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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

Everyone needs a Rachele!

5 Nov

Okay, so this is my first ‘officially’ posted post.

There’s a high probability I’ll screw up somehow and have to bother Rachele…AGAIN! Thank God she’s patient, tolerant and smart! The effervescent sharp-as-a-tack wife and mother of three, is a professor, a marketing guru, AND computer savvy. She deserves a medal for offering to help me set up a blog, something I’m confident she’s regretted more than a few times this past weekend.

I am NOT computer savvy. Truth be told, there is no software for my hard drive when it comes to using computers or understanding applications. Which Word Press is.  I think. Is that an app? See, it’s just too confusing. I know my dPhone (what I call my iPhone) has apps because it has an app store icon – which my daughter Kiki knows how to operate when I need one.

I take full responsibility for my ineptness and I am working on it! Talented and tolerant coworkers, friends and family have enabled me to get by through the years. A coworker put up my Facebook page. Another put up my Linkedin. My daughter signed me on to Twitter. And then there’s Rachele McGinty-Mock (check her out at McGinty-Mock.com) who offered to help with my blog last week. Over dinner at Tuk Tuk. It was the first time we met. Ever. But like a trooper, she’s faithfully texted me throughout the weekend to walk me through the process — despite her husband and kids being sick. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped me from sending one last text tonight because I can’t figure how to fix a misspelled word in my header. I think I’m officially a stalker.

I want to send Rachele a ‘thank you’ e-card, but I don’t know how.

What I do know is everyone needs a Rachele in their lives. I hope you have one.

So, like dear sweet Rachele, please be patient with me as I blog it out. I’ll get better as I go, but as of now, I don’t know how to connect this to my Facebook or Twitter, don’t know how to add pictures, or color, or even know if this blog is making its way to the public. Despite my creaky learning curve the first week, once I get the hang of it, we’ll be on a roll!

Until next time, I’ll just keep being Donna Adamo.