No one told me my shirt was inside out.

Yesterday I went to the health club and my shirt was inside out.  Sometimes it’s not obvious, this time was totally obvious.  In fact, I actually had a big white tag flopping off the side of my shirt.  How is it that no one said anything to me?  Not even my daughter who went with me?

I can’t tell you how many strangers I’ve told that their zipper is down (now as I write this I wonder if you wonder how it is I see all these zippers … no response is necessary). Or how many times I’ve tucked a woman’s tag in behind her in the line at Caribou.

Most times my inside out item is invisible to the naked eye (you know what I’m talking about here!).  Tuesday, it was my skirt!  Really, Jessica … your skirt???  Thankfully, I caught the error when my first stop at work was the restroom! What does this mean?  Am I getting old(er) – (yes!)?  Do I have too much on my mind – (likely!)?

I hate to admit it, but there are a few other things I’ve noticed lately, aside from my inability to remember how to dress.  Most of them make me think this is an age-related disability.  For example, I’ve noticed that some of the people I now work with were born the year I went to college and they have no idea what a pay phone is.  A few weeks ago I went to a work function and I was the oldest person there … really … the oldest!  Last week, when I went to Target to pick up a prescription, not only did I know the name of my pharmacist and how many kids she has, but she knew me!  Since when did I spend so much time at Target getting things “filled” that she would remember me???

Here’s one I hate to admit: The other day, I looked for my glasses for 10 minutes only to find them in my hands.  Yup, that was kind of embarrassing!  And, as if that weren’t enough, my kids now tease me that the weather channel on TV and my radio (both of which I love to listen to) are really MTV stations for old people!  At least I knew what MTV was!

I’m not going anywhere with this, other than the obvious fact that I’m getting older and to put out the following request: Please tell me next time you see food stuck in my teeth, a tag hanging out of my sweater or if I’m wearing two different black boots to work.  Hey, we’ve gotta be on the same team here!

Have a really fun weekend!

Yesterday was a bad day, until I sat down to write this blog.

Yesterday was a pretty bad day, in almost all areas of my life.  Sometimes that happens.  It started by my dropping an entire glass of chocolate milk on the floor (and all over the cabinets, wall, etc.) and progressed from there.  By the end of the day, I was so mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted that I almost couldn’t see.

When I woke up this morning I wondered what I was going to write about.  Then, as I sat there in the quiet of my room, I heard the words of a friend, who yesterday said to me, “You are not taking care of you.”

Now, while I did hear those words when he said them to me, I blew them off.  Sure, I’m busy but I do take care of myself.  I work out, do triathlons, I eat well, I drink lots of water, I spend time with amazing people, I love my work, my family, my children.  Where am I not taking care of myself?  Life is good, right?

But, this morning, I realized that I’ve lived 50+ years without knowing what it really means to love and take care of myself. Maybe that’s some of you too.

I’m good at playing the resilience card.  I can find a fix for almost anything.  My mantra has been: “I’m fine. I’m taking care of myself.”  But maybe that’s not completely true.  Sure, I’m taking care of the outside, but am I paying attention to my inner self?  Am I connected to at least one moment of my self each day?  And, what does that even mean?

Here’s what came from my brain to the paper just now.  I’m not sure if it even makes sense but maybe we can try it:

  • Let’s wake up each day, connected to who we are, inside and out.  Even if we just take three seconds to do so. It will be conscious.
  • Let’s focus on being with our life instead of an observer, trying to get it all done.  
  • Let’s start acknowledging our accomplishments instead of rushing to the next best thing or ignoring the feelings of when it just doesn’t go right. And, sometimes it just doesn’t go right.
  • Let’s practice saying “no” to those things that don’t serve our values or goals and saying yes to those that do.
  • Let’s (try) to stop replaying the past and the worries we’ve created for the future.

When we take the time to ground ourselves in the present and make mental space to find clarity, this is taking care of us.  And, maybe this is just for a short blink each day.  But, when we are connected, I have a feeling that those “bad” days can then just be acknowledged, respected and we can move on. Or, maybe the bad day will simply serve as a reminder to reconnect with ourselves … 🙂

Have a wonderful day!


