The Degree of Empathy & Help


These fires in CA and the devastation I see from them has really broken my heart this past week. This is a massive disaster of  epic proportions. The loss of life, both human and animal, homes being burnt to the ground, firefighters working day in and day out to save what they can…. this is mind-blowing. I can’t imagine what these people and the wildlife in that area are going through. I’ve heard that the size of the affected area is the size of all NYC boroughs combined. And growing.  Insane.

As I have family in California, I’ve been paying pretty close attention to what’s been going on with these fires.  Now, I know where Malibu, Zuma Beach, etc. are. I know who the folks are that live in those areas. There are a lot of rich people living there.  Lots of celebrities. I get it. Why should we feel sorry for them? They have no worries, right? I see a lot of commentary about the fact that these rich folks can afford to replace the things they’ve lost. They don’t have the worries that us “common folk” have. This bugs me. A lot. I don’t understand this mind set. Yep. These people have the resources to rebuild, buy new cars and furniture and clothing. To replace “things”.  But how do you replace the lives of loved ones? Homes you’ve lived in, and brought your kids up in for decades?  How do you replace memories? Pictures? Antiques passed down from generation to generation with all the history attached? Pets you were forced to leave behind?  The answer is…….. you can’t. And regardless of someone’s specific circumstances, can’t we just feel badly for them that they lost everything they had? Maybe loved ones? Can’t we be heartbroken at the loss of animals (both pets and wild animals) that can never be replaced? Trees that will take years to grow back? Neighborhoods that are destroyed? Can’t we act like fellow humans beings just for a minute, offer comfort, supplies, food or a shoulder to cry on? Can’t we put aside our preconceived notions and judgements about other people and try to find our empathy chip? It’s there. I know it is. And if you can’t find it… Just. Stop. Talking.  Keep your ugly mean spirited opinions and social media posts to yourself. No one needs or wants to hear them. Least of all the people affected by this disaster. These kinds of opinions and posts help no one. There is no value in them. They better nothing.

Empathy is a wonderful quality. It’s free. It allows us to put ourselves in other people’s shoes and see how we would feel in different situations. It allows us to offer a helping hand when someone needs it most. Helping someone else when they need it most, trying to understand how they might feel, putting aside what we THINK they are, betters us as human beings. And it costs us nothing. I am a firm believer in that if you get what you give. Good begets good. You never know when you might be the one needing the helping hand. So, let’s help, peeps. Let’s just help, and not worry about the rest. We’ll all be better off for it. I promise.

Ways to help with the fires in CA:

Ventura County Humane Society

California Wildlife Relief Fund

Caring Choices

North Valley Community Foundation

Something I heard at the PA Conference for Women from a teenage girl who spoke to us, resonates with me and will for a long time, I suspect.

“If you see something wrong, fix it. If you see someone hurt, help them. If you don’t do something, who else will?”

Amanda Southworth, mental health activist, in her keynote address at the 2018 PA Conference for Women

Peace, my peeps.

Empathy Civilization



Vote, People. Just Vote.

Your vote

I’m getting back on the soap box, people. I have to do this to all of you. It’s too important. And I can’t apologize. This mid-term election may be one of the most important in our history. For a lot of reasons. I’m just going to talk about the few closest to my heart. I’m hoping someone reads this and hears me.

Our country is in chaos. It’s divided. It’s angry. It’s ugly. Family against family. Friend against friend. Neighbor against neighbor. (No dogs though… they stay out of this madness. Dogs are smart. Be like dogs. Except for voting.) We also have people who simply don’t vote. The only way to make any kind of change that you may want or need is to vote. That vote is your voice. Yes, many politicians are corrupt, greedy and downright dishonest.  But there are some who aren’t. Some hear us. Some try to do the right thing. But here’s the thing, peeps… We can (and should) vote the bad ones out. And if you don’t vote, you will never see change. Never. I guarantee it. Apathy is the same as complicity, as far as I’m concerned. And, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Do you want your voice silenced? I sure as heck don’t.

