Friday, March 28, 2014

I have a dream.... Part 5

This week, I have written about some amazing women. Their manner of achieving their dreams took different paths but they all have dedication, drive and passion in common.  By highlighting these women, I have become more inspired than ever to make my dream a reality.  (check out the series starting with Part 1)

Before I could write letters and sentences, I was writing. It looked like scribbles on the blue paper that somehow we had copious amounts of in our house. There would be stacks of scribbled paper on the desk in the basement. Over time, the scribbles became words, then poems or songs and eventually stories.

When I was 7 years old,  I was the writer of the week in my elementary school.  My paragraph about a trip to the zoo was on a bulletin board in the library for all to see.  I remember the moment of seeing my writing on the board and consciously being in love with that moment. It felt so "right" to see my writing on the board in front of me. It was natural, meant to be, and plain awesome. I knew that my words would mean something and be published in my lifetime.

As time went on, my dream of writing took a backseat to singing, dancing and acting. As often happens in life, dreams change. Dreams can change easily. The important thing is to welcome those changes, check the authenticity of the changes and move forward to making those dreams a reality.

When I was in high school, I had dreams to be on Broadway. I realized after hitting some levels of reality that the dream of being on Broadway would not be authentic to myself (main reason: I am not a competitive person). After soul searching of what I wanted "to be when I grew up", becoming an educator made sense to me. By teaching, I could incorporate my theatre background, my psychology major, my writing and creativity, and make a difference with children. My next dream was to be a wife, a mom and I am both of those things.

Now as I prepare to return to the classroom, I have a new dream. This is a dream for myself, not as a career per say ( I still want to go back to the classroom in the fall) but a dream that began a long time ago before I could actually even do it. I want to write. I want to write a book. I want my name in print. I want to spin a story that illuminates and sticks to the minds of the readers. I want to write and have people know me, as an author, inside and out. I want to create characters and make the words spill from the page into the minds of people everywhere.

My dream is to become the author I knew I was destined to be since before I even knew how to write letters. As with any dream, it will take hard work and dedication. I know I can achieve this dream and I look forward to sharing this dream and the process of achieving it with all of you.

Thank you so much for reading my writing this week and taking this journey with me. I can honestly say that it has been an incredible week. I have heard dreams from strangers and felt the support for my writing tenfold. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I have a dream series:
Part 1: Elizabeth McQueen
Part 2: Mary Curran-Hackett
Part 3: Risa Binder
Part 4: Meredith Goldstein

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I have a dream part 4

Dreams can be destiny. They can be something that is so natural for your soul that they become a reality. Even when dreams become reality, it is important to nurture those dreams, and travel on a road with those dreams to even bigger destinies.

In the blog today I am featuring someone who was a natural writer and nurtured her talent to achieve her dreams.

Our fourth dream maker is Meredith Goldstein! (
To view the other posts in the series: Dream Maker 1 (Elizabeth McQueen) , Dream Maker 2  (Mary Curran - Hackett) and Dream Maker 3 (Risa Binder).

Mere and I met in fourth grade. I am sure we met on the bus, we lived in the same neighborhood. When spring came, we found that we were destined to be friends, and immediately we became fast friends. Our common characteristic? Allergies and Asthma. Our mothers became so happy when we discovered that there was an indoor playmate nearby. We spent the Spring season inside during recesses, playing games and making up plays for our entertainment. Our bond was over inhalers and trash cans full of kleenexes.

As the years went on, we saw each other almost everyday. There was one year when we had every single class together in middle school. We sang and acted together. My mom chauffeuring us to and from rehearsals, while her mom (a Julliard trained pianist) taught lessons out of her house. We played upstairs in her house, learning about the birds and the bees by stealing a book from her older sister, and burning jello at age 10, because we thought we could make it ourselves. And in many ways, she was my "sister".

The thing is everyone LOVED Mere. Everyone still loves Mere. She is genuine, real, down to earth and smart. There were some that were threatened by our friendship; jealous of our unwavering bond. We ran in slightly different circles; enough to not hang out with each other on the weekends, but close enough to overlap on a daily basis.

Mere was always known for giving great advice. If ever there was a problem she knew just what to say. She "counseled" me many times over the years.

