friendship, humor, inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness, motivation

A Week Of Surprises

Well this is has been quite a week – two awards – really??  Perhaps a more seasoned, sophisticated blogger would accept such accolades with greater serenity and a whole helluva lot more cool, but I lay no claim to sophistication nor experience.  And I have serious doubts about my ‘coolness’ quotient too.  So, I can respond with an enthusiastic thank you and gratitude.  I’m truly surprised and really pleased.  I’m not sure which tickles me more – being a recipient of such generosity or being able to introduce some of the wonderful talent that I take pleasure in visiting on a regular basis.

According to the rules of the award, I first and foremost want to thank for this award.  This is a terrific site to objectively discuss timely issues and share perspectives on subjects that are both far-reaching and compelling.  I’m always surprised by what the topic du jour is going to be – and am really impressed with the creativity reflected on this site.  Thank you again – and keep on writing!!

Next, I am supposed to recommend fifteen bloggers who I feel are deserving of this award.  This is a little tricky – for I have nominated some in the past who arguably don’t need one more award – they’re that good.  And yet, their names may appear again for their blogs are a constant source of delight, creativity and/or food for thought.  So here goes – I hope you can link to all of them. – David Kanigan is in a class by himself (and I mean that in the best possible way).  His posts have incredible breadth, heart and inspiration.  There are a host of things for which I could thank David – including the occasional ‘atta girl’ – this seems to be as good a way as any to express my appreciation for his talent and support to this novice.

The Grand Master/Little Master – I love the questions that are posed on this site, as the author strives to write books for parents and children which support strong values, confidence and compassion.

Help Me Rhonda. com – If you’ve never ‘met’ Rhonda – you’re missing a gift.  Funny, pensive, engaging and real – we have become cyber-friends of similar minds and sleep patterns!  Her writing never ceases to delight.

Girl On The – I’m laughing as I write this.  Her ability to find humor in the mundane, laugh-out-loud indignation at the little insults life can throw one’s way AND her excellent book recommendation make me forever in her debt.

Simon – Simon is a parish priest for an Anglican church in the north of England.  His observations of life, and the incredible generosity of his spirit always provides a peaceful respite, a place to visit where life’s complexities seem surprisingly simple.

Not Quite – Although none of us are getting younger, this blog and the adorable illustrations that accompany each post certainly gives one the impetus to make peace with gravity and maintain one’s humor.

Where’s My – There is so much to this site – posts about the insults of illness and the aging, magnificent photographs from all over the world.  The delicate mixture of beauty and sorrow makes this site one I return to often.

Todd’s – You never know what Todd is going to post, for he scours the Internet for cogent articles, pictures, quotes that are as eclectic and different as one moment can be from the next.

Practical Practice Management – Tina offers up terrific posts about work life and management.  She can be provocative and thoughtful – and I appreciate that she is willing to tackle any number of sensitive issues. and the book of alice  – Two blogs about two remarkable little children and their even more remarkable moms.  I just love checking into their worlds and see what’s new – for something always is!

I’ve just started reading these blogs and think you will enjoy them as much as I do –; magnolia; and tracie louise photography. com.  Whew – ok, I think I’ve met the second criteria!

Finally, I’m supposed to tell you seven things about me…hmmm..

1.  My profession has demanded that I be ‘out there’ yet at core, I’m a very insular person.

2.  My name is pronounced with a ‘short i’ in the first syllable, but down here in Northern Virginia, everyone calls me “MeeMee” (which would make my mother turn over in her grave).  That said, as a kid everyone called me “Mini” cause I was so short – sigh…

3.  I used to sing under the elevated subway in Queens where I grew up.  I’d try to hold a note for as long as it took for the train to pass.

4.  I am humbled by the people who have ‘found’ me over the course of the past year.  As I closed the door to working at the firm, and the concomitant loss of identity began to descend, another door really did open and it was one replete with love and some of the most amazing people I have ever known.

5.  I still cry when my kids leave to go to their homes – and the two married sons live only 15 minutes away.  Thankfully they still humor me and let me take them out on ‘dates’ like we did when they were little.

