Monday, March 31, 2014


When I was growing up, we had a cloverleaf on the local highway. Actually, attaching four local highways—Route 208, Route 4, Route 17 and Route 3. It was known statewide, and perhaps nationwide, for being one of the most dangerous intersections anywhere. Eventually, I think while I was in college, they redesigned it into some massive set of overpasses, making it more modern and much more safe.

While I applaud safety, I do think it took away a bit of New Jersey flavor.

It classified the shoppers. In order to get to the mall, one had to use the cloverleaf (unless you were using the back roads). You had to want to do some pretty serious shopping in order to be willing to risk you life on the merge of any of those ovals in order to pull into the mall parking lot. You could see the look of pride and accomplishment on those shoppers who made it, and the green tinge of the newbies, as they exited their cars. And finding a parking space? No one was going to mess with any of the drivers, knowing how they’d actually gotten there.

It was a driver’s rite of passage. Just like learning to drive a stick shift on hills, no driver in Bergen County could consider their driver’s ed complete without learning how to navigate the cloverleaf. If you were brave enough to look at the other driver’s faces as you circled and merged left and right almost simultaneously, you could see the looks of horror on the newbie driver’s faces (and their accompanying parent), compared to the looks of confidence on the more experienced drivers. It was easier to spot the new drivers than that ridiculous red sticker they put on license plates now.

It taught you math and physics. In order to survive the cloverleaf, you had to master speed and turns and merges. You needed to know exactly how slowly to drive on the curves so you wouldn’t spin off the edge, while being able to speed up appropriately on the highways—have you seen how fast people drive there—in order to not be crushed. You had to calculate how fast the cars coming at you were going, so you could slip in between them for a few feet, before moving over and going back onto the cloverleaf again. One wrong calculation and you got mushed. It was a bit like Darwin, for drivers.

So fill those potholes, fix those traffic nightmares, and add those traffic lights and extra caution lights. Whatever you think you need now to make things safer for drivers. Just try to leave a little bit of the flavor for those of us who remember the cloverleaf.

Monday, March 24, 2014

My Social Media Resolution

I love social media. It’s a godsend for stay-at-home moms/dads and work-from-home people. It’s our version of a water cooler. In theory, I can pop onto Facebook or Twitter or whatever, spend five minutes checking out the latest posts and commenting, and then return to my work.

In reality, it’s a time suck. It’s so easy to get distracted by people’s posts and to engage in “conversations” with them, riffing on something they, or I, said. All of a sudden, I look at the clock, and twenty minutes have passed. How did that happen?

Social media is making me judgmental. It’s incredibly easy to point fingers at people’s mistakes online, whether those mistakes are grammatical, ideological, or just plain stupid (see, I told you!). For one thing, while you’re supposed to put more thought into writing, the type of writing done on social media is so fast-paced, no one agonizes over what they’re posting. Chances are, we’d think more about it if we were going to have a conversation in person, rather than across WiFi. For another, I don’t care how many emoticons there are, no one reads what I say in exactly the way I meant them to hear it.

Snark is lauded, even when it progresses to mean and bitchy. The quiet ones become the popular ones, because they’re funny and make people laugh. Only, that laughter is often at the expense of others, who can’t comment for fear of repercussions. And others, who have no relation to the original comment, join in, twisting words even further and taking those words in directions they weren’t intended. Meanwhile, the ones we hurt disappear into the Facebook ether and we never know why.

Social media is also killing my attention span. Because it’s so easy to pop on and off the various sites, whenever I am stuck doing something I’d rather not do, I distract myself with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. It’s gotten to the point where I have to remind myself to finish something before going to “have fun.”

And social media prevents me from engaging with the people around me. I’m so busy formulating cute status updates or tweets, or reminding myself to post that photo on Instagram, that often I forget to just be in the moment.

I’ve been denying it’s an issue for a long time, but I think I need to start using a bit more discipline. Rather than trolling on a site when I’m bored, I’m going to read a book, or clean (ugh) or go for a walk (providing it ever gets warm enough). I’m going to stop thinking of how funny this would sound on Twitter and just participate in the actual event. And I’m going to be careful how I speak on Facebook, especially when I speak to/of others (about myself, well, I still have no problem making fun of me). And if I screw up, call me on it!

Social media is still going to be my water cooler. I’m just going to be a bit less hydrated.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Helping to Celebrate A Friend's Book Birthday

Today, I'm helping a friend celebrate her book birthday. Please welcome Jane Wakely to my blog:

Book Birthday/Spotlight: Jenn’s Wolf

Thanx so much for hosting me today, Jennifer!

Hi Everyone!

Thanx for joining me here on Jennifer’s blog! This blog is one of the four stops in today’s Birthday Celebration! JENN’S WOLF (Chestnut Rock Shifters, Book 1) is one year old!

Here are the other Birthday Party stops:
Jane Wakely Blog:
Lori J Gordon Blog:
Denisea Kampe Blog:

To enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway, you need to visit all four blogs and collect all four BIRTHDAY WORDS. Once you have them, unscramble the sentence and enter the giveaway!

Three prizes are up for grabs:
One $17 Amazon Gift Card, One JENN’S WOLF Swag Pack, and one PDF copy of JENN’S WOLF! The giveaway ends Wednesday, March 19! (Winners will be chosen on Thursday, March 20 and notified by email the same day!)