He finished his chemotherapy.

I got the honor of celebrating with one of my former colleagues yesterday, who had finally finished his chemo treatments.  It’s been a bit less than a year. He was 40 when he was diagnosed.  This blog is not about the pain and sickness from his last year – but his life.  No, really our lives.

In the blink, and I mean a blink, the “comfort” of our lives can change.  The single words from a doctor, “It’s cancerous,” to “You’re fired,” to “It was a terrible accident and he’s gone.”  It all is life changing.  And, as we know, the unexpected can be expected to happen.  How do we prepare?  How do we get through life with the inevitable changes?

I was talking to my best friend this morning about some upcoming changes.  I was crying (of course!) and he said, something good will come from what we are about to experience.  He reminded me that these “new” experiences, will be some that we would not have had if we had remained in the “comfort” of our lives. So true – but, being mortal, it’s still difficult.

While my former colleague’s life will be changed forever by his diagnosis, mine may not.  Yes, I can say I will remember how short and precious it all is … but I too will get caught up in the s*** of raising my teenagers, my work and all the rest.

But, for today, I want to live in the moment – not the future.  I want to appreciate his journey.  I want to know that if it were my journey, I would get through it too. I want to at least have this one day, where I remember how amazing it is to have this particular life – with all its crazy ups and downs.

As I was walking to the celebration yesterday, I stopped to buy flowers.  As I was paying (and chatting, of course), the man at the shop told me the story of his partner’s fight through cancer.  He started to cry as he shared it with me and then – in an amazing twist – he came around the corner, hugged me and thanked me for reminding him how precious TODAY is.  WOW!  I think I was the lucky one there.

So, to my former colleague: I love the way in which you moved through this year.  I appreciate you allowing me to experience a portion of it.  And, I can’t wait to meet you on the next 10 mile race course.

Until then, everyone, let’s just appreciate today.  That’s all.  Just enjoy today.



Note to Self: LET IT GO.

I know I’ve brought this up before, but after spending 55 minutes in the pool yesterday brooding about things over which I have no control (and not really having the mind-clearing swim I was hoping for), I decided that this topic was worth another blog (or 137 more blogs):

I have issues with control.

I use a lot of perfectly good energy trying to plan, predict, and prevent things that I cannot plan, predict, or prevent. For example, I worry about how my kids are going to do in school or whether they are getting enough down time. I think about my work, will I ever get another client again (ok, I know every lawyer worries about that!) or will I win that motion? I analyze the weather a lot. In other words, I spend a lot of time in business that’s not mine. The kids’ business, Mother Nature’s business … and the judge’s business!

I believe that we try to control things because we think something bad will happen if we don’t (that’s good ole’ fear talking).  And, I believe we try to control things because we think we know the best outcome (that’s a big ego statement!) .  The truth is that we never know the “best” outcome and frankly, we have to trust we will be ok no matter what the outcome is. The irony of controlling things is that we actually feel less in control when we are obsessing or trying to micro-manage a situation.

Remember, control freaks want to manage before something happens rather than dealing with life after it happens!

I once found this example, which really seemed to fit for me: “When I become aware that I’m in control mode, I imagine that I’m in a small canoe paddling upstream, against the current. It’s hard. It’s a fight. When I choose to let go and surrender, I visualize the boat turning around, me dropping the oars, and gently floating downstream.”

Right now I’ve got a friend who has completely shut himself off from me. It’s hard because I want to help, support, just be there. But, that’s how he manages his problems.  And, I have to let go and understand that each person makes his/her own choices – even choices that hurt others.  But, no matter how painful it might be, I have to let go, because I have no control over how someone wants to treat me …

I only have control over my own feelings and emotions.

This is my big life lesson.

I do believe that the universe is here to support me and the ones I love. And, because of that I should focus on my own feelings and emotions and trust that no matter what happens, I will be able to a manage anything that comes my way.

