Archive of ‘Sentiments’ category

Cheers to the “Easy Friends”

Cheers to the friendships that come easy | The Champagne Supernova

I recently went for a walk with a girlfriend who has a son in Kindergarten.

Despite the young age, there was already “drama” in the Kindergarten class among the boys.

This was typical six year-old drama: excluding someone on the playground, not sharing snacks at lunch, and threatening to disinvite a classmate to a birthday party.


My friend’s son is laid back and easily makes friends. However, because the ongoing drama involved his small circle of buddies in his class, it was hard for him to get away from it.

One of the little boys constantly stirred up drama. His name was Mark. Mark was moody and my friend’s son was always worried Mark would get mad at him about something dumb. The other boys walked on eggshells around Mark.

Also involved in this circle of friends was a kid named Owen. Owen was easygoing and fun. Owen and my friend’s son had a lot in common. Owen wasn’t dramatic.

One day, my friend asked her son what the deal was with Mark and why there was so much drama.


    There is Magic in the Mundane

    Each night before bed, my kids and I share with each other our best and worst parts of the day.

    We call this tradition “best part, worst part.”

    We never miss “best part, worst part,” not even when we’re away on vacation.

    Usual worst parts: getting stuck in traffic, getting to the carpool line late, and having a meltdown (the kids, not me.)

    Usual best parts: playing outside, eating pizza for dinner, and “camping out” in the living room.

    Here’s the thing.


      Signing Up to Volunteer Doesn’t Mean I’m Signing Up to Be a Slave

      Me signing up to volunteer for an organization doesn't mean I want to be a slave | The Champagne Supernova

      I love volunteering.

      Love it, love it, love it.

      Unfortunately, there is sometimes a poison that comes from the top that makes it less fun.

      People who run volunteer organizations, PTA events, and other organizations where the members are donating their time and money take heed:

      Volunteers are not slaves.

      After college, I joined a bunch of local volunteer and professional organizations because I was crazy I didn’t have kids or a family and, therefore, plenty of time on my hands.

      I made rich friendships and wonderful memories. It felt good to give back to the community and learn from civic leaders.


      While I certainly didn’t need a pat on the back, it would have been nice for some of the higher-ups at the organizations to once say “thank you” or acknowledge everyone else’s hard work instead of clogging my social media feed with self-indulgent posts about how awesome they are.

      For them to remember the volunteers who were gratuitously donating their time and opening their wallets and essentially the backbones of the organization.

      But no.


        Dear World: I Will Not Be Shamed Because I’m a Woman Who Likes to Work

        I am a women who works because I like to and not because I have to | The Champagne Supernova


        I was at a meeting for a volunteer organization last month when I met a woman we’ll call Kristen. She was assigned to my small group and she was new to the area. Kristen was outgoing but loud, and it was obvious she was trying to make friends, which nobody could blame her. We went around the circle and briefly introduced ourselves so Kristen could get acquainted.

        I went last.

        “I’m Jen. I’m married with two young daughters and I live in Tampa. I work part time as an attorney and part time as a blogger. I joined this organization to meet like-minded women and give back to the community.” 

        Kristen looked at me and scoffed. Then she snorted.  (more…)

          How to Lose Your Life

          How to ruin your life | The Champagne Supernova

          I took the kids to get ice cream after school last week and left my phone inside the car because it was dead.

          We brought the ice cream to our tables. After about 10 minutes, an employee went out of her way to approach me and tell me how refreshing it was to see a parent in the store actually engaging with their kids instead of ignoring them and being glued to the phone while the kids either sat alone or entertained each other.

          I felt guilty saying “thank you” to the employee because I knew the truth.

          That if my phone hadn’t been dead, I likely would have been there with it in the store checking emails, responding to text messages, and scrolling through my Facebook and Instagram feeds like what I was doing couldn’t wait until later.


            Dear Single Parents: You Are Seen

            Dear Single Parent: You are Seen | The Champagne Supernova

            I was annoyed when I received the text.

            Hey Jen. I won’t be at the office this morning. Emma woke up with pink eye and I need to take her to the doctor. I’ll see if my babysitter can watch her this afternoon. I’ll be in as soon as I can. 