One of my first writing "experiences" was with Mere. As I mentioned above, we used to write plays and perform them for our moms. We really liked adapting the Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel. We would spend time memorizing them and acting them for our moms in our living rooms.

In high school, Mere became a star journalist for our high school paper. She went onto Syracuse University and became a reporter for The Daily Orange. After Syracuse, she ended up eventually as a reporter for The Boston Globe. She is now an Entertainment Reporter and Advice Columnist for The Boston Globe. The column, Love Letters, just celebrated its' 5th anniversary. The advice column features Mere's advice on questions sent in from readers about relationships.

In 2012, Mere published her first book, The Singles.  The book takes place in Maryland and is all about complicated relationships. It's a great read and I am so proud of her being able to incorporate her love of relationships, advice and writing.

Mere is continuing to write. She is a reporter at The globe and working on her second novel.

Part 1: Elizabeth McQueen
Part 2: Mary Curran-Hackett
Part 3: Risa Binder
Part 5: My Dream 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I have a dream part 3

The thing about dreams... they can't be achieved without hard work. Think about it, even at night when you are in a deep deep sleep your dreams are making your brain work in overdrive. You may even be working so hard that your eyelids are twitching and body is moving. So if you have a dream that you want to achieve, you need to work for it. EVERYDAY. Your soul needs to crave it and your mind needs to work on it... even in your sleep.

The next woman in the series serves as a daily reminder of what hard work and perseverance can do for someone. Check out Part 1 (Elizabeth McQueen) and Part 2 (Mary Curran-Hackett)

I would like to introduce you to... Risa Binder

Every couple of days Risa posts amazing and thought provoking messages on her Facebook feed. And whenever I see them, I smile and think: how can I reach my dreams like Risa?

Risa and I have known each other for a long time. We grew up doing theatre together and although we weren't in school together, we saw each other at least once a week for some drama class or show.  To say that Risa is talented is an understatement. She is not only musically brilliant, but she is a wonderful actress and writer as well.

At one point in our life we went through a spiritual journey together.  Our friendship grew closer, and I began to understand a new side of her.  For that time, I am grateful. She is one of the most kindest, most genuine, most humble people I have ever met.

Risa has worked hard in the music industry. She has had her songs on ABC, Lifetime, General Hospital and Cougartown. She received an Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Original Song and has opened for James Taylor.

The thing about Risa is that she has worked hard and persevered over the years to make her dream a reality. She has hit the pavement and taken risks and kept working to achieve her dream.

In 2011, Risa released Paper Heart, an album that is original and true to the heart. Upon listening to the album, you can feel Risa's thoughts in the lyrics and music. Everything she writes is a true story of hers or someone she knows.

The most wonderful thing about Risa, though? Her smile. It is infectious and makes you want to get to know her more.
If you want to check her out live, she is playing Wine in The Woods in Columbia, MD on May 17th at 1pm and she has an EP, "Nashville" coming out in Late May.

If you want an inspiration to follow your dreams, follow Risa. Trust me. You won't regret it.

Part 1: Elizabeth McQueen
Part 2: Mary Curran-Hackett
Part 4: Meredith Goldstein
Part 5: My Dream 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I have a dream part 2

Dreams are but a fleeting moment in time unless they become reality; then they last forever.  I have slowly made my dream a reality but it's time to push forward and make it last...

What do you feel about the statement above? Are dreams fleeting? What is the best way to make them a reality?

Second amazing woman I'd would like to introduce you to: (you can read about the first here)

Mary Curran Hackett,

Mary and I went to college together. She is a year older than me and I looked up to her at school, whether she knew it or not. She appeared to be a graceful and gentle woman comfortable in her own skin and confident in her life. If that wasn't true at the time, it didn't matter,  that's what I saw. Throughout college we were involved in various leadership roles together and I enjoyed her friendship and guidance in life.  Recently, we reconnected when she published her first book, Proof of Heaven.  I was in awe. I wrote her and told her how excited to be able to read it. She has been a writer since I have known her and she finally achieved her dream of writing a novel.

The thing that astounded me was that she was able to do it while being a mom to two children. Her method? She didn't sleep for 2 weeks. She punched it out. Her soul spoke to the keyboard and she knocked it out. She knew it was time to focus on the novel she had been wanting to write and so she did it.

And she is doing again with her second novel, Proof of Angels, due in November 2014.
Way to go, Mary!

