Where to Sleep in the Snow

IMG_5007If you live in the Northeast you were inconvenienced by the snow. You had to worry about how to get to work, how to get home. You had to worry about how you’d pick up the kids from school.

Then, if you were like me, you said a secret little prayer that your job would be closed, and you could stay home and spend a glorious day in your pajamas.

If you had to go to work, oh well.

What  you didn’t have to worry about was whether or not you were trying to find someplace warm to sleep, the train station, a supermarket, a 24 hour fast food place that would let you stay if you ordered something from the dollar menu.

I was taking pictures tonight of the snow. You know, because Instagram would die if I didn’t post some picture of the snow, a picture that a million other people were posting.

While taking that picture I thought about all of the people out there who weren’t taking pictures of the beauty, but were instead wondering where to go to escape the brutal cold.

Not everyone had the luxury of posting a pic and then wondering which filter to use. Not everyone had the luxury of taking a pic and then pulling up a pair of flannel pajama bottoms and turning up the heat.

Some people looked at the snow and wondered how they were going to sleep tonight. Some wondered if the train station waiting room would be full, would be safe, would offer shelter.

Some looked at the snow and wondered how they could make the store by bus and get milk for their kids considering all of the people who could beat them by car, people who were worrying whether they had enough junk food to make it through a possible snow day. Those people weren’t worried how their kids would eat or if they’d be warm.

So while some of us were looking at the snow, while we were seeing the beauty, there were some who didn’t view it that way. They were seeing the hardship, living the hardship.

I posted pictures of serene scenes. Then I watched Netflix with my son. After that I turned up my heat. Then I thought about all of the people who didn’t have those options, the people who were trying to figure out if they’d be sleeping in a train station waiting room or a Dunkin Donuts. Or in the snow.

Then I felt guilty. Because we live in a country with unimaginable wealth. And we have kids living in homeless shelters. For years.

For now though all I could do was post pictures on social media and be grateful that I have a roof over my head, that my kids are safe, and that I am not sleeping in a train station.

But please feel free to like my Instagram photo.

 

 

 

 

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International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day. We shouldn’t need a day. Every single day should be our day. What would that look like?

Imagine (yeah, I’m stealing from John), imagine we lived in a world where you’d be a hero for going out in  your pink robe and no makeup. You know, sort of like Hef did for years and years and years.

Imagine if while checking out the latest headlines, tabloid news wasn’t as popular, more popular, than what is actually going on in the world. And maybe if the tabs can’t be knocked off the top, we would hear more about Angelina’s work with refugees than we do about if she’s over Brad.

Imagine men worrying about showing up at the beach and if their beer belly is hanging over their bathing suit the way women worry if a stretch mark peeks out or if maybe their tummy isn’t as taut as it once was. And actually I don’t want men to worry about that, but the reality is that they don’t. Let’s be like them.

Imagine that the women who are attending marches are marching even for the women that don’t believe all of the things that they believe, and that they are marching for women to have different opinions, like, as in different, not the same. We don’t have to be cookie cutter. Gross. Why would we ever want that!

Imagine we celebrate the women in our lives, the women who empower us, support us, love us, even the ones that need a little help learning  how to be a friend, because, well, there are a lot of misconceptions out there that women can’t get along, and some women actually believe that. But we can. We do.

Imagine that International Women’s Day didn’t happen once a year. Imagine that we saw the beauty and the value every second of every day. If we did that, we wouldn’t need a march or a day or anything else.

Take a look around you. You know a lot of amazing women. I promise you that. Tell the women in your life how incredible they are. Some may know it. Some may need to hear it. Don’t just do it today though. Do it tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, and keep going.

 

 

Emma Gonzalez

Emma Gonzalez is my hero. In a world filled with instant celebrities and movements, she took social media, and the media, by storm with an impassioned speech that went viral, making her the face of a movement.

Oh, and she wasn’t even on Twitter.

Knowing that fame is fleeting and that people quickly move on to the next big news story, she created a Twitter account,  an account that is verified, and is making sure that her voice is heard. Loud and clear.

Emma, along with those kids who suffered through an unimaginably traumatic event, started a movement.

What Emma Gonzalez, along with those teens, is doing is nothing short of amazing.  And, by the way, I don’t mean amazing because I disagree with number 45 or because I’m Republican or Democrat or Independent.

Amazing because after surviving a school shooting, that took the lives of 17 people, they didn’t go crawl into a hole, which would have been completely understandable.

