Nobody cares. Work harder.

Well that’s not exactly true. Lots of people care, but I really should work harder. Here’s how I came to this aha! moment (I speak your name Oprah!).
I was in the middle of a whining tirade this morning, complaining about the usual stuff people complain about (oh my job, my house , my blah blah blah) when a good friend said,” nobody cares, work harder.
Geez. Fine.
There are days when this advice would have made me crawl up and go back to bed, or cry in a corner. There are days when I would have said,” F you! I deserve to vent and fume.”
But today, it’s what I needed to hear. There’s no time for tucking into self-pity. What am I an infant? I need to be soothed? Come on! I’m no martyr. Atleast 4 times a day I almost buy a vanilla latte . How bad could things be? Answer: not bad at all.
So tuck that in your pocket or purse for a rainy day. Don’t say I never gave you anything. Good night.

Ch Ch Changes

It’s October 3rd. September has been quite a month – full of surprises and change. Nothing new for us. The end of last year was full of changes for our family too. I quit my job after 8 years and started with a new company right before Christmas. My husband was offered a work-from-home gig and jumped on the chance to not commute after decades of trains, planes and automobiles.

Then January through July were a haze. I was traveling a lot for work, which was perfect because my husband and kids were getting into their new “being home together all the time routine”. I was all, “good luck with that, I’ll be in Newport Coast for the week. It’s you, the kids and Common Core. Bye!” It all worked out – no one died. We made it through the winter and spring and then summer was a lot of fun.

We were just hitting our stride and then boom. This is how our life works. For as long as I’ve known my husband, and well before we had our kids, this is our life works. We like to shake it up – or things get shaken up for us. Every change we’ve ever made has come from a small seed of an idea that we can’t let go of. Wanna get hitched and then have a baby in our 20s? Sure. Wanna move out of the city to a town we’ve never heard of? Why not! Wanna have another baby even though I’ll have to quit my job? Let’s do it!

Some changes were our whacked out decisions, and some changes were out of our control. We just had to roll with it.

For the past decade or so (this is not an exaggeration) – I’ve heard my husband say that he’d love to get out of his profession. That the world of finance isn’t making him happy. But because he’s a workhorse, and because it’s been good for our family, he would never walk away. He went from one stressful job to another and made the best of it. But then September started. And slowly a get-away plan emerged. His group was being shuffled and his position would now be based out of NYC. But the kids and i had gotten used to him being home. And he was loving the freedom of not being in an office. Not spending his life on a train. He was going to karate practices, doing pick-up after band rehearsal – getting to know his kids (and they got to know him) in a completely different way. Good, bad and ugly.

It was very much like my childhood. My parents had actual 9-5 jobs for a very short time, then my dad started his own business and never looked back. My mom was either helping him or home with us – actually they were both home with us. I don’t remember a time when my dad was out of the house for more than a few hours a day. It was unusual and wonderful. They were also risk takers. My dad was a pharmacist who could have made a very safe living his whole life, but he tried something different. He took a chance. The irony is that my entire childhood I thought of them as the most boring, risk-averse people – they drive their cars slow and live their lives quietly. Now I think they were absolutely bohemian (I feel my sister rolling her eyes). But really, they marched by the beat of their own drum. And it wasn’t all good – there were failures along with the successes – but they tried. They moved us around. They uprooted our schooling. Money went up and down – but it wasn’t boring. That’s for sure.

Maybe that’s why I’m not afraid of change. It doesn’t really rock my world. Not because I was unhappy before, or looking for the change – but because I know it’s not always bad. Or maybe I’m just dead inside. Just kiddin’.

