Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Shrink those F*ckers!

Designed T's in support of Jocelyn and anyone else who is fighting cancer! They're white "burn-out" T's, scoop neck with hot pink lettering- front and back. I can also get men's T's. It's going to be a fundraiser for the Nissenbaums.

For local people I may just have pick-up be at my store or I can try to drop off. I will also be able to take paypal. The shirts are $35 each. I can order one at a time but it is cheaper if I order 2 or more, so more profit can go to Jocelyn. It's only like $5/shirt if I can't find any coupon codes but its something! And Joce just likes the empowering sentiment of them. She visualizes "Shrinking those F*ckers" (tumors) as she's getting her chemo/radiation!

If you want in, leave your name/email in the comments section here or on my blog FB page- or email me at & I will give you my PayPal info or we can discuss payment/pick up. "Like" my blog page on Facebook for any updates.

Please share this post on FB and twitter!

By the way- "F*ckers" refer to Joce's tumors. She missed chemo this week due to an infection. Now that the infection is cleared up, her doc wants her on chemo asap. She doesn't F around. So our mantra is YEAH- "Shrink those f*ckers!"



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Subtle Edge

It's been around three months so I'm back to talking about my hair. I'm going to use the word "subtle" which is not usually a word in my vocabulary. Not only use it but LIKE it.

I've done the crazy blue and pink where everyone stared and one other mom from E's school that I ran into in the supermarket asked if I did it for Purim. I liked it. It was just very shocking. Anyone who knows me knows I do love some shock value but it can make it a little difficult to dress up or down depending on the situation. Most of my situations can handle shocking but you never know.

I got my hair done again about two weeks ago and while I did renew my pink streaks I didn't overdo it. I'm not getting the side-eye in upscale establishments or Ridgewood (just kidding 'Wood-ers). It's actually just really subtle. So I get the street cred of having a little bit of edge as an almost 39 year old suburban mom but without looking like I'm an extra in Hot Tub Time Machine or on my way to a rave. Did I just date myself there- do people still go to raves? Are they called something else now? You early 90's high school grads know we're all thinking 90210 when Steve and Andrea tried to exchange the egg for info about the rave. Poor, tragic Emily Valentine....

Anyway. So my hair. It came out great. Now that Don and I are in a rhythm with what we're doing about the color, it's easily and quickly re-fab'd. Yeah, I just made that word up. Blond highlights mixed in with the pink ones. So as it fades I still have blond. But I have to say- the pink stayed in for the whole three months. It faded but it was totally still there. The blond actually needs more retouching at the end of the three months than the pink. Though, I have dark hair naturally, if memory serves, so both definitely need touching up because my roots get long.

Also- the one HUGE benefit of this Elumen brand vs whatever came before it is that it doesn't come out in a mess all over my bathtub. Between my appointments with the old stuff, color would wash out in every washing. With this stuff, it didn't come out even in the first washing. It really sticks. The old color didn't stick to the tub or anything but A LOT of color came out and when it was blue, I had to wash around the rest of my hair so my blond parts wouldn't turn green. It was a major inconvenience. I never felt like all my hair was clean. Now, it's not a concern. Not just because it's pink vs blue but because I'm not dealing with the color bleeding.

As usual it was a pleasure to be in the salon. I got to meet Chocko- the newest Min Pin/Chihuahua edition to the Salon Azano family. He crawled all over me. He enjoys sitting on your neck as your hair is being washed. I thought it was funny. And most people know I'm not so into pets. But Gidget, Otto, and now Chocko are like family to everyone who comes in. Don did my hair from beginning to end and I was probably out in less than 2 hours because Don is a time keeping rockstar.

Check out Salon Azano- and get pink'd or blue'd or whatever. Take risk. Live on the edge.

Chocko in my face.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Old Yeller

This probably isn't going to be an entry of popular sentiment. But whatever. I'm going for it anyway. Because that's what I do.

You know how these articles, especially parenting ones, go viral and everyone's on board. I've been seeing this one about yelling at your kids but I hadn't read it till just now. I didn't read it because I had the feeling it was like yet another Aesop's Fable. Where you're supposed to learn some kind of lesson at the end and stop yelling at your kids. And of course, it totally was. But I found myself getting irked as I read it. Because I feel like it missed the point. Or maybe there was stuff that I thought should be common sense but she just blanketed every scenario as "yelling is bad". I just don't happen to agree.

Let me explain. I do agree with her that yelling isn't ideal for silly mistakes like dropping rice all over the counter. That's an actual mistake we've all made, anyone could do it and has done it. That's just one of those moments where you have to close your eyes, count to ten, and just deal. Yelling isn't going to help anything. It wasn't a deliberate my-child-is-being-an-asshole thing. But there ARE plenty of asshole moments- There ARE. If you are sucking in your breath and thinking your kid is never an asshole, well, you're probably reading the wrong blog and I'm not for you. I'm talking about those moments you told your kid to do something 10x and they clearly just pretended not to hear you. Or when you said not to take out markers without Mommy or Daddy being around and not only did he take them out but he wrote in black Sharpie all over his pants, shirt, and the walls. You know he knows he's not supposed to do that. He. KNOWS. But he basically said Fuck It (because he's an Aquarius which is my own fault) and did it anyway. At those moments, I don't think yelling is such a bad thing. I don't think having a smidge of fear of your parents is a bad thing.

