love you to the moon

My 6-year-old daughter has started a diary.  Tonight’s entry  began with “Wow.  Octoeer was a great year….”  We will work on the spelling of October and timeframes, but you get the point.  She was happy.  Today was her birthday.  

She was showered with presents and love.  The latter being more important.  She will figure that out when she is older. For now, toys made in China are just as valuable. 

This little girl has brought so much love, laughter and hair bows into my life.  Sure, she told me a few days ago that my mouth smelled worse than garbage.   I am still trying to figure out what she was referring to.   What is worse than garbage to a first grader? Much like the question ‘How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop’  …..the world many never know. 

My daughter was much more complimentary this evening as I tucked her into bed.  “I had the best day ever, Mommy,” she said.   It was at that moment I received a text message from a friend with three heartbreaking words: “She is gone.”  She is a local teenage girl named Courtney Wagner.   This 18-year-old inspired thousands of people during her four year battle with brain cancer.  I never had the pleasure of meeting Courtney, but like many I followed her story.  Courtney’s mother, Jamie, documented her daughter’s courageous battle online.   Courtney was featured in many local news stories and even appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show.  Her positivity was contagious.  In her daughter’s final days Jamie Wagner posted heartbreaking updates.

“No mother should ever watch her child fade away.”

 “Courtney has not spoken today…..I miss her voice already.”

“Courtney is resting….I could sit in her room, holding her hand forever. I wish I could.”

She posted a photo of Courtney, around my daughter’s age, in pigtails.  

“Never in a million years would I have imagined what the future held for her.” 

Just a few days later Courtney took her last breath. My heart aches for her mother, family and friends.  
I was inspired by their courage and reminded how fragile life is.   Lately, I stop and really listen to my children’s stories – no matter how long or nonsensical they are.    I find myself appreciating tasks that I may have quietly complained about in the past: helping with homework, making lunches, ironing their clothes, etc.  A few days ago my son informed me that he needed to be chauffeured back to school because he forgot a notebook.  This quick trip put a kink in our plans.  I had to load all three kids back into the car which would make us late for another appointment.  In the past I would’ve moaned and lectured him about being responsible.  But on this day I thought of Courtney and how her mother would give anything to be in my shoes.  I thanked God for my children and responsibilities.  I prayed for the Wagners. 

Tonight I crawled into bed with my daughter and held her until she fell asleep, savoring the  smell of her freshly washed hair.  We had our nightly bedtime exchange.  I caressed her cheek and said, “I love you to the moon.”  She replied, “I love you to the moon and back.”  The moon was even brighter tonight.   Courtney’s mother explained why.  



I knew I wanted to work in broadcasting from the moment I got my first tape recorder.  I wanted to grow up and make as little money as possible.    If you are under 20-years-old you may not know that a tape recorder was a machine used to play cassettes.  It could also record music or audio.  We would put a cassette player next to another cassette player, hit the ‘play button’ and illegally dub music for our friends.  It took patience.  Without fail, someone would walk in the room, speak and interrupt the recording. Then, you would have to start over.  Meanwhile, my children complain when it takes longer than 30 seconds to download a song from iTunes.  

My best friend Danielle and I would record ourselves talking, singing and even doing fake commercials.  We had a killer ad for J.J. Newburys.  I interned at a radio station in high school.  The DJ was a guy named “Artie the One Man Party.”  He ate his boogers and got a girl pregnant – not necessarily in that order.  That was when I realized the business was anything but glamourous.   Artie worked at the local Top 40 station.  I didn’t want a career playing music and announcing the weather.  I wanted to be like the guy at another station in town.  His name was Brother Wease.   He was a radio pioneer paving the way for other so-called “shock jocks.”  Brother Wease was risqué.  He talked about topics that made some blush, but he was funny.  His interview skills were like no other.  His questions were sometimes wacky, but it was always an interesting conversation.

Brother Wease’s show was the highest rated show in the Rochester, New York market.  He was so popular that my sister’s graduating class voted to invite Brother Wease to be their commencement speaker.  Forget presidents or activists they wanted the guy who didn’t go to college and talked about his penis on air.   Needless to say that didn’t fly and school officials veteoed the  vote. This triggered an avalanche of bad publicity for the district.  Brother Wease threw the senior class a party.  I liked him even more.

