Tag Archives: Call Me Crazy

Social Media: The Great Uniter and Divider

It goes without saying that social media has become a place for us all to voice our opinions in the hopes that if we “shout” loud and long enough, we will be heard.

This is not, of course, a new phenomenon… you know, the idea of expressing ourselves.  It’s been going on since the beginning of time and is definitely the reason why countries like the United States made sure to include freedom of speech in our Constitution without having to fear some despot would chop off our heads. I know, terrible image so here is a rainbow with a unicorn to counteract it…Rainbow and Unicorn

Anyway, in theory, the idea of freedom of speech is a fantastic concept. We can say whatever we want…whenever we want, right?

In reality, though, it doesn’t play out so great especially these days on social media. And if the past week of monumental U.S. Supreme Court decisions and debates in state capitals throughout the South hasn’t proven that I don’t know what will.

I am not here to argue for or against any of the hot issues du jour, but I am here to plead for common decency as I became yet one more victim to another human being’s very mean and cruel spirit via social media. I am talking a message of such hate that I couldn’t sleep after reading it. It was only 5 words long but I am telling you they were the ugliest 5 words I have ever had directed at me personally. And while I know I have to ultimately feel sorry for anyone that feels it is necessary to use Twitter, Facebook or any of the thousands of online outlets to make such horrible statements, it still hurts me to my core.

If you don’t know me personally, don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook and have never read any of my blogs until now, then I will tell you that I am a rather tongue-in-cheek kind of gal. I simply try, as my tagline claims, to keep things real one day at a time.

I suppose my definition of “real” is mine and mine alone, but I am overall a good person who is just trying to get through each day with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. I know, very corny but true and it is the reason I embraced social media years ago. Sure, I wanted to spread the word a little faster and easier about the baked goods business I had at the time, but I am a people person and to me that is what social media is about…the people, especially the ones we might otherwise never meet.

So, call me crazy but…when I saw what was a very disturbing message from someone on my Call Me Crazy Maybe But fan page after the #SCOTUS gay marriage decision, I seriously questioned closing all of my social media accounts. I know, I shouldn’t ever give one person that kind of power, but I definitely didn’t feel like smiling or singing the rest of the day.

The following morning while I was still feeling my social media sting, I was compelled to do something with the overwhelming disappointment I had regarding such a hateful message. I am smart enough to know I will never change anyone’s opinions on such matters, but I was still curious about the person behind the message.

I checked out the woman’s Facebook page (yes, I was kind of shocked that it was a woman) and it wasn’t filled with what I expected…more hate and disdain. It was actually a page filled with messages that if I didn’t know better was from a person with great compassion and no tolerance for ignorance especially this one…Ignorance is the tragedy

Side note: The source for the photo above was the Single Parents of Children With Autism Facebook Page but they had nothing to do with the woman that posted it.

I guess the problem is the woman who sent the message to me wants all of us to walk a day in her shoes as a parent with an autistic child but doesn’t appear to be willing to do the same for others, most obviously anyone who is part of the LGBT community.

Ignorance is the true tragedy of our society ladies and gentlemen and I wish more than anything I could sprinkle some magic pixie dust and make it disappear into thin air. And, yes, that does make me a dreamer as well as a realist.

A few months ago I wrote a blog about two women that I met through a local business organization who were finally able to get married in Florida after the U.S. District Court officially made it legal in our state (Brenner v. Scott). As I mentioned in the blog, I was so honored to have been there to witness their union.  And I didn’t receive a single negative comment on that blog nor on any of the social media pages that it was posted.

I do remember, though, someone asking me whether I was afraid to “put it out there” that I was in support of gay marriage and how it might affect the business I now work for.

My response?

If I only did business with people that shared every…single…one…of…my…beliefs I honestly would have no one to do business with. Isn’t that what we were supposed to learn in kindergarten, play nicely in the sandbox?

I know major companies were very quick to show their support of the historic gay marriage decision…big, well established companies with deep roots in Americana like Sears

 

CokeKFC

Levis

I have to wonder if the haters that are gonna hate will be giving up on Garanimals and Original Recipe Buckets anytime soon.