My mom was pretty...lax. To put it lightly. But there were some things you just didn't mess with Rita about. The rational and irrational. Spills and throw up could immediately give her rage. I remember like it was yesterday that I was around five years old, it was morning, she was asleep, I tried to pour Five Alive (made from concentrate) from a full Tupperware pitcher thing, it was too heavy and it spilled all over the kitchen floor. She yelled like a lunatic. Irrational. But while I was pretty much allowed to do whatever when I was five, it was instilled that you go to school no matter what, you got grades above C and you don't get pregnant. Well, not at five, but later on. I don't know exactly what I thought she'd DO but I went to school no matter what- sick, tired, cramps, whatever. If I was so sick I did stay home, I stayed in my room as long as I could so she wouldn't know I was there. She'd know eventually but I had some little fear- like I'd be "in trouble". She'd just be angry. That meant an attitude I just didn't like. I was scared when it was progress report time. In my school, if you got a report it was only because it was bad news. And pregnant? Well, that just didn't happen. I couldn't even imagine. I was expected to go to college sans baby. Even if I had gotten pregnant there wouldn't have been "choice"- she would've been driving me to the clinic. But I just knew all this. Because to me, there was a healthy fear. There were just things you do not do. Or ELSE.

There were times she yelled. But we're not talking abuse. Put it this way- it's just not something you wanted. She didn't lose her shit often but when she did, it felt sucky. But every kid is different. They respond to things differently. I see this as a parent of a four and a half year old. His friends are all different- different stages of maturity, motor skills, humor, what they're into, etc. There is no one size fits all parenting style that would work with every kid. I'm sure anyone with multiple kids knows this. I was talking to a mom this morning that said she could trust her older one (4) wouldn't open the door and go outside while she's in the shower but the younger one (2) definitely would. Some kids apparently don't need to be yelled at ever, so I hear. Some only seem to respond to yelling. I don't care if there is some famous psychologist who says no child responds well to yelling. For every thing one doctor says in any specialty, I'm fairly certain I can find another who will dispute it. When E decided it would be a good idea to try to "fly" off the arm of the couch like a superhero and pulled the curtains down with him, I yelled like I was having an exorcism. He purposely waited until I was doing something else out of the room. I know it was purposely because I know my kid. Well, let's just say that never happened again.

It's the same way some people feel bad or guilty about CIO or not BF'ing and some don't (me). If I get to the point of yelling, I don't feel bad. But there are moms, scratch that, people, who feel bad about everything. They second guess every decision. They feel bad giving any consequences. The woman in this article was all- "I don't like who I've become". Ok, well, if you're yelling over spilled milk all the time, I get it. You need to calm down. Have perspective. But if you're yelling because your kid repeatedly does stuff that is dangerous or that they know they shouldn't, maybe they need to get yelled at. This all goes to the whole pussification of kids today that I'd wrote about previously. And again, I'm not talking about abusive yelling where you're belittling, saying they're bad or stupid or never going to amount to anything. I'm more talking about a "WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT??? DON'T EVER DO THAT AGAIN!" kind of yelling.

Haven't you ever been talking with another adult after hearing or seeing a tween/teen say or do something totally disrespectful to their parent and one of you said something like, "Wow, I would have NEVER talked to my mom that way! There would've been hell to pay!". I don't know what everyone's version of hell was and I'm sure some ranged from the inappropriate to the abusive. But generally speaking, there's a fine line but the ones on the right side of that line had a respect and a twinge of fear of their parents. Not repect because they were yelled at but respect because they knew there were consequences. I just feel like it's come to be the other way around. Parents are fearing their kids. Fearing their kids won't like them, want to be their friend, or that think they are not cool.

Again, I'm going to reiterate that I'm not talking abuse- mental, emotional or physical. I used to be a social worker for abused, neglected, and delinquent teens. I've dealt with emotional abuse on some level personally. I know what it looks like. I know what it feels like. And like I said- there is a line. I think yelling at a kid for mistakes like spilling something, out of frustration, being tired, or because of projection is something to aspire to change. Finding a way to calm yourself down in any situation can only be a positive thing. But just the same way yelling might upset one kid, calm disappointment might not even get a blink from another. There is no parenting handbook that is all wrong or all right. You have to know your kids and find something that works for you guys. I've heard if you yell all the time then one time decide to talk very quietly, they'll listen. That may be something to try if the yelling isn't working. I give E a lot of freedom and he usually uses it wisely. I don't spend all day hovering, disciplining him. He actually doesn't need it. He's basically a good kid who doesn't do mischievous acts. But he definitely has times he pushes buttons knowingly. Because he's mature and usually not making trouble, I give him credit he deserves in knowing the difference between right and wrong. I know when what he does is a mistake and what is purposeful. So when it's a purposeful asshole moment, there is a fitting response from me.

The only part of her essay I agree with is this:

The important thing is … life is too short to get upset over spilled cereal and misplaced shoes.
The important thing is … no matter what happened yesterday, today is a new day.

This woman isn't a genius or said anything we don't already know. I think she's a woman who happens to feel a great deal of guilt for how she handles things and it feels like she's absolving herself of it by telling us all how enlightening it is if we'd all stop yelling. In her case, only knowing her fro what she wrote, maybe SHE really needed to stop yelling if it never really was about what her kids were doing and only about having a short fuse. I'll give her that she's good with cliches. Well lady, I'm enlightened knowing there is no one-size-fits-all way to do things. Sometimes I yell. And I'm ok with that.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I will preface this by saying this isn't a serious issue. Not for me, not for anyone I'm sure. It's just one of those things I could totally see a Seinfeld or Curb episode being about. And it can be annoying. It's almost always annoying, especially for someone like me that doesn't change plans, cancel plans, or is ever late. Ever.