Three decades later Brother Wease is still on the air and I get to share a mic with him.   I started working on his show in September.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous when I stepped in the room.  He is a legend.   He is also a little rough around edges.  He is covered in tattoos, wears skull rings and a fedora.  I don’t agree with a lot of his opinions on politics, parenting, etc.   He calls women broads and uses the f-bomb in conversation more than any other word.  I am considered edgy among my friends.  I am Mary Poppins in his studio.

It didn’t take me long to realize one thing about Brother Wease – he is one of the kindest men I have ever met.  He is loyal and generous.  I’m clearly not the only person who feels that way. I attended a charity ‘comedy roast’ last night.  Brother Wease was the guest of honor, the target of some good natured jokes.


Hundreds of people attended the event.  People weren’t there to see the celebrity.  They bought tickets to support the man they admire and love.  I am honored to work along side that man on a daily basis.  

My so called life

Scrolling through Facebook can be emotionally draining especially if you’re having a bad day. Today was a perfect example.  I sounded like Foghorn Leghorn reading the news on the radio this morning.  I logged online and Facebook kicked me when I was down.  Once again, there was ‘that friend’ bragging  about her perfect life.  She gives a daily shout out to her husband who never does anything wrong.  He doesn’t even have a Facebook account.  Her job is also perfect.  Her children, too.  You know it’s a lie, but it doesn’t stop you from second guessing everything in your life.  What am I doing wrong?  There have been times when I thought about deleting social media accounts because the pressure to keep up with the Joneses is overwhelming.  Plus, it is horrible for my diet.  There are just so many pictures of food.  I had no idea so many people ate lunch before Facebook.  I thought I was the only one. 

There was a great article in the New York Post this weekend about people living double lives on Facebook. No, I don’t air my dirty laundry on social media.  (I don’t think there are enough characters in a post.) I don’t have the time or energy to write a fairy tale either.  Here are a few common Facebook posts and what more than likely happened.   

Facebook: Shopping with my lovely daughter! 

Reality:  Your daughter cried because she wanted an overpriced toy.  You had to scold her through clenched teeth.

Facebook:  Enjoying a delicious dinner with the family!

Reality:   They enjoyed a delicious dinner.  You snagged a bite of cold food here and there in between runs for drink refills, napkins, telling a child to sit down and eat, etc.


Facebook:  Movie night! Fun!

Reality: Spent 30 minutes arguing over which movie to watch.  One child complained that the other got more popcorn.  Shame on you for not counting each popped kernel before placing it in the bowl.  


 Great job soccer team! 

Reality:  You sat outside in the cold and rain for hours to watch your son play a total of three minutes. You love him. So, it was worth it…for three minutes.  

Facebook: I married the greatest man on the earth!  Happy Anniversary Hubby!

Reality: If he leaves his socks on the floor again you are going to lose your mind.  Are you trying to convince the rest of the world or yourself how great your marriage is? Chances are he is standing nearby – turn your head and tell him how you feel.  


Facebook:  All smiles on the first day of school! 

Reality:  Your teenager didn’t want to get out of bed and you lost your mind after telling the kids for the sixth time to put their shoes on.

Sure, it’s not all bad.  We have good times and do genuinely feel ‘Hashtag Blessed’ on occasion.   I would go one step further and say there are great memories tucked in our photo albums,  but it’s not always as it seems.  There are highs and lows.  There is laughter and tears.   That is real life –  and it will never be a Facebook status.  


Activewear Song

This is too funny not to share. We all know this person. Perhaps, it is you. I am jealous if you have the freedom to wear this outfit everywhere. Elastic is a gift from God. That and velcro. Can you imagine how much easier life would be if shoe strings and buttons didn’t exist? Maybe I would only have to say “Put your shoes on” fifty times before we left the house each day. I am approaching the “Velcro Years.” It’s acceptable to wear velcro as a young child and as an elderly person. I may or may not fight wrinkles with daily injections, but I will wear velcro sneakers like a boss.

