Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Blast From the Past

One of the many entries on my marathon “To Do List” for 2006 was to go through my entire garage, from top to bottom, and clean, purge, vacuum, and organize. Last weekend was finally the weekend for this mammoth undertaking. Of course, because I’m so ingrained in the Corporate American culture, I tend to approach everything in my life with an MS Project Plan, PowerPoint Presentation or Excel Spreadsheet; my garage cleaning project being no exception.

I awoke early last Saturday morning, with my Garage Project Plan in hand. I had a preliminary checklist – (i.e. purchase three steel, 5-tiered shelves, large plastic containers, organizing supplies, and call a family member and let them know I was “going in” .. just in case they hadn’t heard from me in a few days, they’d know where to look, etc.) I even engaged in a healthy breakfast of strawberries and cold Kung Pao Chicken. That’s right, the garage breakfast of champions. Had you seen the disastrous state of my garage, one might have argued that I also double check my health and life insurance policies in the event I was seriously injured or worse. I was confident I would emerge from my garage overhaul at least semi-conscience and with all of my appendages in tack, that I chose to forgo checking my insurances. However, I may have recited The 23rd Psalm, as well as a few poems by Sri Chinmoy on courage, during my first few grueling hours in the garage.

As my garage cleaning expedition continued, I uncovered several boxes containing relics from my past. Trophies, trinkets, old writings, school pictures revealing a horrible sense of fashion, letters from old friends and a wooden squirrel knickknack, with a clock in its stomach. (A really bad wedding gift, from 15 years ago, that I never had the heart to throw away… until this past weekend.) I’m almost certain I may have also found Jimmy Hoffa behind my tool cabinet. It’s always exhilarating to see what treasures one might unearth when tackling the arduous task of a good garage cleaning; which, by the way, took three solid days to complete.

I had initially pulled out my Wynona Judd cd’s to play during my cleaning expedition. Wynona and I have tackled many a household projects together. When I plugged in my CD/AM/FM radio player, I was thrilled to find out that KBig105 was sponsoring a “Disco Favorites Weekend”. Having grown up in the Disco era, I was immediately propelled back to a simpler time in my life. As ABBA, Gloria Gaynor, The Bee Gees, Barry White and Donna Summer blared from my radio; I was flooded with countless, fun memories of my junior high and high school days. One could never have had enough headbands, mood rings, Lycra shorts, wrap skirts, Love’s Baby Soft perfume, and big hair. Hair, I might add, that was jacked to the heavens with layer after layer of Aqua Net. Here I was pouring over relics from my youth and KBig was kind enough to set the ambiance with a Disco Favorite’s Weekend Bonanza. For those of you keeping record, no, I did not call in and request Olivia Newton John’s Xanadu; despite the fact that I was the only one in my high school who enjoyed the movie.

Growing up, I admit that I was one of the fortunate kid’s who enjoyed my junior high and high school years. My circle of friends were the best, both male and female alike. I was considered one of the popular kids, thanks to my acting, writing and singing skills and I never fell victim to the usual peer pressure a lot of kids endure. I believe a lot of this had to do with having a strong conscience and being heavily involved in my local church.

Every Friday afternoon, I would walk to the country store and purchase a Coca-Cola, a Hershey bar w/almonds and a Tiger Beat magazine. I had a raging crush on Erik Estrada. I had the most dreamy poster of him, smiling that gorgeous smile of his, on my bedroom ceiling. This was so he would be the first thing I’d see when I awoke each day, and last think I’d see before I fell asleep. God, I’m such a romantic. Life was truly sweet during these years. My dreams were to get married and have several children. My career goals changed as much as my flavored, Bonne Bell lip gloss (watermelon always got rave reviews). I had entertained everything from being an obstetrical nurse to a Pulitzer Prize winning author. I’m not good with blood, so that ruled out a medical career, however, I still have time to potentially achieve the latter. The whole concept of boys was so new and exciting. It was a time for so many firsts. First crush. First date. First kiss. First heartbreak. Wondering if Erik Estrada would wait for me to graduate college, ask me to marry him and be the mother of his six kids, and live happily ever after in his Bel Air mansion. It was a time for so many dreams and immense potential.

