Monthly Archives: February 2013

My Jennifer Lawrence “trip.”

There are many reasons why I can not be compared to Jennifer Lawrence (“JL”), not the least of which is she is 22, she’s hot (as my boys say) and can act!

Last night I was walking into a wine bar and tripped on something. Maybe the doorway.   Maybe the rug in the doorway.  I had not had one glass of wine yet! Hey, maybe I could compare my trip to Jennifer Lawrence’s trip (way to be delusional, Jessica (“JLR”)).   Just to be clear in my mind, I’ve listed the similarities and differences:

1. Dress at time of trip:  JL  – Dior Couture / JLR – Macy’s with a hint of Target.

2. Food intake before fall:  JL – Nothing / JLR –  at least five meals during the course of the day and still looking forward to food at the wine bar.

3. Age at time of fall: JL – 22 / JLR – older than Methuselah and aging by the second.

4. Comment at time of fall:  JL – f*%$ / JLR – f*%$.

5. Alcohol before the fall: JL – yes / JLR – no, but wish I would have.

6. Alcohol after the fall: JL – likely many, many drinks / JLR – two, which was one too many!

7. Who helped after the fall: JL – Hugh Jackman / JLR – a stranger walking in the door.  He did not look or dress like Hugh Jackman.

8. What did people do after the fall: JL – talk about how endearing it was and gave her a standing ovation / JLR – odd looks from the patrons at the bar and a comment from my friend wondering if I do “this” often.

9. What did she trip on: JL – her dress or waxed stairs / JLR – nothing. Absolutely nothing.

10. How many times the “trip” has been replayed: JL – tens of thousands (and still going) / JLR – this particular trip? None. But I will replay this skilled act over and over again … I’m just that graceful!

While there is only one similarity between Jennifer Lawrence and me (apparently, our foul mouths), I can at least feel good that we all have trouble sometimes — some trip over beautiful expensive dresses and some over our own 50 year-old feet.  Yup, feeling pretty frisky today!

Have a safe day!

Lessons they don’t teach in school.

I found a column the other day by Harvey Mackay. While he may not be my favorite columnist (better ones in the NYT or Economist), he does have a few interesting things to say.  I liked this one and cut it out for the fridge so the kids would read it.  I’m sure by this point you think I must have a fridge full of articles, sayings, etc., I don’t.  I usually only have ONE up at a time.  I like focus, not clutter, on my fridge and in my house (no groans from those who think I am over the top-type A obsessed with my house being picked up and clean!).

Here’s his list of things not taught in school:

1. Life isn’t fair: Isn’t that the truth?? (I do recall the principal saying this to me in middle school when he gave me in-school suspension for … well, let’s move on!)

2. Think outside the box: No question that creativity is the key to success and this should be hammered home to our children.

3. Exercise is good for you: I became a runner at 40.  It changed my life. I hope my kids experience the great feeling that comes after a work out.  It’s a mind-clearer!

4. Be nice to everyone: “It’s nice to be important, but more important to be  nice.”

5. You do not get what you want, you get what you negotiate: Stand up for what you want and who you are.  Don’t just wait for it to happen because you “want” it – make it happen.

6. Good manners never go out of style:  Absolutely no explanation needed here.

7. Visualization: This is an interesting one. I know that athletes visualize a win.  I visualize a judge agreeing with my argument!  My kids must visualize how nice I will be after my run!  See the success before it happens!

8. Practice humility:  I agree that this is a lost art in the world of self promotion.  This is not downplaying what you’ve already done.  This means acknowledging that there are always others involved in your ideas and your success … always.

9. Encouragement is oxygen for the soul:  I feel very strongly about this one.  People love us for how we make them feel.  If you are not making your loved ones feel good, then look at how you encourage them … it is a very powerful tool.

I need a reminder every day to pay attention to these things.  I want to be more self-aware on a daily basis — even if just for a few minutes.  Maybe you feel the same way.  Our legacy, is not only what we do.  But, what our kids will do with these lessons that they don’t teach in school.

Have a wonderful day!

I think I’m falling in love with a retired heavyweight champ.

I am totally sick of making dinner.  I don’t mean I need a night off.  I mean I don’t want to do it anymore!  You would think this would be easy.  I go to the organic food store every few days to stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables and meats.  Cook healthy food, clean and do it again the next day.