So here’s the deal people…just be nice and stop trying to convince everyone you’re right and they are wrong. I honestly don’t think any one person or group has the answers. Agree to disagree and move on. I’m fine with those that feel it is necessary to unfriend and unfollow me as a result of anything I may post but for the love of whatever you believe in, don’t be nasty about it.

Maybe being part of a religious minority (i.e. Jewish) all of my life has made me more sensitive to the discrimination and hate that seems so pervasive in our society and world at large. Or maybe I am simply just a very sensitive soul who thinks that being 100% tolerant of all people regardless of race, religion, creed, color or, dare I say, sexual preference, is an all or nothing thing. Either you are or you aren’t…period, end of story.

Bottom line, social media is awesome but let’s all use it responsibly and then, maybe just maybe, as John Lennon said, we can in fact…

“Imagine all the people living life in peace.”

StrawberryFieldsJuly2007

That’s all for now…#BlackerOut!

 

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Filed under Call Me Crazy, Marriage, Technology and Social Media

Life Is Like A Game Of Poker

I was all over social media (or at least more than usual) on Father’s Day this past Sunday. And no, I wasn’t searching for YouTube videos about funny, stupid, smart and/or inspirational dads.

I spent the day cheering on my husband, but not for the typical Father’s Day reasons. Don’t get me wrong, he is an awesome father to his 29 year old son and equally awesome stepfather to my 18 year old son (well, 18 in two days…Happy Birthday Nathan!) and 21 year old daughter.

So call me crazy but…I spent a day posting like, well crazy, in support of and his quest for one of these…

WSOP Gold Bracelet

That ladies and gentlemen is the coveted World Series of Poker gold bracelet and my husband, Stan, a long time poker player, went to Las Vegas to win one of these in their first ever WSOP Super Seniors Tournament. For years they’ve had a “Seniors” event which meant you had to be 50 and older, but to be a Super Senior?…65 and up baby! Stan happens to be 66 so this tournament, if he won, would have sort of eliminated the need for any AARP discounts moving forward.

This was actually his second time going to the WSOP. He was sent two years ago through the poker club he belongs to here in Tampa and made it through the first very long and grueling day which was highlighted by helping knock out a rather famous player, Barry Greenstein around midnight. Obviously he was on cloud nine going into Day 2 only to be smacked with a big dose of “that’s why they call it gambling” when the cards just weren’t stacked in his favor 19 minutes into play. 

He had to spend another day in Sin City dealing with his somewhat wounded pride. However, when he landed in Tampa my son and I were there at 1 am with this sign…Go Stan The Man

I know, I know…Wife Of The Year right?

Anyway, I know better than to actually go with him to Vegas. Way too intense not to mention way too hot in June and that’s coming from someone living in Florida. This is totally his thing except, of course, if he wins and then it’s totally our thing.

That being said, I’ve kind of picked up a thing or two about the relationship between poker and life as I have travailed the ups and downs of tournament play with Stan…figuratively speaking of course.

1. Believe in luck
krispy kreme

Yeah, you need mad skills to be good at poker, but there is most definitely some degree of luck involved. Stan’s may come in the form of something hot and sickly sweet but whatever makes you feel good/lucky in life that gives you an edge, go for it. Don’t let anyone ever take it away from you. I cannot tell you how many detours to Krispy Kreme we have made through the years. I personally would choose something that can’t be inhaled in less than 30 seconds, but welcome to #lifewithstan.

2.  Age is just a numberyoung whippersnapperWhile Stan may have been the “young whippersnapper” in the crowd, our society, for the most part, considers him “old”. However, I choose to believe he never would have had the stamina to be at WSOP if he let his chronological age dictate his behavior.  Same goes for this guy, Russell Moncrief.

Russell Moncrief

He may have motored around the Rio Hotel and Casino in a scooter but still, come on…HE IS 92 AND COMPETING IN WSOP!!!

3. Take chancesWSOP 2015 Super SeniorsPoker is not for the faint at heart and walking into a giant room of approximately 1500 people can be intimidating, but if you aren’t willing to “go all in” every once in awhile you will never win whether at poker or life in general. Stan is a gambler by all counts. Seriously, he left a very safe job 21 years ago and started OJ Mortgage. Trust me, the mortgage industry is not a safe bet by any stretch of the imagination.

