking our pitcha.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Angel I Envision


My son Will wrote and performed this song at some point in our living room. I only found out about it yesterday.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Bigger Than Life

This week a friend and former colleague died at his home in Belize, a heart attack the result of running out of blood pressure medication. It's hard to explain this guy, but I think my brother Clay summed it up perfectly when he said he left everything on the field. 

He was like a caricature, but not. That's the only way I can explain it. When I first met him, and until we no longer worked together, he was the top selling salesperson globally for this tech company. His territory was Latin America and the Caribbean. Fluent in Spanish and an avid sailor, he was a natural fit for the job. 

At the time, I worked in international marketing--everything outside the US and Canada. It was actually way more fun than US and Canada and way more Wild, Wild, West. I can't talk about it all, because within our group we had what's known as "the Cone of Silence." We didn't talk about what happened in Brazil or Mexico, because it never happened.

The news of our friend's death really hit me. Hypothetically we know that no one here gets out alive. But in the real world, it can be shocking. As I said, and my brother and other close friends echoed, there are some people who are so larger than life, it doesn't seem like they can actually die.  

But he did. And what is real or made up about him, we will hopefully never know for sure.  Here's what I do know: those ridiculous biking shorts that he wore sailing, his love of all things on the water, Red Stripe beer, sipping caipirinhas at the Maksoud in Sao Paulo, his loud silly laugh and big smile, he was a lover of women and loved in return. Is there anything more?

He lived large and that is a lesson to us all. Seize the day because our days are numbered. Or as his friend John said, "Time has us all, so enjoy every day."

They're Tracking Us

Social media is a weird thing. It puts so many words out there and we think the words don't matter or connect the dots, but they do. Facebook algorithms are tracking us, and we say, "Oh it's fine, I have a tin foil hat or I'm not on Facebook." What we write on social media is revealing who we are. 

I recently met with a young classmate of my son's for a job shadowing program through their high school. These kids seem so poised. Emma seemed so poised. I don't know if that is because I was a nervous wreck as a child or if there really is a big difference between millenials and me.

When I was a junior in high school, I was working at various menial jobs and babysitting. I was killing it babysitting. Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. House on Rice's Lane in Westport, who not only had the world's easiest baby but they also had awesome snacks. Represent Camp Mahackeno! But I was otherwise trying like hell to hide who I was.  I don't know if it was the times, or it was just me.

My job shadower Emma was entirely prepared for our meeting. We had to push it a few times because she had so many things on her plate like AP exams and varsity sports. When we finally met, what I came away thinking was that kid is exhausted. She kept yawning when we were talking or actually trying to stifle yawns. I assumed boredom, and it may in fact have been boredom, but she later said she learned a bunch from talking to me.  So I'm going to say 50% boredom, 50% exhaustion from all the testing and sports etc.

Emma brought some writing samples for me to review, and as I read them I began to get a better picture of who she is. She's a nonconformist, she's a romantic -- I mean she must be right to want to pursue a career in writing? I thought wow, I am really beginning to see who she is. She is revealed.

Then today I was thinking well I'm still a huge secret except for my blog and my Pinterest boards and my Twitter feed. Who am I kidding? All will be revealed through our writing. And now our writing and our words are pervasive on social.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hands Are Not For Hitting

I wrote this for work but I love this organization and the people there were incredibly kind and passionate about what they do.
The issue of domestic violence has made headlines recently, from high-profile athletes to family disputes gone terribly wrong. While the videos and police reports are shocking, it all seems far away. This Christmas, our company decided to make a difference by foregoing secret Santa’s this year to give to our local Center for Family Justice, one of 85 centers worldwide that offer a coordinated approach to breaking the cycle of domestic violence and sexual assault. Annually, our Center serves over 10,000 people primarily in the towns of Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull.
The employees of SFA bought gift cards of varying amounts and the total was matched by the company’s owners, Mark and John. Our office manager, Julie, contacted the Center’s Director of Development & Community Outreach, Sarah Smith Lubarsky, and we were invited to hand deliver the cards and take a tour of the facility. What we learned was eye opening.
There are two things that struck me as we arrived at the Center’s offices in Bridgeport: 1) the secured door that you have to be buzzed through and 2) the mural that greets you. As for the door, it’s the first sign of the Center’s absolute focus on client confidentiality. Sarah repeats this as we talk, “Our services are free and strictly confidential.” Secondly, there’s the mural. It’s a painting of handprints and at the center it reads, “Hands are Not for Hitting.” On each hand is written other things hands are “for” like Signing, Writing and Playing.
Sarah shows us counseling rooms and interview rooms filled with comfortable chairs, children’s books and toys, and drawing materials. Here victims and advocates meet, supported by a multi-disciplinary team (police, legal, DCF and others), to gather evidence, accept counseling and receive care in their time of need. The Center also provides:
·      A 24-hour confidential hotline
·      Community education and prevention training
·      Bilingual crisis counseling and safe housing for families fleeing abusers
·      Criminal and civil court advocacy
·      Counseling to women entering and leaving prison
·      Access to job training, health and wellness programs
Continuing to help the families in our community is a function of the Center staying operational through donations and fundraising. The Center for Family Justice hosts  a variety of educational and fun events throughout the year including: Ride Against Child Abuse for bikers, Bowling Against Bullying and Walk A Mile in Her Shoes, with Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara walking down the Post Road in pumps to focus attention on domestic and sexual violence.
We support the all the staffers, volunteers and brave families who get help through the Center for Family Justice. And we hope that someday, their work can come to an end.