The Greatest

Leave a comment

My husband Jason is the greatest.

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the day we met. Since 11 is my lucky number, it probably goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that I feel like a pretty lucky girl to have spent 11 wonderful years (and counting) knowing him.

He and I met at Madison Square Garden at an ACDC concert.

I know. Random, right?

Definitely. But, random as it may have been, I must thank God, the Universe and I’ll even give a special shout out to an ex-boyfriend. Ha! How often to you find yourself doing that? Not very, I bet. But this particular X played a critical role in my happily ever after. Not the role he’d originally intended but crucial all the same. Back then, I’d originally gotten the concert tickets through work as a gift for that guy. Work (and fate) caused him to be unable to attend, so instead I took my very good friend, Nancy. To make a long story (one that involves 2 sky boxes, an awful opening band, a gorgeous night, 2 cigarettes, a cool pair of sunglasses and better beer) shorter – at the concert, I met Jason.

The Universe works in mysterious ways.

Jason and I quickly became (very flirty) friends. He lived in Connecticut and I lived in New Jersey. For a little over a year, we communicated by phone and email, never once seeing each other. Until, the ex-boyfriend set me free. He broke up with me! I can’t blame him. Even better, I’d like to thank him! It took me a week to recover from the breakup, then I called Jason and asked him out.

So technically, and I’m proud to say, I made the first move. And it was the best move of my life!

He, of course, said yes. No big shocker considering he’d been asking me out for over a year. Plus, the story would be pretty awkward or at least pretty short had he said no. Luckily for him and me (and this particular blog), he said yes!!

So you see we have a few anniversaries. The day we met is obviously one. That is the subject of this discussion. The day we became an official couple is another (we’ll be together officially 10 years this New Year’s Eve – my all-time favorite holiday even before meeting Jason). And of course, our wedding day.

We love to celebrate us.

And, to think, if it wasn’t for that ACDC concert, we might have never met. Although I bet we would have… eventually.

The following is a review of that concert. In a nutshell, it says the show was amazing. I wouldn’t know since I spent the whole time turned around in my seat flirting with my future husband. But that is pretty darn amazing in and of itself if you ask me.

Jason and I fell in love right away. I know that sounds cliche but it’s true. I think, on some level, I knew from the moment I met him that he was the one. But on every other level, he proved he was the one over and over. Once we started dating, he would drive from Connecticut to New Jersey 5-sometimes 7-nights per week to see me. We couldn’t stand to be apart for an hour, let alone a day. He eventually moved to NJ to be with me, then a job offer came along and we moved to Texas together. He proposed to me on my birthday flying over Dallas in a hot air balloon. The following September, we got married on a boat on Lake Tahoe. It’s been an adventure.

This is my real life fairytale… my happily ever after!

Highway to Hell was part of our wedding reception song list. But our journey has been anything but that. It’s been a fun, magical, beautiful story. Not without its challenges, of course. But those things add to it.

For 6 months as we prepared for our wedding, he and I were forced to live apart. Not just separate apartments – he moved to New York City (the city where we met) while I stayed behind in Dallas. Talk about a crazy long distance relationship! After being inseparable for years, we were suddenly separated, forced to be apart during a time when we should’ve been the closest.

I should have gone with him. But I was planning my retirement from event planning. I chose to stay behind to finish a project. I couldn’t just quit. I couldn’t stop cold turkey. No, not me. I had to torture myself by giving my employer 6 months notice (Please note: Never do that! 2 weeks is plenty!), traveling all over the place, giving my heart and soul to a job I no longer wanted and working my ass off right up to the very last minute. I was planning one crazy event after the next while simultaneously planning our destination wedding!

Looking back, someone should have handed me a strait jacket. But we got though it – together. Apart but together… you know what I mean.

That was challenging! In fact, it was the hardest time of my life. You can ask a select few people in my life and they will tell you. I couldn’t hide it. I was so unhappy. A mess! I missed him desperately every minute of every day.

Jason is my best friend. My rock. He is the sweetest, nicest, most amazing guy. He is devoted to his family, his career and his friends. If you are lucky enough to know him, then you know he’s thoughtful, sincere, generous, smart, funny and incredibly sexy. While that last part may not add much to your friendship, it certainly added to ours. He has a sexy phone voice. That’s helped too, especially with the long distance thing! I’ve never met a more determined person. He never stops working to make our life a better life. He sometimes stops and picks me “no reason” flowers on his way home from work. He puts me and our daughter first – before everyone and everything else. He is such an incredible husband and father. His love means the world to me. It keeps me going and pushes me forward. He makes me a better person and he makes the world a much better place! I could go on and on…

Happy anniversary, Jason! Can you believe it’s been 11 years? Weird, huh? Baby, you are the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I look forward to the next 11 years… and the 11 after that… and so on…

I love you with all my heart.