My kids would say that for the most part, they like what I cook and no one seems hungry.  But, I’m bored.  I am sick of cooking chicken.  I am tired of the same crock pot recipes.  I don’t want a big mess that I have to clean up.  I have 30 different cookbooks.  I read them as if they were novels.  They have tabs from my excited reading and planning but that’s often as far as I get.

I’ve got to change this up. I’m feeling desperate, beaten and broken by this meal planning thing.

Then, a miracle happens at the office: my partner tells me about her George Forman Grill.  She says she can make frozen chicken, burgers and grilled vegetables!  She says the kids can use it to make dinner themselves.  What? OMG!    Seriously?   Anyone own one of these?  A former boxer is going to save my life?

I’m giddy with excitement when I get home.  I get online to investigate this thing. I read that Forman was not the creator but simply the person to endorse the grill.  Hulk Hogan claims that he was offered the contract for the grill first, but missed his agent’s phone call because he was “picking up the kids.”  Hogan ultimately endorsed a blender and then his own grill (ok, I got a bit off task).

I research the choices:  They have 30+ kinds of grills … the Classic Plate and the Removable Plate. Different colors. Different options for cooking and cleaning.  I feel myself getting overwhelmed but totally thrilled!  It says you can make meat, veggies, grilled cheese and pizza!  I start to plan my first indoor Forman recipe:

Deluxe Chicken Burgers

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped apple
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper

Combine chicken, apple, parsley, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Form into patties. Grill.

Anyone else fallen in love with George Forman?  I may even be able to stop looking for a wife!  What will they think of next?

Have a great day!

An important question by my son.

My very intuitive son asked me a question the other day (he asks me the most amazing questions), which was: “People tell me to be a leader, but what does that really mean?  What would it look like based on what I do?”  Wow.  Where did this cool kid come from?  I used to just ask my mom if I could have $10 (life was simpler back then!):

I hesitated for a second and then gave him the following list (based on an article by Peter Barron Stark) of 10 elements of a leader who people respect and admire:

1. Integrity:  Obvious.  If you lack integrity, no one will trust you and no one will see you as a role model.

2. Vision: You must have a vision about life and people and looking to make both better.

3. Passion: Leaders believe in what they are doing and their efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

4. Humility: If you are a humble leader it is easier to: (a) Thank people for their contributions; (b) Admit when you are wrong; and (c) Be respectful – regardless of your social status or position in the company.

5. Learning: Leaders are “active learners who can quickly put to use what they have learned.”

6. Decision Making: You need to be able to make decisions with the big picture view – with others in mind … not just yourself.

7. Pride: How you look or work tells people how you feel about yourself and it helps them work to feel good about themselves as well.

8. Confidence: When you have these traits, it is easy to be confident and humble at the same time.

9. Follow-Through: Do what you say you are going to do.

10. Win: Work to produce the desired result or goal and if you don’t, try again.

I have added my own thoughts to Stark’s list but I think he is quite right about these 10 qualities, which he directed toward adults.  Yet, it really does fit for my son (and all our youth) too.

Honestly, these are things we should all strive for.  Even in our daily life … we should work toward making a difference — that’s what a good leader does.  Some people want or need to make a difference in a big way and others of us do it in small ways every single day. It doesn’t matter how … it just matters that you do!

I hear the birds chirping this morning!  Have a great day.

A beautiful treat – growing older.

I see a lot of movies.  I guess it’s my escape.  Last night I got the chance to see the movie, Quartet.  I am an opera lover (and of course strings as well) and this movie was filled with bits of both.  While not a flashy movie, it was really delightful to watch.  But, the meaning went beyond the music for me.

For those who’ve seen it, the plot revolves around many retired musicians and singers, who live in a retirement home in the English countryside, which is in danger of closing down due to lack of funds.  As fate would have it, four of the greatest opera singers that England has ever known are reunited for a fundraising gala to save the home.

The music is certainly one of the stars of the film – with its quick, cursory journey through some of the biggest and best-known classical musical pieces and arias. At every turn you see real musicians and operatic stars performing.  That part is fantastic!

But the real message for me was about getting older.  It is happening to all of us.  Even when we say we don’t feel “our age” – the truth is we are getting older.  Yet,  the big question is “what are we going to do about it?”

The answer, of course, lies in each of us.  It seems easy not to worry in our 40’s, 50’s and even our 60’s.  But we are getting older (and wiser!) and how we embrace those changes will make the process easy or hard.

