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Designer Dating

The RFP process is exactly like dating.
You have to dress up, put on make up, be (economically) truthful about your past, expound all your achievements, be funny, be engaging, be smart and witty and DESIRABLE. 
You can't be too cheap or too expensive. 
If you are lucky you get it just right and get a second date. 
After that you are either loved or rejected. 
Rejection is tough - you go through all the agony of analyzing where you went wrong. You convince yourself that you are just not good enough and that someone else was prettier, smarter, more talented etc. etc.
The truth is that you simply were not the right match. 
Just as every person you date will not be your future spouse, every Client you chase may not be the one for you either.
Sometimes after you've given your ALL, the phone doesn't even ring and you have NO clue why it didn't work out. Other times you are told in EXCRUCIATING detail that you did everything perfectly, they loved your work they loved the fee they loved everything about you, it's really not your fault that the future belongs to another.
Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time you look back with gratitude at these failed attempts - you see the bigger picture (difficult Client, unrealistic budget, IMPOSSIBLE schedule) and realize that you are so HAPPY that it wasn't meant to be and usually by that time you are 'going steady' with something much better, more suitable and more inspiring.
An experienced Project Manager recently told me that the best projects are the ones you DON'T get. I understand that sentiment but I think the best projects are the ones that you are destined to have. The ones that land in your lap even though your bid wasn't the lowest, you didn't try too hard and you were having an off day when they called.

But yet somehow when they met you the chemistry was there and they just knew that YOU were the One.



Songs from the West Coast

A couple of months ago, on a two hour drive to a wedding, Rockstar and Genius announced that the best thing that Mufasa and I EVER did for them was introduce them to Elton John’s Songs from the West Coast. They were both completely ADAMANT and united in this sentiment.

What a REVELATION! Let the record show that all the huge personal sacrifices we made to feed, clothe and educate them pale into insignificance beside this one life-changing decision! 

Apparently it took place on a similar family road trip for a weekend break in Naples back in the day when they were just Middle School fledglings. According to both boys their lives were irrevocably changed by the CD (on auto repeat) which captivated them all the way across Alligator Alley. I was finding this declaration hard to fathom until Genius searched for the album on Apple Music and insisted we play it again for old times sake. Skeptical at first, I had clearly forgotten the brilliance of the songs. By the time we got to the end of Dark Diamond I was completely convinced. 

Is there anything better than a family in a car all singing along to great music? Classic sounds that have the power to make everyone feel good and will forever-after call to mind that particular time and place?

Rockstar & Genius are so vehement in their belief that the music we chose to play on our family outings influenced their development and made them the young men they now are, that I’m left wondering how differently they might have turned out if we had spent these journeys in silence or played the greatest hits of Whitesnake or Dolly Parton? It’s actually pretty scary to consider the consequences of exposing them to the wrong stuff at such a critical point of their development - perhaps they would have become selfish, heartless hooligans, meth addicts, hardened criminals, any number of horrendous possibilities.

Little did we know that we didn’t NEED to expend so much time and energy nagging them to help around the house, make their beds, do their homework, and eat their greens, Elton had it all covered. 

Of course we also sang our hearts out to Westlife, Abba, Michael Jackson, Lighthouse Family and many more. Now whenever the boys are home these sounds find their way back into our gatherings & celebrations reminding us of all our specific family history and evoking memories that are bittersweet. 

I had just about come to terms with the fact that our parenting skills were nothing more than a series of well chosen classic songs, when I was forced to confront another reality. We were visiting Rockstar in LA and during a fabulous dinner and a lot of reminiscing over his childhood memories, he announced that the BEST thing that Mufasa and I ever did for them was to move them to different schools in different countries every two years!!! What a REVELATION!!!  All this time We’ve felt so guilty for plucking them from their settled happy lives, and the friends they loved so that we could pursue our careers and now it turns out that they feel it made them better, stronger and equipped to deal with anything that life throws at them!

“So what about Songs from the West Coast?” I said

“ Oh yes I’d forgotten about that” Rockstar replied. 

