Category Archives: priorities

Being “Besties” With Your Child?


Things Parents of Sons Are Missing Out On In Life…


starbucks
Parents of sons, please enjoy the following. Here’s a little taste of the fun you are missing out on…
(Parents of daughters will totally understand!)

1. Having to dress shop at the mall on Monday for 2+ hours because your daughter “needs a new dress because every girl in my class is wearing one on Wednesday”. She will have to check every single “cool” store first, before actually finding a dress in the store you suggested in the first place. You will also have to make the requisite stop at Starbucks for some type of Strawberry concoction. She will be mad at you because you will not let her get a coffee because she is 12, and you don’t see how a 12 year old needs coffee. She will let the cat out of the bag that she orders coffee when she goes to the mall with her friends, and then stare at the floor. She will give the barista a fake name when she orders her drink, and when you ask her why she did that, she will reply in a whispered tone “Mommm. It’s not cool to give them your real name! Everyone knows that!” She will grin like a champ when they yell her fake name when her drink is ready for pick-up.(For the record, you are the only people in the store, and they still yell.) She will get in the car and take the perfect selfie of her and her Starbucks drink with her fake name prominently displayed and will post it to Instagram. She will spend the drive home telling you how many “likes” she got on that one.

2. Having to leave work yesterday for 20 minutes to run home and drive your daughter to school because someone (Mom) accidentally put the dryer setting on low and the yoga pants she HAS TO wear to gym did not dry in time for school. She will text you at work 7 minutes before the bus is coming to let you know this. No, she cannot wear something else to school! Your daughter will beg and plead to stay home, but that isn’t happening. When you are driving her to school you will hear all about how she has now missed gym but is wearing the yoga pants anyway because that was her chosen outfit for school and she knows you would have been mad if you got home and she didn’t have them on. (She is correct on that one!) Also, she will tell you that because of the dryer mishap this is her first time being tardy in 7 years of school. The streak is broken and she will be upset about it. (Tardiness is a catastrophe that you are unaware of), and now because it is after 9:00, she will not be able to sit with her class at the assembly that is occurring, because she is tardy for that too. All of this will be your fault. You will drive back to work thinking about the million times she has made you tardy for work over the past 7 years. At 3:20 pm, she will come home smiling and say that she was glad she didn’t stay home because she had a great day, but will still be upset at the tardiness marring her permanent record. She will then grab a snack and go up to her room to blast music and scan Instagram for anything she has missed in the last 6 hours, as well as to see if there are anymore likes on her Starbucks selfie.

3. Having to get out of your pj’s on your sick day (there’s no such thing for a Mom) because you HAVE TO drive a very specific outfit over to your daughter’s school (after a series of panicked laden texts, which she is doing while hiding face first in her locker, because phones at school are a bigger no-no than tardiness) because the dress that you spent two hours shopping for, and that she looks so beautiful in is ITCHY…VERY, VERY ITCHY and she “can’t take it for another minute”. When you get there, the secretary will want to know how you know your daughter needs a new outfit if she isn’t in the nurse’s office because they’re not supposed to have phones in school. You will reply that your daughter is 12, 12 is a fun age, and you are part psychic with a $hit-eating grin on your ugly, sick face. The secretary will look less than amused at your answer and will make “the face” at the other secretary who is sitting there listening to your conversation. You will then stand there awkwardly pretending to read the bulletins hanging on the wall while you wait for your daughter in the itchy dress to make her way down to the office. It will feel like an hour, but probably will only be about a 3 minute wait.

4. Your daughter will finally come down to the office to get her specified clothes and will actually give you an unexpected heartfelt thank you for bringing that in, will hug your arm, and tell you that she hopes you get some rest…and you won’t be annoyed anymore. In fact, you will smile as you drive back home.

Yes, that’s what having a daughter is like. (God bless my friends that have more than one!)

When I Wasn’t Looking…


When you’re a parent, you hope for a lot of things for your child. You hope your child will be born healthy. You hope your child will grow up happy. You hope your child will be smart and self-confident. You hope that whatever is thrown their way in life, your child will come out of it on the other side better and stronger because of it. You hope your child will turn out to have a life better than yours. You hope that when your child goes out in the world all of those little lessons you taught him or her stick and they do the right things…especially when you’re not looking. You do the best that you can as a parent, but in the end, you do “hope” a lot.