So, I’m going to continue to work at letting go. To focus my energy on the beauty of life and the amazing people in it. Somehow, life will unfold as it should … even without my fingers in the pot!

Have a really fantastic day!

It’s an unfair deal.

A person very close to me is going through some incredibly tough times.  I’ve struggled of late, trying to separate out my own fears and being there as a strong friend and supporter.  At first I kept thinking, “Why is this happening?”  Then, I started to examine my own responses and realized that I was more focused on how it was affecting me.  Sometimes I (maybe we?) can totally miss the boat!

So, my question is: “How should I respond and what should I do when someone tells me sad news?”  Here’s my “direction” to myself:

First: Stop talking and listen. Then listen more.  Actually, I’m just going to shut my mouth totally!

Second: Believe their feelings.  Don’t ask too many questions.  If there’s a story, just trust the facts.  The more the person trusts me the more likely they are to tell me the whole truth.  I can’t expect someone who is in the middle of a bad situation to have a perfect perspective or be logical in a way that satisfies me.  Assume that this is not about me (and don’t make it that way).

Third: Say something like “I’m so sorry you are going through that – it’s terrible”  And then ask, “How are you going to handle this?” or “What are you going to do next.”  Then listen again.  Maybe they don’t know what to do next.  That’s ok.  Don’t tell them what to do unless they actually ask for help!  They want an ear, not a solver of their problems.  Remind them that you can be a good distraction too!

I’ve had my own fair share of not-so-good experiences.  And, I’ve often wondered if these problems then define who I am .  But let’s be honest – there is no way we have to be defined by the “things” that happen to us.   Nor should we allow ourselves to be defined by our childhood or the mistakes we make along the way.

We create the definition of who we are.

We are defined by how we handle our lives, our past experiences and our present mistakes.  We are defined by how we treat others in our time of need and how we emerge from life’s challenges and how we grow from it all.  

So, my friend, I am so sorry this is happening.  But, you are the essence of grace and strength.  You are resolute that you will come through this with a more beautiful perspective on life than ever before.  And, I agree.  I’m looking forward to being a part of the whole (sometimes painful) process.


Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


She has no middle name.

I recently got together with a woman regarding a project I want to start and at some point, she told me that her parents were too busy to give her a middle name.  For some reason, this seemed important to me (and it seemed she wanted to share some things) so I began to listen.

Her parents were both professionals.  They didn’t have much time for kids but felt obligated to have a few.  Her parents never asked how school was going.  She learned that the only way to get attention was to be perfect … but she admitted that even that wasn’t enough.  Her parents never spent any time with her as a young adult.  Never visited her in college and when they died, my friend felt a sense of relief — she no longer had to work so hard to have parents.

I often wonder what my children will take from their childhood.  The crazy italian behaviors I have?  The dancing in the kitchen, shower, grocery store or movie theatre?  Will they think that I was working too hard to make ends meet?  Will they feel worried about money?  Will they feel the total love and openness (to a fault) that I base my life on?  Will they do good in the world where I couldn’t?

I have another friend whose childhood was also really tough, yet he’s learned to look at it, understand that some of his behaviors come from that time and he’s become a very different person and partner than his parents.

In listening the other night, I found a commonality that I couldn’t ignore:

Both my friends found people in their lives to use as role models.  Sure, they weren’t their parents, but it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that learned, by watching others, how to have grace, joy and love in their lives.

My friends found causes bigger than themselves.  They invested their lives in helping others and in turn, that’s helped them grow as people and as partners.  They also both intentionally set their sights on building chains of days filled with compassion and grace.

As I was driving home I felt two things. First, I was thankful for my childhood (as wacky as it was) because it made me who I am today. Second, I felt sad that so many people are not like my friends. They never figure out how to find that love or “fix” that childhood and they end up doing things that have horrible, horrible results.

How can we ignore that there is nothing more precious and important than figuring out how to help our (collective “our”) children?  How can we help those blank slates, find that which many of us know in our hearts — that there is love for all of us and we can all fit in?  I’m not sure of the answer, but now it’s on my mind …

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

“… You better not shout, I’m telling you why – Dunkin’ Donuts is coming to town!”