Seriously???? I’m so confused - but perhaps I’m overthinking this whole where-did-we-go right scenario. The boys are grown, they are fine young men, probably more by luck than by design, and somewhere along the way perhaps they WERE singing along to Elton;


“Look Ma no hands

Look Ma ain't life grand

I'm a super power, I'm a handy man

Didn't I turn out, didn't I turn out to be

Everything you wanted Ma

Ain't you proud of me”

In their minds I suspect that there are a whole number of ‘BEST things we ever did’ and that’s absolutely fine.


Going Dark

Okay so here is the deal.

Every year Mufasa ‘technically’ gives up something for Lent. I say technically because as far as I can remember he has not ever succeeded in TOTAL abstinence of the chosen vice. The vices have ranged from sugar to alcohol to sex. I think the sex year was the easiest for him as right after he announced it I was only too delighted to help him resist temptation.

This year is going to be both the most challenging and conversely the easiest as I have decided to join him in the commitment to Lenten sacrifice. I am actually really excited about this and can’t wait for Lent to start because we have decided to give up TV.  I am convinced that this is going to be not only a spiritual experience but also a healthy re-setting of our social lives, our marriage, and our state of mind(s).

I’m embarrassed to admit that over the last year or so I’ve become a bit of a TV Series binge watching couch potato. Yes ME the person that never watched TV at all and always had her nose in a book has fallen down that particular rabbit hole and is struggling to emerge. Mufasa and I have turned into the couple that eat dinner in front of the TV because we are so obsessed with our latest crime/drama that we cannot wait until the end of the meal to see the next episode. This is the kind of behavior that I used to condemn as disgraceful so it is time to make some changes.

It will certainly be an interesting forty days. With TV removed from our activity list we will be forced to:

Go out more

Read books

Do all the jobs around the house that we’ve put off


Write more blogs


On the plus side we will be able to get drunk every night as we are not giving up alcohol. The reason that I think we will be successful is that we are both doing it and have already become extremely competitive – goading each other with taunts and predictions on who will fail first. Mufasa is going to have to record all his sports programs so I do hope he is planning well in advance and clearing enough space on the DVR hard drive. Otherwise I fear I may be the one to suffer one of his MANIC MELTDOWNS when he discovers he missed Arsenal versus Scunthorpe YAWN YAWN.

I am SO looking forward to being TV NEWS FREE starting February 10th as all this run-up-to-the-election political crap is depressing the hell out of me. I’m sure by the time we get back on the grid at Easter absolutely nothing will have changed and we will still have months of this three ring circus to endure.

We are allowing ourselves NPR and BBC Radio and trips to the Movie Theater. I will also be reading The Skimm  – my newfound favorite daily Internet newsfeed. But that will be the sum total of our media experience for the Lenten period.

Lest we are tempted I am planning to hide all the remote controls on February 9th which probably means that we will be going dark for a lot longer than forty days as the chances of us remembering where we put them after that long are less than zero. No doubt the experience of this sacrifice will produce at least one amusing blog in the near future.

Stay tuned.


The Road to Hell

Mufasa and I get along just fine until you put us in the same car. Generally we live and work together in perfect harmony but on the rare occasions that we are forced to share a ride the whole thing starts to unravel. We can manage short local trips to the grocery store etc. but we learned early on that carpooling to the office might save the ozone layer at the expense of our marriage.

Last week we had to bite the bullet on a long drive to Sarasota. I think we would have been OK if the weather had co-operated but unfortunately we were forced to cross from the east coast of Florida to the west in TORRENTIAL RAIN. I made the mistake of checking weather and traffic reports before we left so I knew EXACTLY how many accidents and how many people had already died that day!  Only twenty minutes into the journey I was wishing I had cancelled the trip.

Mufasa thinks if he is driving at 5 miles OVER the speed limit he is CRAWLING along. Never mind that we cannot see ten yards in front as everything is white but what we CAN see are the overflowing canals to both sides of the road – the ones that we are certainly going to drown in when he hydroplanes off the road.  Naturally we do not have the emergency belt cutter and windscreen hammer basher kit on board. Another error I decide to correct if we survive this ordeal.