            I’ll admit I probably rolled my eyes.


              What Childhood Poverty Really Looks Like

              Being raised in poverty in America | The Champagne Supernova

              My grandmother was an elementary school teacher in Cambria County, Pennsylvania (Read: poor!) for over 30 years before she retired. One of her more noteworthy memories happened at Christmastime nearly 40 years ago.

              Her students participated in a “Secret Santa” gift exchange. While all of the other students were opening up neat presents like baseball cards, knock-off Barbie dolls, and Silly Putty in the middle of the class party (schools were allowed to have Christmas parties back then), one kid, John, gave his assigned pal, Donnie, a small bag of potato chips because that’s all his mother could afford.


                You are Where You’re Supposed to Be

                I was sitting in the Courthouse cattle-call room waiting for a hearing to begin when my colleague’s casual statement left me hurting for days.

                There’s a group of ten of us going to dinner over Labor Day weekend since Lauren Strickland and her husband will be in town. Any idea where I can rent a party bus to drive us around?

                “Wait, what?” I thought.

                As background, I went to law school with Lauren and we were close friends (in my mind) before she and her family relocated to Houston to accommodate her husband’s job in the oil industry.

                Until she moved three years ago, Lauren and I spent a good amount of time together. I hosted her son’s first birthday party at my house when her own home was under construction and arranged a meal train when her mother was in a car accident.


                  What an Eighty Year Old Wished She Knew in Her Thirties

                  My grandmother turned 83 years old in May. She was born in the bedroom of a small house in Minersville, a lower-income neighborhood of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, highly populated with workers of the then-thriving Bethlehem Steel mill. Despite her own parents’ lack of education, my grandmother and her brother went on to earn college degrees and both of them subsequently became elementary school teachers.

                  My grandmother served her local community as a teacher for three decades before she retired in 1993. Always passionate about politics and making a positive influence, she was on the local Housing Authority and served as the Johntown’s Deputy Mayor.

                  Despite all of her successes, my grandmother also faced many hardships. Raised a devout Catholic, my grandmother has been married three times, which was taboo for her generation from a religious and social standpoint (although it is worth noting that she and my step-grandfather have been married four decades- third time’s the charm!) Her first husband, my biological grandfather, left her with year-old twin daughters on Christmas Eve in 1957 when he told her he was heading to the grocery store to purchase cream soda and he’d “be right back.”


                    Prank Calls: Don’t Hate the Prankster, Hate the Prank

                    Funny stories about making prank phone calls | The Champagne Supernova

                    There are many reasons why I didn’t get into a Top-10 law school and prank calling during my undergrad days is one of them.

                    I mean, seriously, what else did we have to do?

                    In the true spirit of being a freshman and “how college ought to be,” I lived in the dorms during my first year at the University of Florida.

                    (For all you Gators, this was Trusler Hall… right across from Hume. It had a Blimpie Sub shop in the common area and it was walking distance to the Reitz Union… where we would use electronic funds from our Gator 1 cards to buy booze at the Baja Tortilla Grill – sorry, Mom and Dad!)

                    It was 2000 and I was fresh out of high school and equipped with important things like body glitter, butterfly hair clips, an AIM screen name, and was “living on the edge” by downloading music illegally on Napster.

                    In those days, we didn’t have cell phones, social media, or other distractions.

                    Each dorm room was equipped with a land line. For whatever (dumb) reason, the University published a “phone book” that included the telephone numbers of each student who was living in on-campus housing.

                    So if you wanted another student’s phone number and that student lived on campus, all you had to do was look up their name in this phone book and viola! you had it.

                    Our dorm was quite social and I met some of my best friends there, two of which I still see and speak to regularly.

                    In lieu of doing responsible things like studying and doing homework, we would often gather around each others’ rooms in our pajamas, get fat from Pokey Stix, and prank call the shizzz out of other people, courtesy of this phone book.

                    Our pranks were so good that they deserve a regular blog feature. I really wish I could make a living out of prank calling.

                    One prank stands out in particular.


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