Category Archives: writing

Open Letter to My College Bound Son

Where do I begin? I have loved you your whole life and will continue to do so til my last breath. You have been so fun to have in our household. Your quick witted sense of humor, even dumb humor at times, always made me giggle. As an infant into adulthood, your easy going personality along with your permanent smile made parenting you so easy.

As you prepare for college there is so much advice I need to dole out to you. Murphy’s Law is for you to rebuff my advice as annoying or try to blow me off so I feel the best approach is through a letter. As I did with your sister, I will put this in an envelope and pack it up with your belongings as you move into your college dorm. When you long for a piece of home, or need that comfort of a mom’s love, you can read this letter. Know my heart is always with you.

Well, I must admit on your last day of school, I couldn’t stop crying. I wasn’t quite sure what I was crying about but it wouldn’t stop. Then it hit me. I’m crying because for the first time, I will not be physically by your side to problem solve with you or jump to your rescue. Letting go of you is way harder than I anticipated.

There a thousand things I love about you. I love the way you take life a day at a time and you never really sweat things. I love your fierce loyalty, honesty and humbleness. People gravitate toward you for a reason. You are warm, welcoming, accepting, compassionate, and genuine.

When you wake up in your dorm room for the first time sans your family, there are things you should be reminded of to keep you grounded. You now share a room with someone. Keep it clean! Be considerate of your roommate by picking up after yourself. After long days of classes and nights out, no one should have to walk through a mind field of dirty clothes or garbage, including you. That’s your first order of business!

For the love of God, set your alarm. I won’t be there to gently wake you up every morning ensuring you get to class on time. Make sure your alarm is set ALWAYS. You are now paying for college. Make sure you get to your classes as it’s on your dime now. Don’t hit snooze and say, I’ll just miss today. Nope, the more you miss, the more you have the potential to fall behind. Even on the coldest of days where you don’t want to go outside, get to class. Even on days that you may be hungover, get to class. Even on days you have a cold, get to class. Your sole job in life right now is to get to class, study, get good grades and PASS!

The time has come. Laundry time! Yup, don’t wait til your down to your last pair of underwear or shorts. Figure out a schedule and do laundry weekly. Knowing you, you might even skip the underwear just not to do laundry but suck it up buttercup. Laundry needs to be done and you’re just the guy to do it. Here’s the second piece to this puzzle. FOLD YOUR CLOTHES! Since I know you won’t be ironing and looking good is a priority, wrinkled clothes won’t work for you. Fold your clothes and put them away, just not in a pile on your desk or in a corner of the room.

You successfully completed high school and somehow with doing minimal homework. That comes to a halt immediately. There is no more skimming by. Your smarts alone won’t get you through college. Homework needs to be done and papers need to be written. Being a minimalist will be a detriment to you in college. Work up to your fullest ability proving to your professors that you are up to the task of college work. If you have an exam, STUDY FOR IT! Skip the night out with friends or a frat and choose school work over partying each and every time. There will always be another party or another gathering. That exam, well, there will NOT be another time. That exam counts toward your GPA.

Priorities, priorities, priorities! You are now living on your own for the first time. No one there to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. You are solely responsible for every decision you make and will deal with the consequences of those decisions both good or bad. Make smart choices. Parties and socialization are definitely the fun part of college but never forget you are there to earn a college degree. Academics are the priority. The end.

You’ve been a relationship for all of your high school life. Perhaps this relationship with continue in college and maybe it won’t. Decide what is good for you and what feels right. That relationship shouldn’t feel burdensome at any time. Your gut will tell you if and when you need to end it. Know it will be a lot of work to continue a relationship with you both being in separate colleges. I don’t want you to ever feel like you are missing out on something because you are bogged down by a long distance relationship. Keep in mind you will be exposed to many new people and people with different experiences. Be open to them and don’t pigeon hole yourself in a corner because you have a girlfriend. I’m not saying to cheat on her. Don’t ever do that! But every once in a while, take a step back and decide if it’s what you want. At this point in your life, it IS all about you.

For arguments sake and just to cover this topic, let’s say you end up single at some point in college. Be the guy that opens the door for a girl. Be the guy that isn’t a douche. Treat each girl respectfully. Don’t ever make them question where they stand with you. Be clear. Be kind but direct. Girls are emotional by nature and last thing you want is to have a girl cry over you. Be a gentlemen at all times and ALWAYS do the right thing by a female. Remember…if a girl says no, it’s no. Walk that girl to her dorm. If you are out at a bar with the a girl, make sure she gets home safe. Be the guy that every girl wants to bring home to mom.