6.  My husband and I met by being set up on a blind date orchestrated by our two nieces when they were four years old and their moms (who were a little older).

7.  I am truly as corny as you imagine me to be.

Well, that does it for me today.  Thank you again – I am so thrilled to be part of this amazing group of people who create their unique magic out in the ether!

friendship, inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness, motivation

“How To Be Perfect”

English: Logo of NPR News.
English: Logo of NPR News. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wednesday morning, driving to the gym and listening to NPR.  At that hour of the morning, Garrison Keillor presents ‘The Writer’s Almanac‘ providing interesting factoids about authors that would ensure victory in a game of Trivial Pursuit, if only I would remember them.  He then reads from the ‘Poet’s Corner‘ – and I literally had to pull over to listen to his gentle voice intone excerpts from Ron Padgett‘s poem “How To Be Perfect”.  Given my post yesterday, the juxtaposition was almost eerie and definitely surprising in the best of all possible ways.  I wanted to share it with you, for in keeping with the belief that we could be a bit kinder to ourselves in many areas and more honest with ourselves in others – there is no one who can communicate this like Ron Padgett.

Excerpts from “How To Be Perfect”

Get some sleep.

Eat an orange every morning.

Be friendly.  It will help make you happy.

Hope for everything.  Expect nothing.


Take care of things close to home first.  Straighten your room

before you save the world.  Then save the world.

Be nice to people before they have a chance to behave badly.


Don’t stay angry about anything, for more than a week, but don’t

forget what made you angry.  Hold you anger at arm’s length

and look at it. as if it were a glass ball.  Then add it to your glass

ball collection.


Wear comfortable shoes.

Do not spend too much time with large groups of people.

Plan your day so you never have to rush.


Show your appreciation to people who do things for you, even if

you have paid them, even if they do favors you don’t want.


After dinner, wash the dishes.

Calm down.

Don’t expect your children to love you, so they can, if they want to.

Don’t be too self-critical or too self-congratulatory.

Don’t think progress exists.  It doesn’t.
Imagine what you would like to see happen, and then don’t do

anything to make it impossible.

Forgive your country every once in a while.  If that is not

possible, go to another one.


If you feel tired, rest.

Don’t be depressed about growing older.  It will make you feel

even older.  Which is depressing.

Do one thing at a time.


If you burn your finger, put ice on it immediately.  If you bang

your finger with a hammer, hold your hand in the air for 20

minutes.  You will be surprised by the curative powers of ice and



Do not inhale smoke.

Take a deep breath.

Do not smart off to a policeman.

Be good.

Be honest with yourself, diplomatic with others.

Do not go crazy a lot.  It’s a waste of time.

Drink plenty of water.  When asked what you would like to

drink, say, “Water, please.”


Take out the trash.

Love life.

Use exact change.

When there’s shooting in the street, don’t go near the window.


Lots to think about, lots more to smile about.  Please let me know if this struck you as wonderfully as it affected me.  Here’s to a fun-filled, thoughtful Thursday!



It’s Beautiful The Second Time Around Too

I have to say, it’s really cool to receive this award again.  You may not know this but when Sally Fields won the Oscar and shouted “You like me! You really  like me!”, I was the one who suggested she say that.  No I didn’t – just teasing.  But I do understand how she felt.  Thank you to Olo O’Matthew for the shout out.  His blog is a testament to his joy-filled art and loving musings about life.  Please check out his posts – they’re terrific.

This is the part I enjoy the most – paying this forward.  You recipients are obligated to do the same…

Shut Up

Dr. Bill

Girl On the

I’m following many more and with a little luck I’ll get one of these awards again, and I’ll applaud the efforts of others as well!  Thank you again – if I could draw, I’d post a very happy face.


anxiety, friendship, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness

An Exercise In Good Thought

I’m not sure how many of you remember the Saturday Night Live skits with Stuart Smalley.  His tag line was “I’m good enough.  I’m smart enough.  And doggone it, people like me.”  A somewhat insipid character in a blue cardigan and bad toupee routinely talking to himself in a mirror.  Somehow in retrospect it doesn’t sound very funny, but it became part of our social lexicon for a while.

