Tag Archives: family

Call Me, Maybe?

I was talking to my fabulous friend Amina the other day and she looked at me like I was bat.shit.crazy when I told her I frequently go a day or two without talking to anyone.

The fabulous Miss Amina and I

The fabulous Miss Amina and I aka Ebony & Ivory Divas 🙂

I’m notorious for taking “personal days” when I respond to no one and spend a day completely in my own company, ignoring the outside world.

Which she completely understands and occasionally does herself.

But she couldn’t understand that I would regularly go a whole day without texting or calling a friend or family member.

(Please note, she does NOT count Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform as acceptable substitutes for a text or phone call. As someone who works in marketing and uses most of these platforms daily, I strongly disagree, but will humor her for the sake of this post.)

Now, before you also think I’m some psychopathic introvert, let me explain.

Heeeeeere's Johnny!!

Heeeeeere’s Johnny!!

I talk to people every day. These interactions are usually at work, the gym, or the store. They aren’t always people I know personally. But I do talk to people!

I’ve never been a big phone talker.

When I was growing up we had one phone, in the kitchen, where everyone could hear you, so there was really no such thing as a private conversation.

As an adult, I worked for more years than I care to remember as a customer service rep and grew to despise speaking to anyone on the telephone.

That smiling face is a lie. Customer service is the worst.job.ever.

That smiling face is a lie. Customer service is the worst.job.ever.

And quite frankly, I don’t know if I’m going deaf in my old age or cell phone reception just sucks, but I feel like I can never quite hear anyone clearly when talking on the phone these days.

Rather than just “uh huh” and pretend I heard what was said (repeating myself is a huge pet peeve so I try my best not to make others do it) I’d rather just make plans to see you in person. It’s more fun that way anyway!

Her reaction did get me thinking though.

As I’m living alone again these days, if I disappeared, would anyone notice?

Thankfully I’m not a crazy cat lady (or a fan of cats period) so I’m not in any danger of dying and having my face eaten off.

Never, ever, ever!

Nevah, evah, evah!

But I think I might need to start interacting with my friends and family on a more regular basis and not just to make plans.

I don’t want to be that woman discovered dead after neighbors start complaining about a foul odor.

How about you guys?

Do you talk to someone every day?

Is it the same someone?

Do you call people just to say “hi”?

Would anyone notice if you disappeared for a couple days?

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Filed under etiquette, family, friendship, growing up

It Takes a Village

Hillary Clinton said it takes a village, and who am I to argue with Hillary??

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checks her PDA upon her departure in a military C-17 plane from Malta bound for Tripoli,  Libya

Sunday is that one day of the year when we take the time to say, “thank you” to the women who raised us.

(By the way, how about we start doing that a little more often?!?)

Which got me thinking about all the women who have influenced my journey through life.

There are two I feel I lost just before I needed them most:

Aunt Joan – I will always have questions for you. Things I wished I’d thought to ask before it was too late. But, I’ve started to realize, the world you grew up in was far, far different from the challenges I encounter today. Sometimes the choices I have the freedom to make are daunting. I wish you were here to talk to.

aunt joan

Grama Gloria – If the woman you raised is any indication, you were a force to be reckoned with. I wish I remembered you more. I wish I had the foresight to ask for your story. In my mind you will always be an adventurer. From what I hear, that’s not far off.

grama gloria (2)

There are those I still have the privilege to know and love:

Aunt DJ – There are no words for the strength of spirit I have witnessed over the years. I can only hope to one day approach life with the grace and class you exhibit every day.

me justin and aunt dj swimming

Mom – my crazy, smart mother, who knows more than I can ever hope to – which I will never admit (again). You taught me anyone can learn anything if they set their mind to it and put in the work. I can never express how truly you inspire me every day to be a better person.

4821

Barbara – my beautiful cousin who showed me family could be friends. You have taught me being vulnerable is a gift not all people receive. I only hope you know how very wondrous and fierce you are.

babs genie

Those who have shown me professionalism and class are NOT mutually exclusive:

Maura Deedy – the first real female work friend I had in the “professional” world, she taught me that you CAN be a rock star at work without throwing your fellow woman under the bus

Erika Cook – my first female boss. I might have been just a waitress but you set the standard that for 20 years has made me believe women can be supportive and caring of their subordinates. Shame on you 🙂

And last but certainly not least:

My girls – that seems like such a lame word for the women who have held me up and encouraged me over the years. “Girl” completely discredits the reckoning you encompass. You are so much more than words could ever describe. Imagine that! I’m at a loss for words!! You know who you are. I love you fiercely.

Just a sampling of the “girls” who warm my heart:

ange martini

bend over

me and amina

me and amber

me and rach

me and lindsey on the bridge

I thought long and hard about the women to include in this post. There are far, far, many more goddesses who have helped show me love and kindness on my journey. I honestly did not have room for you all. (I fully relish the excess and decadence this sentence implies.) But that does not mean, in any way, shape or form, that your presence has not been felt, nor made a significant difference in my life. It has. You are appreciated and loved. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart.

Are there women in your life who have lent a helping hand on your journey?

Tell them!!

Who do you owe a “thank you”?

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Filed under family, friendship, growing up

Thirty Life Lessons

There’s this great list from Glamour I kept on my fridge for years.