Today, I got to smile at one of my “hopes” coming back to me.

As I set out to pick my daughter up from her after-care program at school, I texted her and said “On my way. Be there in five minutes. Be ready please”. In return, I got her typical “K” response. (Yes, she still does that to me daily.) When I got there, I could see her on the far side of the room, seated with two other kids, playing a game. When I finally got her attention, she gave me her “just a minute” gesture, and I had to stand there making idle chit-chat with the ladies who run the program. That “just a minute” was more like five minutes, and I could feel myself getting antsy because I had things to do. As she finally gets up from the table, I see her pat the boy she was sitting next to on the back as she says goodbye, but I didn’t think anything of it.

When we get in the car, I say “How come you weren’t ready to go today?”, and then I get the whole story. It turns out that she was seated at the table with a boy she has known since she was three years old, whom she went to preschool with. He has Autism. He is beyond smart, but socially and behaviorally, he struggles.When she was three, she had a hard time understanding him but it didn’t take her long to get it and accept it. He has come an incredibly long way since he was three, and I smile whenever I see him because his progress is quite amazing. The problem is other kids, especially those who don’t really know him, don’t quite “get” him or his outbursts. Luckily, my daughter does…and she has always been his friend.

She tells me that the reason she wasn’t ready is because she was sitting with her friend playing a game. She said that this is what she does every time she goes to aftercare and he is there, so he doesn’t have to sit alone or get picked on by other kids. Then she launches into a mini-tirade about how she hates when other kids tease him, and how she sticks up for him…even if he’s not around. She tells the other kids that they are ridiculous and maybe if they would stop for a second and get to know or understand him or his disability, then they’d be ashamed of how they have treated him. (She also throws in lines like “By the way, he’s super smart. Maybe he’s just too smart for you!” Atta girl!!) She proudly tells me that the other kids are finally starting to leave him alone, especially when she’s with him, and she says it in such a staunch manner that I want to stop the car and hug her as tight as I can. Instead, I pat her on the leg and tell her that I am proud of her for being a good person with a good heart. I tell her that I am proud that she stands up for others, even if it goes against “popular” opinion, because she’s saying what’s “right”…and I drive the rest of the way home with a smile on my face, hiding the tears in my eyes behind my sunglasses.

I have to say, in the past 11 years I have been there to see plenty of things my daughter has done that have made me proud…but one of the things I am most proud of is what she did today and what she has been doing…when I wasn’t looking.

I Believe…


Believe what you will, but I know what I believe in…that our loved ones who have passed are always around us. I believe it with all that I am, and today reminded me, yet again, of why…

Today Alyssa told me, out of the blue, that she dreams of Rob’s mom. In fact, Rob’s mom came to visit her in her dreams last night. She said it’s the same dream she has always had…that his mother comes to her, hugs her, and tells her that she loves her. Last night she told her to always remember that she always wanted to meet her as well.

Rob’s mother passed away at the age of 44…far too young. We were only 19 years old, so clearly Alyssa never got to meet her. Alyssa has seen a few pictures of her grandmother over the years, but I wouldn’t say that she studied them enough to be able to describe her…but when she sees her in her dreams, like she did last night, she can do just that. When I asked her to describe her grandmother as she saw her, she was able to describe her as perfectly as we remember her….and it made my heart smile and my eyes fill with tears.

We have always said that she watches over us, and especially over Alyssa. She always wanted to have a girl, but was blessed with three wonderful sons instead. When we found out that we were having a daughter, we looked to the sky and thanked her. When we saw Alyssa take her first breath, we thanked her again and knew she was there smiling down on us, and on Alyssa.

Throughout Alyssa’s life, she has always been circled by tiny butterflies that flit all around her…sometimes white, sometimes yellow (which was her grandmother’s favorite color) and it makes us smile. To us, that has always been our sign that Bobbie is with us and watching over our daughter. Even in times when we are alone, those little butterflies will come flitting by us, and we are reminded that she is watching over us…and it brings us a sense of comfort and peace.

