It’s A Family Affair

It’s a family affair
It’s a family affair
It’s a family affair
It’s a family affair
One child grows up to be
Somebody that just loves to learn
And another child grows up to be
Somebody you’d just love to burn
Mom loves the both of them
You see it’s in the blood
Both kids are good to Mom
Blood’s thicker than the mud
It’s a family affair
It’s a family affair

Lyrics to the Sly & The Family Stone song “It’s a Family Affair” circa 1971

Sly and The Family Stone knew what they were talking about – there is no bond stronger than a mother’s love of her children. All mother’s will say they love their children all the same – which is true in a way. I have two children and I love them equally but I have a different and special place in my heart for each of them. My first born was a son, my second a daughter – the amount of love if the same. How I love my children does it effect the way they are shaped as people – most definitely.

But I think family order plays a major role in shaping your own character – whether you are a first born male vs. female; middle child or only child, 6th in a family of 8 children (God knows that must be happening more and more often with the rising success of invitro-fertilization!) Don’t think so? Remember Jon and Kate Plus 8 on TLC and then you have families like the Duggars on what 19 and Counting -good god! Invitro and multiples have become increasing more commonplace. I was blessed not to have to endure the countless injections and many other hardships that those strong women endure. To be sure they are some of the toughest cookies out there to subject themselves to the onslaught of tests, shots, poking and probing in areas that don’t like to be poked – all in the name for the love of their own child. A creation they’ve made together with their beloved spouse – a little part of each of them that will eventually drive them insane as teenagers!

We each share a unique relationship with our mother which I believe has something to do with our birth order. I think a mother tends to remember more things about the first child since it was THE first. No other distractions from siblings to take away from the memories. This drives my daughter nuts that I remember my son’s first movie and not hers. Well excuse me for remembering going to a drive-in movie to see Lion King after being stuck up in the house all winter in sub-zero temperatures. It’s not to say that I don’t remember anything about her birth or things that happened during her first years because of course, I do. However, sometimes when put on the spot I may fail that pop quiz of hers. Mothers love their children unconditionally and whether one kid is a math whiz and the other is not – in the eyes of the mother she loves both equally the same. But kids tend to feel that parents favor one child over another in some way, that someone is the “golden child” and never fully believe them when they are told they are equally loved.

Families these days have evolved – long gone are the days of Leave It To Beaver

and welcome the Modern Family

This must make for some very interesting and complicated family dynamics. When I was growing up more of my friends parents were married (their first marriage) as opposed to divorced. I don’t think that’s the case for kids these days or at the very least its a hell of a lot more common day then it was back in the 1970’s and even 1980’s.

We all know life is not a sitcom but if you watch Modern Family or Parenthood, another favorite of mine,


you see that there is a common thread that families that communicate remain closer and are better off for it, no matter what type of family you have – traditional, or blended. It takes time, effort and a ton of energy to achieve this too. It can be exhausting on you mentally and physically. Even if you feel like you are going through hell and back on the way; it’s your family and aren’t they worth the trouble? Mine is and hopefully yours is too!

Dennis Hopper kicked off my Mid-Life Crisis – Part 1


As a single 46 year old woman with two teenage children I find that in the last year – give or take -I have been going through a mid-life crisis. Just the words “mid-life” are harsh enough having ‘crisis’ follow seems appropriate though. How can it be that I got to the middle of my life so fast?! And what do I have to show for it?!

It seems like it was not so long ago I was a young mother in her early thirties chasing after toddlers. Not long before that I was dancing at clubs and concerts on a regular basis enjoying myself with my friends night after night. And if I close my eyes I can still clearly see the lake that I spent my summers at and the clay courts that I spent countless numbers of hours playing tennis.