If you’ve read this far and were waiting for me to announce that Stan even got through the first day, sorry to disappoint. I received this text about 6 hours into play.Stan has left the building

 

I spent the next 45 minutes on the phone with him doing some consoling but mostly trying to get him on a flight home the next day. No sense in continuing to put salt on that WSOP wound. Besides, this adorable thing was waiting for him at home…Come Home Papa Stan

What better consolation prize could a person ask for?

That’s it for now…#BlackerOut !Poker as a sport

 

Proud to be joining this week’s #MidlifeLuv Linkup hosted by Kimberly Montgomery of Fifty Jewels and Elena of Living With Batman. Check it out…I promise it won’t hurt 🙂

#MidLifeLuv Linky

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Filed under Call Me Crazy, Life Lessons, Random Stuff

The Land of Love: Where Kitschy Meets Marketing Genius

My husband reads our local newspaper every day as part of his two hour morning ritual and will sometimes leave articles on our kitchen counter for me to read that he thinks I should see, including the occasional obituary.

A few weeks ago I found this one, circled and with arrows pointing to the specific article of interest…

Why? Well, we need to go back to the summer of 2003 when my daughter spent her first of many summers at a sleep away camp in the Poconos and my son went to one in the Berkshires…2 states and 3 mountain ranges away…and, of course, his visiting day was the same day as hers.

Seriously, why should anything in life ever be simple? It’s so much more “interesting” to be challenged by these kind of logistics right?

Side note: Both camps had an “alternate” visiting day on Sunday, mostly for divorced parents who didn’t want to share the few hours with their children. And while I was divorced by the time my kids started going to camp, the alternate days for us were especially important because of the distance between the two camps. Why were they in 2 different states? Sigh…we’ll have to have a few cocktails one day to get to that story.

Anyway, for anyone that has ever tried to get a hotel during a camp visiting day weekend, you know the rates are usually at least double and, oh, there are 3 night minimum stays.

So call me crazy but…I didn’t need want to spend 3 nights in either location. I wanted to leave Tampa on Friday morning and return Sunday night.

And not spend thousands of dollars in the process.

Apparently, I was somewhat delusional.

Ok, wait, we’ve already determined I am crazy so I guess delusional isn’t much of a stretch.

The first year I literally spent months combing the internet for reasonable multi city airfare (arrive in Scranton…yes Scranton…on Friday and leave from Hartford…not as bad as Scranton but still…on Sunday) plus hotels with no minimums and a car rental that didn’t charge a ridiculous fee for dropping off in a different city than the one picking up.

Gotta love supply and demand economics!

Finally, I came across what was at the time a Sheraton about 30 minutes from my daughter’s camp through Orbitz that didn’t have any restrictions whatsoever and was very reasonably priced.

Only one room left…I didn’t even bother looking at the hotel’s website and grabbed it before it was gone as quickly as it had magically appeared. I’ve stayed in enough Sheratons, Holiday Inns, Hiltons and Marriotts off various highways and they are all pretty much the same.

Yeah, well, the hotel I reserved, Cove Haven on Lake Wallenpaupack in Lakeville, PA, clearly was the exception to that little rule.

Unbeknownst to me, I had reserved a suite at a place referred to as “The Land of Love”, one of the infamous Poconos resorts that was/is advertised incessantly on Northeast radio and television as a “blend of romance and recreation”, complete with…

silo-like rooms (meaning no windows)
round beds (uh…not at all practical for my 6’4″ husband)

mirrored ceilings (OMG)
glass enclosed individual indoor heated heart shaped pools (aka giant germ/disease tanks)
and, yes,  a seven-foot champagne glass whirlpool bath-for-two complete with celestial ceiling (I thought they were a myth..I was so wrong)

At the reception area, they advised us that “Betrothed Badminton” was starting in 10 minutes to be followed by “Cupid’s Archery” and then some name for the cocktail hour I have obviously blocked from my memory.

I had entered hell.

My then fiance now husband, Stan, was in heaven.

Honestly, I love the big guy but I have never known anyone more attracted to cheesy stuff like this than him. He actually proposed to me in the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel complete with an Elvis impersonator so Cove Haven had him written all over it. 

Me, not so much. Truth be told, not at all.

