A river runs through it

The rains have finally stopped in our area of New England and, other than a very soggy yard, we’ve been very, very fortunate. But, watching the news of all of the swollen and overflowing rivers brings back memories of a time when the knock on the door of my childhood home was from a policeman telling us to evacuate.

I grew up in Agawam, Massachusetts, just a couple of streets from the banks of the Connecticut River. In June ’84, the banks overflowed and came down my street.


(the Barbie sailboat was my sister’s and often had a beer floating on it for my dad who stayed behind to pump out our basement and watch our cat)

The water never entered the first floor of our ranch, but it got pretty close (our house is the yellow one to the right).


It was pretty surreal to see our street covered in water, a boat bobbing by the curb.


My sister and I thought this was great fun when we had to stop home for dress-up clothes for my BFF’s high-school graduation.

My mother, however, was a nervous wreck.

And now, after watching our yard fill up with water, checking to see if our basement was dry–still dry–, hearing the news stories of evacuations and damage and crumbling dams, I finally understand why she was so nervous.

Mother Nature, take it easy on New England this spring, ok?

Sticks and Stones

This is me at the beginning of my 17th year, the summer before my senior year in high school:


What do you think when you see this photo? “Nice suit!” “Whoa, perm!” “Looks like someone should wear sunscreen!

Or, do you blurt out what a guy in my high school said when I showed him the snapshots of my friends and I at the beach: “Wow, I never realized your legs were so fat.”

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he started backpedaling and tried to make it sound like a joke. I smacked him on the arm and tried to laugh it off.

But, I didn’t really laugh.

It’s 25 years later and the memory of that moment still makes me wince. It makes me feel shame, as if I did something wrong.

One comment planted a seed that grew and grew, helped along by other moments in college, until I did some drastic things in order to achieve some “ideal” look. I’m fortunate that, years later, I no longer battle the demons of extreme weight control, but that doesn’t mean I always love what I see. And as the holidays of excess—Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas—approach, I have to remind myself that I am so much more than the size of my thighs or stomach.

With two girls looking at me for guidance, I want for them to know that their mom is ok with her body now. But, for mercy’s sake, please don’t let it take them as long as it took me to get to this point.

What’s Your Bar Name?

I’m a wimp when it comes to liquor. The only alcohol I’ve had “straight up” was the vodka I gulped down one night in high school when I thought I was reaching for my water glass and accidentally picked my father’s glass.

And, the so-called “brown” liquors? Oh no, no, no, no.

Except for one night in the 90’s, when I went to a media event sponsored by Dewars Scotch Whiskey at the House of Blues in Boston. They were trying to get younger kids to drink their product by mixing Dewars with things like sour mix and Coke.

I showed up at the House of Blues with my Best Friend at the time, and we hung out with a sales reps from one of the magazines I worked with regularly. After a few sweet drinks, the bartender leaned across the bar and asked us if we’d fill out a postcard with information about ourselves, presumably for the Dewars marketing folks.

Feeling warm, fuzzy and giggly, I read the words on the postcard for my two friends to hear: “Name”, “Address”, “Phone Number”, “Bar Name” and “Date of Event”.

Hmmmmmm. . .”, I wondered out loud. “What is my Bar Name?

“Mine is Polly,” said my Best Friend at the time.

“Oh, mine would be Kitty!“, I said triumphantly.

“What are you guys talking about?” asked the confused magazine rep.

“Oh, you know—-your Bar Name! It’s the name you give someone when you don’t really want to give them your real name!”

“OH! I’d be Dr. W”, she said without hesitation.

We laughed over our bar names for a moment when I felt a hand tap my shoulder. I turned to face the same bartender who was now looking at us with a look of complete and utter disbelief.

“Bar Name. . .” he said slowly. “. . .House of Blues”.