Lots of big topics are on the table this election. Women’s rights. Healthcare. Social Security. Immigration. Environmental protection.  This election is too important to not participate.  Listen folks… I have a daughter. She (and I) have pre-existing conditions. And let me tell you… if we don’t have our meds, which I can’t afford off of insurance, it would be bad. Like zombie apocalypse bad. Many many MANY people have pre-existing conditions. And they may not continue to be covered. This would be a disaster. There is talk of doing away with Social Security. Epic bad-ness there, peeps. Equal pay. Kids in cages…. the list goes on and on and on. Don’t you want a say in how these things are handled? I’m not talking party lines here. Quite frankly, I don’t care about political parties. I care about humanity. I care about my peeps. I care about our country and our world. I’m tired of the shame I feel about the path we’re on.

Voting is easy. Mostly. I vote in something like 5 minutes before I go to work. Most employers don’t care if you’re a little late because you had to vote. Or just go on your way home. It takes less time than it does to get a Dunkin Donuts coffee. Trust me. I’ve waited in my Dunkin line for many a minute, many a time. Voting is preferable. There are ways to get to the polls if you can’t drive yourself. Or you can vote early via the mail in a lot of states, or do absentee ballots. No excuses here, people. None.


Now, quickly, I had a great great week with my brother and sister in law. It was one of the absolute best weeks of my life, in fact. Doggo agrees. See? Pathetic. Truly pathetic. This cements my FL plan. 100%.  Lots of food, fun and booze was had by all. A visit to Gettysburg, Philly and to see Rache in school topped it all out. Next up… INDIA & the Maldives!!


Peace, my peeps. And VOTE!!!!!! Don’t make me come find you.

It’s All Fun & Games

Its all fun and games

I’m trying something new this week and writing TWO blogs, my peeps. One is political. HEAVILY political. And then this one, which is as far from politics as you can get. I didn’t want to exhaust anyone not interested in politics with that one and I know that you all can’t live without my shenanigans, so here it is.

I went to see the beautiful Amal Clooney (wife of my future ex husband George), Serena Williams and Maysoon Zayid, speak at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women a week ago with my friend Lisa. It, and they, were amazing. Let me just say that Amal is intelligent, warm, funny and a humanitarian. I’d marry her if I didn’t want to marry her husband so badly. She is an advocate for human and women’s rights and is a rock star. 100% rock star. And the fact she missed the royal wedding to come talk to me was an added bonus. Just kidding… I know she didn’t wanna go to that formal, stuffy occasion anyhow. I’m WAY more fun. Serena was actually very funny, warm and down to earth. And Maysoon, if you don’t know who she is, is a Palestinian comedian with cerebral palsy who is HILARIOUS. If you ever get the chance to see her in person, do it. I highly recommend hearing all three ladies. It was a fabulous day and my friend Lisa and I had a blast. That is until our train home got cancelled. That wasn’t fun. I was fighting a migraine too, which made it more annoying. BUT, Rachel was home and was kind enough to bring Doggo and come rescue us in Philly. So it ended well… especially after we went to dinner at a local Mexican joint and I had a couple apple cider margaritas. YUM!!!

Then, I was lucky enough to score front row tickets to J.J. Grey in Philly. Rachel came with me. To be honest, I wasn’t sure she’d love his bluegrass type music. But she DID!! And now I’m officially in love with this guy. He’s coming back in March, but the night he’s here is the night before I leave for Turks and Caicos, and although the thought of getting on the plane still drunk from the concert is a tempting one, I’m not 20 anymore and this would be a DISASTER. No bueno.

Went on an actual date yesterday with a nice guy. Not sure if he’s for me or not, but it was good practice and I had fun.

Lastly, my brother and favorite sister in law get here on Saturday and I am very very excited. Stocked up on booze, cleaned the house sorta, and prepped Doggo for lots of love and attention. I can’t wait to see my fam. It’ll be a good week next week. We’ll see if I’m sober enough to blog next Monday.

Peace, my peeps.

drunk blogging

Fear and Humanity

No Humanity

I’m doing something new this week and doing not one, but TWO blogs. I know. You guys are so happy about this. I know it.  So, one is political – 100% political. And the other is about me and my misadventures. I think you can tell which this is.

The reason for this particular blog is due to several recent conversations with friends and random folks about immigration. These talks hurt my heart. In a lot of ways. And frustrated me. But I do, in some respects, understand their viewpoints. Even if I totally, 100% don’t agree with them.