When I cut it out I don’t think I really understood it, but I figured they were things I could work towards (I was sixteen at the time).

There’s now an equally amazing book that came from said list, full of wonderful life lessons from awe inspiring women (my personal fave is from Maya Angelou).

I’m not 30. I’m 29.95 plus tax

As I approach my big 3-0 I’ve been thinking about all the life lessons I’ve personally learned along the way.

I’ve forgotten some of them from time to time.

A couple that I’m definitely old enough to know better!

So I figured I’d write down the top 30 lessons I’ve learned thus far and see if I could save someone else a little trouble 🙂

1.) Family is the most important thing. And it’s not just the family you’re born with.

2.) Stop making up stories explaining the events in your life and just except them. The more time your spend analyzing you life the less time you spend living it.

3.) If it seems too good to be true – it is.

4.) Always trust your gut. That niggling feeling that something isn’t quite right, is always right.

5.) Music is the miracle of life. It has the power to validate your feelings, make a bad day better, celebrate good times, nurse a broken heart, and help you keep on keepin’ on.

6.) Be honest. It’s hard. I know. If you don’t have the balls to be honest with others, at least be honest with yourself.

7.) No one is going to take care of you. Save your pennies and always have some “fuck you” money stashed away.

8.) Everyone has their own narrative and they are rarely EVER the same.

9.) Always be yourself. The most authentic version of yourself you can manage. Never EVER water down your personality for anyone. It’s the best part about you girl 😉

10.) My parents are truly amazing people.

Seriously! They rock!

11.) Talk is cheap. No matter what people SAY it’s what they DO that actually matters. So pay attention.

12.) You can fool yourself better than you can fool anyone else.

13.) Perception really is reality. There’s nothing you can do to change that, so stop wasting your time worrying about what other people think.

14.) Opportunity is usually disguised as hard work.

15.) Dogs are better than most people.

He might eat your shoes, but he’ll never do you wrong.

16.) This too shall pass is a true story. Good or bad, life changes on a dime. Always appreciate what you have.

17.) Stop trying to fast forward your life. Slow the fuck down and just take it all in. It really is all about the journey. Don’t get me wrong, goals are good, but it’s how you get there that really matters.

18.) Be BOLD. Ain’t nobody got time for that pansy ass shit. Figure out what you want and go for it.

19.) Credit cards are a slippery slope. Pay off your balance at the end of each month. You’ll save thousands in interest rates and countless headaches.

20.) Have an excellent tailor and hairdresser. They’ll make you look like a million bucks even when you can’t afford a cup of coffee. (For those of you in the area: Amber LaBorde at Visual Changes in Longmeadow, MA is beyond amazing and A Perfect Fit in Agawam, MA is the only tailor I’ve ever met who continually tries to save me money and does wonderful work with an unheard of turnaround.)

21.) Mind your manners. Especially if you’re sometimes socially challenged. Remembering what your Mama taught you will get you successfully through most interactions and keep you out of hot water.

22.) Read more. Books have lessons we’re all familiar with but hearing someone else’s troubles helps us actually learn them.

23.) A bra that fits right will change your life. Seriously go get fitted for one. I know, it’s awkward and weird but it’s worth it.

24.) Jealousy really is a monster. Keep an eye out for that bitch. She’ll sneak up on you if you’re not careful.

25.) Climbing a mountain will clear your head of all your worries. Even a small mountain 🙂

26.) Learn how to LET GO. (I have to admit I’m still working on this one. It’s super hard sometimes.)

27.) Expectations can be a dangerous thing to have. Manage yours well.

28.) Sex does NOT equal intimacy.

29.) Learn how to confront people effectively. Keeping emotions bottled up inside isn’t healthy, but neither is flying off the handle when you can’t take it anymore. Address your issues upfront and you’ll feel much better in the long run.

30.) A new pair of shoes can change your life.

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Filed under Change, dating, deal breakers, etiquette, family, following your dreams, growing up, inspiration, looking for love, sex

What would David Petano do?

I was recently reminded how awesome a human being my dad is.

Sunday being Father’s Day and all, I figured, why not dedicate today’s post to dear old Dad?

I went to Georgia to visit my brother and his fiance over Memorial Day weekend.

Downtown Columbus with my amazing little brother and his equally amazing fiance.

Dad was kind enough to drop me off and pick me up at the airport (no, that’s not what this post is about, but that was pretty awesome too!). On our way home, there was a woman sitting at the end of the off ramp with her hazard lights on. I didn’t even notice. Dad, however, stops, rolls down the window, and asks her if she’s okay. She happened to have someone on the way to help but that small act of kindness inspired me to “pay it forward”.

Dude, that sucks!

Later that day I was on my way to a BBQ at a friend’s house when I encountered a woman, broken down, on the side of the road with her two kids. Taking a page out of Dad’s book, I stopped to make sure she was okay. The look of amazement on her face, as she told me she had someone coming, told me I had indeed done the right thing. Dad has taught me so much over the years that I am continually amazed he has any pearls of wisdom left. From now on, I’ll be asking myself WWDPD more often.

What life lessons have you learned from your old man?

My super awesome Dad and I at Fenway

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Filed under etiquette, family, growing up, inspiration