The day before Hurricane Sandy, when we were cleaning out our yard, we noticed one lone yellow rose that had bloomed on our rose bush. Yellow roses were her favorite flowers. Rob snipped it off of the bush, brought it inside, and put it in a vase. We knew she was with us and would watch over us….and we believe that she did. That yellow rose stayed hearty for a week, and we silently thanked it everyday when we looked at it sitting in that vase in the middle of our counter. I have yet to take that rose out of the vase. It’s no longer in bloom, but most of the petals are still on it. It’s our symbol of strength…

Today, Rob’s mother would have been 67 years old. We think of her constantly and always say “I wish she could be here to see this or share this with us” but Alyssa’s dream reminded us of what we already know…she is always around us. She may not be with us physically, but she is always here spiritually. She does see our lives, she does see Alyssa growing up, and she, above all, protects us. We’ve have plenty of signs from her over the years, and each and every time, we smile and are thankful for our Guardian Angel.

Happy Birthday Mom. We love you too…

Believe what you will, but I know what I believe in…

We Are JERSEY STRONG!


Hello Everyone. Normally this blog pokes fun at things, but not today. Right now, nothing is funny. I have a feeling this will be a fairly long blog post, but I hope you will read it to the end, because I need to get it out.

I live on the Jersey Shore. To be more specific, I live on the mainland in Ocean County, smack-dab in between Seaside Heights and Long Beach Island…two areas that have been completely destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. My town has been devastated on the bay front areas, and torn apart in the inland parts of our beautiful town too.

I was very fortunate, and although I am not the most religious person, I have been thanking God for days for sparing me and my family. I live a few blocks from the water, and by what I think is a miracle, the tidal flood stopped about a block from my house. A huge tree fell outside of my house into the street, snapping poles in half like wafers, and pulling lines down everywhere. Miraculously, my house was completely unscathed. I don’t know how it’s possible, but I do know that we were incredibly lucky.

For those of you reading this who are not from New Jersey, I know you have seen the pictures on the news of the destruction here. I’m sure you cringe or just stare at them in disbelief. You can multiply that feeling by a million, for those of us who live here and grew up frequenting the beaches and boardwalks, or spending lazy days on the Barnegat Bay on our boats see it in magnification. We stare at the destruction and envision our childhoods, our liveliness, and everything we have ever known, knowing what it used to look like, in comparison to now.

I am a teacher at the high school that the students of Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, as well as other destroyed waterfront communities attend. Some of my friends, my co-workers, and my students have lost everything. When we go back to school, my job will be a thousand times harder than it ever was. Algebra suddenly becomes highly unimportant. Letting them come in and talk it out will be the education they will receive, because it is what they will need most. I keep trying to figure out what I will even say to them. What can I say to a teenager who has lost everything? I honestly don’t know, but what I do know is that I will have the strength to give them whatever support they need when they walk into my classroom, starting with big, tight hugs, mixed with tears. I will hide my broken heart. Theirs is broken more than mine.

My power was restored last night, and I have never been so thankful for electricity in my life. Unfortunately, my neighbors here and so many others in my town and the surrounding areas are still living in darkness. I felt a twinge of guilt flipping on the coffee maker this morning, knowing others wish that’s how their day was starting today. I cried (again) when I put my steaming cup of coffee on the counter and stared at it, because the tiniest things now bring big emotions with them.

I will probably never feel the same about complete darkness. I will never forget what it felt like to stare into that darkness in the height of the storm, literally wrapped around my daughter on the living room floor and praying for safety as the storm came whipping through. The sound of the lashing winds is something I hope you never know, and it is something I will never forget.

My husband is a police officer here. He was out in that storm, and has been out every night since, working to help and protect the people of this ravaged town. I had no way to contact him during the storm because everyone’s cell phones failed, and words cannot describe the terror I felt inside about that. How would he know if we needed him? How would I know that he was alright? I never want to know that feeling again.