The one consistent theme I was hearing was that we need to “take care of our own first”, before we let people applying for asylum come in. And FYI, most of the people coming in are applying for asylum. Which is legal. While I understand the urge to take care of the American veterans, homeless, sick, elderly, orphans, etc., we are a nation built on immigration. People come here in desperation, due to political, religious and even physical persecution and have for decades. They were and are afraid and trying to protect their families, many of whom are children and over 3000 of whom were forcibly, literally ripped from their parent’s arms. To me, as a parent, I can tell you that I would do anything, and yes, I mean anything, to protect my child. That means walking to Canada from Southern Pennsylvania with her and entering by any means necessary if that meant saving her life. And make no mistake, that is exactly what these folks from Central and South America are doing. Protecting their families by any means necessary.  They are running from violence (gang rape, gang violence), drugs, lack of proper healthcare, poverty, police corruption, and governmental corruption. They are not, for the most part, criminals trying to hurt us or our people. They are not coming here to take jobs away from us. They are not here to bring our property values down. They are not here to be criminals. They are here for one reason and one reason only. To make a life free of these things that they are so desperate to escape. They open businesses. They pay taxes (and yes, they do, in fact,  pay taxes). They buy homes. They buy our products and services.  If we kicked out all “illegal” immigrants today, the U.S. would lose $17 billion per year. BILLIONS lost due to nothing more than fear.

Latin America is the world’s most violent region

Immigration and Crime

Now, would I prefer that these people do this the “right way”? Sure. But do we all understand what that means? It means months and years of time to become a legal citizen. Time that these people do not have. It means thousands of dollars that these people also don’t have for attorneys, court fees, etc.. Do I agree with the way they are trying to enter America? Nope. I don’t. But do I judge them so harshly by taking their kids away or sending them to almost certain death by forcing them to go back to the horrible conditions they came from? No. I will not.  My very humanity forbids it. My moral code… the same one I teach my daughter every day… forbids it. My heart forbids it. As everyone’s should.

Listen. I know that confronting and questioning beliefs long held, and taught to us by family, parents, neighbors, friends, teachers, priests, etc. is one of the toughest things to do as a human being. It means questioning our upbringing. Our foundations. And it’s HARD. But many times, we come out of those watershed moments of self-reflection for the better. We find our true humanity and find that maybe, just maybe, our parents or teachers or neighbors or friends weren’t always right. And that we can stand up. We can stand up and make changes for the betterment of ALL humanity. Not just those we are comfortable and familiar with. We are daily fed with fear and divisive rhetoric, strewn by our leaders and some media outlets (I refuse to believe all media is the bad guy here, as is thrown out there by our “leaders”). This is a false fear and allowing it to control us is a grave mistake. We are better than this. Smarter than this. Braver than this.

As a species, I believe us to be brave. I believe us to be moral. I believe us to use our hearts to guide us in the right direction even if it means a struggle or a fight. I believe we can do the right thing here. I believe we should do the right thing here. Now, I hope that we WILL do the right thing here.

Elections are coming, my peeps. They are important. They have been decided on a handful of votes. Your vote matters. So much. Please, please…. if you have time for Starbucks, you have time to vote.

Peace, my peeps.


Closure & Popcorn


Nope. These two things do NOT go together, but both were a part of last week’s events. I apologize for no blog last week. I was out of town and by the time I came back, I was getting ready for a visit from a friend and time totally got away from me. But I’m BACK!!! And I know you all missed me.

So, closure…. I found some last weekend. I finally buried my dad. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I delayed this for a long time. Completely my responsibility but I finally got my act together and got it done. I was so fortunate to have had most of my tribe come with me or I got to see them at some point that weekend. It was probably the most peaceful sense of closure I’ve ever had in some respects. Some of my peeps came with me to the cemetery and helped me say goodbye with a lot of laughter and a bonus liquid lunch afterwards. Thank you, prosecco, for your contributions. And thank you, ladies for lifting me up when I needed it, and making a difficult situation so bearable and light-hearted.  I did my best but still could have done it better, looking back. In any case, that book is closed as far as logistics go. Thank you also to everyone who has supported me during this journey. It’s definitely been an eye opener for me and the love I felt from so many was so appreciated and kept me upright during a tough time. I just hope that Dad appreciated how it ended up being handled.

