Archive by Author

Getting Implants? Clarify.

27 Dec

After 15 years of anchoring or managing the news in one form or another in Upstate NY, I made the bold decision in May to move to Atlanta where – in a nutshell – I now teach engineers how to communicate.  It’s a great professional marriage.  They’re critical and analytical, and I’m creative and chatty.  Not overly, annoyingly, overbearingly, fluffy chatty — just a conversational-I-like-people-places-and-things kinda chatty.

I like talking. But, I also like listening.

Sometimes I really should listen to myself talk. Continue reading

What She Really Wants for Christmas!

10 Dec

Like clockwork this time every year, guy friends check in for trendy gift ideas for their loves.  First, I remind them of the Priceless Wish List before asking if they’re in the doghouse — just so I know if I have to refer to the damage control list.  Second, I ask them to think back to what she’s mentioned during the year.  We do notice and love when you remember our needs and desires, even if we don’t want it anymore, we’ll want it all over again just because you remembered. Continue reading

The Other Woman

4 Dec

I’ve never been the other woman. Until now. I admit it. It’s true. Continue reading

Dorothy Got It Right!

26 Nov

The furthest I’d ever moved away from home was a safe, easy and convenient 47 miles, from Utica to Syracuse in 1998.  Feel like seeing family?  Just drive east.  Feel like I’d had enough of family – or likely they’ve had enough of me – just drive 47 miles west.  Bored?  Drive east.  Have a new nephew?  Drive east.  Niece?  East.  Another nephew?  East.  Birthday party?  East.  Wedding?  East.  Holiday?  East.  Summer barbeque?  East.  Someone’s sick?  East.  Sister does a redecorate?  East.  Brother-in-law Cheech is making homemade Italian sauce?  EAST… in a hurry.

It was perfect.

I figure I made more than 1,000 trips east, more than 120,000 miles — just to hang with friends and family, play with delicious nieces and nephews, and feel the comfort of familiarity only ‘home’ can give.  So when I took a 973 mile leap of faith to Atlanta in May, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel heading home for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Or… how anyone would feel about me.  Here’s what I learned.

No matter how much you plan, expect the unexpected.  The boss will need something at the last minute, traffic will be sludge, and your plane will be – the horror – delayed.

Be grateful for those who let you stay in their home, especially in fresh cotton-smelling sheets.

There’s never enough time to see everyone.  For those you can see, be present.  Completely present.

Everybody will tell you look ahhh-mazing.

And thinner.

And better than ever.

And so do they.

Nobody tells you – you look taller.  (I’ll keep hoping.)

Your mother will want to spend more time with you.  You did have more time until the ‘expected unexpected’ happened.  Note to self.  Make more time for mom next time, especially if she mentions the 1,234 hours of labor she endured, in the middle of a snow storm, in the pre-epidural days.  Just sayin.

Your full-figured cat your mother ‘stole/borrowed’ will still bite you because she doesn’t give a sh**.

Your sisters will interrogate you while the house still smells like a delicious blend of 35 Yankee candles.   

Cheech’s Italian homemade sauce will taste better than ever.

Nieces and nephews will grow taller.

Some will have new babies.

Old high school friends will be happy to see you even if they swear your old controlling high school boyfriend wanted to beat them up and it was your fault and you don’t remember it that way but are too tired from visiting everyone to do anything but smile, nod, agree and apologize.  Just like you did last year.

Colleagues will stop their busy day, just to be a captive audience, just to hear your stories. 

For better or worse, expect to run into people you didn’t expect to see.  You’ll never regret the nice things you say.    

Take the time to surprise a friend who didn’t know you were coming home.  Especially if she’s fighting cancer.  The look on her face will be etched in your mind.

For those you can’t get to this time, put them on the top of the list next time.

For those who knew you were coming – and didn’t want to see you – it’s time to move on…..    

Expect to drink a lot.  Or I should say – you’ll need to drink a lot.

Girlfriends will smile, even though their hearts are broken you can’t stay.

It’s often harder on those who stay.

People will be sad when you leave – which makes you wonder why you left in the first place.

Dorothy got it right.  There’s no place like home. 

The Ugly Brown Spider

19 Nov

I know bugs are everywhere.  North.  South.  East.  West.  But I never expected this.

I’m 4’11”.  The curtain rod needed to be placed at 7’11”.  I’ve never been very good at Math, but knew, as usual, I was lots of inches too short.  Nooo problem.  I’m pretty resourceful.  I’ll just gerrymander the ‘never-been-used-but-I-will-someday’ yoga mat on top of the end table and top it with a kitchen chair.

I hate hanging curtains.  And every time I do, I swear someday I’m going to hire someone to do it for me — if only finding a curtain hangerer wasn’t more work than hanging the curtains myself.  To do the job, I needed comfort.  Contacts out.  Comfy clothes on.  Pony tail in.  Chianti open.  Don’t judge.