Because I am my parent’s daughter, I’m constantly thinking of businesses that we can run. After my son was born and I decided to stay at home, I even started one of those businesses. A wedding planning company that did pretty well for three years. I loved it. I only stopped doing it because of another change that came out of nowhere. A phone call from an old colleague who had a job for me. A good job. The only caveat – it was two states away. A job that would force my husband to quit his well paying job if we took the move. Normal people would have laughed and said,”no way”.  But my husband and I,who wouldn’t know what to do in a casino if we tried, took another gamble. We said yes. And it worked out really really well. We loved our new town. The kids loved their new schools. My husband found another job right away, and I was happy with my new job. For a little while. But in the back of my mind, I was always thinking of what “we could start”. Even though my husband is the total opposite of my wandering nature, he got into it too. We would look at empty store fronts and imagine what we could do. We would have hour long discussions about the kinds of things that would work there. Then, like the lunatics we are, we’d even call the renters and ask how much the space cost. You know, normal stuff you do on a Friday night. While you and your husband are out at fancy restaurants and enjoying life, we’re researching franchise options and coming up with company names.

So last month when his job location shifted, we jumped on our chance. Well, I jumped and dragged him along. It was Friday night, we were doing our usual “this is a business that could work” routine – and he left the room to order pizza for the kids. That’s when I pulled the trigger for him and applied for all the legal paperwork for his new company. No joke. He came back into the living room and I said,” it’s done. You just started a company”. Instead of divorcing me like a normal person would do – he sat down and started a business plan. The only thing that saves my crazy is his crazy.

A month later, he’s ready to launch the website and dive in. And I would tell you what it is, but it’s not my gig. It’s his. I’m pretty sure he’ll go postal that I’ve even talked about it at all. But as always, I’ll take the gamble.

Worst. Soup. Ever

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I should have known by the name – All Bean. Like they needed to get rid of all their beans but none were good enough for one type of soup. They dumped all of them into a Vitamix and served it up. It should have read – All Bean No Flavor.
I usually have such great luck with soup at work. Really. They do a good job. Which is why I always buy a big bowl. It’s filling. It’s usually full of veggies. It’s usually awesome.
You see all the black specs? That’s 9 packets of pepper. 9! And I won’t even tell you the amount or salt I added. No dice. Still no flavor. The soup sucked.
As you can tell, I ate most of it anyway. I’m picky like that.
As I tell my kids, no big deal. It’s not my last meal. I’ll eat again in a couple of hours. I just thought you should know.
#firstworldproblems

I’ll sleep when I’m dead

Is that not the funniest thing you’ve ever heard? I was whining to my boss about going to a concert on a work night (Tom Petty!). Complaining about losing a few hours of sleep. Ignoring the fact that I’m still young and it shouldn’t kill me to do spontaneous things. This is what she said to me. You’ll sleep when you’re dead. Genius. She said it’s what her mother says to her sometimes. This is my new motto! No more pajamas at 7! No more 12 hour sleep cycles! I’m going to live life!
But then she also said another phrase I love,home is where the pants aren’t. Indeed. I think I like that better. Good night!

Here’s a blurry photo of the concert. It was a blast.

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The Stuff That Sticks

Like millions of other people, I was working and living in New York City on September 11, 2001. Everyone has a 9/11 story. Riding into work this morning, my train car was full of people talking about that day. Like a train full of veterans that lived to tell about it. Many of them had lost co-workers or family, but today, they talked about the little things. The weather that morning. People helping each other. The police walking around Penn Station with their fire arms out and on the ready.

Their conversation reminded me of the days and months and years following the sudden death of my mother-in-law. My husband, his sister and I would talk through every moment that led up to her passing over and over again. We’d be eating together, driving together, you name it – and all of a sudden one of us would start talking about how all the events unfolded. It was a devastating loss but talking about it, somehow dissecting it with each other was good for us. From the outside it must have sounded depressing and morbid, or like we were adding salt to the wound. But really it helped the healing. And it felt so nice to do it with people who wouldn’t hurry you through thinking about that day into the,” she’s in a better place” or “you’ll be ok soon”. Mourning slowly and long is ok. Mourning in bits and pieces is ok.