Because our trip was in part to celebrate my Birthday Mufasa tried EXTREMELY hard not to get snappy with me and my neurotic behavior. He smiled sweetly and took his foot off the gas every time I panicked and he did not lose his temper as I kept up a three hour running commentary about how much danger we were in, how sure I was that we were imminently going to plunge into gator infested waterways, or plough headlong into the car (that we couldn’t see) in front of us.

As I white knuckled my way through this MISERABLE experience I was periodically able to laugh at myself and our situation until I remembered that Mufasa had recently mentioned that if we are ever able to retire he wants to DRIVE ACROSS AMERICA!!! When we arrived safely in Sarasota I asked him how he could possibly imagine that Route 66 was a viable scenario with me as co-pilot? To which he replied that his plan was to drug me so that I would sleep through it all and awake at each stop point rested, relaxed and ready for action. The man has LOST HIS MIND – that is simply NEVER going to happen - He will be doing that particular road trip to hell alone or with Rockstar & Genius while the risk averse Jewish  Mother boards a nice safe flight to the same destination.


There's No Place Like Home

Dear Rockstar & Genius

As you will only be home for three days over Christmas, Dad & I decided to get you each a special gift - see attached.

These will be placed on your ankles when you arrive and removed two hours before your flights back to NY/LA.

In this way we can ensure that you are forced to spend ALL your time with us in the house.

Please explain to your friends that you are on 'House Arrest' for the duration of the Christmas period and if they want to visit you here they will be made very welcome; fed, watered, hugged etc.

Any important business meetings that you have will need to be cleared with us one day in advance IN WRITING. Whilst we will make every effort to accommodate these requests we cannot guarantee approval.

I'm sure you will agree that as well as being novel Christmas gifts, which will benefit the whole family, the bracelets are a great fashion statement.

Lots of love

Mama & Papa 


Dear Mama & Papa

I think I speak on behalf of Genius and myself when I say, we will ABSOLUTELY agree to your house arrest, however in return you will have to refrain from asking for ANY help with:

iTunes/ Apple Music / Apple TV related questions  Computer freezing/ email and other security passwords, iPhone or Netflix related account issues.

Love Rockstar


Dearest Parents

No need to worry about me on that end; I’ll happily volunteer for house arrest. I won’t be able to find better company elsewhere.

Obviously I will be expecting the following;

Tuna melts every morning for breakfast

Roast Potatoes & Yorkshire Pudding (Xmas day)

My own personal Pavlova

Sole use of the green guest bedroom (I was in the yellow one for Thanksgiving.)

Boggle, Canasta & Scrabble on demand.

See you tomorrow


PS. Are those ankle bracelets available in red? Might be a bit more festive.




Meltdown Misery

Menopausal Madness is in full swing here.

All I can say is that I hope all those stories I’ve heard about women who get off Capital Murder charges on the grounds of diminished responsibility (due to raging hormones) are true. Otherwise my next blog may well be written from the confines of a prison cell. Poor Mufasa – he is a shadow of his former self as he tries to navigate through the dark and stormy waters of a wife who is a placid, gentle sweetheart one minute and a RAVING LUNATIC the next.

Case in point, I was preparing a Dishy Special pasta bake for him last weekend while he was out running errands. I thought I was in a fabulous mood as I diced a few veggies; some leftover chicken whipped up a light cream sauce and then generously sprinkled shredded Parmesan over the top before popping it in the oven to bake. I was feeling pretty smug about my creation as I sipped a nice glass of Pinot and waited for his return.

Enter Mufasa stage left but unfortunately his first words to me were “What’s that stinky cheese smell?”   This innocent question resulted in an instant explosion of tears and rage; “ YOU CALLOUS INSENSITIVE B***ARD WHAT ON EARTH IS WRONG WITH YOU? HERE I AM COOKING YOUR DINNER WHICH IS AN ACT OF LOVE (sob) AND YOU INSULT ME WITH STINKY CHEESE ACCUSATIONS (sob sob) THAT’S IT – DON’T EVER EXPECT HOMECOOKED CUISINE (sob sob sob) FROM ME AGAIN YOU CAN EAT GARBAGE FOR ALL I CARE.”