It was going to be the longest 16 hours of my life…8 of them hopefully sleeping…before leaving at 8 am the next morning for visiting day #1.

“What time would you like the photographer to come to your room to take the photos of the two of you in your champagne glass bath?” asked the front desk clerk.

“Not necessary,” I said.

“What do you mean?” said Stan, looking extremely surprised that I didn’t want a complete stranger in our room taking pictures of us  in a bathtub. “Come on babe, it’ll make for a great memory.”

“I’m good,” I said. I already had plenty of images from this place permanently seared on my brain and we hadn’t even left the reception area.

champagne-glass

FYI…searching for a photo of the champagne glass tub that was “free to use for commercial purposes” you will find some very interesting ones.  The one above was the least creepy one I could find.

Look, no disrespect to anyone who has stayed in one of these resorts and thought it was awesome. It just isn’t for me. But I will give Stan major props for making me laugh…A LOT…during our brief stay.

More importantly, I really do admire, Morris Wilkins, for taking a vision, no matter how kitschy, and making it come to life. A former electrician, he took over ownership of what was then called the Hotel Pocopaupack in 1958 and renamed it Cove Haven. For the next few years it was just another couples-only hotel until he came up with the idea for the heart-shaped tub, followed by the champagne glass one and both truly put the Poconos on the map as a modern honeymoon and romantic getaway destination.

Morris Wilkins

Despite several more years of visiting day weekends, we never returned to Coven Haven (please tell me you aren’t surprised).  I did, however, feel a bit nostalgic when I read that Mr. Wilkins had passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 90 and found the one photo I did allow to be taken while there. I wonder if they would want it for their marketing materials?

Then again, we probably have on way too much clothing for their needs.

That’s it for now…#BlackerOut!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Call Me Crazy, Random Stuff, Travel

Technology IS The Devil…And The Reason For Vodka!

In the past few weeks I have gone through a technology meltdown. And that means I drank a lot of vodka. Hey, don’t judge…we all have our vices. Mine just happens to be something with a splash of cranberry juice.

So what drove me to drink? My computer, cell phone and two tablets all acting wonky, not to mention the Bluetooth in my car for whatever reason pairing my cell phone for calls but not media. I know, that’s not an end of the world problem but I use my time in the car to catch up on podcasts about business related stuff. (My favorite you ask? Biz Women Rock)

Fortunately, I have a great computer guy who got my laptop back to “I can tolerate this” status. I don’t expect miracles, but I do think it still deserves a shoutout for Carlos and Ivonne at Fix My Computer On Site here in Tampa. Contact them…seriously, they will not disappoint. They didn’t pay me for this endorsement, I just think they are really awesome.thumbs up

My phone carrier and car dealership…well, that’s a different story. No reason to even mention any names…the last time I did that I got banned from an entire cruise line.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not afraid to name names, I just feel like what’s the point? When it comes to technology, all manufacturers and service providers, in my opinion, are the devil and we have all sold our souls to them by constantly buying their products and signing up for their services.

technology devil

So call me crazy but…I hate technology. That said, I know it is a necessary evil in our lives and we’ll never be able to turn back the hands of Steve Jobs time on this earth… may he RIP. But when things seem to be temporarily (fingers crossed) hurting more than helping, I have to stop and rant take a breath.

Easier said than done especially after spending 3 hours at the dealership and 5 hours at the phone carrier tech support center over the span of 2 days plus about 2 hours back and forth on the phone with customer service calls. Oh and everyone was pointing the finger at each other so, yeah, that is always fun.

Truth be told, I have no one to blame but myself. I am way too reliant on all of this stuff and I think I want out

…as I sit here typing this blog

…on my laptop

…that I’ll then upload to my website

…using Wifi

…and disseminate across social media channels

…undoubtedly via mobile devices

Meh…

Honestly, what’s a girl mature woman person to do? I mean is it really too much to ask that if I spend hundreds of dollars on a device or thousands of dollars on a car that they work properly?

#rhetoricalquestion

I haven’t resolved my tablets issues…more than likely I will have to bite the bullet and get another one. I can understand, sort of, replacing the one that’s 3 1/2 years old. It’s slow, painfully slow, and although I am relatively certain that the powers that be in Silicon Valley and across Asia are laughing their corporate tushies off all the way to the bank, I guess this is the price I will have to pay for going down the technology rabbit hole again and again and again.