Nope. They became activists.

Fierce activists.

Emma Gonzalez stands out. Right or wrong, she is the one who was picked up by the media. Maybe it was the shaved head. Or the determination. Or both, but there was something about her that made people stop and listen.

She makes a compelling figure, a young woman who survived a mass shooting at her school and then, within days,  made a choice to stand up to a country that seemed unable to figure out its crap. Maybe Emma doesn’t have all the answers, but she is calling on all of the grownups who have failed her to this point.

Yeah, that’s us.

I don’t know the answers. I think the 2nd Amendment is important for a lot of reasons. I also hate guns. So, I guess add me to the long list of grownups who haven’t done enough. How do we balance the right to bear arms and create legislation that addresses what happened in Florida, what happened in Sandy Hook, what is happening at an alarming rate all around this country?

 

We owe our kids,  Emma Gonzalez, all of them, we owe them conversations that will lead to answers. It shouldn’t have taken another school shooting, another 17 lives. Emma Gonzalez appears comfortable in her role, but it is a role she should never have had to take on. She should have had the luxury of being a teenager looking forward to graduation and her future.

Instead she is a teenager who now realizes that having a future is a luxury that some of her classmates will never have.

Attending school should not have life and death consequences.

Parents have enough to worry about. Now they have to worry that their kid is being hunted down by someone looking to kill as many as possible. At school?

How did we get to that point?

The grown ups need to figure it out. And if we can’t, then I say thank God for kids like Emma Gonzalez who will figure it out for us.

A lot gets said about the next generation, but what I’m  paying attention to is Emma Gonzalez, and the kids that are just like her, and the way they are taking a situation that would make most grownups wet themselves and turning it into a movement.

They are organizing.

They are showing all of the adults that if we don’t get it together, they will do it for us.

 

What Are YOU Doing?

See something. Say something. That’s like the new code. Well, the new code that everyone breaks. Nobody wants to get involved. Nobody wants to be the one to cause a little discomfort. People mind their business. Except on social media. Then everyone knows everything.

There are a lot of geniuses out there. A lot of stupid geniuses. Who do nothing to actually solve whatever problem they are fighting over.

I’m sitting back watching a lot of debates on Facebook right now. No. I’m not getting involved. If you know me, you know how tough it is for me to not go in and tell people what fucking idiots they are. But then I have to remind myself that I can tell them they are idiots, but it doesn’t mean they’ll get it.

So instead of calling them idiots I’d like to ask them what they’re doing to be the change they wish to be in the world. You know, since they’re all sharing some stupid meme that says that. What exactly are they doing besides sharing  memes and engaging in arguments on social media with other morons where they  make the same point over and over and over and over. Oh, and then they make a similar point over and over and over. I want to punch them in the face and throw up at the same time. And then I get mad at myself because I allowed those dummies to waste precious moments of my life that I will never get back.

I’m sort of a bitch. I’m pretty open about that. I have a big mouth. I don’t always say the right thing. I’ve made a ton of mistakes in my life. But here’s the thing. I have tried to effect change. Oh no. Am I using the right effect/affect? Sometimes I slip up, but yeah, I think I am.

I have always been the see something, say something person, even when it has been to my detriment. I’ve had bosses who have actually written things in my reviews that basically say I don’t mind my business, but mostly because when I saw something, I said it. And then I said it again. And again. Not everyone is a fan of that. Especially bosses who see something and ignore it.

But its not just there. I have done different things in my life, things that have created a career path, because I couldn’t sit by silently and watch something I felt needed to be changed. Even writing a blog came about because I was pissed about something and felt that I had to add my big mouth to the mix. Oh, and on a side note, that piece caused quite a bit of controversy, but I’ll tell you that story another time.

Because bottom line is that I didn’t just scream a bunch of stuff or fight with some strangers on social media, and then walk away. I volunteered. I wrote letters. I signed petitions. I even brought my kids to protests and dragged their friends and made them sit through boring political meetings that went nowhere. But, I raised awareness in some way or another. In other words, I acted. Ok, so I admit, I still engaged in some brawls on social media, but I’m human. Even I have difficulty walking away from some idiot who cannot articulate a point and is short on facts. Its sort of a weakness of mine, though, I am getting better.

The news is hard to take lately. Harder to take is the commentary that is popping up from people who think that they are adding to a conversation that will lead to change when all they are really doing is making noise.