But alas, I am 46 years old so if this is truly mid-life I should live, if I’m lucky enough, until I am 92 years old. That would be in keeping with the women on the maternal side of my family. My Nana, god rest her soul, was just about to turn 93 when she passed away. I believe she would have lived longer too, had she not fallen out of her bed and sustained a spiral fracture to her femur – it was the infection that got her in the end. I miss my Nana – she was my best friend.
So now I’m at 46 and in the last year a very restless feeling overcame me as far as my career was concerned. For the last 11 years I have been working as an equity research analyst for a very small family run hedge fund. But when I went to college I had made a very conscious decision not to work on Wall Street since that’s what my family did and I had no interest in it. Funny how life has a way of throwing you curve balls and you land up on paths you thought you didn’t want to be on. Its been a good path for over a decade but one day when I was listening to Bloomberg TV like I did every day Monday through Friday 8a-3pm, a commercial came on that asked “what’s your dream?” “What’s Your Dream?” Dennis Hopper would say over and over again, day after day until one day I started to hear him as if he was speaking to me. “Christine – hello, I’m talking to you – What’s Your Dream?” Sounds like a simple enough question, but when I thought about it for a second – I came up blank.
It hit me like a ton of bricks – I didn’t have a dream and when I sat there and tried to formulate one on the spot – nothing. Nada. Nil. Not one thought came to mind.I was dumbfound – how could I not have a dream?

The more things change the more they stay the same

Time flies when your raising teenagers and its January 2011…a very long since I thought to start blogging. Maybe this time I’ll be more successful. Things have changed – although there is a saying – the more things change, the more they stay the same. True.
Over the course of my life I have amassed a huge number of photos. I’m not talking about family snapshots, although I have a tremendous amount of those as well. The photos of which I am referring to are landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes, snowscapes, fall foliage, action sports photos – you name it and of course the dogs. I have always taking pictures. Over the years I have so many different people tell me I should sell my work. But that’s easier said then done of course.
It wasn’t until recently on a walk to Starbucks that I was finally convinced that I need to figure things out. I had passed an art gallery and in the window was a picture of a scene of wine glasses on a table. It was $1800. Later I saw a picture of buoys – again the composition was something I have done myself and just as good, I thought – that one was going for $4600. Further down on my walk I passed another shop window which had smaller prints of cows and pastures – when I saw those I was convinced it was time to get my ass in gear and try to figure things out.
Recently I discovered Redbubble.com, a website which has allowed me to be able to display and sell my photos. The way the site works seems easy enough, you upload your photos and set your commision – they do all the work.
It’s not about the money, although I suppose if someone was willing to buy any photograph or artwork – that would be the most highest form of flattery. Just having a forum to be able to display and get feedback and share my work with others who share a common interest – feel like a great start. Maybe someday someone will be interested in buying one of my works but until then I will continue to challenge myself to improve and enjoy the peace and pleasure I get from working on my art.

A year plus later – is anything really better

Its’ been over a year since my last post. In these last 15 months a lot has happened – but when I re-read my March 2009 post it seems that I was not so far off with my thoughts about Obama’s “stimulus” packages and how effective they would be – which as we see 15 month later – weren’t so stimulative after all.
September 2010 and we have unemployment rates still at very high levels = 9.6%. This is higher than any other post-war period in our nations’s history, despite coming out of the recession back in June 2009- this is according to the National Bureau of Economics who made the announcement today.