As I stood there in my garage, with Billy Joel jamming in the background, I couldn’t help but survey my life and the paths I had taken. Had I reached my dreams? Had I reached my potential? Was I truly happy with where my life was going? Well, I can finally reveal that unfortunately, Erik Estrada and I never did hook up. I did marry a wonderful man, who took me through a lot of firsts, including, and unfortunately, heartbreak. I did become a mom to an amazing little boy, who remains my greatest accomplishment and joy in life. I don’t live in Bel-Air, but I do consider my home a castle. My career, as a recruiter has brought me tremendous success and opportunities with some of the world’s top companies. I still have a wonderful network of friends that I cherish dearly. Due to being divorced, boys have become fun again. Of course, now they’re men, but the firsts are all the same and the excitement is just as fascinating.

Time hasn’t run out on my dream to be a world class writer, and maybe even win a Pulitzer some day. I believe it’s important to dream bigger than we are. And, every Friday, I venture to my local store, pick up a Coca-Cola, a Hershey Bar w/Almonds, and a People Magazine.

All in all, I can honestly say that I am happy with where my life has taken me. There were many unexpected turns along the way, but with each new path that was forged, new life lessons, successes, joys, and in some cases -- sorrows, were encountered, my life became enriched, and I always emerged a more blessed person. Here’s to another fabulous thirty years.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Down By The Ocean

The following is a poem I wrote as a birthday gift for a dear friend of mine. Sometimes there's nothing so peaceful or reviving as sitting by the ocean and taking in the beauty that so richly surrounds us.

Down By the Ocean

Down by the ocean, down by the sea;
is my haven of peace and my spirit soars free.

As the gentle waves upon the sand arrive;
it is here by the seaside that I feel most alive.

As the tide’s gentle breeze blows mist on my face;
this, my heart’s sanctuary, I fully embrace.

I delight in the sun’s hues as on the horizon she sets;
as I empty my soul of pain and regrets.

Like a new day dawning when the tide rolls in;
it is here, by the ocean that my journeys begin.

Joy, love and happiness are now my life’s quest;
until I have achieved these, my heart knows no rest.

My soul rides the waves of the ocean’s white peaks;
as these precious gifts of life my heart earnestly seeks.

A better being I’ve become as by the seaside I sit;
for it is here that life’s fire in my soul has been lit.

Down by the ocean, down by the sea;
is my haven of peace and my spirit soars free.
copyright © 2005

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


For the past two months I’ve been suffering from terrible allergies. It seems no matter what treatments I’ve tried, whether prescribed or holistic, my allergies haven’t ceased. I start my days plowing through an entire box of Kleenex, dabbing my watering eyes, and coating myself in eucalyptus in an effort to open my sinuses and have a modicum of breathing capacity. Sounds attractive, I know.

I recently underwent another battery of allergy tests to determine what exactly I’m allergic to. I don’t know if any of you have undergone allergy or skin testing, but the process is as follows. In short, you’re injected, with tiny, painless needles, each containing a serum of possible suspects. If your skin reacts to the allergen you were injected with, then it’s determined that you have a low tolerance or allergy to this substance. For me, the verdict was ragweed, pollen, dust, dust mites and pet dander. The latter is tough given I’ve rescued a couple of abused animals and wouldn’t think of parting with them due to my allergy discomfort.

Miriam Webster clarifies an allergy as:
1: altered bodily reactivity (as hypersensitivity) to an antigen in response to a first exposure
2: exaggerated or pathological reaction (as by sneezing, respiratory embarrassment, itching, or skin rashes) to substances, situations, or physical states that are without comparable effect on the average individual

This got me to thinking; how appealing life would be if we had the physical capacity to be allergic to matters that foster negative thoughts and actions. Such as intolerance, hatred, gossip, jealousy, violence, lying, negativity, crime, cheating, abuse, depression, laziness, low self-esteem, disrespect, etc. If we would even entertain a thought in the above mentioned list, our bodies would react fiercely, making us miserable and highly uncomfortable. It wouldn’t take long for us to learn to sway from such toxic living, finding it repugnant, and start practicing some serious acts of love and kindness.