At this point in your life, you may be unclear as to what career path you want to pursue and that’s ok. This is the time to figure things out. Explore everything! Take classes that interest you. You are going to spend your entire life working, make sure you choose a career you love. If you choose one major and decide it doesn’t interest you, now is the time to make that change. Figure out who you are and what you want out of life. I will be here to support your decisions and bounce things off of. There are tons of resources at school. Tap into them. Speak to your advisors and professors. They are your best educational resource. These people and these programs at school are here to serve you. Don’t be shy, step up and ask.

I’m excited for you to be attending a big sports college. Go to games. Enjoy everything that is at your fingertips. Cheer on your teams and have school pride. If feels good to be part of something. You are an enormously talented athlete and excel in all you do. You ARE good enough to play college baseball at Cortland. Should you change your mind, go to “walk-ons” and try out for the team. You will meet guys just like you that love to play ball and are the best. They will push you to do better and there is a brotherhood with baseball players you can’t find anywhere else. They become family for life. Think about that. If you choose not to play, it’s ok but stay active. Have pick-up basketball or football games with friends. Play softball or wiffle ball. Join the club teams. You are an athlete. Continue to be one!

Call your mother! Your life will be busy with school work, parties and friends. It is easy to get caught up in college life but remember there’s one person waiting to hear all about. She’s waiting to celebrate your successes, offer advice or just listen as needed. ME!! I want to hear all about your life as I won’t be there to see things first hand any longer. Know that you can call or text me at any time. I will always be here for you. I will be at Cortland in the blink of an eye should you ever need me. I’m only a phone call away.

Lastly and most importantly, be a good person. Be kind to everyone around you, student’s, staff and strangers. Befriend someone that might seem like an outsider. You never know how your actions or words can impact a person. If you see injustice at any point, I want you to stand up and speak up. If you see someone being bullied or treated like crap, you be that person to stop it. Do not be a bystander in life. You are an amazing kid and have always taken on the role of a leader. Continue to do that. Be someone that others look up to. Use that attribute for good…always.

Know that although you are at college, this is always your home. You are always welcomed here at any time. That no matter where your travels or life journey may take you, we welcome you home with open arms always. We are your comfort zone. We are the ones who will ALWAYS have your back no matter the circumstance. We are the ones who love you unconditionally. We are fiercely loyal to you and love you so much.

I wish you nothing but success, health and happiness in the next chapter of your life. You have always made us proud and I know you will continue that. You are the light of my life.

Love,
Mom xox

Be the Ringleader of Your Life – my commencement speech to an elementary school 

It is an honor to have the opportunity to speak to our graduating class today as you complete an important step in your educational  journey that will continue your entire life. I thought about where one might learn life lessons outside of the classroom but can easily be applied to your journey in school, and the circus came to mind. 

When I think of the circus, I think of the lions in the cage, twinkling lights, the big top, the clowns and trapeze artists.

Beyond the wonderment of the sights and sounds, a lot of things happen under the big top. In many ways, the circus is a metaphor for life. We experience a range of emotions as we take in what’s before us. One minute we are laughing, and the next we are holding our breath in fear and anticipation. Let’s pull back the curtain and see what life lessons we can find amongst the stardust:

Be the Ringmaster of your life. It’s your life. The ringmaster controls the show at center stage. While you can’t control everything in your life, there are certainly times you have the power to direct it. You can choose to study for a test. You can choose the people you do or don’t want in your life.  And just as importantly, you can choose the type of person or friend you want to be. Choose wisely.

You’re on a tightrope. Keep your balance. Just as an acrobat walks across the tightrope and tries to balance successfully across it, you must find the balance in your life. Find a place for everything in your life, school work, friends and extracurricular activities. While school work will increase in the next phase of your journey, so will the chance to meet new people and join in more after school activities.

Toss your hat in the ring. Get involved. The circus is wonderful to watch, but even more fun to participate in. Don’t sit on the sidelines as a spectator. Challenge yourself to push your limits. Take the risk. Perhaps you want to try a sport you never tried before. Perhaps there is a club that interests you. Middle school is filled with resources. This is an ideal time to tap into these opportunities.

Like the trapeze artists, you’ll need a sturdy net. You will need back-up. No matter how much you try to be balanced, there will be times you make mistakes, slip and fall. This is part of life. You need to acquire a network of people who will help dust you off and put you on the right path. Your new team of teachers and guidance counselors will be there to prepare you and support you at MAMS during your time there. But the strongest net you will have will be your parents and family because they will catch you each and every time.

Like the clowns in the circus, it’s important to take a moment and laugh about things. Seriousness has its place, but it’s good to take the time to laugh with your friends and enjoy every experience that comes your way in middle school.