Life is full of mysteries.  How do we fall in love?  How do we learn about the speed of light?  How did a comedian become our State Senator or a wrestler our Governor?  But the biggest mystery to me?  Why has it taken so long for Dunkin’ Donuts to re-infiltrate the land of 10,000 lakes.

We’ve been graced with Krispy Kreme and local donut shops.   Remember Winchell’s Donuts? The Donut Connection? But, all that’s about to change because Dunkin’ Donuts has signed an agreement to re-open their first location in the downtown Rochester Kahler Hotel.  What a great message that is for the guests from around the world that when they visit Rochester for world-class medical treatment, they can experience the heart-stopping taste of Dunkin Donuts!

What’s the big deal, you may wonder?  Why am I writing about donuts when it’s likely I don’t eat them?  (I don’t)  It’s not the puffed up bread smothered in sugar.   Or those cream filled donuts covered with chocolate.  Nope.  If you must know, the real reason people fall in love with Dunkin’ is not because of their sugared pieces of dough, it’s  because of their coffee.  You can actually get the best cup of coffee at Dunkin’ – and for about a $1.00!

As opposed to the yuppie coffee shops on every corner (where I’ve got to spend close to $5.00 for some java), Dunkin’ is less in your face, less formal and frankly, I can actually read the menu.  Dunkin’ has small, medium and large.  Not Grande’ or Super-sized or whatever those names are.  Of course, we can always resort to going to a gas station for that burnt or even watered down coffee.  Or, (gasp) we could go to McDonald’s (please … there are 10 billion reasons why I won’t go to McDonald’s for coffee!).  No, we need the people’s coffee.  We need Dunkin’ coffee!

So, Rochester … enjoy your Dunkin’ and please encourage someone who falls in love there to invest some money and bring that coffee up here to Minneapolis.  It’s our turn for the orange and pink!  Get out those DD Reward Cards! 🙂

Have a fun day!

Lunch with my Dad and afterwards.

I had a break in the action yesterday (kids with their dad for a few hours), so I was able to have a one-on-one lunch with my dad.  We had a very open conversation about life.  He did the usual parent thing, asking questions about my health, the health of my kids, what’s new with them, etc.  I told him something that I know he wasn’t excited about – a direction in my life.  But, he didn’t push too hard.  He listened to my point and we moved on.

When I came home my daughter talked to me about how emotional it was to attend the visitation of a friends’ mother who had just died.  She was open about her feelings and for a second, shed the teenage cloak to give me a big, tight hug. I could tell she was reminded of the significance of the parent/child relationship.

Both these events made me ask myself, “How can I keep an open, non judgmental relationship with my children so they feel comfortable talking to me about any questions, problems and joys they experience in life?”

I try (very much the operative word today) to be an approachable parent.  I want to encourage my  kids to feel safe and comfortable bringing up sensitive concerns – even those they know I may not approve of.  And, in trying to do so, I follow a couple of basic tenants:

1. I try to have a non-judgmental outlook on life in general (even when I want to be judgmental!).  Kids model the good and not-so-good in us.  So, I try not to react externally or get upset about life or situations they might bring up.  I try not to push my agenda too hard.  So, for example, when they come home with a low grade or tough situation occurred at school, I avoid, “How could that possibly have happened?”  And, instead say, “That must feel bad.  Can we figure out what happened?”

2. I try to listen, listen and listen more.  This means I really have to hear the feeling behind the words.  I have to focus – not multi-task.  In the car, it’s as simple as turning off the radio and opening my ears.

3. I try to remain calm in the face of things I don’t “approve” of.  This one is actually the toughest one for me.  I use a lot of deep breaths!  It goes back to the judgmental streak I’m working on!

4. One thing I’m not as good at is using my humor.  But, when I do, I see how much more open my kids are.

Thanks for lunch Dad and for being a good role model yesterday!  I think I needed it for dealing with my kids and just life in general!