Leave a comment

If you ever find yourself depressed, sad, lonely, irritated, bummed, unhappy, bored or any of the other negatives, I highly suggest buying a bubble machine.

I recently purchased one for my daughter’s 2nd birthday party. I bought it on Amazon for $36, free shipping, bubbles not included. It was a huge hit at her party and although her birthday has come and gone, we still use it all the time.

I know what you’re thinking… and you’re right. The bubble machine was more a gift for me than for her. True. But she really does love bubbles (almost) as much as I do. I simply wanted to entertain her and see her smile. Her smile makes me happier than anything else in the whole world… even happier than bubbles. And since one of my jobs as her mommy is to make her smile, I decided to buy a bubble machine. So, really, it was an investment. I promise it makes perfect sense when you think about it. But don’t think about it too long.

Sure, I could’ve bought yet another bottle of bubbles with yet another simple bubble wand, but I like to think outside the box. Our new bubble machine makes more bubbles in less time than I could ever possibly blow myself. And yes I said “blow myself.” Take a moment… Breathe through it…

OK, now once you move beyond that, you will see the point I’ve been trying to make is that more bubbles mean more smiles. And to this work from home mommy, more smiles mean everything!

In the interest of entertaining our children, we mommies (and daddies) do the strangest things. But isn’t it also in the interest of entertaining ourselves? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Being happy is important. We should do something each and every day to make ourselves and the ones we love happy.

If you’re like me, many things make you happy. Bubbles are just one (or a million) of those things. I love bubbles. You do too, right? I mean, who doesn’t?

I once told my dad that I love bubbles and he replied, “I once met a stripper named Bubbles.” I love him. My dad, not the stripper. And I am simply assuming the Bubbles in my dad’s story was/is a woman, but then I wasn’t the one who met Bubbles the Stripper and I didn’t think to ask. I’m not even 100% sure that Bubbles the Stripper really exists but if he/she does, I bet he/she is/was a very nice person. I think with a name like Bubbles he/she would have to be.

I challenge you to try to walk through a sea of beautiful bubbles (actual bubbles, not a sea of strippers – although depending on your point of view I guess that could be fun too) without smiling. It’s hard to do, maybe even impossible. And smiling is good for you. It feels good too. Doesn’t it?

Lyla and I will be having our lunch outside today. I will fill up and turn on the bubble machine. As we enjoy our time together, there will be bubbles in the background, up above and all around us. There will be bubbles floating high in the sky, up over the trees, down the street and off into town. It will be magical. People will look up and see bubbles floating and drifting everywhere, smile and wonder, “Where did those bubbles come from?”

Some agitated souls may get irritated as the bubbles pop on their newly washed cars or cause them to have to clean their windows and sunglasses. Those people need the bubbles even more than the rest of us. I am doing them a favor.

A few of the highly curious will follow the trail of bubbles to our house, where they will find us giggling and dancing and popping bubbles with our noses. I will invite them to join us. And they will because people who follow floating bubbles do so for a reason. They want to participate in the bubble festivities. They want to join in on the foamy fun. They want to take a moment and forget the stresses in their lives and the worries which have been weighing them down. They want to focus, if only for a moment, on nothing but bubbles and smile and laugh instead. They want to be happy. I may even manage to convince someone to pretend to be a fish swimming and eating the bubbles. Lyla loves when I do that. I (secretly) love it too. It makes us both happy.

On that note, bubbles don’t taste the best, but they’re a world of fun. Ooh, in the interest of making the world a better place, maybe you could invent tastier bubbles… maybe bubble gum flavored bubbles or perhaps blueberry bubbles. I would buy those! Would you invent those for me? I would do it myself but I’m too busy playing with my bubble flavored bubbles.

The moral of my story is simply that the world needs more bubbles.

I am doing my part. Are you?

Lord of the Flies

Leave a comment

We had new carpet installed in our house the other day and we love everything about it… well, almost everything. The color and texture are great but we could do without the flies that have invaded our house.

The 3 guys who installed the carpet were in and out of our place all daylong from 9am until around 4pm. They were very hard workers and they did a phenomenal job, but they left our front door wide open the whole day. It was easier for them to keep the door open than to constantly open and close it. I get that. But not only did our air conditioning fly out, but the flies flew in.

And much like bad tenants in NYC, they refuse to pay rent and they are nearly impossible to evict. Believe me, I’ve tried (almost) everything!