About an hour later, and two glasses in, both rods and three panels are up! Great job D!  Almost done.  But that’s the problem with ‘almost.’  A lot can happen between … ‘almost’ and ‘done.’

Like — a spider.  A mean, ugly, surly, hairy, gnarly, creepy, crawling, sprawling uninvited spider.  REAL ugly.  With long crooked legs and rich carmel and mahogany colored fur spider… lurking on the hardwood floor… right next to the couch… next to the curtain… next to the ‘ladder’ … I was on top of.

I don’t like spiders.  They’re sneaky.  They’re fast.  And very hairy.  I once saw on Discovery Channel spiders don’t die of natural causes and that – on average – we ingest 8 spiders a year.  I’ve even read stories of medical examiners who find spiders and other bugs in our bellies when they – do what  medical examiners do.  I don’t know if it’s true, but I do know it’s gross.  Spiders are sinister.  They lurk and lie in wait for the right moment to set my amygdala on fire.  And I don’t care about how they save the ecosystem.  They can do that outside my flat.

Armed with a slipper, I crept down my ‘ladder.’  SMACK!  It moved!  Smack!  It moved AGAIN – this time to my horror – under the curtain panel so it can crawl up inside the panel where it’ll weave a web then burrow and spawn millions of baby spiders who will spawn more…. and I’ll die.

Panicked, I shook the curtain over and over until the spider appeared back on the floor.  We locked eyes and SMACK!!!  Smack!  Smack!  Smack!!!

“Ha HA!  You muther!,” I taunted (irrationally?).  “You come into my house??!!   Ha!  NO, I don’t think so!  You’re dead now.  How does it feel to want, huh?  Now what’ve you got to say?!”

I quickly ran into the kitchen, grabbed the Raid (I’d purchased a weeks earlier after seeing a bug in the hallway), before dousing several streams of petroleum distillate (ingredients) until I was sure the spider drowned.   “Take that!  Ha!  Yeah!  You think you’re all big and bad NOW don’t cha!  Drown sucka.  Drooowwwwwnnnn!!”  Needing to catch my breath, I sat on the couch to savor my last few sips before scooping up the carcass with a paper towel.  Which I did.

It was then I was reminded how easy it is to create things in our minds.  That – often in life – things really aren’t what they seem, especially through Chianti-colored eyes, and that my entertainment of choice of  ‘hanging curtains – contacts + wine = spider’ on a Saturday night was pretty  lame.

Seeing that I just killed an innocent Pottery Barn down feather.

Best $40 I spent all year!

14 Nov

While having lunch with a new friend, Niv, I noticed a group of three Army guys sitting in a booth nearby.  Their presence jogged my memory of a lunch I’d had with my boss a few months back.

As our waitress walked by, I asked if she’d please give me their lunch bill.  “Just tell them thank you for their service.  Please keep it anonymous,” I said.  She replied, “Sure! That’s really nice of you!”

Niv looked intrigued and asked why I made the gesture.  I explained my boss had done so a while back, that I’d never take a veteran for granted, that my brother is a Marine, my dad served in the Korean War and the average military salary is $38,000. Before completing my sentence, Niv enthusiastically said, “I want to pay too!”

So we went Dutch on our ‘pay it forward’ gesture as the appreciative trio scoped the room for someone – anyone to thank before tipping their hats toward the crowd as they left.

How could we not pay?   It’s the best forty bucks Niv and I spent all year.

Savannah, Sun and Serenity (oh and 150 moms!!!)

13 Nov

I’m mulling over my recent relaxing weekend at a Savannah resort with 150 energetic moms – who like thousands of moms across the country – listen faithfully to the comedic podcasts of working mom friends, Erin Martin Kane and Kristin Brandt.  Every November, the two manic moms host an Escape for their listeners who want/need to ‘get away from it all.’  These women mean business when they Escape.  Picture the running of the brides at Filenes basement — only in Stuart Weitzman flats, holding a Chianti and a Coach bag.    

The two communication gurus are former Bostonian neighbors (before Erin recently relocated to Rochester, NY), who once a week shimmy schedules to share the joys and struggles of working moms over a radio podcast.  They have quite a following.  Millions of downloads since they started podcasting seven years ago.  Their well-oiled banter includes a hilarious dose of complementary soliloquized thought bubbles and mini-rants that amount to….one or both rushing home to take kids to soccer practice – late – so they can wait impatiently in the pouring rain while responding to last minute work emails before returning home with hungry cranky homework- laden kids who want food – now  – and are more than happy to sit ON the laundry on the couch while they wait because it’s easier than folding  – which would require effort – which they won’t have because there are no groceries to make dinner  because there was no time to get groceries – ever – which dad would do only if he didn’t have a flat tire and – oh by the way –  Fido has to go out.  Something like that.  The hilarious truths-be told about having-it-all podcasts can be found at www.manicmommies.com

Erin, a respected Associate Vice President at Syracuse University and my former boss and friend, asked me to be a keynote speaker at the event I think the day after she met me (well, almost).  I wasn’t quite sure what I could share with the manicked moms that they didn’t already know, but knew I had to at least try.  I certainly wasn’t going to leave a mic and a stage empty.  That would be a horror show!