Speaking of cell phones, we all learned quickly here just how dependent we are on them, as well as what it’s like to pray for bars to be on the screen. Service was incredibly sporadic, and getting a text or hearing someone’s voice for a second was like getting the Christmas present you wished for as a child. At least you knew others were alright, even if just for a mere second, but then it would go dead again, and your stomach would knot right back up. I will say that the amount of people that care about you becomes quickly apparent, and sometimes from places that you wouldn’t expect. I am incredibly grateful for the people in my life that love me.

Facebook, when I could finally get it on my phone yesterday, has been an amazing tool. I was able to see that my friends were “ok” (a term I use very loosely right now), and I was able to get my first look at the damage here via pictures. I thought I knew what I would see because I had listened to the radio in my car for days, but there was no preparing myself for that in actuality. I stared in disbelief, and then sobbed looking at those pictures. It was beyond the realm of my imagination, and truthfully it still is. Our beloved Jersey Shore was demolished. Seeing it with my own eyes made the nightmare a fact, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away. We all say the same thing here, after we get our first look at the pictures for ourselves. (BTW, if you are on Facebook, please like the following page: Jersey Shore Hurricane News. It has been in existence since Hurricane Irene came through last year, and is absolutely amazing. The guys that run this do it for free and are like heroes to all of us. We all use it here for information year round, and it will give you the reality of what it is to be here, more than I ever could. It also has great information about making donations to those who need it most. Just be careful to read thoroughly and use some common sense.)

I could continue to go on about what I experienced, but I won’t. My personal experiences are nothing compared to those around me here. Really what I want you to know most is this:

We live at the Jersey Shore, but we are nothing like “The Jersey Shore” that you see on MTV. We are people that are kind, yet as tough as nails! We are people who always stand together as one in the face of adversity. We huddle up like no others can, and take care of each other. Despite the fact that there are reports of looting and crime, that’s NOT who 99% of us are. We are people who will help one another in a time of need, without exception. Even with our own lives in tatters, we are people who help our neighbors. There is no “I” in team, and we all know it. We are standing amid destruction right now, but we see can see past it. We might currently be knocked down, but we are people that always get back up. We will rebuild this area and our lives. We will never forget what Sandy has done to us, but we will come out of this on the other side, better than ever and as one. Believe it.

We are JERSEY STRONG.

OMG – Stop Texting Me!!!


Last week we got our 10 1/2 year old daughter a cell phone. (If you don’t say the 1/2 part, she gets really mad!) Thanks to that, I now want to throw MY cell phone through a wall. Not because I am jealous that she has a better phone than I do…even though she does..damn you great deal when you add a new line…but because she texts me non-stop. That child texts me so much that I cringe when I hear my phone go off, and I had to give her a separate text alert sound so I could differentiate between her and my friends, who might actually have something important to tell me…as opposed to her.

Now before you start rolling your eyes and thinking “Why would you get your 10 1/2 year old a cell phone?”, let me explain. We did not just hand her a phone for no reason. She had to completely earn it. We made a deal with her back in September: She had to get straight A’s for the entire year, and she had to show responsibility by not misplacing her I-Pod at all. (Plus she is getting to that age where she isn’t at my side all the time, so it’s handy.) She kept up her end of the deal, so we kept up ours….and now it is coming back to haunt me…just about every 5-10 minutes of my life.

Here are some examples of what I get to read when I hear that ominous tone chime on my phone:

*Mom, thank u for getting me a phone. I ❤ U!!!xoxo Ok – This was her very 1st text to me, so it made me smile. After that it all went downhill…fast. (By the way, her very first actual call HAD TO be to her father. Of course it did. Sigh.)

*Mom, I need my hula hoop right now! This gem came a mere 10 minutes after I dropped her off at school…even though I had just asked her before we left if she was going to need said hula hoop…and she said no.

* Where r u? I get this constantly. I usually get this 2-3 times while I am driving to pick her up at her friend’s house. (Thank God for text to talk!) More often than not though, the answer is “downstairs”. We don’t live in a mansion, so I don’t know how she thinks she will lose me in “the other wing of the house”, but whatever.

* I am almost there! Wow, am I glad she only had her phone for the last 3 days of school, because this is the text I got for the entire bus ride home. Literally stop by stop! It’s her little version of the play-by-play of her life. Meanwhile, I was already sitting at the bus-stop for like 10 minutes.

