Archive of ‘Sentiments’ category

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.


      How to Embrace the “In-Between”

      How to embrace the "in-between" times in your life as a mother | The Champagne Supernova

      In between.

      Haven’t we felt it before? The emotional purgatory of not knowing what we want from our lives?

      Adults are not immune.

      Career women are not immune.

      Mothers and wives are not immune.

      These feelings are real, but what do we do about them? Freak out or embrace the emotions? Do something for just ourselves?

      This is a guest post from my friend, Molly James, who reached out to me about the topic based on her own personal experience. Yes, yes, yes- I thought- as so many women can relate to these feelings but feel shame and not want to acknowledge them.

      Thank you, Molly, for sharing your truth.


        The True North: Be Who You Are

        True North:

        North that is calculated by using an imaginary line through the Earth rather than by using a compass: the direction that leads to the North Pole.

        [Merriam-Webster dictionary]

        The direction from any point along a meridian toward the North Pole. Also called: geographic north.

        [The Free Dictionary by Farlex]

        Non-negotiable, since the compass will show where it is, relative from your current position, and it will never change.

        [Urban Dictionary]

        In his 2007 leadership book with the same name, author Bill George describes the True North as the internal compass that guides a person successfully through life. It represents who you are as a human being at your deepest level. It is your orienting point- your fixed point in a spinning world. It helps you stay on track toward authenticity.

        Nobody seems to know or care which way is north these days.

        The last week in the news has been particularly unsettling and my own True North tells me to avoid the television. In the wake of the white supremacy rally in Virginia that left several dead, watching the news and reading the divisive information feeds on social media is disturbing.

        It might be reality, but it doesn’t feel good to see or hear and I’m sick of the negativity. There are plenty of wonderful things going on in the world to choose to listen to.


          Adventures in Lawyering: Being Right

          Photograph from To Kill a Mockingbird from

          I got sucked into one of my more notable cases shortly after I finished law school and entered the work force.

          It involved feuding next door neighbors and was venued in Miami-Dade county, which meant I had the treat of riding on planes, staying the night in swanky hotels, and eating at fancy restaurants when I had to travel from Tampa for hearings and other case-related events.

          Both of these neighbors were wealthy beyond comprehension and had money to burn on legal fees and costs.

          We will call them Hatfield and McCoy.

          Hatfield grew up poor and made a ton of money in the phosphate industry in the early 1990s. He was dishonest, generally disliked, and was on his fifth marriage by the time I got involved in the case.

          Hatfield accompanied his wife to her deposition (along with their private chauffeur), and introduced her to the group as “Lydia… my Trophy Wife.”

          (Lydia looked like a Playboy Bunny, so I guess she really was his Trophy Wife.)

          Hatfield only stayed at this home in Miami for two months out of the year and lived in California for the remainder. It was my understanding he also owned property in Martha’s Vineyard.


            Adventures in Lawyering Part Deux: Cleanup in the Garden Center

            Funny moments stories about being a lawyer | The Champagne Supernova

            Disclaimer. This story is crude and disgusting. But I just report the facts.

            Where many attorneys feel they are “too good” to work on the less “sexy” cases like slip and fall matters, I have a confession: They are not beneath me and I love them.

            99% of the time, slip and fall cases don’t involve sad things like death or catastrophic injuries. The person falls down, goes boom, gets back up, hires an attorney three days later, and starts treating with a chiropractor for “soft tissue injuries.” However, sometimes they can be more serious, which is why if you have experienced something similar to this, then it might be a good idea to get a lawyer involved (you could always use someone like this slip and fall lawyer Houston).

            Absent complicated health issues or outrageously high medical bills, slip and fall cases usually aren’t stressful and are a nice respite from the fatality, traumatic brain injury cases, or child molestation cases that are also found in my assignment list.

            So I’ll take ’em with a smile.

            Slip and fall plaintiffs are often “career plaintiffs” who make nice little wads of cash making claims in connection with other accidents including fender benders and other premises liability issues.

            Why work when you can get something for free? (I once had a plaintiff tell me it was foolish for him to work when he received disability benefits and could sit on the couch all day. He was young and fully capable of working a desk job but I guess he had a point…)

            Reading through their medical records is equally hilarious.