Although this concept can’t take a literal form, we can all strive toward figuratively applying this principle to our lives. We can determine in ourselves that we will steer clear of hurtful and harmful acts toward others and ourselves; and have a zero tolerance policy of hatred, violence, disrespect and the like. Our behaviors would be solely those of thoughtfulness, kindness, unconditional love, selflessness, charity, and understanding. I guarantee that by doing so, you’ll not only feel good about your actions, but you will certainly make the corner of the world you have the opportunity to touch, better than how you found it.

Monday, March 06, 2006

And the Oscar Goes To……

My son and I just finished watching the Oscars with our friend Kathy, her two boys, Spencer and Taylor, and their 4 month old puppy, Sam. Sam enjoyed his first play date with our 3 year old beagle, Lenny. We had an absolutely wonderful evening.

I had been thinking about the Oscars all day. Of course it was hard not to, given red carpet coverage started at around 4 a.m., and, with the exception of The Animal Planet, no matter what station I tuned into, the Oscars were the dominating story.

Imagine if we could stage our own personal Oscar show. Who would the stars in your life be? What was the performance of those in your circle of influence this past year? What award(s) would they qualify for? What award(s) would you qualify for? I’d like to share with you a few people, whose performance this past year are deserving of the following awards. All have touched my heart immensely and have been an astonishing influence in my life this past year.

The Oscar for Outstanding Leading Lady goes to my mom, who always has the greatest words of encouragement, is one of the strongest women I know, and who earnestly believes that despite the many wonderful accomplishments I’ve achieved in my life, that there are still greater things I’ve yet to reach.

The Oscar for Outstanding Leading Man goes to my dad, who was the first man I fell in love with, is always a gentleman, (he still opens the car door for my mom), and is one of the smartest men I know. He also makes the best popovers on the planet.

The Oscar for Supportive Friend goes to my friend Christine, whose compassion, support and love was unwavering during one of the most difficult times of my life and has continued long since. Along with her friendship, she gave both me and my son the gift of her family, Dave, Katey and Jacob; as well as the honor of being called family when we are all together.

The Oscar for Outstanding Writing goes to my friend Kathy Doughtie, who recently published her phenomenally funny and poignant book, Aphrodite in Jeans. I’ve learned so much from her journey as a writer and applaud her on her amazing success. Be sure to check out her book at

The Oscar for Friend With a Beautiful Soul (this is a new category) goes to my friend Tim who never judges me, has been a life saver and inspiration with regard to my health and is one of the sweetest, kindest people I’ve had the blessing of knowing.

The Oscar for Best Original Score goes to my ex-husband, Peter who writes some of the most beautiful, moving and inspiring music I’ve ever heard. He was recently nominated for a Grammy award for his work Ellis Island, The Dream of America. You can hear some of his music at
www.propulsivemusic.com. Peter is also a wonderful father to our son, Stephen and one of the best friends an ex-wife could desire.

The Oscar for Outstanding Young Actor in a Lead Role goes to my son Stephen who makes being his mother the greatest joy on earth. His unconditional love, innocence, hilarious sense of humor, brilliance and boundless energy are a supreme delight.

The Oscar for Best Comedy goes to all three of my brothers, David, Jason and Craig; all of whom are hysterically funny and make me laugh until my sides hurt. Additionally, they are the most loving, protective and sweetest brothers (and uncle’s to my son), a girl could ask for.

The Oscar for Best Director goes to my Pastor, Pastor Jim Reeves, whose passion for the direction of the lives of his congregation shines through every Sunday in his moving and uplifting sermons. Through the inspiration of his teachings, I am challenged daily to live my best life possible.

I am truly blessed to have such remarkable Stars walking the red carpet of my life. You all have my admiration, heartfelt gratitude and eternal round of applause.