Have a safe day!

Here are my “thoughts” on this Hallmark holiday.

First let me say that for many (including me) this is one of the most polarizing holidays of the year.   Full of pressure and total disappointment. Look, even Christmas can be enjoyed by all – the Christians get their holiday and the Jews get a day off to bowl, eat Chinese and head to the movies!

I’ve had more than a decade of not enjoying this holiday.  But I had an experience with someone yesterday that changed all that for me.  Let me tell you yesterday’s realization and my love story.

Once, so many years ago I can’t even count, I met a man.  Not at a time I was planning (we never are) but it happened.  He was not someone anyone expected I would be with, including me.  I spent a lot of energy trying to make it “work” and I never could figure out why it didn’t, because we “loved” each other.  But, yesterday I was talking with someone and for some odd reason (maybe for today’s post), it hit me – this relationship did not last for one big reason – neither one of us was willing to be transparent, ask for love and more importantly to love ourselves.

Self-love is like a seed.  It starts out tiny and unnourished.  And, no matter when it is watered (as a child or finally as an adult) the seed will grow into something amazing (or not, if you so choose).   Watering the seed is not all that difficult.  It’s simply asking yourself, “How can I love myself today?”

Some days, it might be something very simple or nothing but the question.  Some days it might be changing something very big and difficult.  But, the goal is the same – thinking about loving yourself every day.

I look at my children and see their self-love.  They are full of kindness, joy and love for those around them.  They are not afraid to love others because they love themselves.  They felt love growing up.  Not everyone does.

My kids find beauty in the world in a way I never did at their age.  It’s not perfect.  They’re not perfect. Nothing is.  But you just can’t pretend on this one.  Look, anyone can run a business, get good grades, or have lots of outside accomplishments.  But, to love yourself, so you can be transparent and let love in … now that’s “a gift that keeps on giving.” (See, I can get into the Hallmark thing!).

So, ask yourself how you can love yourself today.  Then, to solidify that self-love, find someone who can receive your love.  It need not be a partner – it can be a friend, a stranger, the mail person … it doesn’t matter.  Every day (not just this goofy day) should be about love.  Love – allowing love for yourself, being loved, showing love and totally giving love away!

Have a wonderful day!  I’ll see you at the 50% off chocolate sale tomorrow!

I just want to be me.

This is the tricky part of life – finding the place(s) where you can just be you.  Where you don’t have to worry what someone is thinking when you are who you feel like being at that very moment.  Do you know what I mean?

I am pretty much “what you see is what you get.”  But, recently I’ve noticed times when I’ve not felt safe or comfortable being me. These are usually times when the person I’m with is doing what I’ve been talking about lately — pointing outward, rather than inward.  When the person is being judgmental about who I am when really they should be looking at what they don’t like about themselves or who they are in the relationship.

I’ve done this too, of course.  I’ve judged people before I’ve known them.  I did it this weekend at my meditation class.  A woman came in for the class and I immediately thought she was out-of-place … didn’t look like someone who would meditate.  I was totally wrong but judged her from the outside and by her initial actions.

I’m frustrated with a situation where someone is doing that to me.  I keep changing who I am to try to meet the person because it is clear that who I am is not working for the other person.  But, what happens is that when I’m not true or genuine, I end up being frustrated with myself and resentful – and it gets worse, not better.  (It also makes me want to run super fast in the other direction!)

The good news is, we can change those situations.  We can decide to be our authentic self and act in accord with that.  And if someone doesn’t like it – well we can walk or they can too!

Being true to yourself takes courage.  It requires you to be introspective, sincere, open and intellectually honest.  It does not mean that you are inconsiderate or disrespectful of others. It means that you will not let others define you or make decisions about who you are or what you should be doing.

So today, be true to the very best of you.  Be ok with where you are at right now.  Live your life consistent with your highest values and dreams.   Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to change or be something else.  If you need to change, it will occur when you are looking internally – not when someone is pointing a finger at you.

Have a great day!