The Confirmation. And I'm not talking about the Sacrement. I'm talking about when you make plans and the other person is the kind that just HAS to confirm, sometimes more than once.

To me, when you make the plan, that's it. Unless the other person has some kind of issue, I'm showing up. Dinner Tuesday night at 7p at Houstons? Yup. I'm coming. That's the end of it. But that doesn't seem to be the way the majority of the population does things. Except for my husband. He's with me on this one. I admit that I do forget about school happenings and walking at night if I don't put them on the calendar. But dinner? A night out where we have a sitter? Nothing short of losing an appendage is stopping me. If E got sick and I had plans, B would deal with it. There is pretty much nothing that's forced me to bail on a previously scheduled engagment.

Everyone else seems to need to confirm so I'm starting to conform to this. Especially when dealing with friends with kids. So I find I'm checking in the day before in case the shit hit the fan somehow and they aren't going to make it. Which is actually fine. I don't have an issue with this. It's more the "no reason for the confirmation, confirmation".

For instance, here's a head-scratcher. A lady called my store yesterday asking if she comes here could B fix some kind of foreign light fixture. He said that he most likely could. She asked if she could come the next day. He said he wouldn't be in but when she comes I would call him and he'd come in. He thought that was the end of it and that she'd show up while he was out. He told me about her but she called on a different number, Picken answered not knowing what B told her, she asked if B was at work and he said no. So she asked for B to call her because she wanted to confirm that she should come today. He happened to stop in but not until much later. He called her, and she said she didn't come because he wasn't there. Had she not called again needing that confirmation, she could've just came in & I would've called him to come in. Instead she had to make it more complicated. She's supposed to come in tomorrow and I guarantee she calls again tomorrow instead of just coming like she's supposed to do.

I feel like there is always confusion and miscommunication with the confirmation. You make a plan, then you go for the confirmation, you don't hear back, so you don't show up. But maybe the person didn't see or hear the text or message asking for the confirmation. The scariest is when I make a plan to go somewhere we HAVE to go, that it would be a big deal to cancel last minute- like a wedding, get a sitter, and then the sitter needs that confirmation a bunch of times. Listen- you're booked. I booked you on x day because I really have something that day. I'm not booking you so I can stare at the wall or watch General Hospital by myself. So don't make me nervous that you think it's casual and I might not REALLY need you. No no, I totally do need you to show up for that evening. With or without confirmation. Unless I call or text saying I don't need you, I NEED you.

Maybe it's just because I never cancel plans that I find this strange. I've gotten in small fender benders and still showed up to appointments or even a dinner date with a friend. So I guess that's why I just don't personally need the confirmation. My father aways needed the confirmation. He'd make plans for dinner for a friday with B and then say, "Ok, I'll talk to you thursday to confirm." And B would say to me- "What for?! We just decided we're meeting on Friday! Why do we need to talk again before? Why can't we just both show up on Friday?!" I mean, it would just be comical. But he needed that confirmation for some reason. B never cancelled prior so I can't for the life of me figure out why but some people are just crazy about it. They NEED it.

I get that a lot of people are flaky. So that would be a good reason to confirm when dealing with those kind of people. Or really busy ones. Like, I kind of need Megan to do it when we walk at night because like I said, I never remember to put that on the calendar since it's always a loose plan. She works full time in the city, she has two kids who get sick and get each other sick a lot. She has to cancel quite a bit. So it's reminder that we are really going. I actually did it with Noreen last week, but only because we've never gone out with them at night before, they have two kids so you never know what can happen. But I felt stupid even doing it because I didn't want her to feel like I thought she might flake out. I just REALLY wanted to go. I was excited to see Noreen & her husband, to go out to dinner without children, and in the interest of full disclosure, I had been thinking about the dessert I was going to order since I'd suggested the restaurant the week before.

Anyway, I know this is a silly blog entry but B and I joke about confirmations all the time. It would totally fit into a show "about nothing". I'm not losing sleep over it but it's one of those things that I feel like I could hear Jerry saying, "And what's the deal with needing the confirmation?" sort of like, "You can TAKE the just can't HOLD the reservation...."

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Hardest Fight

Life is busy. We're all doing our thing. Me included. I'm running around, time is flying, and I have a ton of stuff on my mind. I watch the news daily, I read articles, I try to keep up with what's going on around me. I try to keep up with what is going on with my friends but sometimes, it's more of a "tell me when shit hits the fan" kind of thing. Like, no daily phone calls checking in, but if you need me let me know and I'll do whatever.

I know Joce has chemo on Mondays but I don't know when her off days are. I know I see Joce, Eric or both at swim with the boys at the pool so I know I'll get the update then. And mostly, it's been all pretty good. Or at least, if not "good", then not exactly "bad". So that's sort of what I expect.

I admit, I'm a little naive when it comes to cancer. I don't immediately expect all bad news. I'm not neurotic at all. Odd, I know, considering neurotic and Jew are usually one word. But I'm just not. I never think the worst is going to happen. And I go with the flow. If someone looks good, I assume they're good. If they're smiling and it looks like real smizing, I assume they're ok. So it's just a little jarring when it's news we'd prefer not to hear.