            I worked at a law firm that represented a large international retail chain. Most of the cases involving this client involved slip and fall events that happened in the stores.


              Loose Lips Sink Ships: You Can’t Tell a Kid Anything

              Kids have the biggest mouths and will say the most inappropriate things at the worst times | The Champagne Supernova

              Teachers always seem to have the best stories.

              Laughing through tears, one of my longtime friends, an elementary school teacher, told me about how one of her students provided her with a detailed play-by-play of their family vacation the Monday after Spring Break.

              Gory details the student’s parents would likely die if they knew she had disclosed.

              About how dad got locked out of the rental house in his “tightey-whitey” underwear when he went outside in the morning to get the newspaper.

              About how the student hated applying sunscreen to her mother’s back because of “all her moles that look like Cocoa-Krispie cereal.”

              And about how mom and dad got into an argument during dinner and mom called him a “stupid ass clown” in front of the student and her siblings.



                How to Talk to God

                MC Hammer A wise philosopher famously sang:

                We got to pray
                Just to make it today
                I said we pray(pray) ah, yeah, pray(pray)
                We got to pray
                Just to make it to pray
                That’s word, we pray.

                Yet so many people don’t want anything to do with prayers. They think they are foreign and reserved for religious fanatics.

                I can see where it’s hard asking for help in the midst of our shame and guilt.

                I’ll go first.

                I’m not perfect. Sometimes (lots of times) I cuss. I have regrets from the past and sometimes wonder if I’m fulfilling my life’s purpose. I might beat myself up over a flabby stomach or eating too much junk food. Or maybe I get snippy with a co-worker who didn’t deserve it. Perhaps I took a bad day at the office out on my husband when I got home. Or I feel like I’m screwing up my kids when I’m not in the mood to read them a book before bedtime. It may be that I lazily slipped Cool Ranch Doritos in their lunchbox instead of an organic, gluten-free granola bar.

                Don’t we all have our days where we are feeling “less-than”?


                  Life and Focusing on What Matters: The Give a Damn List

                  Create a Give a Damn List to help you balance the things and people that really matter | The Champagne Supernova

                  We have a limited number of damns in our lives.

                  Yet, we somehow end up giving them away on the dumbest, most insignificant things.


                  I can be a compulsive damn giver-outer.

                  Doling out the damns like Oprah gives away cars.

                  You get a damn!

                  That other person gets a damn!

                  Everyone’s getting a damn!

                  People who don’t really matter.

                  Things that are stupid.

                  Stuff that happened in the past that I can’t control.

                  I’ve had it.


                    Life: The Playing Field is Not Equal

                    Life is not always fair and we are not always on equal playing fields | The Champagne Supernova

                    We are not all on equal playing fields.

                    Life isn’t always fair and, for some, it will never be fair.

                    I observed this pretty early.

                    The summer between 7th and 8th grade, my parents moved me and my younger sister from private to public school in my hometown of DeLand, Florida.

                    Speaking from experience, the middle school years can be especially tough for adolescent girls. Probably tougher than high school. Already trying to figure out who I was and navigate my way through the world, I was now faced with starting from scratch at a new school where I didn’t know a soul.

                    I was terrified and didn’t want to be “The New Girl.”

                    The week before school started, I had my parents take me to the local mall so I could find a trendy Yaga t-shirt (which was actually too big) and Vans shoes (that looked ridiculous on my skinny legs) so I had something to wear on the first day that screamed, “I’M COOL. BE MY FRIEND.”

                    The first day of eighth grade was a success, mainly because I met a girl named Michelle in homeroom.

                    Introduced herself, acquainted me to other classmates, and made me feel at home. By lunchtime, we were already exchanging notes in class (we had three together!) and talking about which boys we thought were cute and how we hope we didn’t have to “dress out” in P.E. since it was just the first day.

                    Michelle and I instantly became best friends. We would even sign our notes “BFFLAENMW” which is middle school shorthand for “Best Friends For Life and Eternity No Matter What.”

                    It was the beginning of a serious friendship.


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