When I was in grad school learning the ins and outs of various therapeutic interventions, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. David Burns – one of the pre-eminent practitioners of cognitive therapy.  Although his lecture listed towards the yawning, he was a delightful person to speak with one-on-one.  I was nervous; he was not.  My tendency in these situations is to be as self-deprecating as possible – far better that I expose my multiple flaws before anyone else does.  And as I was tripping over my tongue with phenomenally irrelevant bits of personal data, I stopped and said, “I guess you’d suggest I change the tape in my head, huh?”  At which point he laughed and nodded and moved on to less neurotic company.

Our ability to self-criticize is legendary.  People have written about it for years.  Woody Allen made his fortune exposing various elements of his imperfect self-perceptions to his audiences.  We can repeat certain tapes in our heads throughout our lives – never considering their veracity, shelf life or relevance.  I can hear certain voices in my head (relax, I’m not talking delusional here) that have asserted themselves on my self-image ever since I was a kid.  They still carry weight and define how I perceive myself.  I know on some level that it’s fiction.  I know it isn’t healthy.  And on some level I know I have to change the tape.  It hasn’t done me any good since I hit the ‘play’ button.  I mean come on, tapes are obsolete – what the hell am I doing with a cassette recorder in my head!!

There’s an element of ‘fake-it-til-you-make-it’ to cognitive therapy.  Changing the message that you have reacted to for years, replacing it with one that is more accurate, timely and of your own design sounds relatively benign.  The hard work comes into play as you exercise your mind (that sounded a little like Timothy Leary, didn’t it?)  – recognizing what thoughts promote feelings of insecurity and negative self-worth – and having the wherewithal to change them.  The theory is that we react emotionally to what we think, not vice versa.  You have to get into the habit of telling yourself the truth – and see how your heart responds to that reality.

This isn’t a paean to cognitive therapy, Dr. David Burns or Stuart Smalley.  It is a paean to you – for chances are good that some of what you react to through the course of a typical day has little to do with the moment itself and everything to do with some antiquated message that is integrated into your thought patterns.  You are smart enough and good enough and I’m pretty damn confident that people like you.  What are you going to do to like yourself?


humor, life lessons

A Tuesday Musing – And My 100th Post

I tire of the Kardashians

The wanna-bes and might-have-beens

The housewives of the suburbs wealthy

Are caricatures of the less than healthy

Today the news broke with a sigh

That Justin Bieber ‘s camera shy

He decked a photographer while in LA

Then promptly left to tour Norway

Let’s not address the hostile drone

That Gaga’s a Madonna clone

Tom Cruise has a four octave range

He may be cute, but he’s also strange

I swear to you this all made the news

My ears just ache, my brain feels bruised

If this represents what we want to know

I think a desert island’s the way to go.

humor, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness

One Of Those Nights

I’m sure you know what I mean – one of those nights which just blends into the morning uninterrupted but for about an hour or so of sleep.  Although I will undoubtedly feel the effects later today, I have to tell you – it was a great night.  No epiphanies (admittedly rare for a Jewish person to experience, but occasionally I come up with something really good);  my body continued to rebel against the stubborn heat, with more parts aching than I even knew I had;  Sirs Arch & Theodore definitively won the battle for space on the couch, allowing me just enough room for them to sprawl on top of and/or and next to me.  I know, I could nudge them aside, but I never do – I’m a ridiculous mom, even for furry, four-legged members of our family.

But here’s the coolest thing…When I walked the dogs at around 1:00 or so, I looked up at the sky.  The stars seemed to be taking their places in the black expanse as if they knew where they were supposed to be.  Everywhere I looked, they were popping out and appearing to move from one point to another, jockeying to make sure that they were in their rightful place.  A starlit sky is breathtaking, one in which the stars seem to be waking up and assuming their nighttime positions is amazing.  And it got better – the fireflies were out en masse as well.  I was out there long enough to figure out that they don’t light arbitrarily.  I think they’re playing ‘Marco Polo’.  One yells ‘Marco’, while others flit through the sky before responding ‘Polo’.  I have a hunch the game continued long after we went inside, though I was hypnotized by all of this activity for quite awhile.  The night was resplendent with light and dancing and mischievous activity.  I stood there grinning like an idiot, convinced I had just seen the most magical of sights.