Especially with Jocelyn. She and I are kindred spirits in the non-neuroses. We're both highly skilled in the art of thinking- "Whatever. It sucks but it'll be fine" for pretty much everything. I think I've said before that as an adult hearing all the medical jargon and being of this technologically advanced time of being able to google, this is my first real front row seat to cancer. So I don't know what it's supposed to look like. Jocelyn personifies the word "strong", almost to the point of stoic, where if you weren't looking at her cute reverse mohawk, you'd seriously forget there's anything wrong with her. She does drop off at school EVERY DAY. She came out for mom's night out with the other moms from school. She wore make-up and she looked hot. She's thin, but maybe it's just because I see her almost daily, that she doesn't even look anything but "oh, she's lucky- she can probably eat whatever she wants". Because it looks natural on her. To me it does anyway, but I can't really say I've had healthy views of weight. Another blog for another time. She talks about going back to work at least part time in the fall. She talks about vacations and what we're going to do next summer. So I really do forget about the cancer. We goof about cancer. She doesn't wallow in cancer.

When I went to swim class this week I didn't expect to see her. I saw her at school drop off and she told me she was going to chemo. I walked in and saw her and her mom, but I didn't think anything of it. Then I saw her face and she and Eric just said- "Bad news". It knocked me for a loop. And no, it's not about me. I just wasn't expecting it. When people ask me how she is my answer is always the same- "She seems good and she looks good. She hasn't said otherwise. She just keeps moving.". But I saw how upset she was and I didn't even have words. It's kind of funny. Joce and I both are not huggy/kissy people. So I think for most people their first instinct is to hug or kiss someone but it's like I was just giving her love telepathically. I'm like Larry David sometimes. I'm paralyzed with my own awkwardness. Jocelyn I hope you feel my virtual affections. The truth is, it's just a very helpless feeling time for everyone. So instead of hugs, I went to dinner with them and we got to yell at two overtired four year olds for the duration of our time in a pizza joint.

Eric said something though that I thought was very profound even though it's common sense. But you can apply it to anything you're going through. Paraphrasing: that this is just one of those shitty times that seems big and awful but that is just really a blip in the entire picture. This is a long fight and there are going to be these days. Then there is good news. And bad again. But it's a small setback in the bigger picture.

For some reason that was just a slap into reality for me. That yes, it wasn't good news but you kind of just have to take it with a grain of salt, move on to the next course of action, and keep fighting. And that's just what she's going to do. She was visibly upset that night but already, the next morning, she was ready to fight. She kept her appts, she went on with her schedule, so on and so forth. It's amazing. That's why I'm writing this. I don't want her fight to be forgotten or ignored. I'm surrounded by a lot of cancer lately and I realize it's easy to think someone's just fine and don't need anything when all they might need is some positive energy, attention, etc.

I just wanted to share Jocelyn's blog post from the other day just to update people, drive them to her Caring Bridge page, and have people leave their positive thoughts and love. Jocelyn loves when people send messages, write in her guestbook, etc. I think it makes her feel like there is a virtual army of positivity helping her combat this. Friends, family, strangers, anyone. Anyone who has some good thoughts to send are welcome. It can only help.

Not So Good News
Written May 20, 2013 8:40pm
Hi everyone-

Today I got not such good news when I saw Dr. Gorsky. I had my CAT scans on Friday and got the results today. Pretty much all of the tumors have grown. Now I have another stress fracture on my T11 vertebrae because of the growth. I always have back pain so I didn't really notice an increase in pain. I won't bore you with all the numbers in the report because it's too depressing. I guess the good news is that it didn't spread to my lungs, spleen, pancreas, adrenal glands, kidneys, pelvic organs, or bowel.

So the plan is to stop all of my drugs and start a drug called Kadcyla, which is Herceptin with a chemotherapy drug attached to it. If you were watching the news or reading the paper about a month or so ago it was all over the place. It just got approved and the nurse said I am the fourth person to whom they are giving it. I didn't get it or any chemo today because we are waiting for approval from my insurance company. It costs $11,000 each time I get it, which is once every three weeks. I'm thinking that it will still be cheaper than what I was getting because that was three drugs, two of them given once every three weeks and one given two weeks in a row with a week's break. Sloan will call me on Wednesday to let me know if it got approved and hopefully I will get it on Thursday or Friday.

That actually didn't bother me nearly as much as the next set of news. The neurologist in Basking Ridge read my brain MRI results from March. There was an area in the report, on the brain lining which I believe is called the Meninges, that may be affected. Dr. Gorsky gave it a name but it was long and I wasn't really processing much at that point. The plan is for me to have an MRI of my brain and spine to see if it's nothing or something. Then I will see the neurologist there and he will figure out what to do if there is something. Dr. Gorsky said there a few ways to treat it but didn't elaborate.

So that's where I am. Cancer sure does give you lots of highs and lows. Today really sucked and tomorrow will be better. What I ask of all of you that read my blog is to continue to sign my guest book with whatever you think will cheer me up because I am definitely feeling a little defeated.

I'll let you know when I receive treatment and when my MRIs are scheduled. Until then keep praying for me while I continue to fight the fight!

To read about Jocelyn's journey,

You do have to create an account to read but its free and easy to sign up. There is also a free Caring Bridge app for smartphones.

Thanks for reading! Love you Joce!!