The other tablet? That was kind of a freebie when I switched carriers last year so I’m trying not to stress about that one. But still…I need to “wipe the cache partition” whatever that means. I tried following the instructions for doing it via a Google search but pressing MENU+VOLUME UP+POWER all at the same time requires, as one of my friends commented, #octopushands.#octopushands

Meanwhile, the phone – Bluetooth pairing issue? Well, that all started because I thought my former phone screen had cracked and I replaced it using my insurance policy.

Note to self: If your phone has a protective hard plastic clear cover it will, believe it or not, actually protect your phone screen. Good idea to check that’s what cracked before paying the $100 deductible for a new phone.

#IAmAnIdiot

Anyway, the new phone was an upgrade so bigger, faster, better, right?

Sure, but apparently only if you get a new car to go with it…or maybe the user just doesn’t know what she is doing???

I stopped at the dealership and asked if they could just pair it back up. There must be a step I was forgetting.

The old phone Bluetooth pairing worked just fine but the car dealership guy said it had to be a new phone issue and sent me to the phone carrier tech support center. They supposedly tried everything and deduced that the car’s Bluetooth software needed an update and sent me back to the dealership.

Ugh…

The car dealership looked at me like I had 8 heads when I walked in again and told them what the phone carrier said.  Hey, I already need 8 arms so maybe 8 heads will be the answer to my technology woes?

They took the keys and about 2 hours later had me go out to the area where 100 other cars were being serviced, lowered my car down on the lift thingy, told me to get in the driver’s seat and the car tech got into the passenger seat. He wanted to show me that his phone paired fine.

Ummmm…so how exactly does that help me?

After sitting out in a very hot garage for about 45 minutes with the guy pushing a bunch of buttons,  nothing was coming out of my phone through the car speakers. My makeup was melting off my face and I was sweating through my carefully chosen dress for an event that I was attending that afternoon. I was done, reminding myself that my car lease is up this summer and this problem will hopefully resolve itself when I do, in fact, spend thousands getting a new car. Crazy Lady v Goliaths

I left the dealership and about a mile later there was sound coming from my car speakers via my phone Bluetooth connection.

Don’t know how, don’t really care. I just went home and poured myself a vodka on the rocks to celebrate a small success for the day and maybe earning 1 or 2 points on the scoreboard of #firstworldproblems.

That’s it for now…#BlackerOut !

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Filed under Call Me Crazy, Random Stuff, Technology and Social Media

All In The Family: How To Work For Your Spouse And Live To Tell The Tale

It’s official!

I am now the
Director of Strategic Relationships and Community Outreach
for OJ Mortgage Inc. 

Slide background

Yeah, that’s my husband Stan’s company and I did get to give myself a long and fancy-ish title but I suppose it’s one of the perks of being married to the boss 🙂

So call me crazy but…I did actually volunteer for the job. I mean, I get paid but I willingly went into it understanding I would be working for my spouse. We’ve sort of been dancing around this idea for years, the planets started to really align a few months ago and after much  yelling debate  discussion  casual conversation we decided to give it a real whirl.

This should be a no-brainer for me…I am a self-proclaimed, crazy in a good way networking maven (or at least I think so) and go out and about into the community as well as represent myself online every day with virtual ease. I also have been the unofficial #1 cheerleader for OJ for a long time.Stan, Stan, He's our man...%0AIf he can'tHow long?

Well, first let’s go back in time to the morning that I signed my divorce decree for my first marriage in August 2001. My attorney advised me to find out about refinancing ASAP. Rates were significantly lower than the one I was committing to by taking over the mortgage on my soon to be former marital home. He asked if I knew anyone in the mortgage industry. I said I thought the guy  I was going out with that night was a broker…aka Stan.

Eight hours later I arrived at the restaurant for our first date, albeit a little early. It took a year, a lot of stress, tears and, of course, money to get that divorce and I figured it was time to celebrate so I ordered a bottle of champagne to be delivered to the table. I think that freaked Stan out a little. He wasn’t used to such a controlling take charge thoughtful kind of woman. I also don’t think he was expecting a first date to include a conversation about refinancing but I’m guessing he was able to write off the meal as a business expense? You’re welcome Stan!