Part 1: Elizabeth McQueen
Part 3: Risa Binder
Part 4: Meredith Goldstein
Part 5: My Dream 


Monday, March 24, 2014

I have a dream

I have a dream...

Yep, MLK spoke these words. But of course because I am a mom, when I hear that phrase I think of the song in Tangled. Go figure.

Anywho, I have a dream. I have had dreams in the past, but this dream has been with me since I was 7 years old. It has only taken me 29 years to take it seriously and go for it.

I have done things I never thought I would do: have kids, run a 5k, get physically fit, and walk 60 miles. But this dream I have has been with me for so long, and yet I haven't achieved it. There were excuses and fear of failure but ultimately it just hasn't gotten done. It's time to change that.

So tip #1 on achieving your dream: make it public. Hold yourself accountable.


This week, I am focusing on achieving dreams. I will be writing about some amazingly talented women who have reached their dreams. At the end of the week, I will reveal my dream, 29 years in the making.

Since I have a background in the arts, I have been blessed to know some amazing artistic women who are living their dreams. they have persevered and toughed it out and have incredible products to show for it. I am going to write a short list, but to be honest, I could list over a hundred of my close friends and how they have followed their dreams.

So sit back, enjoy, and discover some new amazing musicians, artists, and writers...

First person up: 
Her name is Elizabeth McQueen. Elizabeth is an amazing musician and singer. She is a mom of two kids and a real cool chick. We grew up together in high school, performing in choirs and shows together, clinging to the first soprano notes that were set aside for us in the songs. She was better at harmony and intrinsically and naturally a better singer. But I was never jealous, I admired her natural ability. She is tall and I am short, she has curly hair, I have straight hair, but we valued music and had fun with it. Recently, I listened to a podcast where she discussed how she discovered what her dream was. She discussed her life in high school and how one song changed her outlook on life and who she was meant to be. (Check the podcast out here: the second half is Elizabeth)

Over the years, we lost touch but I would occasionally hear of her struggles in the music biz and her many successes. When I joined Facebook, we reconnected and I experienced all that I had heard of her. She is no longer singing "Eleanor Rigby" in Show Choir with me. Instead, she is a Rockabilly, Jazz, Country, Blues singer. In other words, she sings what she wants to; and she does it very well. She has performed with the likes of Willie Nelson, and the "King of Texas Swing", Ray Benson. She traveled the country as the lead female vocalist of the acclaimed Western Swing band, Asleep at The Wheel. in 2009, she was nominated for a Grammy for the album "Willie and The Wheel".  Recently, she teamed up with Brothers Lazaroff, an awesome soul and folk band and released her fourth album, The Laziest Remix.  So congrats to you, Elizabeth for following your dreams, being an AWESOME mom to your two adorable girls and an inspiration to me.

I have a dream series:

Part 2: Mary Curran-Hackett
Part 3: Risa Binder
Part 4: Meredith Goldstein
Part 5: My Dream 


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Never in a million years....

A friend of mine suggested I write a post on "things I never thought I would say..." Her suggestion came from a situation she recently encountered. Her daughter is the opposite of her. She is a self proclaimed "science geek" and a bit of a "Tom boy". Her daughter, who is my daughter's best friend, is anything but those things. She likes to sing and act and be girly. Recently, her daughter auditioned for a talent agency. My friend said she never thought there would be a day when she said that HER daughter has a marketing manager. But alas she has a marketing manager, and alas, my friend is entering an entirely new realm different from her own.

The same day, I ironically, had a similar experience. And thus, this entry made perfect sense to write.

A little background:
When I was in high school I was a full fledge musical theatre geek. I was set to go on Broadway, have an agent, to be famous. I was going to graduate, go to school for musical theatre, get a big break, live in NYC (even though at that time I had never been there), not need a man, and be an aunt to my friends' kids.  My best friend, Karen, used to laugh and say "yep, that's you." And she was going to be a working woman, independent and successful, travel the world and maybe have kids later in life, of which I would be a terrific "aunt " to.

Me, as Mabel in Fame.

Funny how life changes. I went from "Most Likely to be on David Letterman and winning my high school's Musical Theatre award to... Teaching with children.  The road between the two was a good 10 years, but alas it happened. My friend lived in NYC and now Boston, has a successful career and yes, has a family. I got married a year after she did and began having children a few years before she did.