Now, on to the more humorous part of my week. Popcorn. Doggo ate it. Right out of a closed bag IN my lunch bag. And yes. I’m a dumb dumb and left the stupid lunch bag on the floor AGAIN while I showered and came out to find someone having an early morning snack. And this is AFTER she’d already had TWO treats. And when I came out and demanded to know what she thought she was doing, SOMEONE refused to look at me. I got some side-eye instead. But her shame only lasted for about 30 seconds after which, she came wagging her tail begging for yet another treat. Fat chance, snack thief!!! And then we hugged it out and all was well in her world. Me… well, I had no snack so that was a bummer.

embarrassed lyla

So, that’s it. Getting to hear Amal Clooney and Serena Williams speak at the PA Conference for Women in Philly which will be AWESOME. I’ll update after I go. Then to see JJ Grey in concert on Sunday with Rachel. I am a busy bee.

Peace, my peeps.

Control Yourself (or not)

Kindly Control Yourself

If anything this week’s events have shown me is that in order to be taken even a little bit seriously, you need to show a modicum of control of your behavior. I’m pretty sure that unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know to what I refer. And this doesn’t only apply to politics or world events. It applies to every day life. I’ve learned this the hard way over my 50 years of life.

I’m lucky enough that I’ve never been physically assaulted. By anyone. Verbally and mentally,  yes. Some of that was simply because I’m a woman. Some just because the other person thought they would be able to dominate me. Most times to their detriment. But I know women who HAVE been physically assaulted. And I know the shame and pain that came with it. And lasted for years. The men who assaulted them showed no ability or desire to control themselves. Some men had issues beyond anger that came with their behavior that made controlling themselves more difficult. Most didn’t have these issues. Alcohol, mental illness, drugs, family life, etc… all of these things enter into it. I grew up with a father, who although I loved him deeply, was flawed in a lot of ways. He thought he could control us with anger and fear when we were younger. Maybe that’s why I’m less likely to deal with it now when I’m faced with those situations.

I have lost control of myself too. I’m not innocent. I can say that the majority of times that this happened, alcohol played a role or Rachel was involved.  I’m learning not to have emotional discussions when alcohol is involved. Which is tough, because I love my ritas. I don’t want to hurt anyone. Certainly not physically, and definitely not emotionally. I’m learning to deal with my hot button issues…… the main one being Rachel. You hurt her, you hurt me. I’m way meaner than she is and more likely to react in a less than positive way when anyone comes for her.  But she is an adult now, and if you’ve met her, you know that she is more than capable of handling herself. So I’m learning to let her do what she needs to. Controlling my inclination to jump in….

The last commentary I’ll give on this is that I have never gone into a job interview and behaved in an angry, aggressive, defensive manner. Ever. And let’s be honest here, folks. What happened last week was a job interview. Nothing more. No trial. No judge. No jury. A JOB INTERVIEW.  If I’d ever done this in an interview, I’d expect to not. get. the job. And my potential employers would be right to not give it to me. Instead, when I go to job interviews, I exercise self control. I behave in a mature, adult manner. No matter what’s thrown at me. And I’m asked about a past pattern of behavior. I’m asked and expected to be truthful in my answers to their questions. I’m expected to behave like a professional, that the employer can say they are proud to call employee. If the employer needs to do a polygraph (and I’ve done this for potential jobs before), I agree. I have nothing to hide. Nothing to be angry about.

So folks… that’s it. I’m sorry I wasn’t here last week. My job moved offices and although I’m an expert on moving, I don’t enjoy it, and it was exhausting and annoying. This week is burying Dad (finally) and being with some really amazing, wonderful friends.

Peace, my peeps.

zipper mouth

I Feel Pretty…

I feel pretty II

At my birthday extravaganza, someone I’ve known for a long time and whom I respect a LOT told me that I looked pretty. I am fairly certain, many drinks in or not, that you could have blown me over with a feather when she said that to me. In truth, my brother said that to me in Myrtle Beach last summer and it made me cry (why do we cry when nice things are said to us??).

It’s been many years since I’ve been married, and maybe as long since anyone said that to me, other than these two people. I think when we look in the mirror, what we see of ourselves is not what others see. I can tell you with 100% certainty that I haven’t felt pretty most days for many many years. I’ve been too tired and preoccupied with paying the bills, keeping the roof over our heads and being a full time mom/student. But since my brother started this ball rolling, I’m rolling with it and not against it, which goes against my very nature. I’m not a vain person and I don’t like makeup or doing my hair, etc. so this is all new to me.