At this point Mufasa realizes that a huge error has been made and although it is clearly true that Parmesan is somewhat of a smelly cheese it was extremely unwise to have mentioned it, but how to recover from this point? All his protestations of sorrow, guilt, love and appreciation were just met with further hormonally induced rantings so he left me crying on the sofa and retreated to a safe corner of the house to re-group, gather his wits and pray that I would calm down enough to accept his groveling apologies. Of course he was in fact ravenously hungry and sincerely hoping that this would all blow over fairly quickly so that we could sit together and eat the Stinky Cheese Pasta dish. Thankfully these CRAZY mood swings do seem to pass in short order so an hour later we were back to Lovebird status and enjoying our dinner on the patio. 

I can never predict how and when these rages will manifest. There are other times when the observations my soul mate utters have me rolling on the floor laughing. Case in point # 2 was earlier this week when we were riveted to one of our BBC TV shows and right in the middle of a gripping murder scene Mufasa grabbed the remote, paused the frame and turned to me looking extremely grave and said “SIXTY-NINE DEGREES” I looked at him perplexed until he continued “ SIXTY-NINE DEGREES!!! I WOKE UP LAST NIGHT AND MY ENTIRE ARM WAS FROZEN SOLID!!! THAT’S NOT AIR CONDITIONING IT’S REFRIGERATION!”

I think I laughed for ten full minutes. This whole AC thing is a constant battle with us as I’m permanently hot and he is shivering with cold. I set the AC low and wonder why I’m still burning only to discover he has re-set it at 77.

Florida is not a good place for menopausal women or their long-suffering husbands. At least Rockstar and Genius are not being subjected to this latest reality show of their parent’s lives. By the time they get home for Thanksgiving the weather will have cooled sufficiently to allow the resumption of normal behaviors. Unless of course my husband is foolish enough to make any less than favorable observations regarding our Holiday fare – I cannot be held responsible for what might ensue if there is even the slightest inference that my turkey and trimmings are not perfect examples of gastronomic excellence or indeed any mention of the fact that I have failed to lose the fifteen pounds of peri-menopausal weight in time for the Holiday Season as intended. Those are topics that are guaranteed to ignite a severe case of meltdown misery.



Vanishing Facts

The fact is,Things (specifically articles of clothing) VANISH in this house.

For many years I pooh-poohed this notion convinced that both Rockstar and Genius were evolving an increasingly fantastical list of explanations for the disappearance of their favorite T-shirts. They blamed everyone who set foot over the threshold including their best friends and the cleaning lady and then, when those assertions made me angry, they moved on to other more incredible explanations such as ghosts in the Yellow Bedroom. But now (several years after their departure from the nest) I am forced to admit that there is something VERY strange going on here.

Let’s start with underwear. Not socks (we all have a sock monster in residence) that’s boring; clearly the number of socks that emerge from the dryer is lesser than or greater than but not equal to the number that went in – I’m talking about something a LOT more serious and sinister. I own about twenty tank top/stretch vest thingies that I wear every day. They are sort of the foundation layer that helps conceal numerous lumps and bumps and of these twenty of course there is a firm favorite. The one that is EXACTLY the right length, not too tight not too loose, the PERFECT shade of Navy and completely irreplaceable as I’ve had it for years and have no idea where it was purchased. Needless to say it is THIS tank that goes missing. The first time it was gone for about six weeks. It’s hard to describe my ensuing rage when frenetic emptying of laundry baskets and closets were not successful. I wouldn’t have cared about any of the other nineteen but I NEEDED THIS ONE BACK. Eventually it just innocently re-appeared in a pile of clean washing on our bed. No explanations, no apologies, nothing but I was so happy to see it I didn’t care. I think I wore it twice before it vanished again, this time it’s been over three months and I’ve completely lost all hope.