Karen and I (pre-kids) 

We were catching up on the phone the other day, her one year old son was playing with stickers. My son, D, was crawling under the train table (it is less than 12" off the ground). As we were talking, we stopped talking to each other and started talking to our children at the same time. After a minute or two, we realized a conversation between each other was futile and I made a comment: " who would have thought that 20 years ago this moment would have happened." We laughed and said our goodbyes.

As I reenter the teaching world, I am in awe with how my life has changed. Who I was in high school is so different from who I am now. I am much happier playing myself instead of a character. But I would be a liar if I didn't say I still belt out Broadway songs in the car and break out a time step in the kitchen. Never say never, and always be open to changes, you never know where they made lead.

What is something you have said recently that 20 years ago you never thought you would say?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Something I love

**No one has paid me or even asked for me to review anything in this post.**

I am in love with a game that my daughter got recently for Christmas. It's called Zingo! My friend had suggested it a while ago and I am dismayed that we hadn't gotten it sooner.

It's a picture variation of Bingo and our whole family enjoys playing it. I love that there is a "Board Game" out there that both my 3 and 5 year old can play. I love that my husband and I enjoy playing it, too.

We currently have the version with pictures but I am thinking about getting the sight words version too. There is also a number version.

This is an ideal family game because all members of the family can have fun, it's quick and reinforces   images with text identification.

Also, my two little people can play without us too!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Let it go... Let the pee pee flow

If you are a living, breathing, human being, you have probably heard of the song,  "Let It Go" from the movie,  Frozen.  The responsible thing for me to do here is provide a link to it. If you haven't heard of it, you are probably living under a rock and I will not subject you to getting it stuck in your head. Because once you hear it, you may be singing it at 3 am too.

Frankly, I do love the song. I enjoy belting it out and pretending I am back in my Musical Theatre heyday. Idina Menzel has nothing on me. I digress. 

My youngest, D, is potty training. He is 3 years and 4 months old.

This is not the first time we have attempted potty training. In fact, it may be the 5th time? 6th time? 1,000,000th time? Alas, this time, we stopped buying diapers. A week ago, on a Monday, we started. AGAIN. But this time, something clicked. He was getting it.

So, there my son sits on his tiny Elmo potty. His leg occasionally purposely hitting Elmo's hand and Elmo chirping various phrases "You're going potty!" "Yeah! Congratulations!" Over and over and over. (Why those batteries haven't run out through two kids is beyond me). And Elmo, you are a big furry LIAR because Elmo, nothing is going in the potty.

We have been sitting here FOREVER. I repeat "You can do it! Just let it out!", through a fake syrup smile. But in my head I am thinking: "you have had three cups of milk and juice, just mother f#%^^ PEE!"

Due to the fact the "Let It Go" song has been stuck in my head, I changed the lyrics a bit for the occasion. I start to sing and my five year old daughter excitedly chimes in:

"Let it go, Let it go,
Let the pee pee flow.
Here you sit
On the potty
Let the pee pee flllllllooooooooowwwwwwww
Potty training never bothered me anyway."

Lie. I hate potty training.

He eventually peed in the potty. He was getting it. Underwear and pull-ups were staying dry! Rewards were being eaten! Grandmothers were being called! Hallelujah! My sweet but very stubborn boy was finally being potty trained!
He makes it really difficult to get upset with him. 

Then, after 8 hours of success. He threw up. I felt so bad for him. He was so sick.

In my head, for a second, I thought, "Seriously? He's getting sick NOW? Why? We are potty training! Everything is supposed to come to a halt. My life, my son's life, my family's life, is supposed to stop. Potty training is the priority!"

I immediately felt guilty. Time to take a step back. Time to help my precious boy feel better. Time to let it go.

Over the next couple of days, he actually did pretty well. He was staying dry, for the most part, and peeing in the potty.  He was sleeping a lot and recovering, but despite that, he was getting it. I was cautiously optimistic. Then he began to feel better.