So much for a sleepless night with vapid tv choices.  The view from outside was so lively and magnificent, I would have stayed out all night.  Would have of course, if the mosquitoes had been asleep.


The most fitting words and image for today – and one for which I take no credit. Thank you to Boblobslaw. And thank you to all who deserve our unending appreciation and remembrance today.

The Digital Garden

The Rising Sun of Hope to all of those who have served. To all of those who have lost someone, or something.

The ones still risking.
The ones still bearing heavy burdens.
The ones seeking Glory.
The ones who seek to Protect.
The ones who seek and destroy, Our enemies.
The ones who will endlessly be never-ending.
The ones who go unspoken.
The ones who are recognized.
The ones who don’t know.
The ones who are one.
We are One.

This is a dedication to our Veterans, and Active service military.

The Rising Sun is a Hope that I hope gets granted to all of those who deserve such remarkable admiration on this day.

Please spread this article, and image to all of those you know who have served, and are still serving.

The Rising Sun still gives HOPE.


This Piece of Art, and following writing was created by me…

View original post 20 more words

humor, inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness, parenting

So Lucky Saturday

I don’t think I have more fun than hanging with my kids.  Last night two of the three plus daughters-in-law were here for dinner, celebrating a birthday and anniversary (not mine).  Easing into the weekend with a lot of laughter,  some serous sidebars and multiple chances to wrap  my arms around these amazing people who I love with all that I have and then some.

Adult children don’t necessarily say adorable, wondrous things that can delight both parent and reader.  Their bodies no longer resemble the round, magically smelling perfection that I can still remember with all my senses.  They have to bend down to kiss me – a completely inverted calculation.  And yet, as often as we see each other (which is thankfully, often), as easily as we still share the thoughts in our heads and the secrets of our hearts – I am always left in tears when they head back to their homes.  I cry with gratitude – they are the most remarkable people; I cry with disbelief, for I truly don’t know where the time has gone (I mean really – have you seen me lately?  Who would think I would have a 30, 28 and 25 year old) and I cry because every time they go away, I want to keep them with me.  Corny stuff, huh?  I know, but there is no other way for love like this to be articulated – we’re past poopy diaper jokes, dirty baseball uniforms and unexpectedly found condom wrappers.  What we’re left with is a perfectly imperfect family, that continues to return to itself to restore, renew and reaffirm this story which is as old as time itself.

My boys…my boys…

friendship, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness

You Made It!!

If you’re traveling this weekend, be safe.  If you’re hanging out this weekend, relish it.   Whatever you do, laugh a lot, eat yummy stuff, revel in the love of your family and friends.  If you’re barbecuing – make sure you have charcoal or propane before you’re ready to grill.  Sleep in, rise early.  Relish that you have the choice.  Whatever you do – enjoy.  And for my son, who was in Baghdad a few short years ago – I will take a moment to be grateful for those who have served the USA with courage, conviction and enormous sacrifice.  For my dad and my father-in-law, I will pause and honor the reality that as young kids they enlisted en masse to end a war that was to end war.  And I  will also bow my head and wonder for a little while, why we can’t learn from history.

This is a crazy world we live in – enjoy your weekend to the max!

humor, inspiration, leadership, management, mindfulness, training, work life


This is the kind of day where people either squeeze as much work into their day as possible so that they can leave the office early tomorrow or begin coasting because the prospect of a long weekend is so tempting there’s little else to think about.  Either way you go (and I would venture to guess that there are very few who defiantly reside somewhere in the middle), own your day.  Everyone has times when they just can’t intensely focus on the work in front of them.  Conversely, our concentration is not always laser-like, powered by energy and commitment.  Just raise your hand and own it –  so that others don’t feel isolated by your focus or annoyed at your laissez-faire, possibly misunderstanding your actions completely.