Look, I go to the bathroom way more at night than I used to.  I wake up often, I have to work harder to stay in shape, my aches are a bit more in the morning.  But what do I get in return?  My kids are older and so much more fun to be with.  I’ve figured out how to have an incredible relationship with my father (something I clearly didn’t get when I was younger), and I know now, more than ever, what I want and who I want to be with during this next part of my life.

We never think that we’ll become old  — We think we will hold on to our minds and bodies forever … I guess that’s a natural response.  This film was a gentle reminder to me of the beauty of music and the joys and realities of getting older.

My take away — If you embrace every day and surround yourself with those you love, you will have no regrets.  And that, my friends, is the goal, isn’t it?

Have a lovely day!

I was wrong.

I want to get better at admitting when I am wrong.

Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the snake, but neither one of them admitted that they were to blame for their actions.  I think admitting being wrong is one of the hardest things we can do.  Look at those who are in power or top athletes … awfully hard for them to admit they’re wrong.  And, those are the role models for our kids!

I was talking with a friend the other day and I asked him what happens when his girlfriend challenges him on something he’s done.  He told me that in those instances he will ask her to provide him with a concrete example – to take the emotion out of it.  He says that she is often right and it is the clearest to him when he can see an example.  He quickly added (interestingly enough, without my prompt) that he NEVER brings up her conduct (as a basis for his conduct) at that moment because it takes away from her feelings and what she is trying to show him.  Wow!  Can we clone him??

An old boyfriend was good at this.  One time when we were discussing an issue, he stopped in the middle of the discussion and said, “You know what?  You’re right. I’m sorry.”  I still remember that moment.  He was the kind of person who could almost always able step outside himself and admit when he was wrong.  I have a lot of respect for people like that.  (p.s. – for my regular readers, he was one of the Valentine’s exs!).

Remember, even in a situation where both parties are absolutely  sure that their version of the story is right, one of them isn’t.  Yet, we have difficulty stopping and changing course at that moment.

Admitting we are wrong is critical to any relationship – with your spouse, your friends and your kids.  Sometimes, we don’t even have to admit wrongdoing – sometimes just admitting that someone else (other than us) could be right, may be enough.   Always something to work on!

How good are you at being wrong?  I’m going to try it today and see.  Have a good one!

I’m giving it up!!!

There’s a lot of talk about giving up “things” for religious holidays.  All religions seem to have this sort of time during the year where they sacrifice something for some period of time.  This made me think of all the things I am willing to give up (Note: these are not the things I THINK I should give up nor are they the things I WANT to give up … just the ones I am WILLING to give up … for right now!).

Here’s my top 20 (I have a feeling there are a few blogs out of this list!):

  1. First place in line at Costco when it opens;
  2. Giving my kids “Just five more minutes ” on the XBox (sorry kids);
  3. The last word in an argument;
  4. Forty cents a day, which adds up to $12 a month, which gives a village in Africa, clean water (we can all do this);
  5. Frowning;
  6. Other people who frown;
  7. Hot yoga at 6 a.m. when I know I am going to be late:
  8. Eating after 8 p.m., 9 p.m., and in the middle of the night (all of which I do frequently);
  9. Expecting people will change;
  10. All my purple clothes (someone once said I looked like Barney, when I wore my purple sweater – nice!);
  11. Watching all the Final Four Games on my phone (I’m going to watch them on the computer this year!);
  12. One argument with each of my children;
  13. Setting my alarm 5 minutes early to “fool” myself that I am getting an extra five minutes when I hit the snooze…who am I kidding?;
  14. Second dates (If I wasn’t sure on the first one);
  15. The first 15 parking places closest to the door;
  16. Swearing in the car (well, how about only when the kids are there);
  17. Worrying for some portion (even if it is one minute) of every hour;
  18. Begging the kids to do the shoveling,  picking up their rooms or the laundry – I give in the towel on that one (pun intended);
  19. Trying to grocery shop or go to Target without a list;
  20. The extra three pieces of chocolate I have after my “mandatory” one piece of chocolate … which I have after each and every lunch (and sometimes dinner).

I’m going to pick a few of these items on the list and try giving them up.  I have a feeling I’ll be back writing about the chaos that will occur from the loss of these things in my life!

Drive safely today!