Learn more about the Birthday Book:

Title: Jenn’s Wolf
Series: Chestnut Rock Shifters, Book 1
Author: Jane Wakely
Genre: Paranormal/Shifter Romance

Jenn is used to being overlooked by men. She’s short, slim, shy and her past keeps her guarded against others—especially men. It also gets her labeled as having a “good personality.” When she sees Matt for the first time, she realizes he’s the first man she’s willing to take a chance on.

Matt is a wolf shifter worried that he’ll never find his mate. Without a mate, a shifter’s life is incredibly drawn-out and lonely. Willing to try anything, he agrees to a blind date with Jenn and is stunned to find out she’s the one.

A misunderstanding interrupts their first night together and leaves them both miserable. After determining she may have overreacted, Jenn apologizes and they agree to start over. When Matt tells her about his wolf, she has to decide whether to trust her heart or run from the only man she’s ever wanted.

Buy Links:
Barnes and Noble:
All Romance Ebooks:

Author Links:


Have fun finding the rest of the words and don’t forget to eat cake today! :)


Rafflecopter Code:

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Dress

Banana Girl found her Bat Mitzvah dress this weekend. One store, one and half hours. It might be a record.

She loves it.


We went into the shopping experience with a few ground rules. She hates being influenced by other people, because she feels guilty if she has a different opinion than the other person, and she really wanted to pick out her own dress. Therefore, I was the only one allowed to go with her, since she and I work fairly well together. The rules were that if I said the dress was inappropriate, she couldn’t get it, but I wouldn’t give my opinion unless asked.

She tried on about six dresses, narrowed it down to three and then to one. And then we looked around the store one last time. She found another dress whose top she liked. It was the same designer as the one she liked and that designer customizes dresses. She hemmed and hawed about the two dresses and finally decided to take the bodice of one, the skirt of the other, to change the skirt color, and to add a jacket in the same color as the skirt.

There are a lot of sequins. No, take what you’re thinking and double it. Now add more. And probably more on top of that. It’s not a dress I would have chosen. First of all, I don’t like sequins. Second of all, it’s an afternoon party. But she loves it. And it covers all body parts that need covering.

Her personality is very different from mine. She likes to stand out, to make an entrance. I prefer to remain quiet (unless you tick me off; then, watch out). I’m also not thirteen (well, neither is she, yet). She shouldn’t have to wear a dress that I like just because I like it.

I’ve spent a lot of time worrying to myself that it might have been a mistake to let her have full control over the dress. I’ve worried that people are going to look at her and wonder, “what was the mother thinking?” I’ve been concerned about how pictures are going to look, because the rest of us will NOT be in sequins (unless she can convince her Rabbi to wear a sequin tie ;) ).

But then I remember something she told me as she was kvelling about the dress all weekend. “Grammy gave me great advice, Mom. She told me I should pick the dress that makes me feel like a princess. And this one does.”

You know what? She gets a day to feel like a princess. She’s putting a ton of work into her Bat Mitzvah and the party is a bit of the reward. And if this dress makes her feel like a princess, she deserves it. The dress wasn’t a mistake. To anyone who wonders (or is uncouth enough to ask), I was thinking that the dress is an easy thing to give in on and her face when she tried it on was enough for me to say, “Yes!” The pictures are going to show an ecstatically happy teenager.

This is her chance to be princess for a day and to shine (literally and figuratively).

And next time I see a 13-year-old girl in a dress I wouldn’t wear, I’m going to keep my mouth shut.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dad, Don't Read This*

I made fun of my dad on Facebook the other day. It was harmless and I did it with full knowledge that even though he’s not actually on Facebook, my mother is and, therefore, he’d see it.

He was a bit surprised. I’m not sure why; I always make fun of him and I’ve done it on Facebook before. He has a good sense of humor—I’ve gotten some of my snarkiness from him (thanks Dad!)—and he doesn’t get offended easily. If I thought there was any chance of him being embarrassed by what I said, I wouldn’t have done it. Facebook is public, after all.

One of the reasons why I made fun of him was that it was funny. It involved a phone conversation we had:

Actual phone conversation between me and my dad (who is not on FB--hee hee):

Me: Hello.

Him: Hi? What are you calling for?

Me: To say hi.

Him: Oh. You don't usually do that.

Me: Yes I do, you just don't usually answer the phone.

Him: Oh.

My dad is not a big telephone person. That’s not to say he doesn’t like conversations; he just doesn’t use the phone for them. He’d much rather have them in person. And believe me, we have lots of them. In fact, after the above comments, we continued to have an actual conversation.

After I posted this on Facebook, several people empathized with me by telling me their dads weren’t big conversationalists either. My dad called to ask why I posted this and to joke about payback. I even responded to some of the comments by sticking up for my dad’s conversation skills.

What most people failed to notice, and the real reason I posted this on Facebook to begin with (aside from the fact that it’s funny) is that it’s really a slam on me, not my dad. If you read this closely, you’ll realize I’m showing a conversation where my dad it making fun of me for only calling when I need something.

Okay, I’ll admit, I often do call my parents when I need something. They live nearby and are extremely helpful. My dad it King when it comes to carpooling and schlepping. But I also call just to check in and say hello, even if he’s not aware of that.

In my opinion, the best Facebook jokes that I share are ones that make fun of myself as well. I love laughing at myself. I am very entertaining, at least to me, and laughing at myself prevents me from taking myself too seriously.

Which really should be the point of Facebook, anyway!

*If you choose to ignore the warning, none of this is my fault.