Anyway, he told me we couldn’t really talk about my specific circumstances until after the 3rd date.
Seemed a little presumptuous but I giggled at what I sensed was his positive outlook.
Or maybe because I was already halfway into a bottle of champagne?

Did I mention I was celebrating?


Ok, it wasn’t quite like that but you get my point.

We obviously made it to date #3 and I reminded Stan that we needed to discuss my soon to balloon rates. But first I was understandably curious…why 3 dates?

In his mind, #3 would be the make it or break it date…in other words, would we go forward or fizzle like a bottle of champagne after the cork was popped? I get it…no reason to waste a lot of time if you don’t think you are all that into someone.  So  he was going to refinance my home and that meant I was revealing all of my finances to him.  And therefore, he said he would, in turn, reveal his finances to me.

Ummmmmmmm….

Never would it have ever crossed my mind he needed to do that.

Yep, welcome to #lifewithStan . Go ahead, search the hashtag, I use it often.

Suffice it to say, he won my trust as a mortgage broker and as an all around honest person.
And, yes, he did provide all of his financial documents prior to closing as promised.

Side note: My credit score was slightly higher…score one for me!

So I went through the refinancing process and subsequently to cheer for Stan (and all of Team OJ) for the first time in 2001. And let’s just say he totally had me at “no cost loan”.

We aren’t exactly Renee Zellinger and Tom Cruise but you get the famous movie line reference right???

He also was able to roll some of the home’s equity into the refinancing so I could buy a car (I got the awful mini van with a serious A/C issue in the divorce) and instead of making a $300-400 car payment, my mortgage only went up about $12 per month and I had a brand new Toyota Camry that I essentially paid for with cash out of my home.

Yeah, home prices were climbing significantly back then so I never felt a substantial loss of any kind, but still, I was hooked…on the concept of refinancing, that is. Oh and Stan too. He definitely “dazzled” me with his mortgage magic and thinking outside of the loan process box. Ultimately, it was his sense of humor that really won me over. Hey, how many mortgage guys do you know that are willing to stand on their head in the middle of a home show? 150929_10151243219765017_1445018721_n

Now, almost 14 years later, we are taking our relationship to a whole other level…working together. And we are both really going to need to maintain a sense of humor if we are going to survive. We already know we pretty much disagree on everything when it comes to marketing and have completely different organizational styles, but we usually find the compromises that make us both happy.

I do have to keep in mind that he is the boss when it comes to matters regarding OJ. So here’s my proclamation…

I, Beth Blacker, do solemnly swear to be a great employee and respect Stan Blacker as the President of OJ Mortgage between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, Monday-Friday.
Should we disagree on any matters during those hours I will defer to his years of experience in the mortgage industry and fulfill my employment duties as directed.

After hours…all bets are off.

That’s all for now…#BlackerOut !

 

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Filed under Business Development, Call Me Crazy, Marriage, Networking

The History of Mother’s Day: A Day For Sentiment…And Smiles

As happens every year, April showers have made way for May flowers…or at least that is what I experienced this past weekend while in New York City where tulips, daffodils, lilacs and irises were everywhere.

Springtime in NYC

Signs of spring in NYC with tulips lining Park Avenue (left) and daffodils making their appearance at the Saturday Union Square Farmer’s Market (right)

 

And the trees…OMG…blooming in all their glory!

In front of The Plaza Hotel across from Central Park at 59th Street (left) and outside the brand new Whitney Museum in the Meatpacking District

In front of The Plaza Hotel across from Central Park at 59th Street (left) and outside the brand new Whitney Museum in the Meatpacking District

In Florida, however, not so many signs of spring.

So call me crazy but…I always assumed that the proliferation of flowers elsewhere may, in fact, have been the reason why America’s version of Mother’s Day was chosen for this particular month.  With the day we honor all maternal figures rapidly approaching this Sunday, I took it upon myself to check the origins via my good friend Google and suddenly found myself reading a very different history than I had imagined.

It appears our modern day version started as a result of Ann Reeves Jarvis. A social activist from a young age, she was the founder of the Mothers Day Work Clubs around the time of the Civil War. The goal of these local clubs was to help promote better health and sanitation, but also to demonstrate the value of mothers to our society beyond the traditional domestic stereotypes. Eventually, Ann began to dream of a way for our country to better honor all mothers as their role was rapidly changing.

Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis (1832-1905)

Ann passed away in 1905 and her daughter, Anna Jarvis, an extremely community driven woman in her own right, decided to fulfill her mother’s dream. With the help of many friends and activists she started a letter writing campaign  to establish a holiday to recognize the importance of motherhood. The first official Mothers’ Day ceremony took place in her hometown of Grafton, West Virginia on May 9, 1908, three years to the day after Ann’s death. At the service, Anna presented all of the mothers with a white carnation, her mother’s favorite flower, still to this day considered the symbolic flower of the holiday.

It took a few more years and a lot of letters until, one by one, every state began celebrating some form of a Mother’s Day. And on May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed Proclamation 1268, creating a national holiday on the second Sunday in May.

“The history of the day has its roots in honoring the broader networks, social ties, and political concerns of women. The day is about women’s commitment to the past, present, and future at both the personal and political levels. It honors women who have acted not only on behalf of their own children but also on behalf of an entire future generation.” (Source: Legacyproject.org)

By the 1920s, however, Anna had watched how commercialized it became and actually spent the rest of her life denouncing the holiday.

A Day Of Sentiment

Despite her profound disgust for what she started, she was labeled the Mother of Mother’s Day and until she died in 1948 her room at the nursing home where she lived was always filled on Mother’s Day with cards and flowers from around the country.

Anna Jarvis (Source: Wikipedia)

FYI…don’t ever underestimate the importance of punctuation. The original holiday was Mothers’ Day with the apostrophe being after the “s”. Why? So the emphasis would be on all women’s social and political activities.  Officials, of course, messed it up by changing the placement between the “r” and “s” and thereby forever making it a holiday about one’s own particular mother.

For me,  Mother’s Day has been rather bittersweet in recent years. Many of you know that my own mother passed away on May 10, 2005, two days after we attempted to celebrate the holiday in her hospital room in Little Rock where she had recently received her second stem cell transplant to help curb her incurable Multiple Myeloma. She actually had been cleared to go home the week before but took an unexpected turn for the worse.

Sadly, Mother’s Day began to leave me with a very heavy heart. I don’t know if I would feel the same way had she died at any other time of the year, but like Anna Jarvis 100+ years ago, I needed to do something to make sure my mother would always be remembered.

A simple email (my version, I suppose, of a letter writing campaign) on May 10, 2006 to family and friends asking them to take a moment during the day to have a cookie and smile (she was an incredible baker and made amazing chocolate chip cookies) led to an annual “event” of sorts selling her cookies to raise money for various cancer charities. If you don’t know the story, feel free to read a blog I wrote three years ago, in her memory as well as in honor of my first Mother’s Day after starting my baked goods company, tcP! Sweets.

While I no longer have that business, I still have daily reminders of my mother and the incredible role model she was for me beyond the four walls of our home growing up and through my adult years before her death.  After all, she came from incredible stock…my grandmother and great-grandmother were also very strong and fiercely independent women.

My mother (center) at her Sweet Sixteen with my grandmother (left) and great-grandmother (right). I may be a little biased but she was so beautiful.

My great-grandmother, Helen, actually ran away from her home in Czechoslovakia when she was 12 and took a ship to the U.S. by herself. Her family managed to get her back to their village until she was 14, only for her to run away again.

Did I mention she was fierce??  

It seems her parents figured out she was determined and decided to let her settle in Detroit where she ultimately met my great-grandfather and the rest, as they say, is history. Clearly, had she never left Eastern Europe, the chances of her surviving the Holocaust years later would have been slim…talk about rewriting history, right?

I wish I could rewrite what happened to my mother. Instead, I will continue to keep her memory alive the best way I know how especially by having a cookie on Mother’s Day, possibly for breakfast, since that’s what happened last year when my son and I went to visit my daughter at college and neither one of them, of course, made it out of bed before noon.

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Mother’s Day morning 2014…Yep, that would be my son sleeping in the background.

This year, I’ll be in Tampa. No idea what the plan is yet (giant hint there for my husband and son to figure something out), but regardless of whether I have the cookie for breakfast, lunch, dinner or anytime in between, I guarantee it will be with a big smile on my face.