Looking hot at a recent Bat Mitzvah

***Anyone reading- Feel free to share this blog entry! ***

Monday, May 20, 2013

Skirting the Sporting

I've found something new to have a huge issue with. And it has to do with sporting. I know, you're thinking- WTF. Right? But yeah. It's taken this long because I've never really paid attention to it before. I haven't played a sport since Princess League softball which I think was grades 4-7? I don't even know. I'm also not sure you'd call it "playing". It was the 80's so what I do remember is me going to games in full hair (teased perm) and make-up with the hat perched on my head like a giant bird, held on with bobbie pins. I'd be standing in the outfield while some coach yelled "Diamond, LOOK ALIVE" as I stared off into space. I also clearly remember WEARING PANTS to do it. And my high top Reeboks.

For fun just to prove I really did play softball. I'm first on the left in the back row.
Notice- we're all wearing pants.

Apparently wearing pants in girls sports is a rarity. Who knew? We didn't have field hockey or lacrosse in middle or high school. Not in New Milford NJ and not in the 80's and 90's. I never heard of field hockey until I got to Rider College (now University). And when I say I heard of it when I got to Rider, I heard it existed at some point but I certainly didn't watch it or have any clue what the uniform or accessories are. I guess at some point I saw one of my sorority sisters, Katie, wearing her outfit and thought, hmmm, that's odd, she's wearing a skirt. But like all things I'm not interested in (sorry Katie, not you, the sporting) I must have just moved on.

Oh, and btw, for the record, I have no idea if Rider had or has lacrosse. I know of lacrosse only from Oz in American Pie.

Real life girl lacrosse gear
That brings me to my babysitter Sydney. Sydney plays lacrosse. She's in middle school. She's always injured. I know she had a concussion and a foot fracture or something you wear a boot for. I've been saying she's a hypochondriac all this time. But I never actually SAW a lacrosse game or anything so I had no idea what goes on. THEN, I was at their house picking up E last week when Syd got dressed for a game (match?). I literally said, "What the hell are you wearing". Like Andrew in The Breakfast Club, she said she is wearing the required uniform. She was wearing a SKIRT. I was dumbfounded.

I asked her why and she didn't know. She said that's just the uniform. All of a sudden I was interested in the sporting. Out of sheer disbelief and pretty much disgust. It reminded me of the "There's no CRYING in baseball!" movie. A League of their Own. Where the girls are playing baseball in dresses and they're a MESS of black and blue after each game. Because they were supposed to look pretty or sexy while playing. I have to assume this is the same thing, just passed down. And I'm wondering why no one is outraged by this. Or maybe they are but afraid to make waves? I need to know this. In a day and age where kids are like supersized- and I don't mean the obesity thing- I mean more like twelve having bodies of twenty year olds, who wants young girls in short skirts anywhere, let alone on a field?? At least if they're doing something productive like playing a sport and you get to impose a uniform, cover them up the best you can!

Look, I'm the furthest thing from conservative. But in a world where I'm consistently baffled and saddened at walking camel toe on tween & teen girls, I don't think giving them some pants while playing sports is a bad thing.

Girl lacrosse players- interestingly, they're colliding here.

The other part is that I asked Syd about protective gear and I'm pretty sure she said they can't wear pads or helmets. But the boys do. THE BOYS DO??? When I brought this up to someone else, they said they thought it was because the rules for play are different between the boys and girls and with the girls they're not supposed to have contact. Yet, they DO. Sydney didn't get a concussion or ankle fracture just from standing there looking pretty.

I'm the first to say I know nothing about lacrosse. I tried googling why the girls wear skirts in lacrosse and field hockey. And basically there were a ton of answers just acknowledging that they do wear them but the only answers I could find as to why were that it's just how it's always been done and that a few people have said they can move faster. Then there were the ones who said they don't move faster. And the consensus was- how would they know whether they could or couldn't move faster if this is how they've always played? Unless there was a consistent comparison where they got used to wearing shorts or pants for the same amount of games as with the skirt, they wouldn't REALLY know. ***Disclaimer: I have no idea what they wear for practice***

Boy lacrosse player

And the helmet thing is a total wtf for me. We have kids getting hit in the chest and almost dying in baseball. These kids are like superheroes or something. Both boys and girls have to be properly prepared to play these sports. With all the gear that will hopefully protect them. Syd showed me her "protective goggles". They look like what I wore in shop class to use the ban saw in 6th grade. And that was it. That was her gear. I looked up on some lacrosse gear selling sites what the required uniform is for both boys and girls and it's totally different. Boys are ALL padded and helmeted. Girls- the shop goggles and a mouth guard. I'm so bewildered. It looks like if they get to "women" vs "girls" they get more protection but who the hell knows if they will make it to that after being unprotected all that time. I get that they're technically different games- boys and girls. The amount of players, the body checking vs no body checking. But regardless, they're still ending up with concussions.

So, like I said, this is my first experience or encounter with sporting and it's uniforms for women up close. I'm surprised and bothered and not sure why this doesn't seem like a bigger deal for people. Maybe it is- forgive me for not doing my research but that's kind of why I'm writing this. Maybe there is a plausible explanation that didn't occur to me. Maybe someone can school me in this. Make me say, "Oh! Aha! I didn't think of that." Otherwise, this seems insane. And I don't even have a girl so this isn't going to be an issue for me. But I am a parent who does worry about the danger of kids getting hurt. How can you not after a local little boy almost died from a baseball hitting him recently?? I've seen some tough looking teen girls around. So the answer can't just simply be that the boys are rougher. Even if their rules are rougher. Help me understand. Besides the, you know, sexist, aspect of it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Mother's Day

Mothers Day. It's a weird day for me. I didn't always spend Mothers Day with my mother. But she was around. And maybe I'd see her later or just talk on the phone. But she was there. Mothers Day is weird when your mom has passed away. I'm bombarded for weeks about gifts to give mom, plans to make with mom, sappy commercials.