*This movie is great! U have to see it! I’ll go again, and not spoil it for u. Promise! 🙂 She sent me this when she went to see Madagascar 3 yesterday. I told her she wasn’t supposed to use her phone in the theater, but the movie was SO GOOD that I just HAD TO know.

* Hi!!! Just another reason to use her phone. She has said “Hi!!” to me more in the past week than she has in perhaps her entire existence on this planet. If I had $1 for every “Hi!!!” I’ve gotten, I could probably buy myself something pretty decent.

*What r u doing? Maybe she thinks I’m doing something spectacular when I am not within her field of vision. I’m not. I really want to answer “Cringing because I just heard that friggin’ chime go off AGAIN!”, but I just answer with “Nothing. Just waiting for a text from you! :)” I always have to follow that up with “What r u doing?” and she usually replies, “Nothing. Just texting you!” Sometimes she puts cute little hearts in there too, which makes it impossible to get mad at. She’s a smart cookie.

* K. This is where I had to speak to her. My daughter LOVES to send the answer “K” to my responses. When she asks me anything and I respond, this is what I get back in return…whether it applies or not. She was even responding “K” to my “K”. I had to explain to her that when I say “K”, she does not need to respond with “K”. It means “I got it and the conversation is over on my end!”…therefore she does NOT need to let me know that she too is done responding! She’s not really listening to me on that one yet. Maybe if I text it to her, she’ll get it.

Aside from her numerous texts, I also get lots of pictures that she takes…like close ups of my dog’s nose with “Isn’t he the cutest???” written under it…or pictures of her toes correctly labeled “My Toes!!!! :)” God Bless this child and her new phone. I don’t know how she has lived this long without it, or how I have made it through my days without Instagram pictures from my own little Ansel Adams.

What I do know is her getting a cell phone is just another little piece of her “little girl-ness” evaporating. I think starting today, I will smile everytime that ominous chime goes off on my phone, because before I know it texting her friends will be a thousand times more fun than texting her mom is… and thought of that makes me cringe more than hearing that text alert tone ever will.

Thank You


Thank you…two simple words that are easy to say and mean so much.

This Memorial Day weekend, I came across veterans sitting in front of the Wawa collecting for disabled vets. I have NEVER in my life passed by those men without making a donation, even if I have gone into the store on multiple occasions over the course of the weekend. In fact, I have amassed quite a few poppies over the past few days thanks to them. Aside from always donating, I always make sure I look those men in the eyes and say “Thank you for your service”. If you have never done that when donating, you really need to. Those men appreciate a thank you just as much, if not more than the donation itself. It always makes them smile and sometimes even makes them teary eyed. They deserve every single thank you that they get, and then some if you ask me. When I see people walk by them like they are invisible, it actually disgusts me. If you don’t have any money to donate, a simple thank you is what they deserve at the very least.

Also this weekend, the volunteer firemen were doing their drive by fundraiser by standing at the entrance of the Shop Rite parking lot. On my way out, I stopped to make a donation and thanked the man for his volunteer service. He actually did a double take, smiled, and thanked me for saying that. He said no one had ever said to him before. As I pulled away, I was pretty shocked. How could no one have ever said thank you to him before? That bothered me, as did the many cars that drove right by him without making a small donation. My father was a paid fireman in North Jersey. I hope people stopped to thank him once in a while for what he did for them.(I’m going to have to ask him about that!)

Today on the way to my parents house, we drove past a coin toss for a different volunteer fire company. My daughter had never seen that before, but happily scooped out a bunch of change I had in the car. I slowed almost to a stop so she could throw it out the window at the target. The firemen all smiled, waved, and yelled thank you to us. As I drove away, my daughter remarked how happy the firemen seemed that we donated, and smiled at how they had so heartily thanked us…then noted that no one else had slowed down and done the same….and it bothered her too. On the way home we passed them again, and once again I slowed down so she could throw a big handful of change at the other target. This time they beeped the fire truck horn at us, smiled, and yelled thank you. Sadly, again she noted that no one else had slowed down and thrown their change. She said she hoped that we weren’t the only people that participated in the coin toss, because in her words, “It’s just not right.” I assured her that we weren’t but she didn’t seem very convinced that too many other people had tossed some coins, despite the signs preceding it for about a mile.