And he went back to his stubborn, ornery ways. So, now he is in pull-ups, going potty when he feels like it. And as frustrated as I am, I am letting it go. And we are taking a break. But come Thursday, mister, you better "Let It Go, let the pee pee flow". In the potty. PLEASE. In the potty.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Short Stuff

I am short.  I am always in the front row of pictures. When I was 10, I almost made it into the second row, but a classmate was absent so I got stuck in the front row. Again. I was in the MIDDLE! Of the front row.
By the time I turned 11, my brush with being tall was halted and by age 12, I stopped growing completely. At 5'1", I was staring down the barrel of a life of height restrictions.
So, naturally, I married a man who is 6'2". He comes from a family of giants  tall people, so I am frequently looking up at family get togethers. And luckily, one of our children (my daughter), seems to have inherited my husbands' long legs.

My husband and I in Jamaica.
My husband's  40th birthday party, it was an 80s theme.....

So I thought I would share some of the things that suck  the things that are a challenge with being short.

1) Tall  cabinets. In order to get to the top of my cabinets, I have to get on a stool, scale the cabinets, stand on the counter, balance on tip toe and reach precariously to get what I need. It's fun to risk falling on the hard tile floor for the plastic butterfly cookie cutter.

2) All pants are too long.... And capris.. Well I since they look like high water pants instead of Capri pants, I don't wear them. Luckily, my mom is an excellent seamstress and is very good at hemming pants.

3) Your 12 year old nephew and your 10 year old niece are ecstatic when they reach your height. And my 8 year niece is close to it too. Upon their glee of being taller, I brag that I was taller than my 5 foot tall grandmother (may she rest in peace), but then again, everyone was.

4) I am not a terrific swimmer. I feel more comfortable in the four feet and below section of the pool. This becomes an issue when your 18 month old floats in his floatie bat mobile into the five foot and over 4 foot section. Multiple times.

5) Driving. In the past, my husband's car had this awesome seat memory feature. Push a button, and the seat moved all the way up to my position. Push another button, it went all the way back for his position. We don't own that car anymore, and yes, I still move my seat all the way up to the front and as high as it will go. Of course, I do an evil giggle when valets and car repair men bang their knees getting into the car.

But being short isn't all bad.

I am a damn good limbo player.
When I fall, it's not as far.
I make a great armrest for my husband.
I am closer to my kids (for the time being).


Good things come in small packages.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Rambling run ons

Since I have recently been cast in the  DC Listen To Your Mother Show, I am becoming more and more aware of the amazing writers that surround me. I have been trying to up my game and just write. But there are times, like last night, when I am all ready to write and nothing that is coherent or meaningful comes out onto the page.

It's frustrating. I am going to try a few new things on this blog, because I can, because it is mine, and we will see what happens.

Dancing With Fireflies, a fun writing blog/web page hosted by my friend, Crysta, has a poetry writing challenge for the week. When I was in high school, I used to fill up composition books with poetry (mainly of teen angst). I loved putting symbolism and imagery to my ordinary thoughts. I remember being in an English class and having to write an existential poem. I had been struggling in the class (mainly because I wasn't reading the required books) and my teacher had lowered expectations of my ability. I felt my inadequacy of writing when my friends in the class were getting A's on papers and I was getting C's. Across my papers were comments such as "rambling" and "run on sentence". (In my senior year, a teacher asked me if I understood English- side note she was a drunk, whom my brother had issues with before and I promptly changed classes to another teacher). I had great difficulty with writing efficiently and succinctly. It wasn't until college when a teacher's assistant helped me that I learned the right way to write a paper for class.  The existential poem I wrote for my high school class made my peers and teacher speechless. I had gotten the assignment on a level higher than anyone else. I had gotten an A+ and my poem was applauded by my teacher, my peers and my parents. I will have to see if I can dig up that poem and post it here.

I digress. My true love is creative writing. I have novels in my head and make believe stories playing through my mind on a regular basis. My father used to write haikus. He loved the efficient and succinct way to write. I would be jealous of that ability later when we would trade haikus and I could never quite get the rhythm he so easily could use in his writing.  But the truth is that was his style, his talent. I am not of that mind, I prefer to ramble, to carry people away in my thoughts. So while I will continue to post about my daily happenings, I hope to post some creative writing pieces as well.

Here is a poem for today:

Child sleeping
illness exiting his body
on a slow march
to another host
Breathing softly,
suck suck of the thumb
tug tug of the hair.
Deep sleep.

What about you? What do you like to write?

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