For reference – This is how I’ve perceived myself for much of my adult life:

Ugly Face

Some of you may not be aware, but about a week or two ago, I came to work, and around 2pm that day and realized I had zero makeup on. Not one stitch. I’m fairly certain I looked like a gargoyle. It was scary. At least to me. But the 4 guys I work with? They didn’t even notice. Or if they did, they were smart enough to shut the hell up and not bring attention to this epic folly. So, I posted about this insanity on Facebook, because why not?  My beautiful friend Jill responded that I should just put on some lipstick and go from there. Well, folks…. I don’t know what lipstick is. I’ve tried for many years to find one that I like that doesn’t make me look like the clown from the movie “It”, to no avail. So Jill not only gave me the name of one, which I promptly ordered, but she brought me one to the aforementioned extravaganza. I LOVE them!! A LOT!! So, the long winded point to this is that I’m trying to take better care of myself. I finally threw out a shirt that my mom had given me maybe 20 years ago. I couldn’t let it go. It had holes everywhere. But I wore it (around the house and dog walking only). I got my hairs colored (all of them… not just one). I’m back on the doggo walking now that my foot finally allows movement of any kind. I went to the doc to get my ailments fixed up. I got my toenails painted.

All of these things are small, but they work towards one common goal… feeling good about myself. They didn’t cost a lot (if anything) but they made me feel good. So, peeps… do what makes you feel good about yourself. Take care of yourselves. Life is too short and too messy to do anything else.  This is now I perceive myself more recently:

I feel pretty

Peace, my peeps!!!

P.S. I was thinking that to make myself feel REALLY good, I’m wearing my prom dress to vote in November.  Maybe it’ll bring my party some much needed luck. 🙂

Birthday Extravaganzas

20 New Gift Ideas 50th Birthday Woman Design of gift ideas for 50th birthday woman

So the birthday extravaganzas have begun. Turning 50 has not been that bad so far!! I was truly expecting the worst, as was my liver. Well, the liver had reason to fear. And still does as this nonsense has just begun. But I feel great! And I think turning 50 will be a blast. Although I feel like I’m still in my mid twenties. Well, MOST of me feels that way anyhow.

I went to Connecticut this weekend to celebrate with my peeps. Many of them anyhow. And it was AMAZING!! My friend was nice enough to offer up her house to the party gods for around 20 of us to come hang out, eat and drink our way to oblivion. It was a BLAST, even with the dumb rain. I got to see people I haven’t seen in 30 years!! It was amazing and so much fun. I thank all of you who came out, with booze and food in hand, and celebrated with me. I am so grateful and humbled that I have all of you in my world. You are my tribe in every way. Paula and Michael, you guys are just the best. Heather and Paul, you guys as well. You made this a weekend I will never forget (well, most of it anyhow, thanks to two cases of Watermelon-Ritas and some pink sparkly stuff that Heather made Paul go get around 8:30pm). Getting up at 7:30am after going to bed at 3am, and then driving almost 3 hours was something I haven’t done in maybe 20 years but it was worth EVERY. SINGLE. SECOND.

Next up, my brother and sister in law are heading up, hopefully in spite of this dumb hurricane that is predicted to make landfall the day they are driving up. Blech. Stupid weather. But I’m not sweating that part of things. I can’t wait to see them. And Lyla Jane is THRILLED that there will be two more people in the house to hang out with her, touch her, talk to her, and just simply look at her. She isn’t picky… any of those will do as long as the attention is focused ONLY in her direction. My liver is resting up all week in preparation for this nonsense.

THEN, we are all driving up to see Rachel at school on my birthday. I am so happy I get to see my baby on my big day. It will be a spectacular day in every single way. I’m very fortunate.

So, peeps. Please pray that this dumb hurricane moves elsewhere so that my family can make it here safely. I have enough booze in my house to sink a ship and am ready for the next chapter.

Peace to you all, my peeps.