What is even more bizarre is that in addition to regular missing favorites, NEW items of clothing  (not owned by any family member) appear and EXHAUSTIVE investigation as to their point of origin doesn’t solve the mystery. There is no one in my house who wears a woman’s size 5 shoe and yet on more than one occasion a brand new pair of darling sandals appear on the shoe rack in the garage. You could try and argue that a guest left them there but seriously who comes over for dinner in sandals and leaves bare-foot? Anyway this is nothing but a tease as the mystery shoes are always ones I would dearly love to wear but there is no chance of me squeezing my Ugly Sister size 8 foot into a Dainty Cinderella size 5 (trust me I have tried.)

Mufasa has spent far too many hours of his life blaming Rockstar and Genius for his disappearing underwear. He refuses to accept any other explanation despite the fact that they live in LA and NY respectively and would not be remotely interested in his boring Costco boxers. It’s just as well I trust him implicitly because I suspect other wives might become somewhat unhinged at the number of times he has to replace ‘missing’ knickers.

As distressing as all these lost clothing stories are, I now have renewed faith as yesterday a MIRACLE occurred. I plucked out a pair of black leggings (from my collection of at least eight) and discovered to my shock and delight that THIS pair was not mine. I have no idea how or why they are in my wardrobe but they are literally the BEST black leggings in the universe. Soft, good quality Lycra with no shine, a perfect fit, just tight enough to make me look slim without cutting off circulation to vital organs. They are GORGEOUS. I know I didn’t buy them because if I had ever found a pair this great I would have bought the entire stock in black and one in every other available color.

SO, a gift from the clothes snatcher? A little reward for accepting that the navy tank is never coming home?

Who knows? Who cares?  Not me but I will be guarding my new acquisition very carefully – they will have to be hand washed and returned straight to a special locked drawer as I cannot risk them vanishing into thin air at the whim of the ghost thief.

I realize that by publishing this I run the risk of attracting hordes of crazy women claiming to have left their black leggings at my house while I was out, but I’m banking on them being at least smart enough to realize that’s a little tricky to explain.

For now I think my new favorites are safe, at least until the next vanishing act.


Pearls of Wisdom

There is a fine line between nonchalance and neurosis.

I just crossed it.

An hour ago I was in a PERFECTLY peaceful state and then Genius called to tell me he is having oral surgery tomorrow. I highly doubt it will happen that quickly as he hasn’t even had a consultation yet but in any case all that means is that the few days between now and the actual event will be an eon of misery; hours and (endless) hours for me to ponder all the things that could possibly go wrong.

I realize that people have their wisdom teeth removed all the time without any serious consequences but Jewish mothers don’t focus on statistics they focus on the fact that they are thousands of miles away and can’t spoon-feed their sons with chicken soup.

Other things to obsess about are:

How will he get home from the hospital?

It’s FREEZING in NYC right now so he is sure to get sick right after the surgery.

Who will call 911 if the bleeding won’t stop?

And on and on it goes, a never-ending list of anxiety-inducing, sleep-preventative topics.

It was SO much easier when the boys were little. In those days I was under the (mistaken) impression that I was in total control and could keep them from all harm. Those heady days of self-deception when I truly believed that my babies were safe because I was doing such a great job of looking after them when in fact I was just INCREDIBLY lucky.

I wish all this worry burned calories and killed my appetite – at least there would be a pay off. But NO in the one hour since Genius delivered his news bulletin I’ve managed to stress eat enough to sustain a small African nation. I now have terrible indigestion and will be awake half the night, which is actually a good thing - because what sort of mother can have a good night’s sleep knowing her beloved child is going to be mutilated the following day? Of course Mufasa will sleep beautifully. He is not the SLIGHTEST bit concerned about the impending butchering. And why should he be? When you are married to crazy it’s like a get out of jail free card. You get to be the calm sane one, the rock, and the voice of reason. The stable half of the relationship, dispensing pearls of infinite wisdom (like “STOP worrying about it -there is NOTHING you can do.”)