If I have taught my daughter anything in life, it is the value of “thank you”. Every time she sees a veteran collecting or anyone in a military uniform, she thanks them for their service. When she sees the firemen or ambulance squad doing their fundraising, she always says thank you for volunteering as she makes her donation too. I’ve taught her that anyone who makes a sacrifice for others should hear a thank you from the public. It’s a shame when a 10 year old knows better than the adults she sees around her…but I am pleased that she notices it and points out that it’s wrong. Tomorrow she is excited to go to the Memorial Day parade in town, so she can wave at the veterans and give thanks to them. I hope there is a decent crowd on hand, for her sake and theirs. It’s a sign of respect these men and women deserve, but often don’t receive enough.

To all of the men and women who currently serve or have served this country, I wholeheartedly say THANK YOU for your sacrifice. (Thank you to the Police Officers, Firemen, and EMTS too!) My daughter and I appreciate your service.

Thank you…two simple words that are easy to say and mean so much.

Don’t forget to use them as often as possible. Those two simple words matter.

How Will You Challenge Yourself Today?


Claire Lomas-26.2 Miles, 16 Days, 100% Inspirational!

Claire Lomas-26.2 Miles, 16 Days, 100% Inspirational!

Can’t. My least favorite word. I ban the word both in my classroom and in my life. I prefer “I just haven’t yet!”, because that is the truth! Sometimes a task may seem arduous, but when you put can’t in front of the task, you might as well just say you won’t because that will be the end result! Can’t is a mindset, pure and simple.

This morning I heard about Claire Lomas, and her story brought tears to my eyes. Claire was paralyzed from the chest down as a result of a horse riding accident five years ago. Two days ago, she completed the London Marathon in a Bionic Suit, when she crossed the finish line 16 days after the race started. The ReWalk suit, enables people with lower-limb paralysis to stand, walk and climb stairs through motion sensors and an onboard computer system. By shifting her balance, the suit mimics the response her joints would have if they were not paralyzed. She walked 2 miles a day being cheered on by her husband and 13 month old daughter who toddled beside her.

Claire will not appear in the official results and did not receive a medal when she finished as competitors have to complete the course on the day of the race to receive one…but that’s alright because what she did receive was much better…There were hundreds of people that showed up at the finish line to cheer her through the tape, and over a dozen runners gave their medals to her in tribute to what she had accomplished. She also raised $111,346.86 for a charity which funds research to develop treatments for paralysis caused by a broken back or neck.

When asked about her training she said “There were times when I questioned if I would make it when I was training. Once I started , I just took each day as it came and every step got me a step closer.”.

Did you notice that she never said can’t? I did!

Claire Lomas is my new hero. She did something truly amazing…because she could!

Maybe the next time you feel the need to say that you can’t, you should remember Claire Lomas.

So, how will you challenge yourself today?

__________________________________________________________________
***PS – There is now a Facebook page called “Claire Lomas. Give Her a Medal”. Please go “like” it. The organizers of the London Marathon really need to reconsider!!!

Say It Ain’t So Mo!!! Thoughts From A Depressed Yankee Fan…


I have been a Yankee fan from birth…that’s 41 years if you’re counting. Growing up as a girl in my house had no bearing on being raised to love them. I have incredibly fond memories of sitting on the couch (with the plastic slip covers, because we are Italian after all) with my father and watching game after game. I remember how my mother would stop in her tracks and watch whenever Bucky Dent got up to bat, because she thought he was so handsome. (Agreed!) I smile when I think back to the many times my dad took my brother and I to the stadium to catch a game…my all-time favorite being Old Timer’s Day, when my Dad would explain something about every single former player that got announced. I remember walking into that stadium holding my Dad’s hand and loving it because you could just feel the history everywhere around you. I remember celebrating the good years in our living room when they would win it all, and the bad years when my father would yell “C’mon for Christ Sakes!” at the tv. It’s like a catalogue in my mind…so yes, I bleed blue!