Go walk the walk. Conversation is great. Debate can be empowering. But follow it up. Do something. Say something. Don’t just argue the same point on social media and then share some stupid meme.  Be the change you want to see in the world. Actually be the change.

 

Mid-Life or Transition or Whatever

Disclaimer: This post will probably have a lot of foul language. If you cannot appreciate all of the ways I’m going to drop the f bomb and a few other tidbits, well, thanks for the page view, and come back another day when I am able to contain myself.

Fuck. There. I said it. Really, I had no choice. I told you to expect it. I mean what I say, and say what I mean. Yeah, just like Dr. Seuss.

So I’m having a little bit of a moment. I know. I’m not the only one. But, this is affecting me, and, well, there is no situation that I cannot make about me.  Go read some shitty feel-good story on Huff Po if you want a bunch of bullshit that makes you feel good about yourself, oh, and really, just a bunch of aggregated bullshit. This is going to make you feel good, about me. I don’t know how yet, but I’ll figure it out.

I am a bitch.

Yes. I am. I own it. I am proud of it. I love that about myself. Apparently I have built up a bit of a fan club based on what a bitch I am, mostly (is that even a word?) because all of the people who love what a bitch I am appreciate the fact that its honesty and not malice,  straight talk, not phony bullshit.

I don’t know how to be phony. Maybe that would have gotten me further in life, but then I would not be able to look at my beautiful face in the mirror, and I love to look at my gorgeous reflection, especially on a really good hair day. Oh and also on a day when I can draw in some fabulous eyebrows.

Anyway, I’m in a bit of a transitional period. Some call it a mid-life crisis. I wouldn’t mind that because then that means I’m going to live till I’m 100. Well, wait, fuck that. I only want to live to 100 if I’m going to be disgustingly Jay Z rich and have an infiniti pool and someone to cut my onions.

I made a promise to myself back when David Letterman was the thing that I’d go on his show when I was filthy rich and talk about how I’d never cut onions again. He went and retired before I made it big like that. I’ll never forgive him.

I know. You want me to get to the point. I don’t have one. Did you miss the part where I said I’m in a transitional period?

In 48 hours, give or take, I will be leaving a job that I absolutely love. I mean, I love it and wish that Mark Cuban, or anyone with a shitload of cash, would throw some money my way so that I could feed my kids, keep my lights on, and continue at my job working with disadvantaged  youth who need someone to love them the way that I do.

My co-worker thinks its hysterical that I Tweet messages to Drake and expect him to answer. I think its hysterical that she doesn’t understand that he IS going to answer me. And probably send some money to the cause I’m demanding he supports.

No, I’m not Mother Teresa. Well, maybe a little, but the version in need of someone to wash my mouth out with soap.

I mean I’d punch anyone in the face who tried, but you know what I mean about the whole I’m not really a saint thing. Still, you can continue to think I am.

I’m 50 and trying to figure out what to be when I grow up. Some people figured that shit out in their 20’s. I didn’t. Some people figured that shit out when they were in their 30’s. Yeah. No. Not me. I’ll skip the 40’s because it will just piss me off.

At 50, I know this. I may be changing jobs soon. I am poor as fuck. I drive a car that still has the kind of key you can go get made up at ACE. I get shut off notices regularly.

I also get fan mail regularly. Ok, so maybe not officially mailed to me with my fan club address on the label, but in the form of the kids I work with, one who hugged me tonight and told me she was going to miss me, and wouldn’t let go. In the form of a kid who OD’d in my house and hugged me and wouldn’t let go. In the form of all of the amazing friends that I have collected, yes, I said collected, because they are an eclectic group of people who enhance my life, and that’s a rule of mine, you better enhance my life in some way or there’s the door.

You’re waiting for my point. I already told you there really isn’t one. I’m transitioning. Again. I’m building. I’m regrouping. And I love to put out there how magnificent I am. That part took me a long time, too long.

But really the point is that I’m transitioning. As poor as I am, and as old as I am, that is a luxury. And that makes me rich!

 

 

 

A Day in the Life

There are no accidents. I totally believe that. So let me try to tell you about my day. Without breaching confidentiality, because there was a lot of confidential stuff today personally and professionally.

First, I was able to spend a perfect day with two kids that I love beyond belief. They are a daily reminder of how blessed I am, even when it feels like my life is shitty. These kids have been in my thoughts a lot as I figure out my life. You know, because I’m 50 and I reflect regularly on how I should have discovered how to be a Kardashian before they figured that shit out.