You know what else would bring a smile to my face? If you would consider voting for my dog, Gavin. He (whether he realizes it or not) is competing for the Dogs With Purpose Calendar Contest.  Since I am not doing any baking this year to raise money for any cancer charities that I’ve helped in the past, I figured I would put Gavin’s sweet face to work for me…1507781_10152567157693226_3598771262779493801_n

Come on, a vote is only a buck…cheaper than a cookie or cup of coffee!!!! And you will be helping Women With Purpose, an amazing non-profit helping cancer patients with their non-medical financial needs.

That’s it for now…wishing all the moms out there a wonderful day filled with love and life on Sunday…#BlackerOut !

 

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Filed under Call Me Crazy, Holidays, Motherhood

The Best Is Yet To Come: Becoming An Empty Nester

On the fourth Friday of every month, the women of a local organization I belong to get together for a very informal Happy Hour…or hours as the case may be…hey don’t judge! It’s an awesome way for us to connect with each other in a very non-business setting. The guys meet up as well on the fourth Thursday, but I’m guessing they talk a lot of business with a little sports thrown in for good measure.  Us ladies, well, you just never know where the conversations will go.TBBO ladies night

Side note: TBBO aka Tampa Bay Business Owners is an awesome organization. Check it out by clicking here

While our motto has always been “what happens at ladies night, stays at ladies night”, the discussion this past Friday has been in my head so that means only one thing…write a blog about it. The question of the night…we always have one, you know, as an ice breaker kind of thing…not that we really need it but still…

If you could stay at a certain age forever,

what age would it be and why?

Not surprisingly, no one picked an age under 25. Let’s face it, no one wants to relive the teenage years. And anything that happened between 18 and 25 was just preparation for becoming a real adult.  I think only one person said an age in her late twenties, a few in their early thirties but the vast majority were 40 and beyond.

Yep, mixed in with our quest for the fountain of youth, it does seem most of us are quite content with mid-life and beyond.

If you asked me before I sat on the Howard Frankland Bridge for over an hour on the way home from a soccer tournament a little over a week ago, I definitely would have said 39. It was the age at which I…

  • got divorced, not that I’m advocating getting one but for me it did turn out to be for the best
  • went back to work after being a SAHM for 7 years at what was probably the best job I ever had (and for those not up on your internet slang SAHM means stay at home mom
  • met my current husband
  • and, last but certainly not least, felt like I had control over my life for the first time in over a dozen years which kind of explains the divorce 

So what changed my mind about the age I would like to forever be while sitting in a ridiculous amount of traffic after a very long weekend? If you read my previous blog, you may recall that my son had his last soccer game two Sundays ago. It is one of the many “lasts” that I am experiencing with him before he graduates from high school at the end of May and heads off to college in June (yes, June…lucky guy gets to start in the summer).  And that means my husband and I will officially be empty nesters. Sure our kids will always be our kids, but for the most part we’re done with all of the child rearing years.

Can you say happy dance?

Look, I could sit here and tell you I’m sad over how quickly the years have gone by and I want to turn back the hands of time, do some things over again, blah blah blah. The truth is, though, I really am ok with being 52 and I’m sure I’ll be ok when I’m 62, 72, 82 and 92. I have longevity on both sides of my family so I intend to live that long…sorry kids.

My husband and I have spent a lot of time lately talking about our plans for the indefinite future. Some of the conversations have been filled with dreams of extended travel while others have dealt with the not so fun estate planning stuff. We are getting ready to downsize (in fact, I’m in the midst of the #GreatPurge2015 but that will have to be a topic for another blog) and I can’t wait! The plan is to move to a different area of Tampa Bay which we have yet to agree on where that will actually be, but it will definitely be as maintenance free as possible.

I actually asked the same “pick an age” question the following night to a group of friends and everyone responded pretty much the same as my revised age or should I say symbolic time in our lives. Our kids are moving on, we feel financially secure by our own individual definitions and we are definitely going to embrace growing old.

Seriously, what’s the alternative?

funny-old-people-quotes2

That’s it for now…#BlackerOut

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Filed under Call Me Crazy, Empty Nester