9/11 and the weeks that followed are both a blur and extremely clear in my head. Here’s what goes through my head today about that day:

  • I walked into the building at work not having watched the news. My boss, now one of my best friends, was coming in too. She said,” Did you hear what happened?” We went upstairs, grabbed another co-worker, and went to a company coffee shop – called Java City I think. They had two TVs broadcasting live. A tower on fire. News channels hadn’t expected to show people jumping out of windows so we saw everything. All three of us were crying. I think everyone in that shop was crying.
  • Not sure how/when we came back down to our floor, or if the other tower had been hit at that point. TVs were brought into a small conference room on our floor and people were either frantically calling home or watching the footage.
  • Here’s a totally wacky thing. There is a comedian named Jason Mantzoukas who’s quite famous now. But on that day, he worked across from our floor and did presentation building. He was the funny dude who would help put together our agenda packets, etc. He’s the one that helped bring the TV into the conference room, and I remember spending part of that horrible day with him. When I see him on Parks and Recreation or in the movies – all I can think of, is him sitting with us and crying.
  • My husband stayed behind at work (a choice he regrets now) and I walked home alone, with a hundred other people. We were like zombies shuffling out of buildings and onto the streets.
  • The next day was surreal. It was the most surreal day I have ever been through. No planes. No cars. No buses. All the stores were closed. The streets were empty uptown. Downtown was still a war zone. There was almost no one outside.
  • Everyone that didn’t lose someone in the city was huddled around a TV watching the coverage. President Bush came on and threatened retaliation. It was exactly what we needed to hear.
  • One of the most miraculous things was that my daughter was only 3. Completely, happily, oblivious to all the chaos and manic fear. I have never been so thankful for bedtime routines and snack time.
  • One of our events a few months later was at a production of The Producers, which had opened that April in NYC. It was one of the first nights after 9/11 that I remember being in a big room full of people that were laughing and joyous.

So ofcourse I’ll “Never Forget” the loss. But I remember so many other things too.

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Doodle Me Crazy

I have a confession. When I’m on a long telephone conversation, or in a long meeting, or in any place that requires my attention for more than a hot second – I doodle. I’ve done it since I was little. I do it in meetings. I do it at home. I do it anywhere. I do it everywhere. Sometimes if I’m in a meeting with very senior people, I spend parts of that meeting reminding myself not to doodle. Scared yet?

I got into massive trouble in elementary school for it, the teachers said I was “making a mess of my papers”. True that.  By high school my grades were so good, they didn’t care what my notebook looked like. They would have let me doodle on tables. That’s the beauty of Catholic school. A few A’s and you run the joint.

Through the years I’ve come to terms with it. It doesn’t mean I’m not interested or paying attention. It just means that I had a sudden, unstobbale desire to scribble something down. It’s like a tick. On paper.

Yesterday, someone at work called me out on it. “Nice drawing” they smirked. Uh oh. Oh well. I couldn’t hide it forever. The first step is admitting you have a problem right?

So here’s a glimpse of my bad habit. Notice sometimes I go abstract, sometimes I go modern – other times I go graffati. I’m so diversified in my doodle. You can’t take that from me. Send help. Or atleast some clean paper.

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FitBit Fab

I don’t get hooked on much – I especially don’t get hooked on any health fads (except for that 6 month affair I had with Zumba). So who knew I’d love wearing my FitBit? It’s so much fun. I love the way it looks. I love that it keeps me honest. I love the 10,000
step buzz. The buzz is everything. I love seeing other people wearing one. I usually nod to those folks and give them a knowing smile – they usually look away quickly, but it doesn’t matter. We’re in it together.
I haven’t been able to make my 20,000 step badge yet ( that’s when you walk 20,000 steps and the bracelet sends you a badge, complex right?). In the grand tradition of my over share, here’s what my days have been lately. Is it athlete worthy? Nope. Is it better than a vegetable? Hells ya.
Shopping for school supplies day:

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Sunday hike. A short hike I guess:

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Back in it!

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A shameful shameful day. I couldn’t even look at my wrist that day.

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Today is still calculating – I’m at 9,878 at 7:45pm. 10s in the bag.
20,000 is going to happen. Stay tuned!

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