Typically, I am not a violent person. I’m not a fan of the death penalty or war or random or not-so-random acts of violence by any means. I live my life being nice… for the most part. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no angel by any stretch of the imagination – and mine is vivid. I have been known to have a pretty hot temper from time to time and I can be quite mischievous at other times. But I’m not out to hurt anyone or anything, physically or otherwise.

In life, I have acquired many mantras. One of them is that it’s good to do good and another is that karma can be a real bitch. Well this week I’ve tried being good and all my good karma has literally flown right out the window.

I have been pushed too far and now I must fight back.

Armed with a box of Rice A Roni and a water squirt bottle, I have become a warrior. Around these parts, I am the strong arm of the law to fly after fly after fly. Of course, I’ve done my best to give each one his (or her) chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It’s the right thing to do. But while I have opened the door time and time again to let more than a few flies fly out, they have, more often than not, chosen to stay. One SOB in particular flew out but then chose to fly right back in! I got him though, don’t you worry.

I have asked nicely and when that didn’t work, I begged, pleaded. Please leave!! I have tried every trick in the book. I have even tried reasoning with them. But have you ever tried to reason with a fly??? They are beyond negotiation.

I can’t say that I blame them for wanting to stick around. The house is coming along nicely. We have food and air conditioning and, at times, a pretty sticky toddler. Plus, and I don’t mean to brag but, we have lights and they seem to really like lights. By fly standards, we are practically Club Med.

I’ve asked nicely. A few were cordial enough not to overstay their welcome. They left on their own accord. But the others are a bunch of jerks, taunting us every chance they get. They relentlessly land on and in everything. And I’ve seen The Fly. I know what they do when they land. Guh, gag me.

My husband has had enough too. In an odd form of hand to fly combat, he flicked a few dead with his fingers. I wasn’t aware of this gross but highly effective talent of his. But since he’s well aware that I’m not about to test his technique myself, he also hung some flypaper strips. Unfortunately, the only thing those stupid sticky swirly strands of ewy-gooey tape seemed to attract was us. Ick, can I tell you how much it sucks to walk backwards into one of those things and have it get stuck to your hair! It sucks royally. But you know what’s even worse? Face first. Oh that’s when I finally lost it!

Clearly the little buggers can’t take a hint. So now it’s time to get serious.

I am no longer playing Mr. (um, Mrs.) Nice Guy (Gal?). Whatever, you know what I mean. I’m in a serious, take no prisoners kind of mood. I got my water bottle filled and ready to go, and this box of Rice A Roni (chicken flavored, low sodium) is burning a hole in my hand. I didn’t think it would come to this but I may have to invest the 99 cents in a fly swatter. I’m about to whip out my chopsticks and go all Mr. Miyagi on your asses (do flies even have asses??).

Flies, your free vacation is coming to an end! If I hear one more bzz-bzz in my ear, I swear to God I’m plugging in the vacuum. Haha, it’ll suck to be you!

Heed my warning! Hear my battle cry! Get out and stay out!

This is war! And this time, I mean it.


Leave a comment

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again… Writer’s block sucks.

I probably shouldn’t complain considering it’s been a while since my last bout with block. In fact, I started this blog to combat writer’s block but then haven’t had it since. Maybe the blog is more effective than I’d imagined.

Or maybe writer’s block doesn’t just happen. Maybe something or multiple somethings cause it. Not quite as obvious as a cold sore or a bad case of the runs, maybe the culprit is not something as simple as a kiss or a day-old bean burrito. But something had to happen to activate the block.

If I can figure out exactly what triggered this particular block, will I have a better chance of defeating it? Or possibly avoiding it next time?

I don’t know.

But not-knowing has never stopped me from obsessing. Instead, it brings out my super obsessive control freaky side. Ha! I bet you didn’t even know I had a freaky side. Well I do. And that side of me will happily accept responsibility for my own writer’s block (and pretty much anything else for that matter) if it means I can control it, overcome it, accomplish it, destroy it!!

OK… So let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I somehow unintentionally caused my own block. Perhaps I did something or simply adjusted my routine and, in doing so, possibly sparked the block through a series of fortunate and unfortunate events. Several things have recently transpired. It would be hard to pinpoint just one thing. And I refuse to bore or horrify you with all of it. Besides, I need to save some of it for future blogs.

But I’ll share one biggie from each side of the spectrum…

On the fortunate side, I had family in town last week. Yep, the Zanes invaded Iowa. My mom, dad and brother flew in from Philly for 8 days of family, fun and (for them) extreme culture shock. We had a great time celebrating my daughter’s 2nd birthday, discovering new things in Iowa together and hanging out. Having a houseful of people was stressful at times but mostly it was fun.

