I just finished my fifth reading of a web article called 26 Habits of Exceptionally Successful People  by Richard Feloni.   It’s based on the teachings of Andrew Carnegie & Napoleon Hill, both experts on success.  It’s not long, it’s not complicated, but every time I read it I feel like it’s almost futile for a person like me to be a person like that.   Or is it?

When you think about a successful person who do you picture?  I could guess right now who most of you would think of, but I’m not going on record with that.   But was it a man or a woman?  Was he or she wealthy?  Did you choose a celebrity, a relative, or a politician?

The article I read, and will probably read again, lists the number one habit of  success as “making up your mind about how much success you want, and defining the terms of that success.” I never really thought much about habit #1 before because I was busy lamenting over two other things listed that I’m NOT in the habit of doing: being decisive, and paying attention to details.

One other important nugget mentioned (#2) is to know your motives.  Of course!  And what does this mean to a person like me?   It means my motives need improvement.

Sometimes I feel like I was born with defective DNA because I am not motivated to have shiny kitchen counters, vacuumed car mats, balanced checkbooks, or show up on time, every time, with everything I need….  but maybe I just need the right motivation.   Is it possible to change?  That’s an entirely separate lecture, article, and reflection but let’s say it is.  What would be the motivation for that?  Self improvement?  Leading by example? Happiness?

This brings me back to #1 habit listed in the article – defining and measuring your own success.  Given that prescription, I will define my own success by getting up everyday and doing what needs to be done, fix it up and make it do, and going to bed with my husband and three teenagers safely home, whether they like it or not,  and getting the cat in for the night.

It might sound lazy but there you go — success.

If you’d like to read the piece by Feloni, click here and have a very successful Monday y’all.






I don’t like Mondays. Does anybody?  I’ve always preferred to take a day off on a Monday over a  Friday when I want a long weekend, because I don’t want my extended weekend to end with a Monday morning.

Apparently the US Government also felt that Monday mornings were better spent away from work when they passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Law.  But what I find most  interesting about this document is that the bill was signed as law in June of 1968, but it wasn’t put into effect until January 1st, 1971 which was 155 Mondays later.

And the United States isn’t the only country who has a problem with Mondays. According to a study by Marmite, a British food company, most of us find Mondays so difficult that we can’t even smile until after 11am, half of us will be late for work on Monday and  most and will moan for around 12 minutes during the day.

Marmite’s study also offers some ways to help fight the Monday blues.  Recommendations include watching television, having sex, shopping, and eating chocolate.  I wonder how much money the spent figuring that out?

And the music industry proves the point even further with an abundance of music about Mondays, and none of it uplifting. Here are some, with links to the music videos..

I Don’t Like Mondays – The Boomtown Rats

Rainy Days and Mondays –  The Carpenters

Manic Monday – The Bangles

Monday Monday – The Mamas and Papas

Blue Monday – Fats Domino

But all is not lost with Mondays.  I did find a couple of good things. Historically Monday it’s the least rainy day of the week and it’s also the best day to buy a car.  That might be because most people shop for cars on the weekend, making salespeople happier on Monday from a great sales weekend.  Or, it’s possible that they sold no cars over the weekend  and are more desperate to meet a quota, but either way…

So my afternoon of research about Mondays has led me to this.  You should take Mondays off whenever possible, eat chocolate, have sex, enjoy the sunshine and go shopping.   When explained that way, Mondays don’t seem so bad.

Time for a Change in the Time

Messages Image(596457414)

    I am exhausted today, and probably will be for the next week.   And it’s just an hour right?  It shouldn’t be such a big deal to move the clock up, or back an hour, but is there really a problem with daylight?

In 1895 a man named George Hudson, for very selfish reasons, started this whole thing because he didn’t like darkness after work – it limited his bug collecting time.   His job as a postal worker in New Zealand ended in the evening and as we all know, winter daylight is shorter.  There was less time for George to walk around after work with a net and catch bugs.   Now to be fair he was a big deal bug collector, but come on!   He requested  a change in the time of day by submitting a written request to the guy in charge of New Zealand and voila! That was the first country to have Daylight Savings Time (DST).   Our buddy  George was given an award in 1927 by which time the earth was rife with time changes.

In the United  States, during and after WWI and WWII,  there were some acceptable uses for Daylight Savings Time.  But, after WWII the regulation and practicality flipped quite a bit across the country.  In the 1960’s, our transportation industry was a mess because the entire country wasn’t using the same time within the time zones, making schedule keeping a nightmare so federal regulation was again put in place.  And then in the 1970’s, the US energy crisis also required DST tweaking in order reduce the need for electricity by providing more daylight evening hours.

Sine then, Scientists, Universities, and Government Agencies have spent hundreds of millions of our dollars in research to determine whether or not DST is something we non bug collectors still need.   The results are unanimous     more research is needed.

Welcome to the USA.