When my husband married me, he wasn’t really a baseball guy. He was much more of a football guy…but marrying me meant learning to love the Yankees, which he did. When my daughter was born, it wasn’t long before she wore a pink Yankee onesie. We even have all of her tiny Jeter jersey’s saved in the attic – year by year, size by size. We brought her to her first game at the age of 3, (because we thought 3 was an age that she would actually enjoy it, which she did!).My daughter (then age 5) enjoying a dog after a day at Yankee Stadium Yankee games are a special part of her childhood too. Thankfully she got to experience the old stadium before they tore it down. (The new one is nice, but it’s just not the same.) We bring her every single year at least once. I wish we could take her more, but that is one ridiculously expensive day. In fact, we are catching a game three weeks from now as my Mother’s Day present. I have been really looking forward to it, but the latest Yankee news has put a little damper on that…Mariano Rivera won’t be there to close.

I am not embarrassed to admit that I have felt pretty sad and depressed all day. Right before I went to bed last night, I saw the clip of Mo going down and grimacing in the outfield…and I felt my heart sink. As they carted him off though, he displayed that huge smile that I love, and I figured when I woke up in the morning, they would still say it was just a twisted knee and he’d just be out for a while. When my alarm went off this morning, The first thing I saw on the news was Mo being interviewed with tears in his eyes, and being asked if his torn ACL would be the end of his career. Nooooooo!

I have some fantastic memories of #42. Mo dropping to his knees on the mound after winning the World Series
Mo holding up many a World Series Trophy
Going to the last Yankees World Series Parade and snapping this picture of him – looking like the King of NY
And Jorge pushing Mo back out onto the mound after save #602 so the crowd could cheer him some more..

The biggest thrill of being a Yankee fan though is being at the Stadium for a tight game and hearing the opening chords of “Enter Sandman” begin to blare. If you have never experienced what that’s like… WOW have you missed out on something special in life. There’s no way to truly describe what it feels like to be a part of that crowd, erupting with cheers, as #42 jogs onto the field…

The closest I can come to phrasing it is “part frenzy/part serenity”. The frenzy is the whole feeling of the moment. The serenity is knowing that chances are Mo is going to sit them down and close it out. It’s a feeling Yankee fans LOVE, especially this one. The time I have enjoyed it the most was being at the Stadium and watching Rivera shut down the Red Sox in the bottom of the 9th. All I can say is the place went BERSERK and I got to jump up and down with, bear hug, and high five all of the people in the rows around me. Mariano Rivera creates a magic that you have to physically witness to fully understand.

So, now this. I refuse to accept that this is how one of the greatest Yankees ever will end his legendary career. When the season started they interviewed Mo and asked if this year would be it for him. He danced around the question and said he’d reveal his answer at the end of the season. We all knew what that meant though…this year was likely it. I have watched the games this season and tried to picture what it would be like watching games without him…and it made me feel sad. (I’m sure I’m not the only one!) I figured that I would have all year to try to get ready for that. I even tried to picture what his final send off at Yankee Stadium would be like. (Again, it made me feel sad!) Therefore, him being carted off the field with a hurt knee cannot be the storybook ending for a man every Yankee fan idolizes. He has been nothing but clutch and pure class over the years. He deserves better.

I pray that he comes back…even if it’s for one more game so us Yankee fans can say thank you and goodbye the right way. Whether it is at home in our living rooms, or live at the Stadium – it’s a moment every Yankee fan wants to be a part of and remember. There’s a reason he’s the only man in baseball allowed to wear #42…I just hope I get to hear the opening strains of “Enter Sandman”, and see that magical man jog out of the bullpen to sit them down one more time.

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A day after I wrote this post, this was the cover of the NY Daily News:

We’ll be anxiously awaiting his return!

For the Girls With Curls


This is not my hair, but it might as well be!

Words that straight haired girls say: “I wish I had curly hair! You’re so lucky!”.

Words that most curly haired girls say in reply: “No, you don’t and no, I’m definitely not!”