#sograteful #blessed (I hate that one, but it applies) #happiestgirlintheworld


Git’n ‘Er Dun


I’ll start by apologizing for being AWOL last week. My excuse/reason is two fold… First, I was just tired. REALLY tired. Like I’d been fighting zombies for a week straight tired. And second, I needed to gather my thoughts about what and how I wanted to write this week’s blog. Sometimes, the ideas need to gel…. with some help from some adult beverages.  (I can’t lie… it helps.)

I was tired because I was really busy. The first task was that I decided to put my money where my mouth is and volunteer for my local political party. I went to my first meeting and was warmly welcomed by everyone. I feel some hope in this area of my life for the first time in a while. And I do like volunteering. Makes my heart happy. In any case, I’m hopeful. I won’t expand on this topic today for fear of boring you. Or driving you mad.

Another part of my busyness (is that even a word? If it wasn’t, it is now!) came from hanging out with some friends. The summer was a busy one in general and I didn’t get to see my friends as much as I wanted to. There is a lot to be said for hanging out in the yard having some good food, and partaking in some Sofia sparkling wine, while meeting some great new people. Or even just meeting for lunch or dinner to catch up. Thanks to all of you peeps with whom I was able to meet up. I had a great time with all of you. Let’s do it again SOON, k??

Lastly, I’m gearing up for a busy couple months… Family visit, college family weekend, concerts, conferences, finally burying my dad, a 50th birthday celebration with a ton of my peeps…  Not to mention that I should kinda clean for said family visit. I think I may have subconsciously decided that I live in a barn this summer. When forced to choose between cleaning and pool time…. well, you get my drift…  Cleaning wasn’t the front runner. Oh… I forgot… I also sewed a button on my pants… Yep. Victory is MINE, I tell you!! AND I managed to finally make reservations for Turks & Caicos in March. WOOT WOOT!!!

I think I feel LOTS better when I’m accomplishing things. And I have done a lot of that lately. Making and achieving goals is great for the soul, as I just told my daughter. Sounds so cliched and dumb, but it’s true. Thanks, Da, for that advice. I won’t ever forget it. Now, since I’ve been such a busy bee, I think I need some libations… of the adult variety… Don’t you worry, peeps!! I’m on my way this weekend to indulge in some!!

Peace, my peeps. I’ve found some.


Another Year, Bitches!


So, I dropped the kid off for her sophomore year of college. Mind blowing. In lots of ways. The main one being that the house she lives in with her sorority is haunted by a ghost named Maggie. More about that next. But I moved her in, with the help of her boyfriend, and left with no tears being shed on my part (I’m VERY proud of myself). And we had a great day getting her settled and had lunch with one of her “sisters”, who has been an integral part of Rachel making it work at her school. Thank you, Jaime.

So, the ghost. Apparently Miss Maggie killed herself in the house years ago, and tends to go around at night scaring the girls. She shakes beds, knocks on walls, and according to Rachel, came to her door for a visit her first night in the house. Only two other girls were there at the time, as no one has moved in yet. Apparently, all three girls ended up sleeping together in the tiny living room in various states of uncomfortable-ness (yep, I just made up that word. You’re welcome.)  I have now advised Rache to make friends with Maggie so as to head off any further scares.

I’m now back to my normal schedule of events with Doggo, with my house remaining clean (for the most part), and food remaining in my fridge where I leave it. I never really stopped being social this summer but with people away on vaca and busy schedules, I probably wasn’t as social as I am other times of the year. Back on the horse, peeps!!! And speaking of back on the horse, I just tried the new Berry-a-Ritas.  No. Not good. I will finish the case so as not to waste a Rita (that would be sacrilege, my friends), but I won’t go back for more.

Thinking about Rachel being a sophomore is really weird. I feel like I just dropped her for kindergarten and watched that kid take off like a bat out of hell, completely ignoring that I was standing there all teary and pathetic. Now she isn’t as happy to leave home, but it’s good for both of us. It’s what I raised her to do. I’m happy for her, I really am. And I’m so proud that she’s growing up to be a functional, happy, healthy, obnoxious adult. (Yep, the obnoxious part is ALL my doing and I’m proud of it.) But I would be lying if I said I don’t miss her. Our relationship can be co-dependent and really really freaking annoying, but she’s my BFF and biggest fan and I’m hers. And truth be told, I love watching her fly. Maybe I did something right.

Another Year

Here’s to another year peeps… Peace to you all.