So let’s go back for a minute to George Hudson, one man who liked bugs and who wrote to the guy in charge.  George changed the way the planet keeps time.   I bet I’m not the first, or only person to think it’s time for another change.  Instead of back and forth with one hour year after year can’t we  just make one permanent 30 minute adjustment across the planet and put the whole business to rest?  I guess we need a man like George Hudson again.

And I need a nap.

You Crazy Moms




This morning while stopped at a traffic light I watched a mom on a rant. It was my neighbor actually, who is a great mom to a great kid, most of the time. She was clearly annoyed with her daughter, whose gaze went everywhere except to her mother’s face. I could feel the push and pull between the two of them; the mother talking and talking without pause for her daughter to speak, and the girl, waiting for a chance to defend herself but relenting to one long sigh that went nicely with her rolling eyes. It was a clear case of the mother needing to be heard verses the girl wishing mother would just shut up. Of course it’s possible, even likely that the girl was thinking about lunch with her friends, or about a boy. I’m pretty sure she burst from the car as soon as they pulled up in front of the school and she didn’t look back, except to glare. But more importantly she won’t remember a single thing that was said in the car.   Of this I am certain.

The first thing I did when the mom/daughter duo passed by me at the traffic light was smile, happy it wasn’t me. It could have been, but it wasn’t, at least not this morning. I only had a 15 second glimpse of the scene in the minivan, the mom’s hand waving in the air, her unpainted face stuck in a grimace, a mom who’d had her fill of back talk and excuses, of lousy attitudes and empty promises from her teen. And the teenager, whose body was in the car and whose mind was a million miles away.  I get it.

The fight is exhausting.

We give them unsolicited advice. We ask what they’re up to when we already know.    We make punishments ten times larger than the offense calls for, and then when we’re too weary to follow through with the consequences, we grant them amnesty “this one time.”   Is it possible that we make them as crazy as they make us?

If there were a job posted that listed the qualifications, expectations, consequences, and pay of a mom, nobody would interview. You’d have to be crazy to take that position! But maybe that’s just it. Crazy. Yes, it is crazy to expect that their agenda, at 16 years old, could even remotely match ours. It is crazy to think that she could understand how badly I want her to mature into a decent, loving and lovable human, one who makes good choices and contributes well to society. And, it is crazy to think that I can remember high school the way she sees it today. It’s all a little nutty.

So if we are crazy, that explains the scene in the van right?  Maybe. But here’s what I also know.   The same arm that I saw waving like mad as their minivan passed my car this morning is the same arm that  will hold the girl from harms way at any cost, and that same grimacing face spewing ultimatums in the car is the same face that will say “I love you, even when you make me crazy, I love you.”

So if you lose your cool once in a while, if you know a mom who goes a little bonkers from time to time, or if you look in a minivan at the school drop off and see a mom on a rant, rest assured that this is because crazy is part of the job description.

Let’s face it; you wouldn’t get the job any other way.

Family Meetings


Ah… the family meeting.  Have you ever tried to have one?  In our house we all gather around to discuss things like curfews, allowance, chores and bad behavior.  I know I could speak to them all separately about this stuff, but I’ve leaned that it’s much better to have a  witnesses because inevitably, somebody will fail at what’s expected and offer the excuse , “But mom, you never said that.”

But indeed, I did.

What annoys me the most about these family meetings is how everybody nods their heads and says exactly what I want to hear at the exact moment I want to hear it.    Do they know in advance that they’re not going to do one single thing we talked about?   Should I remain hopeful that when they look at me and nod that finally, they actually “get me?”

Let’s face it, they don’t.

Throughout the years I’ve called these family meetings and said things like this:   “I’m shutting of the internet at night;  if you want to borrow something from me you may, but only if you give me something valuable as a deposit,” and “please put things away after you’re done with them.”   You might recognize these results.


The internet

Me.  “No internet after 10pm because none of you are getting enough sleep.” 

Them: ” You’re right mom.  We understand.”

                           One night after I put my policy into place

Husband:  “I haven’t gotten to where I can shut down the internet by each device yet, so just leave it on.”


Them:  “Mom, where are the scissors?”

Me:   “I will let you have them for a dollar deposit.”

                          The next day.  

Me:  “Where are my scissors?”

Them:  “I thought I’d just keep them.  It’s only like, a buck, right?”

Cleaning Up

Them:   “Where’s the honey?”

Me:   “It’s in the shed in the back of the yard.”

Them:  “Why?  Because I didn’t put it away?”

Me:  “Yes.”

Them:  “That’s okay, I’ll just use sugar.”

I thought she couldn’t live without honey in her tea.   Seems she can.  The honey bear is still sitting it the shed in the back yard.  

I’ll get it in the spring. 




I Am Mom

I am your sunshine

Who’s your   sunshine?

Recently, in a somewhat spirited conversation with my daughter, I was told that giving her advice “Isn’t your job.”   Of course without missing a beat I explained, again somewhat spiritedly, that giving advice is indeed my job and I continued to list other things in my job description

I won’t repeat it for you, because you’d tune me out just like she did.  But, I would like to name the top five things that I (am moms all over the world ) do, which teenagers forget about and for which I know they are eternally grateful, even if they don’t show it.