Oh, I say shit a lot. And some other words too, but today that’s the go-to word.

Next. Another kid has been on my mind a lot lately. Mostly because I see conversations about addiction and people don’t get it. Some, just because they’re stupid and don’t want to get it. Some because its a tough thing to understand. I don’t understand it and I’ve lived it. But anyway, even though I like to believe its always about me, its not. Well, like 5% of the time its not, but even now I can make it about me because I’m the one writing this, so suck it if you really believe its not about me.

But, this kid. He OD’d in my house a few  years ago. I’ve written about him a lot. Yeah, go hit the search bar on my site. I ran out in my pajamas tonight because I had some other shit going on and I felt like everyone has pajamas and if people can’t handle seeing me in the store in my pajamas they should stay home. So I came out of the store and just felt eyes on me and not because of my fuzzy pants.

Yeah, it was this kid. He got out of his car and hugged me. And then I hugged him again. And I hugged him again. And then he hugged me again. And we said, “I love you,” a lot. And I hugged him again because I didn’t want to stop hugging him. He looked absolutely beautiful. Being alive does that for a person. And I will never forget the night when I watched him go from white to blue to, and…, well, he’s alive. Not only is he alive, but he is doing great things. So I hugged him again. And told him I loved him again. I wanted to hug him again, but I didn’t want to freak him out, so I resisted the urge. But, I did tell him that I loved him again.

Then I came home and thought about how I’ve been searching lately. Turning 50 makes you think about things. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. But I’ve also done a lot right. Just as I was thinking about that, something came across my Facebook feed that reminded me of some professional things, yeah, the confidential part.

So I did what any normal person would do and I wrote an email to my CEO. Ok, keep that between us. Technically I’m not breaking confidentiality, but its sort of nuts that I have nothing better to do on a Friday night than send some crazy emotional email to my CEO. I can’t tell you why I wrote him because then I’d have to breach confidentiality, but just know that he’s awesome and I wanted to say thank you.

Then I thought about the perfect day I had with those kids. Then I called my daughter, who didn’t pick up because, well, she’s busy living life at college. Then I spoke with a few friends, but one in particular who I just adore. No, that’s not to start a competition among my friends. I mean, if they want to fight over me, ok. But then I thought about how lucky I am.

So let me say it again. Wait. Did I say it? Life is good.

I spent a perfect day with kids I love. I ran into this beautiful kid I love. My kids are healthy and happy. I have amazing friends. I have great acquaintances. I love my job.

Life is good. Even if the Jets suck. Life is good.

 

 

 

Girl Power AKA the Power of Girls

I had a friend once who would look at me and say, “if only you could see what I see.” It took me a long time, too long, to see what he did, but I did. Ok, so that’s a little bit of a lie. Sometimes there are days I could use a little reminder, but for the most part no. I get it. I’m pretty awesome.

He taught me to know my worth.

Its a tough thing for many women, too many women. I now have a friend or two that I look at and say, “if only you could see what I see.”

And no. I’m not going to blame men or a male dominated society or any of the other trendy things that are floating out there  about the oppression of women.

I put the blame on women, squarely on women.

We need to be better to ourselves, to each other.  We need to stop the petty bullshit. Well, some of us.

I love women. I know some extraordinary women, many who know their worth, some who don’t.

And the thing is that I love the ones that know their worth. I love how smart and fabulous they are. I spend a great deal of time telling them how much I love them and how amazing they are.

I also love the ones who don’t. I spend a considerable amount of time trying to get them to see what I see.

The whole women can’t be friends line needs to be retired. My world is filled with smart, strong, amazing, incredible women. Real women. True friends. Even the ones that started out as strangers have somehow found their way into an unbelievable circle filled with women that inspire and challenge me regularly.

Knowing all of these exceptional women, whether they know their worth or not, always brings me back to my friend, the one who wanted me to see what he saw. I know my worth. Maybe it took me too long, but I know it. And I look around at all the women in my life and it cements it. Why? Because they are all a reflection of my worth. And, hey, if I’m to be judged by the company I keep, well, I’m pretty freakin fabulous!

We, women, have come so far, even in my lifetime. We can do anything and be anything. Yes, one day one of us will even become President.

For now though let’s take a good look at ourselves and love what we see in the mirror. No, not the fabulous make-up job or great hair, but the person we see. Let’s see what our friends see when they look at us, and let’s find those same things in the women that we love. That’s true #girlpower!