But while they were here I didn’t write (almost) at all. I took a mental vacay. While my husband swears I needed it, I’m not 100% sure. But I definitely needed them here. I’d missed them so much (and now that they’re gone, I miss them more). So if their visit caused part of my block, well then I’ll anxiously look forward to being blocked again in the (hopefully near) future.

On the less fortunate side, an agent rejected me. She did so in the nicest “it’s not you, it’s me” way possible. But still. It’s not that I think I caused the rejection or could have done anything to prevent it. I am simply not the writer she wanted me to be. That’s OK. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad writer. But I may have handled it poorly. I got overly emotional and maybe even a bit depressed. I typically handle rejection better than I am doing right now. The funny (not ha-ha but interesting) part is that I didn’t even really want her. I’m not trying to sound like the bitter x-boyfriend who announces that factoid after being dumped. Really, I’m not. She’s great, amazing actually. I couldn’t and wouldn’t say a bad thing about her. And don’t get me wrong. I would have jumped at the opportunity of being represented by her and I certainly wouldn’t have kicked her out of my proverbial (for lack of a better word) agent-author bed for eating crackers… But she wasn’t (and still isn’t) my first choice.

My first choice agent is still considering me… and my writing samples… hopefully. Well, at least, I have no reason (knock on wood) to think otherwise. I want to believe that she hasn’t secretly stopped considering me. But what if she’s one of those people who break up simply by halting communication? No calls. No texts. No emails. Nothing. Not even a fax. Just the assumption that she fell off the face of the earth. I did that once (not fall off the face of the earth, but break up with someone in that manner… don’t judge me!). This paranoia isn’t helping my blockage. It’s just that, in my humble opinion, she would be my perfect agent. We bonded immediately and had a solid rapport. But I promise not to stalk her (even) if she dumps me (I might cry, but I will not stalk!).

I think I’m just nervous. I’ve gotten myself all worked up worrying that this recent rejection might spark other rejections. I guess I’m concerned that the other agent (let’s call her #42 and not for the reason you might think). So #42 was the first agent who I loved at first chat, who made me laugh, who spoke to my inner nerd, who seemed ~ and still seems ~ so perfect and who I met at the same conference as the agent who sent me the Dear John letter. What if #42 feels the same way as agento-rejecto? What is she rejects me too?

Well I’ll eventually get over it.

I know it’s not doing me any good to think negatively and worrying never helps either. The only thing that ever helps is action. But what action should I take?

The little fat kid inside of me wants to stuff his face with Cool Ranch Doritos, but that’s not the kind of action that will help. The pissy pissed off angsty teen in me is picking fights. That’s no good… for me or for you. The neurotic workaholic adult in me is running an extra mile on the treadmill and trying to write through the pain. That helps more but I’m still blocked.

What I need is a writing enema or a chunk of writer’s Ex-lax, if only there was such a thing!! One of you good-at-math-and-science types should invent that!

In the meantime, I’ve taken all of my own advice and none of it has helped. I’ve walked away, then came back and tried to restart my engine. I tried to push through it. When that didn’t work, I took a nap. I woke up and meditated. I worked out feverishly. I played with my daughter. We went swimming. I did some yoga. I went for a long walk… then a drive… then went shopping (just groceries, but still). I came back and tried again to write through the pain some more. Nothing. I took a shower (always a good move!), watched some TV (an hour of Judge Judy never hurts… but didn’t help either), cooked dinner for my family (I made a very healthy stuffed peppers that involved an actual recipe!). I ate. I sulked. I’m still blocked. What the $#&!

Ugh! What should I do next?

Seriously, tell me what to do and I’ll do it.

Tonight I’m going to make and then drink a whole pot of coffee (please don’t tell my nephrologist) and write, write, write… well, I guess I’m actually writing right now… hmm… maybe I’m not as blocked as I thought…

OK, gotta go!! See ya later.

Happy Birthday, Lyla!

Leave a comment

Today my sweet Lyla Rain is 2!

It amazes me how much she has grown in such a short period of time and how much my husband and I have grown right along with her. It’s been an adventure, to say the least, but it has also been the most wonderful time of our lives.

In celebration of her birthday, I’d like to share with you a letter I wrote to her just over two years ago as we anxiously prepared for her arrival…

July 29, 2009

Dear Baby,

Welcome to the world! I am so excited to finally meet you and hold you in my arms! We’ve been on a wonderful journey together over the course of the past nine months and it’s been incredible to feel you grow inside of me each and every day. And now we are finally approaching your birthday! The time has flown by and it’s so hard to believe that the big day is almost here.