I potty trained them.  Without me they would  probably figure it out on their own but I think I am owed a little gratitude for setting them up for bathroom success.  Not to mention all the diaper changes and ‘accident management’ that I’ve provided.

I find the phone, the purse, the keys, the money,  the shoes, the permission slips, concert tickets, and the coat, to name a few.

I braid hair, trim hair, find hair elastics,  dye hair,  put it  in a bun, curl it, straighten it, even try to french braid (even though I stink at it) because you asked me to,  and then I suffer your bad moods when I fail.

I taught you the alphabet, how to count,  how to ride your bike, even how to clean the bathroom, but I guess you forgot that last part.

I am  your biggest fan, bar none.  I  go to  recitals,  shows, sports matches, I watch your cartwheels, I love your poetry, hang your artwork, and tolerate your non-stop singing and dancing when I’d rather be reading a book.  I am the cheerleader who encourages you to try when you want to stop, and I am there to understand when you’ve had all you can stand of trying.

I am mom.




Weather Words



“That was some storm,” was the consensus among those shoveling and blowing snow from their driveways and cars in my neighborhood yesterday.   It had a winter storm name, Jonas, but mostly we called it a blizzard.

In 1983 there was a Megalopolitan Storm in NJ.   Because the national weather service wasn’t naming winter storms back then there’s little other frame of reference but as far as I know, it was the only Megalopolitan storm on record.

the February ’83 snowstorm was the biggest snowstorm of record in Philadelphia, eeking out the 21.0″ snowstorm that everyone remembers from Christmas 1909.

That was a written in 2010 in a “blast from the past” article about Philadelphia storms.   I don’t want to be adversarial but exactly who, in 2010, was part of the ‘everybody’ that remembers a blizzard from 1909?   Hmmm.

In 2014 we had a fabulous snow storm that was called a  bombogenesis?    Like the Megalopolitan of 1983 it had no other name .  If you paid attention in 9th grade English you know that the word means “bomb” for explosive, and “genesis” for beginning.    I also heard it called an Exploding NorEaster but in 2014 a Philadelphia meteorologist  used the word bombogenesis in a weather report and since then the term is not so uncommon here on the east coast.

Somebody needs to think up a term for the surge of shopping that comes before a storm.    There must be some measurable atmospheric pressure changes in the supermarket right before the wind kicks up.   This is one of my favorite reactions to a weather forecast gone wonky  Crazy Weather Map


The First Storm of 2016

Stormy Skies               Back to school after winter break –  It is a Monday _  7 AM

A Perfect Storm


“Life isn’t fair,” is what I said,

This morning they wouldn’t get out of bed.

“I don’t make the rules,” I tried to reason,

But this was  teenage high-school treason.

“How about breakfast?” I offered a smile,

While they protested, rank and file.

“Fine,” I said, my optimism waning,

“Crap!” they exclaimed – “Is it (bleepin’) raining?

“Just go, you’ll see, it won’t be so bad,”

They shot me with hate rays for making them mad.

They never once waned in their grouchy teen ways,

I know they’ll be pleasant one of these days.

As they walked out the door,

I said Sayonara,

I put sugar in my tea,

and the 80’s

on Pandora.





New School Year

It’s back to school time and my favorite moment of every day is 7:36 AM when…

Theory –   everybody has what they need for the day and is happily off doing their job as high school students.

Practice – they are suffering through a ridiculously early start time missing sleep, homework, and breakfast.

Reality –  if my phone has no text messages, it’s a good morning.

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” – Albert Einstein.  Can we please bring Albert to the next school board meeting?  Or Father Guido Sarducci?


Ducks on my Dashboard (okay they’re turtles)



There are three rubber ducks in my car, each a different color.

I took a seminar once about color and personality  and at the time my personality was called orange, so I  assigned the orange duck to my oldest daughter because  she’s the most like me.   The other two girls have a specific duck too, but for other reasons.

When we’re in the car and two of them are at “high argument” status, I arrange them accordingly, and when the argument is over, I lay them down due to battle fatigue. If one of the girls does something special (like empties the dishwasher without being asked) her duck gets alone time and the others get put away for a bit because let’s face it, at that moment I have a favorite.

My daughters all understand the duck system and normally all three of them are on display but sometimes one finds herself riding in the console. The duck punishments are never long but it gets the point across that mom is not happy.  It’s on those occasions they soemtimes ask what they can do to get out of the console and back on the dashboard.  I say, “Well, why are you in the console?”, which usually  leads us right into a conversation about better behavior followed by a slow and deliberate climb of the duck to the coveted center spot.  I know this sounds a little crazy and maybe it is, but parenting teens requires creativity, patience, persistence and anything that works – even if it’s a bunch of rubber ducks.