I am not really a holiday person to begin with. After we were all grown, my mother wasn't either really. Or maybe it was once she started working in the town video store she wasn't that into holidays. The video store was open on most holidays and she would rather have had time and a half, which was fine. I wasn't around for a lot of years, living in Mercer county and I was already used to it by the time I moved back up to Bergen in 2001. But it's obviously different in "not being around" because of work, distance, other plans, etc and being dead.

So maybe it sounds shitty but in only three and a half years I'm not really into celebrating anyone's mother. And to be perfectly honest, I don't really care about celebrating myself either. I feel the same way about Mothers Day that I do about Valentines Day. If you're with someone you feel appreciates you anyway, a made up holiday doesn't feel all that important. I don't begrudge anyone else's celebrating, but again, like Valentines Day, I think people forget that it's not just a magical day to be "spoiled" (I *hate* that word) and get gifts to some. For some people it's really hard- the ones who want kids but can't have them, want kids but don't have a person to have them with and aren't into doing it alone (It's FUCKING hard. I get why someone doesn't just "have a baby" on their own), have no mom, have a shitty mom, lost their mom, lost a child, have a sick child, etc. There are a million reasons to celebrate and a million why even just hearing the word "mother" in May might sting like acid poured in the eye. I also kind of feel like if you are with the right person and you feel appreciated and loved all year, holidays just don't seem all that important. Maybe that's just a shout-out to my amazing husband. I don't know. I just remember caring more about holidays when I was in bad relationships and I felt like "AT LEAST" I could get love or appreciation on a day DESIGNATED for those things. But the reality is, that was just a lot of pressure put on the wrong people in the wrong relationships.

Facebook was just flooded with happy mothers day wishes, re-posted articles, mothers day memes. And that's cool. But I just didn't feel like saying anything. I didn't feel like putting anything out there about my mother because I wasn't looking for sympathy or whatever. I wasn't feeling profound or particularly articulate. I'd just found out a friend's three year old daughter has cancer, and I don't know. I wasn't feeling melancholy or sad. I just kind of felt neutral. Or more like I was watching everyone from above but not a real life participant in anything.

So many people asked what I was doing or if I had a nice day. I DID. Don't get me wrong. I have an awesome husband and an awesome kid. E made me a card and decorated a flower pot in "jewels" and painted it my favorite color. He was SO excited to give it to me and I smiled thinking how this is the first in a long line of handmade gifts. I am very lucky. B gave me a nice card and a gift card. Anyone that knows me knows my favorite thing is to be able to shop for myself. Gift cards are like gold to me. I know some people think they're impersonal or whatever but nothing makes me happier than a gift card knowing I can shop sometime in the future just for me. E had class in NYC so we knew we were going to the city no matter what. Last year we went down the shore. It was just a bit warmer and sunnier I guess because I remember falling asleep on the beach. But it was a bit windy on this Mothers Day so the city was fine. We left after class and went to the "New" Overpeck Park. I'd tell you what town it's in but it's spread out over three towns- Leonia, Ridgefield, and Teaneck. Not sure where we actually were in the breakdown. It was really nice for E. Then we went to dinner at Houstons in The Shops at Riverside, did our usual CVS run and ended the day/night with ice cream at Clyde's in Allendale. Power packed day. But that also could've been our usual Sunday. If you ask my husband, he'd say I make him run around like that all the time.

So, it wasn't like it was a bad day. It was a nice day. A very nice day. I just am still not so on board with all the Mothers Day'ing in my face. I take time to process things. Maybe I'm not done processing that my mother is gone. It's been three years and sometimes it feels like a long time and sometimes it feels like yesterday. Maybe Mothers Day will always be bittersweet or weird. I love my son and my husband and am thankful I got to spend the day with them doing what we wanted to do. I love having no obligations and/or family discord. That we don't have to do anything special to have a nice day, and that it's kind of comforting to know that we can be doing anything, any day, and that's just our life. Happy to be together doing whatever. Mothers Day or a random Tuesday. That's what I'm thankful for- not for having a holiday that seems to cause a lot of people a lot of stress, dashed expectations, and family drama. Maybe if I'd come from a big family who always did up every holiday, all festive and happy, that I had awesome memories and traditions from, I'd be more into holidays. But I didn't come from that or marry into it.

This isn't supposed to be a downer. I hope everyone had a really nice day, no matter how you spent it and with whom. I'm just ruminating on my own day and why I was pretty quiet except to return texts, emails, and wall posts on FB. I wasn't ignoring anyone or hiding. I just hadn't decided what I wanted to say. So I said nothing. For once. And now I remedied that in the best way I know how.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Tuesday Blue Moon Day

I know a lot of women in the Ramsey Junior Women's group. They're doing a fundraiser and you get awesome Mexican food. Everyone loves Blue Moon. The owners are pretty cool too. They win in a few categories every year in Best of Bergen for 201 Magazine. So go. Get your burrito on. Or whatever. Quesadilla? Personally, I'm a big fan of a chicken quesadilla....