Five step program

I failed miserably last night.   I attempted to go to Target with a list.  I needed milk and Kleenex.   I could have shopped somewhere else.  There was a supermarket and another big box store nearby.   I figured, sans children,  I would be in and out in minutes.  I underestimated the power of the red sticker.  The first mistake I made was grabbing a shopping cart.  I walked briskly toward the cooler to grab a gallon of milk.  I managed to pass fully stocked aisles without going off course.  I placed the milk in the cart and headed toward the paper products. One more stop and I would be victorious.      There was a major problem.  The route to get tissue would take me past several endcaps.  The endcaps are the shelves at the end of an aisle loaded with clearance merchandise. Allowing me to walk by the endcaps is like taking someone who is trying to avoid carbs to a bakery.   You can do this.  Just keep moving.  It is impossible to think clearly when the red tags are calling your name.  You start rationalizing each purchase.  

……but I could use this one day when I need to draw a perfect circle, hard right angle or precise line.  


…… My daughter could use this locker style Disco Ball when she gets to high school in about ten years.  

……Why should the creepy elf only come out at Christmas? I could save $5 and scare the hell out of the children on their birthday.  


..I have no idea what this is, but it’s fifty dollars off.  I can’t pass that up!  


I ended up leaving with a clearanced blanket, pillow, scotch tape and glow in the dark phone charger.   The cashier who checked me out shared a lovely story about his girlfriend.  Apparently he was up all night taking care of his girlfriend who has a horrible virus. He told me she was home with a fever and vomiting as he handed me the receipt.    So, I bought things I didn’t need and may have contracted a horrible virus for free.  

Period Party!

Just when I thought Caillou was the worst thing on  earth my daughter discovered “Shopkins.”  If you are not aware this is the hottest new toy for young girls. I know it’s politically incorrect to assign a gender to toys, but I’ve yet to meet a boy who likes “Shopkins.” 

The figurines are the size of a quarter.  Each is an item you could buy at a store, but has a face.  It’s the stuff nightmares are made of.  Here is an example of one overpriced package:
There are boots, food, whatever the hell is in the middle of this package, etc.  What do they do?  I can tell you each one hurts like hell if you step on it.   It also takes what seems like an eternity to find a missing “Shopkin.”  I can’t explain why children are drawn to this toy. For goodness sake, in the 80s a creepy, talking bear was a hot seller.  We also liked babies born in cabbage.  I will buy tiny figurines and things like Pokemon cards, but I have to draw the line somewhere.  I will not be buying this:
This is Lammily, also known as “Normal Barbie” and the “realistic fashion doll.”   I appreciate a doll with cellulite and normal waist.  However, I will not purchase the new $10 “Period Party Extension Kit.”  I’m not kidding.  The creator of this doll decided it was a good idea for Lammily to get her menstrual cycle and it’s a party.  I don’t remember cake and streamers the first time I bled.  

This is an excerpt from an article in Time magazine: 

Described as “the fun way to explain the menstrual cycle to kids,” creator Nickolay Lamm wants to start a conversation about periods and the stigmas that surround it.
The kit comes with an educational pamphlet explaining what to expect from a menstrual cycle plus a pair of doll underwear, 19 colored pads, a calendar and stickers to track periods.  

I don’t want my daughter to learn about one of life’s milestones from a doll.  Actually, I’m not ready to teach my 5-year-old about a menstrual cycle.  She loses her mind over a scratch. In fact, the mere sight of blood sends her over the edge.  There isn’t a candy bar in the universe to calm a first grader who found out she will bleed once a month for decades.  Call me crazy, but I want her to enjoy being a kid.  What’s next? Ken gets a prostate exam?  Skipper gets mammogram?  

It’s ridiculous.  Besides, can you imagine how much time I would spend looking for misplaced miniature  maxi pads.  

Guilt Free

There are days when you feel like you’re a good parent.  Then, there are the other 363 days of the year.  I went to bed expecting to have my #1 Mom mug yanked from my fingers in the morning. It wasn’t because my 5-year-old daughter told the neighbor we had a “shit zoo.”  Our dog is a shih tzu.    I lost my temper with my 8-year-old son.  It happened right before bed time.  He was thirsty.  He wasn’t thirsty ten minutes prior when we were downstairs and in close proximity to the refrigerator.  The minute his head hit the pillow his mouth was drier than Snoop Dog’s.  He was parched or perhaps  he knew  I was finally going to sit down.   She must be stopped. 