So early Sunday morning, as they sat at the last quiet breakfast until next year’s Escape, I was honored to share my ventures as I recalculated my life from NY to the ATL while sharing some parenting tips…by tips I mean mistakes… from the past, while assuring the group my kids still talk to me, love me and respect me now more than ever. Despite my screw ups.  Despite my inquisitions.  Despite my strict rules.  Despite my not knowing what I was doing.  Despite my tight budget.  Despite my busy schedule as a local anchor and reporter. 

I told them some things really are better learned on the bus.  And that raising teens is like taking a canoe through the Grand Rapids, without a paddle.  That the words ‘trust me’ together have the same meaning as the word ‘premeditated’ and that it’s okay to say, ‘yes, it may be your body, but it’s my house, and the classroom is not the appropriate place for Victoria Secret and if you don’t like it, feel free to pick a wall cuz you’re going through.’  Psychologists may not agree with that line.  But they weren’t raising Kiki.  

I also told them that if I learned anything in my novice years, it’s that our children are tolerant, understanding and forgiving if we lead the way.  And kids want to be raised by people, not schedules and machines.  And that we have two ears and one mouth so we can listen more than we speak.  Really listen because it’s a dis-service when we finish our kids thoughts and sentences because we’re on such strict schedules in the pursuit of happiness that we can’t/don’t have time or patience to let our kids think straight — because we can’t think straight.

At least that’s what I think I thought I learned… if only I wasn’t so busy.

 

You did WHAT?

9 Nov

At least once a week, without fail, someone questions my ‘bold’ decision to move to Atlanta – by myself – 5 months ago.  “You did what?” is usually followed up with a groupon of additional questions.  Husband?  Fiance?  Family?  Girlfriends?  Friends?  Cat?  Dog?  Noone?

No. No, I wish. No. No. Not really.  Yes, my mom stole her.  No, but they’re cute and Nope.

Which is then usually followed up with a, “Why?” or an “I could never do that.”

While I had stayed in touch with a former TV 5 colleague John and his girlfriend Janet,  I certainly didn’t expect them to babysit me.  John works long hours as the Commuter Dude at WXIA (watch him!).  Janet Howard is an ahhhhmazing photograper who runs her own business (hire her!)  Plus, they lived on the other side of town.  Which in the ATL is considered G.U. or “geographically undesirable.”

It’s not the questions about my move that I find intriguing, but rather the way I’m asked — with a not so subtle ‘she’s-lost-her-mind head tilt.’  Kind of like a hungry dog looking at a french fry in your hand.  Yeah, THAT look.  The puzzled thought-bubble tilt filled with perplexity, confusion and fear.  It’s okay. I get it.

There was fear.  LOTS OF FEAR.  I figured even if I fall on my face — I’m still falling forward.

Truth is, moving was the easy part.  Making the decision to move was the hard part.  I was leaving behind people I really really loved.  And still do.  But they were all going about living their lives.  And I was standing still.  And energy is supposed to move.

So I figured if I’m going to move — move BIG.

I just never realized how big.

 

Vote is a four letter word…

7 Nov

…and the second most important word in the English language.

Love is the first.

Into the Dark

6 Nov

As I sit here looking out the windows of my third floor flat, I’m put out  — or perhaps annoyed — at the pitch black glow between the ceiling-to-floor curtains. Gone are the green trees that reminded me of home in Fayetteville, NY.  Gone are the birds that nested in those trees.  Gone are the flowers in the boxes that rested near the birds nesting in the trees.

We’re officially headed ‘into the dark’ until March 10, 2013 (thanks Tom Hauf!) when we spring the clocks ahead.  In 130 days.  But who’s counting?

Spring forward Fall back – a Daylight Savings Time idea first prompted by Benjamin Franklin in the late 1700’s – before it came to fruition in the 1800’s as a way to increase daylight to increase outdoor business revenue.  Well, depending on which site you find on Google.  Whatever the reason, it’s confuses the heck out of us.

It’s not our bodies that are affected.  It’s our minds.  Light makes us happy.  Dark makes us sleepy.

For a week, most of us troll like drunken zombies adjusting to a new inner clock.  It makes sense.  Last week we woke to the dark, now we wake to light.  We left work in the light, now we leave in the dark.  Now, 7 a.m. feels like 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. feels like 10 p.m. and I’m just feeling a whole lot confused!

Why can’t we just bask in light from 6:00 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day?

Like when I was a kid.

At least that’s how I remember it.

I guess it’s time to find a Georgia winter hobby.  Ideas??  🙂

D’Adamo