Take-out Tuesday? Taco Tuesday? Perhaps Tequila Tuesday? Make this Tuesday (tomorrow) a Blue Moon Mexican Restaurant (all locations) day/night. Present the coupon from the link below and a portion of your bill will benefit the Ramsey Junior Woman's Club American Cancer Society Relay for Life team.

Donation by Blue Moon includes gift cards and bar bills. What a perfect reason to enjoy a margarita. It will help someone else as well as you; what could be better?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cancer Sucks

Cancer. Sucks. I don't know any better way to put it. So that's the simple way.

I wasn't really around a lot last week into this past weekend. I was online intermittently, on my iPhone which I find to be a pain most of the time. Saturday mornings are always crazy because I try to go on the treadmill before I have to leave the house to take E to ballet around 9:30a. Then it seems like a whirlwind of class and errands or playdates or who knows what. But this Saturday was a little different....

I rarely have the ringer turned to actually make noise on my phone. I turn it off right before I go to bed, if I had remembered to turn it on sometime during the day. Then it usually takes me till dinnertime to remember to turn it if I bother. No one really calls me and I look at my phone enough usually so I'd see if I had a text.

I didn't have my phone set to ring on Saturday. I went to class, we hung out in the parking lot talking to my friend Andrea for longer than usual- without my phone. Then E and I went to Marshalls, Loehmanns and some other places. Just doing my normal thing. All neglecting my phone. When I finally got home my phone was blowing up with messages asking me if I'd heard....

About Angelina Phillips. No. I hadn't. And once I did, I truly wanted to believe it was a mistake. A false diagnosis. Someone who quickly jumped the gun with a bad guess. But it is....true. The most unfortunate of the unfortunate. Horror of all horrors. Angelina, a smiley, good-natured, happy, beautiful three and a half year old, diagnosed out of the blue, after some leg pain and a long lasting low grade fever, with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma.

I've known Angelina since she was born. Her mom, Danielle Phillips had taken over the Stroller Strides Franchise in Bergen County in July 2009. E was just about six months old and I came to the opening class/party in Riverside Square in Hackensack. Danielle was pregnant with Angelina. After she gave birth, Danielle quickly got back to work and Angelina (and Aiden too!) were fixtures in our thrice-weekly classes. Angelina was always a happy baby, never fussing during class, and just happy to be there. I stayed with Stroller Strides until E was over two and a half years old! As long as he'd sit in the stroller, I was there. It was the best workout I ever had. To be honest, it was the only workout I'd ever been able to commit to in my entire life. I didn't want to give it up. But, E started school in September of 2011 and I really had no reason to come anymore. I came a few times sans child but it was becoming silly. It was time for me to "graduate". I also went back to work a few months later. Aiden and Angelina had gone to school too at that point so all our "babies" were grown!

We had kind of a small tight knit group of moms that were like the "founding mothers" of this franchise. We had gone to a lot of moms nights out together, knew each other pretty well, and when something like this happens...well, you feel like you are called to act. It really hits too close to home. All of our kids are close in age to Angelina- they spent sometimes six mornings a week together. We all went through a lot of firsts together. This could be any one of our children.

You just don't expect it. There is no rhyme or reason. What I struggle with the most is the "HOW" of how parents find this kind of thing out. Obviously every fever and leg pain isn't cancer. But...sometimes it is. It's just mindblowing to think how one day it's just a nagging inconvenience and the next day a doctor is telling you it's the Big C. How your world changes in the blink of an eye. I know just from Jocelyn's diagnosis last June and a longtime online friend of mine, Michelle, just diagnosed a couple of months ago, how insane and unfair it is and how shocking. I don't know if it's "better" to be three and not really understand what's going on or to be thirty-eight where you can figure out how to cope. I just don't know and wish none of us had to know.

I'm just sort of rambling. I know cancer happens. I know all too well. A lot of my extended family is dead because of cancers. I have also had people close to me beat cancer. B and I got swabbed to be bone marrow donors for a little boy Ezra who went to the same music school as E. I'd donate marrow in a nanosecond if I was called upon to try to help save someone's life. While there have been quite a few matches out of the drives for Ezra, he's yet to be in remission or cancer-free. And for him- I found out about him when he was around a year and a half and he has to be almost four years old now. It's just so frustrating that it's SO HARD to find a match and then the match has to take. Ezra had a stem cell transplant that didn't take. It was like he was SO CLOSE. Every diagnosis is also just so heartbreaking, unfair, devastating and...I don't know what.

I briefly spoke to Danielle and she is going to set up a PO Box for care packages to Angelina and a donations page. I assume she's going to be spending a lot of time in the hospital so coloring books, paper, crayons, dolls, games, music, etc would all be appropriate. I have two websites for updates, information, donations for now, etc. I will continuously update this page and tweet/FB it everytime there is something new added. Angelina is starting chemotherapy on May 15th. That's all I know right now. But Danielle or another mutual friend will be letting me know any news so I can quickly update.

Here is info on getting swabbed and an event to benefit the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation-

I just want to add in Ezra, Jocelyn & Michelle's pages if anyone is looking for their info too. These are some of the strongest people I know. Cancer is a war they're fighting and cancer isn't going to win.

Please feel free to share this blog from my personal FB page or my Know It All FB page or directly from here. The more eyes, the more help. Appreciate it!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Recognition Time

I need some help again!!

Another vote. For The Jewish Standard Newspaper- "Best of" issue.

It's free marketing when we win so I have to take the opportunities when they come up! Plus, I think you can win cool stuff just for voting.