Your daddy and I have been looking forward to meeting you since the moment we learned you had entered our lives. We still haven’t met you and yet we already love you so much! Words cannot express how blessed we feel.

We’ve been anticipating your arrival for a long time and we couldn’t be happier or more excited to finally meet you, hold you, protect you and love you. We promise that we will take very good care of you, keep you warm and safe always and love you more than anything in the whole world forever and ever.

Mommy and Daddy love each other so very much. Someday, we’ll tell you the story of how we met and a million other stories of all of the wonderful times we’ve shared together. We have shared so many joyful memories and adventures, and the future holds so much more for us and our family. We are so happy to share our lives with you. Our love is special and you’re going to feel that love and happiness every day.

Today is your daddy’s birthday and he told me that all he wants for his birthday is for you and me to be happy and healthy. Bringing you into the world has made us a family and that has allowed our love to grow even stronger. That love will continue to grow as you grow.

You are surrounded by love.

In addition to mommy and daddy, you have very loving grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins who have been anxiously awaiting your arrival as well. Mum-Mum and Pop-Pop Zane (mommy’s parents) and Grandma Vicky and Grandpa Tom (daddy’s parents) are very caring and special people and you are going to be their shining star. The four of them haven’t even met you yet and they already can’t stop talking about you! You also have three uncles to keep you extra safe as you grow up. Your uncles Frank (mommy’s brother) and Wes and Scott (daddy’s brothers) are all anticipating the arrival of their first niece. You are the first granddaughter and the first niece, and that makes you extra special!

With the support and love of your family around you always, you are going to have a full and wonderful life. As you grow, we want you to experience the world and participate in all the awesome things it has to offer. It’s a great big world and we want you to learn, see and experience all of it.

Have fun and enjoy your life. Smile. Be adventurous. Meet new people and make strong friendships. Try new things. Don’t be afraid to fail. Find your passion. Be good to yourself and to others. Cherish your family. Love yourself. Laugh hard and often. Fall in love. Love with your whole heart.

Growing up can be intimidating and even scary at times, and it’s okay to be scared, but keep in mind that there are so many beautiful and amazing opportunities out there and all you have to do is open your eyes and your mind to them. No matter what life throws at you, please always remember that you are loved. You are a very special and unique person and you have so much to offer this world. Someday you’ll have a million memories of your own to look back upon. And, when you do, you’ll smile at all you’ve seen, experienced and accomplished. It’ll all be worth it, I promise.

I love you and your daddy with all my heart. And I promise to love you both forever and ever.

Love (and big hugs and kisses),


Happy birthday, Lyla!!

Mommy loves you more than all the stars in the sky and all the fish in the sea, added together and multiplied by three…

and I always will.


Happy National Mustard Day!

1 Comment

I love mustard.

And before you ask… no, not enough to marry it. But maybe just enough to casually fool around. Besides, I’m already married.

But mustard and I go way back. Growing up in Philly, I’d put mustard on my pretzel. Nothing beats Gulden’s (not Golden’s, Gulden’s) Spicy Brown Mustard on a Philly Soft! And you’ll probably think this is gross but I’d often pair the combo with a Yoo-hoo. My mouth is watering.

“What kind of wine would you like with your meal, ma’am?”

“Oh, I’ll have some yummy chocolate flavored water please! And could you bring me a huge vat of mustard for this pretzel? Thanks!”

Gosh, I haven’t had a Yoo-hoo since college. But let’s get back to mustard. This is, after all, a very serious blog about mustard.

I love all kinds of mustard. I’m a huge fan of yellow mustard, spicy mustard, honey mustard, fancy mustard sauces, mustard mixed with interesting ingredients (like Jack Daniels or horseradish or pineapples), mustard seed, mustard powder, the color mustard, Colonel Mustard…

I like mustard on sandwiches, on fish, as a dip or dressing.

My husband makes the meanest grilled artichokes and pairs them with a mustard sauce that will blow your mind (now can you see why I chose to marry him over mustard?).

I have been known to dip raw veggies in mustard AND put mustard on pizza. Why not? It is, after all, delicious and nutritious.

So… Happy National Mustard Day to you and yours. I hope you find a way to enjoy mustard today and every day. If you’re one of those weird anti-mustard people, please do the right thing and find a way to welcome mustard back into your life. This feud has been going on for too long, hasn’t it? Yes, it has. And mustard told me that it doesn’t even remember why you’re fighting. It doesn’t care who is at fault. It just wants you back. It misses you. So, please, do the right thing. You will be happy you decided to take my advice on this one.

By the way, have I mentioned that I hate mayo?

Happy National Mustard Day! Enjoy!