Moments earlier he and his 5-year-old sister were fighting.  She was crying, the dog was barking at a big, terrifying squirrel outside. Plus, a heaping pile of laundry was shouting my name.  It was a “Calgon Moment.”  I am dating myself by using that phrase.  To the younger lads reading this a “Calgon Moment” is the opposite of LOL. 

I begrudgingly got my son a glass of water of which  he immediately spilled on his bed.  So, I had to strip off the sheet.   I yanked it off the mattress shouting, “No more wire hangers!”   I didn’t, but may as well have.    I waded the sheet in a ball and threw it against the wall.  “This is ridiculous! Pay attention to what you’re doing!”  It’s not what I said, but how I said it.  I was spitting and smoke may have been pouring out of my ears.  I took a deep breath, tucked him back into bed and whispered, “Sweet dreams.”   I just took this kid on a hormonal roller coaster.   I apologized for overreacting, but it didn’t erase my  guilt.  Getting rid of guilt as a mother is next to impossible.  That is why God invented wine.   

Unexpected item…

I thought taking my children to an amusement park was exhausting.  That was until I took an 8-year-old and 5-year-old to the grocery store.  Now, spinning violently on tea cups while children scream at 130 decibels seems pleasant.  I usually make the trip alone.  I save money flying solo.  Children want everything they see on TV.  I mean everything! For example, my daughter has an unhealthy obsession with OxyClean.  She acts like a teenager at a One Direction concert when we walk down the detergent aisle, “Mom, look it’s Oxy Clean!”  It actually works, but she doesn’t know that.  She has been brainwashed by commercials.  So, my children want the cookies, yogurt, potato chips, etc. they saw on a commercial.  Stroll around a supermarket on any given day and you will see a woman, with clenched teeth, telling her children, “I said no!”   This time I managed to escape with only a few extra items.  We made our way to the checkout and of course, there are two dozen cash registers, but just one lane open.  So, I had the bright idea of going through the self-checkout line.  I was embarrassed I made that call.  It was another rookie move.  This wouldn’t be any quicker with two children.  I just made their dream of playing with the store scanner a reality.  They got a burst of endorphins every time they heard a beep.  This was so fun! It was fun for them.  It was excruciating for me.  They wouldn’t put the item in the bag fast enough after scanning it.  Therefore, I heard ‘Please place item in bagging area’ over and over again.  “Mom, what did she say? What was that?”  


I instructed my children to put the item in the bag and explained each item was weighed to make sure we didn’t steal.  My daughter got defensive and said loudly, “We aren’t stealing!” I’m surprised security didn’t come running. My daughter was talking about a crime and I was arguing with the machine.  “It’s in there!”  All that was missing was a straitjacket.  

 I encouraged my offspring to put the items in the bags faster. I just wanted to get the hell out of there, but it wouldnt be that easy.  ‘Unexpected item in the bagging area.’ 


Jeb on pause….

I finally got around to watching the premiere of “The Late Show”  with Stephen Colbert.   I am hoping to get a chance to finish that new movie “Titantic” next weekend.  Of course, I didn’t watch “The Late Show” in one sitting because my children don’t want me to relax.  They usually wait until I sit down to ask for something.   In this case, I am grateful for their neediness.  I discovered a real gem watching the interview with Jeb Bush.   I should clarify.  I discovered a hidden gem pressing pause during Jeb Bush’s interview.   Perhaps I am just sleep deprived, immature or both, but I found his facial expressions hysterical.  I think both Republicans and Democrats can agree on this.  


Did someone slip an Ambien in Jeb’s water?  Donald?
Don’t do it Jeb!  You are on live TV.  

Nice save.  


Jeb’s impression of “The Church Lady.”   Well, isn’t that special! 
The ‘I have no idea what you said so I will pretend to laugh’ laugh.    

Wake up little buddy.  You have a presidential campaign to run.