The lion tamer faces his fears each time he steps foot in the enclosed cage. So must you face your fears and take risks, knowing that you can learn to tame a lion, too When new challenges and unfamiliar circumstances are in front of you, don’t run but rather face your fears. Feel empowered to initiate a conversation with a teacher or a coach, or to ask a question. Be confident in who you are. It’s ok to speak up for yourself and even better, for those that won’t or can’t for themselves. Take all the lessons you learned at Camp Avenue and apply them in middle school. Be kind, be caring, be inclusive, and most importantly work up to your full potential.

Life is very much like the circus. It’s filled with the unexpected, the exciting and sometimes anticipation of the unknown. It’s a lot to take in but if you look closely beyond the glitter, you will see wisdom and magic that awaits you at every new milestone. You will continue to learn and grow throughout your educational journey. The spectators of your life, your family, friends and teachers, will celebrate with you each step of the way. After today, you will have your ticket, walk into the arena, head held high and embrace all the great things that away you in middle school.

On behalf of the North Merrick Board of Education we sadly and proudly say goodbye and on behalf of the central high school board of education we welcome you, congratulations to our class of 2015

They Like Me. They Really, Really Like Me. Liebster Award Nominee….

Well hot damn, I’ve been nominated by a fellow blogger for a blog award. Not only am I astonished that people read the random shit I write, but to think someone thinks its award worthy makes me want to skip down the street like a five year old.

I’m sending a big shout out and thank you to Pucker Up Buttercup. I can’t think of a bigger compliment than a fellow writer thinking I’m the shit! It’s complete validation that what I say matters. This wasn’t some obligatory nomination sent in by family or friends. Can I get a whoop!?

Ok, I can’t lie. After the initial shock of the nomination wore off, I did two things. First, I did a mini dance in my driveway and second, I had to Google what a Liebster Award is. This is a real award and not someone pulling a prank on me (whew!). Truth be told, I’ve been blogging for less than a year and barely know what I’m doing. So here’s the thing, from what I gather this is recognition for new bloggers to gather momentum and be honored for the work produced to date (shit, I hope that’s right).

Here are the rules as I know them:

  • You must link back the person who nominated you
  • You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you  by the nominee before you
  • You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award  with under 200 followers
  • You must come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer
  • You must go to their blogs and notify your nominees

Questions from Pucker Up Buttercup along with my answers.

  1. What’s the most important quality you look for in a friend?

Loyalty by far is the most important quality a friend should have. Regardless if the smack someone is talking about me is true, my friend should defend me to the end. Have my back at all times, and I will have yours. If you lack loyalty, you suck.

  1. What would your superhero name be?

The obvious choice for a superhero name would be Cindawenda (OMG I’m such a good student, applying what I learned in school and repeating the question in the answer. Go team!) I deal with shit all day long and come out glowing like Cinderella after the ball.

  1. Have you ever broken someone’s heart? If so, whose?

I tend to be the heartbreakee as opposed to the heartbreaker. I suppose it’s someone that flatleft me only to return. I just didn’t feel the same and wouldn’t ever put myself in the situation to be burned twice. Maybe they weren’t completely heartbroken but a little bummed. Close right? Maybe I broke my cat’s heart once when I didn’t let him share my turkey sandwich.

  1. Is  the pursuit or the capture better? Why?

I’m all about the capture and the kill. The pursuit is lot of work coupled with games. No thank you. I will sink my claws into you, bring you down,suck your blood and keep you. Wow, that’s kind of aggressive. Hot!

  1. What do you most wish you could do over?

If I can hit the “do over’ button in life, I’d press it for high school. I had an older, much older boyfriend in high school and my world revolved around him. BIG MISTAKE! I missed out on every social aspect of those golden, high school days. I’m sure I would have walked away with closer friends, and it would have propelled me into better decision making.. That’s the short answer.

  1. Is  it ever okay to put raisins in cookies? Why or why not?

Raisins in cookies? Who the fuck would think of such a thing? A raisin is considered a fruit and fruits are not considered dessert. Not in this writers mind. My dessert should be fattening, delicious, chocolate, and sinful bliss. Fruit sucks and I correlate that with the word diet. That was a long way to the answer no.

  1. What’s  the last compliment you were given?

Someone said I had nice eyes. My eyes are chocolate brown. They aren’t a piercing blue. They aren’t a stunning color that would capture your attention. I suppose it’s the almond shape and intensity of them. I was told they are sexy. I don’t see it but who am I to rebuff a compliment?