I am a curly haired girl. In my lifetime, I have never once agreed with someone when they said that to me. In fact, I actually look at people like they are out of their minds when they say that (as I stare at their sleek, straight, beautiful hair in envy). Only girls born with curly hair understand the plight of what it’s like to have such a “blessing”. Have you ever seen the episode of Friends when they go on vacation and Monica’s hair turns into an afro? Yeah, it’s like that.

When I was a kid, I didn’t really care that I had curls. I was too young to understand that my hair was just unruly…and my mom could put it in a ponytail and twist it into a perfect Shirley Temple curl…which I loved. Then when I was about 9, she told me we were going for a “haircut”. Little did I know that my hair that touched the middle of my back was going to be cut into a pixie cut. I looked like a boy, and not a cute boy either. (Granted, I was a tomboy and never brushed my hair, so it was always a giant knot, but I’m still a little bitter about it. OK, I’m lying – I’m a lot bitter!) I hated that haircut so much that I stayed in the backyard with a woolen ski-cap on for 2 months. (I’m not joking!). I distinctly remember that it was during one of those 70’s heatwaves and I sweated my ass off, but that hat didn’t come off all summer. It was then that I realized that my curly hair was a curse, because that was one bad look when it started growing back….and that’s where the battle officially started.

My teen years were in the late 80’s, where big hair ruled. I was almost decent with that because I could make the top of my hair look like a giant wall, with enough Aqua Net to choke a horse. (By the way, I was about 5 inches taller then). The bottom was just curls turned dried out fuzz because no matter how hard I tried to brush the bottom out, that’s what I got. I look back at pictures and just cringe.

The straight haired girls seriously have no idea what it’s like to have curly hair. Their biggest gripe in life is “My hair goes flat!” I would have given a piece of a limb over the years to know what that felt like. They don’t know what it’s like to spend a half hour trying to smooth your hair with a blow dryer, only to walk 25 feet to your car, get in, and have a Zulu Princess looking back at you in the rear view mirror. It honestly goes south that quickly. They can have cute haircuts and semi-bangs. Anything even remotely bang-like on a curly haired girl is the devil. It’s the first thing that acts crazy. They don’t know what it’s like to have anxiety about going to an outdoor function on a humid day and having your hair scrunch up about 3 inches shorter than it was when you left the house. It never scrunches up nicely either because it has an evil mind of its own. They don’t know what it’s like to have to carry a hair tie with you at all times because there is a good chance it’s going to have to be pulled back at some point. They enjoy driving with the windows open…curly haired girls don’t…at least not this one!

I’ve tried everything…smoothing shampoos, deep conditioners, gels, mousse, using a curling iron to get them to be “normal” curls, hot rollers, air drying it, flat irons, and even once (way back) resorted to using a crimper. That was such an outright disaster that it’s painful to even remember that. None of them worked. Once someone even said to me “Maybe you should get a perm and it’ll soften your curls.” Gahhhhh a perm?!?!? That is just unthinkable. (Of course this came from a straight haired girl, because NO ONE with curls would EVER suggest such an atrocity!)

It took me 39 years to find my life changer…keratin treatments. It was like the angels in heaven sang to me the first time I had it done. Sure, I have to walk around for 3 days with my hair pin straight, and by day 3 you could lube a car with my head, but Christ on a donkey it is the best thing EVER when I wash it out. I can blow dry my hair in about 5 minutes WITH MY FINGERS and it is smooth, sleek, and beautiful. It’s not completely pin straight either…just nice! No curls or frizz in sight baby…not even if I go stand in the fog or mist! (I’ve done that for fun, just because I could!) It’s like a dream come true…at least for me it is. (And don’t go trying to destroy my dream with your formaldehyde comments either. The kind I use has none in it…and besides, I live in New Jersey – I’m pretty sure the air I breathe on a daily basis is worse for me than getting these treatments done twice a year!)

So there it is…this curly haired girl is finally happy with the hair on my head. Thank you keratin treatments! You have changed my life! I look the same all day as I do when I leave the house in the morning, I love anxiety-free outdoor functions, and I even drive with the windows wide open and my hair blowing in the breeze…and it feels so right….because it finally is!

PS – To this very day, I have “short hair” phobia because of that damn pixie cut. I’ll never get over it…never, I say!

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