PLEASE- Vote for Shades of Soho for Best Lighting Store and Home Furnishing Store. And vote for your other favorites. I filled in almost every spot. Always wanting local business to get some free press!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Stage Presence

A mom of a 16 month old tried to relay some info about Bergen County Players on one of the mom oriented selling sites on FB and I guess it was taken down for content. I don't really understand why since it's info pertinent to moms. I certainly want to know if there are any theater workshops for kids since that's definitely one of the more "out of the box" activities for little ones vs the all too common practice of watching them run around on a soccer field like ants in search of food.

I have close family friends who go to just about every performance there so I'm pretty sure they are worth checking out.

I told that mom I'd post the info here...

All-Day Event to Include Entertainment, Refreshments, Backstage Tours and Surprises

Oradell, NJ, April 25, 2013 - Capping off its 80th season, Bergen County Players (BCP) opens its doors for its annual theater Open House on Saturday, May 11 at the Little Firehouse Theatre, 298 Kinderkamack in Oradell. Free and open to the public, this special Spring event runs from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, with free workshops in various aspects of theater, backstage tours of BCP, information tables, family events,free raffles, an introduction to the new 2013-2014 season, live music and complimentary food. The Open House will have something for everyone: live performances, demonstrations, kids' activities, master classes, and much more.
Tours leave every hour on the half hour. Theater staff will be on hand throughout the day to answer any questions about Bergen County Players and its upcoming 2013/14 season of entertainment.
"The Open House at BCP has proven to be a great tradition," said Steve Bell, President of BCP. "There's something for everyone -- with new workshops or raffles taking place every fifteen minutes. It's a great way to kick off the new season and show everyone how special Bergen County Players is."
According to Bergen County Players' Vice President of Membership Jennifer Cottone, "We are extending a special invitation to the people of Oradell and surrounding areas to see this wonderful theater right in their own backyard. The day will be very festive and fun, our way of saying 'thank you' for the warm welcome and overwhelming support we have received over the years."
The Bergen County Players has grown tremendously from its roots as a small community theater when it was founded in 1932; today, nearly 300 volunteer members, working on and off stage, make possible the nine productions presented each season. The remaining season includes the comedy Boeing-Boeing (May 4th-June 2nd, 2013). The remaining Second Stage production includes The "Sing-Along" Sound of Music (June 21st-23rd, 2013).
10:00 - 10:30 am Audition Techniques for Children
10:00 - 10:30 am Stage Makeup
10:30 - 11:00 am Benefits for Involving Your Child in Theater
10:30 - 11:00 am Sound Design
11:00 - 11:30 am Photography
11:30 - 12 noon Producing for the Stage
11:30 - 12 noon Theatrical Lighting
12:00 - 12:30 pm Stage Management
12:30 - 1:00 pm Set Design / Construction
12:30 - 1:00 pm Set D├ęcor
1:00 - 1:30 pm Set Design / Construction
1:00 - 1:30 pm Props for the Stage
1:30 - 2:00 pm How to Audition for a Musical
1:30 - 2:00 pm Sound Design
2:00 - 2:30 pm Choreography
2:30 - 3:00 pm Choreography
2:30 - 3:00 pm Theatrical Lighting
3:00 - 3:30 pm How to Audition for a Play
*Workshops on the half hour starting at 10am.
*Tours every half hour on the half hour.
*Information tables in lounge all day for "behind the scenes" job discussions.
*Raffles - two sets of tickets to Boeing Boeing and two sets of tickets to Man of La Mancha. Raffle winners will be selected at the end of the day (winners do not need to be present).
*BCP giveaways.
*Complimentary coffee and bagels (AM sessions) and sub sandwiches, chips and drinks (lunch). Each visitor gets a "lunch ticket" if they attend a workshop or tour.
*Box office open for ticket sales for Boeing Boeing and for BCP mailing list sign up.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Little Help from my Friends

I need votes for two things. Yeah, I'm pushing it, I know. But I need to win. Both. Well, not me, but one is for E and one is for my store.

Parent Guide News Magazine is a cool resource for finding stuff for your kids to do. I picked it up at E's school- it's one of those free papers. I saw tons of camps & activities I never even heard of before. I didn't know there were that many fun, interesting, unique camps in the local area. They're having a contest to give away some money towards camp tuition so I entered.

You can vote once a day, every day, so whenever you get a chance, I'd appreciate if you could vote for Ethan K! You don't have to sign up for anything, but it's a pretty neat magazine so you might want to sign up for their newsletter anyway.

The second thing is Bergen Health & Life's Best of Bergen contest. We haven't won this one in a year or so, having mostly concentrated on the 201 Magazine Best Of Bergen contest. But of course we want it all! I just dislike having to ask people to vote for stuff. It's annoying- I know. It's necessary though if we want to get some extra publicity. We do everything by hand here in my store so it's not like I can send an email out to all of our customers. Best I can do is use my blog. I think you can win $200 for filling it out so that's a nice bonus too.

In the RETAIL section, put Shades of Soho, Glen Rock down twice, then pick Home Boutique for one, and Other for the 2nd one.

Then of course you can put my name, then, "Lampshader" next to it in the last section. Use "Other" in the drop down menu also.

Last one:  Vote for Shades of Soho for Best Lighting Store and Home Furnishing Store in the Jewish Standard. THANKS!!

Thanks for all your help. We have won Best of Bergen in 201 Mag for like five years. We couldn't do it without my friends, customers, acquaintances, and random blog lurkers. ;-)