It’s funny how such candor is anathema in the workplace.  Somehow it’s not ok to have an ‘off’ day. That just defies reality.  Rather than reflecting authenticity, people will try to maintain an illusion of busy-ness at all times.  One of the many things I loved about most of the people I worked with was their willingness – and trust in me – to be able to admit when their heads were elsewhere, if a project was just sapping their enthusiasm, or if they were crushing to make a deadline and needed more hands.  I have no illusions looking back, which is why I inserted the word “most”.  I had my share of coasters and boasters, people who were hell-bent on kidding me almost as much as they were kidding themselves.  I still believe that allowing people the room to move within the rhythm of their lives when possible is the far better way to go.  I was able to keep my headcount low, people cross-trained and facile by creating an environment which emphasized personal ownership of the day ahead.  And laughter – yeah, there was a lot of laughter.  And an enormous amount of  individual and collective effort.  All it took was encouraging people to raise their hands.

discretion, humor, inspiration, leadership, management, motivation, work life

“Bridesmaids” Management Lessons

I know, it’s been awhile since I shared with you the many management lessons I learn while at the movies.  Yet as I watched Kristen Wiig dance her good-byes on SNL last Saturday, I remembered all that I gleaned from the deeply thoughtful, multi-layered and dare I say profound movie “Bridesmaids”.  Perhaps not as obtuse as Bergman, but this was her first screenplay after all.  I am sure this hasn’t been covered by Harvard Business Review because they are still debating the finer points of the movie.  So, I will offer them up first because I need not discuss this with anybody before I publish it…

1.  Just because you hand-pick some people to be part of your team, until they achieve a consistent rhythm of accomplishment through collaboration, they are merely a group.  It’s best to engage (ha – no pun intended) people with different personalities and strengths, for the synergy will be heightened.  So do the odds of potential discord – your challenge involves keeping everyone on track and focused on the goal.  If a group is left on their own too soon,  they may go out for tainted food and spend the afternoon in the bathroom.  Not a very productive outcome.

2.  Drinking is not a productive bonding activity.  As someone who used to conduct seminars on an employer’s commitment to equal employment opportunities and sexual harassment prevention, many of the examples provided involved social/work situations and alcohol.  When you’re with the team and when they’re with each other, everyone is on the company clock.  As inconvenient as that may be, it’s also the reality of the workplace.  Maybe you should consider bowling?

3.  Don’t accept medication from people you don’t really get along with.

4.  Realize that trust is an earned emotion and do whatever you can to make sure that it is never compromised.  I’ve often said that it is the foundation of every successful relationship – professional or personal.  It is also indicative of behavior that is consistent, reliable, informed and well-intended.  Most critically though – it is fragile – and difficult to restore when broken.

5.  Friends don’t let friends wallow.  Neither do really good supervisors.  Before you write-off a well-established employee, make sure you know whether a decline in performance is a result of a recent change in circumstances.  If you can help him/her – do so.  Performance does not sustain on a consistently positive trajectory – life gets in the way, bad days gets in the way, tragedy gets in the way.  We have to move past the perception that everyone’s performance gets better and better and better every day, month, year.  It’s just not true.

One last thought,  unless you’re Melissa McCarthy I don’t recommend trying to pick up a U.S. Marshall when traveling on business.

What you do on your own time, is entirely up to you.

Next movie moment?  Not sure – I’m thinking  “Star Wars” or “Snakes On A Plane”…More movie and management reviews to come…

humor, life lessons, mindfulness

Will Your Way Through Wednesday

Three days of rainy, humid, grey makes the appeal of pulling my covers over my head very seductive.  I need to find my ’embrace the moment’ spirit … sigh, maybe after coffee.  The good news is – we made it to Hump Day and I feel it is my duty to at least start your day with a smile.  And if you don’t feel like smiling – try – it makes your endorphins happy (and if you’ve never seen a happy endorphin, you’re really missing something)..