  1. How important is the first kiss?

A first kiss tells you everything you need to know about the person. If they suck at kissing, they suck in bed. The first kiss will give you a sense of their passion, their skill set and if you want to eventually get naked with them. A kiss is the interview in a relationship.

  1. What’s the best name for a turtle, and why?

Well this is the most random question I’ve ever been asked. I’d probably say the best name I can come up with under such pressure would be “Go”. Because you know that slow as shit turtle barely moves and doesn’t go anywhere. If you say his name enough, maybe he will move.

  1. What do you wish people knew about you?

This is a tricky question. Although embarrassing to an extent, I wish people knew I dropped out of college. You may ask why and I’ll give you the answer. For people that don’t know me well, they assume I have a college degree as has been assumed more than once by friends and acquaintances.  It’s a huge regret I have but the truth is, I’m smart despite not having a degree. I’m a capable, well spoken individual who can find success at almost anything I try my hand at. The absence of a college degree has not crippled me.

My 10 Liebster nominees are: (I have no idea how to determine how many followers someone has (I suck) so if I screwed up, I apologize in advance.)

1. Playing Your Hand Right

2. The Baggage Handler

3. Bacon Pro

4. Funny For Nothing

5. M is for Music

6. Girl On the Contrary

7. 40 is the New 13

8. The Naughty Corner of Social Niceties

9. Life as a Lipstick Lesbian

10. Put Your Damn Pants On

Questions for my nominees:

  1. Do you believe in fate?
  2. Which of the Ten Commandments should be revised and/or eliminated?
  3. Do you write as a profession or as a hobby?
  4. If you can be transformed into an animal, which one  would you choose?
  5. Choose who you would marry, fuck or kill – Oprah, Barbara Walters, Madeline Albright
  6. If you had the ability to pick one sport you could be great at, which would it be?
  7. Your dream vacation?
  8. What’s your favorite curse word and why?
  9. 3 words to describe you/3 words you wish described you.
  10. If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?

The Birth of My Blog

Ahhhhh so I’ve finally done it. I’ve taken the plunge and started the blog I have wanted to write but have found every reason not to. Welcome people! My mind doesn’t shut off and I have compiled so much clutter in there that I’ve convinced myself (however unrealistic) that other’s might want a peek into it.

How does one come up with a creative blog name? The answer is, I have not a clue. Being the resourceful person I am (deliberate pat on the back), I tapped into one of my most brilliant friends, (I know you’re reading, so you’re welcome) who just happens to be a wordsmith. He said,”what’s your nickname? Go with that.” And so it was and all was right in the world.

Naturally, I now feel obliged to tell the tale of my nickname which now doubles as my blog name, Cindawenda. Grab your cup of coffee and pull up a chair. I’m sure as I continue to post on this blog, the drink of choice will need to change. Alcohol is only a post or two away. For now, we’ll play sober as it’s merely an introduction of myself.

Let’s go back, unfortunately way back (God damn you 40!) to my late twenties. It was my 28th birthday to be exact. I was married with two young children, three and one years old respectively. I’m sure you’re envisioning me out to dinner, dressed up (as my cute self should have been) and celebrating another year of my fabulous life. Please give me a moment while I close my eyes and enjoy this changed memory, if only for a moment. That’s exactly what should have been but was not even close to how I celebrated my birthday. The reality was, I was a young mother who was frazzled with toddlers with runny noses, dirty diapers and got to enjoy little “me” time. There was no room for my birthday to interfere with my everyday life.

My 28th birthday was celebrated with me washing floors on my hands and knees (yes, I’m that good) as I mumbled every curse word under my breath. I talked endlessly, even if just to myself, of all the misfortunes in my young adult life. My husband was close by watching our offspring and reminded me ( as he refused to make eye contact with the devil for fear I would burn a hole into his soul), that life was good. After all, we had a delicious meal (that I cooked) and my favorite cake (which I baked) and got to open my birthday present (which I bought and wrapped). I’m sure the guys reading this are thinking, “what’s the problem?”, while the ladies are silently going to church in their heads, giving me an “amen” or a “I hear ya sister”.

It was at this moment that Prince Charming uttered, “poor Cindawenda”. It was a play on words and his version of Cinderella for me. The problem is Cinderella had a seventeen inch waist, small animals helping her clean up the shit others made and in the end she got a gorgeous dress with rocking shoes to match. Cindawenda is the story before the pumpkin turns into a carriage. I’ve been hobbling around in one glass slipper for a long time.

When the complaining isn’t confined to my brain and seeps out of my mouth intentionally or not, those words so long ago ring in my ears, “poor, poor Cindawenda”……and so my blog begins.

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