There’s only so much you can take

It’s been months now since our trip. I’m glad I took so many pictures. The time went by so quickly and there was so much to see and do – not enough time. But thankfully I have the photographs to look back on and reflect. China was an amazing place – so rich in history and culture. The infrastructure which is being put into place over there makes the US seem like a third world country. In the 12 days I was in China and the three major cities I visited in that time – I was overwhelmed in trying to take in so much in such a short period of time. It’s similar to what’s going on today which the Fiscal Crisis – there is so much trying to be done is such a short period of time, it’s hard to absorb it all .
It’s frustrating to see what’s going on in our country today. The blame game in Washington hinders the governments ability to get to the business at hand. Personally I don’t think they should have been as involved as they are now. They have enough problems running things as it was. The stimulus package everyone is keeping their fingers crossed and hoping for the best. The entire country is overwhelmed at trying to comprehend what the hell mess were all in and there certainly is enough blame to go around, but no one seems really to be admitting to it.
I’m concerned for the infrastructure of our relatively young nation. The priorities of some of the earmarks which were ultimately added to the stimulus are questionable when you look at the cost vs. the numbers of jobs that they create. I’m not saying that some of these projects shouldn’t get done – it’s just a matter of doing them later. After all wouldn’t it be better to start with the projects which would create jobs and are important infrastructure strengthening projects?
I have noticed that the politicians when they talk about the stimulus use the phrase “save or create jobs”. To me there’s a big difference between creating and saving. Saving jobs wouldn’t add more jobs to the overall number of jobs in the marketplace – it really means that they want to stop the further downsizing of already existing companies. But this is the best and most effective way for companies to cutback and for the most part all of these companies got too ridiculously big in the first place. Seriously, does Starbucks need to be every other block in Manhattan? I don’t think so and the market has proven so.
Creating jobs would obviously add jobs to the existing marketplace – that is once the existing marketplace has weeded out all excess which has been building up during the bubble years. It’s like your lawn every so often you need to aerate it/poke a few holes in it to allow for the better absorption of water and nutrients. Downsizing has a similar effect of companies – trimming the excess fat from the overall workforce can make a company leaner and meaner, allowing the flow of productivity to unclog.

Far East Far Out

This summer I had the good fortune to visit the Great Wall of China. Where we visited, there was a chair lift and a gondola that took the visitors up to one of th towers. It was amazing to be standing there overlooking the mountains and see the wall stretch for miles both ways. It’s incredibly steep and the day before had rained so there were parts which were still fairly slippery. In certain sections underfoot was smooth or riddled with tiny steps. After walking around with the kids and my father we proceeded down the mountain alpine slide. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to taking a slide down the mountains in China form the Great Wall!

Trick or Treat!

Halloween is tomorrow night and for the 12+ crowd the curtain is closing on the normal trick or treat walk around the neighborhood. Gone are the simple days of when I would pick a Tigger and Spiderman costumes for them or the excitement of going to Party City to pick out an outfit themselves. Now they simply create something from the trunks of all the old stuff and anything else they can get their hands on, if they so choose to be creative. It’s is also Friday night and Halloween hasn’t been on a weekend in a long time. That changes the entire dynamics of the holiday, especially for this crowd. Halloween parties actually on Halloween night is way cooler than trick or treating or inviting a friend over for trick or treating and sleep over – always big with the girls in the bunch.
Growing up in the city – Halloween was much different than being out in the suburbs. In the city you went up and down in the elevator, floor by floor. Some kids did multiple buildings, my parents saw absolutely no need in that considering we lived in an apartment building with 17 floors with 5 apartments per floor. That’s 95 apartments! It would take hours to hit 95 houses out in the suburbs – but aggressively doable I suppose. Our block alone which is a dead end stretching about 1/2 mile long has no more than 20 houses on it – the road behind us which many of these house butts up to has more and is a little longer. The haul traditionally brought in is about a full pillow sack of pure sugar – with the exception of the one house that gives out tennis balls. Something I never was given as child while trick or treating but the kids love to play with the balls as they load up on their night’s bounty.
In college Halloween was definately a party – Scary Party to be exact and I have a number of stories I could tell, but not today. Although in the spirit of the holiday when the kids were still too young to fully enjoy it – as a young married couple, I always enjoyed throwing an adult Halloween Party and requesting that my guests join inthe spirit of things and dress up too. This way I also was not competing with the later Holiday parties in December too. I always found it curiously funny that usually the ones who complained the most initially were the ones who came in the most creative costumes, like a jelly fish maed out of the drycleaner plastic and wire hangers or wine and cheese made of a card board shell shaped like cheese with crakcers stuck to it and his partner had a sweater on with purple balloons stuck to it! Classic!
One of my all-time favorite costumes which I made was the Bride of Frankenstein – I wore an old wedding dress from a previous engagement of mine that got as far as the dress but not the alter – another long story for another time. My hair streaked with grey and my husband at the time of course was The Monster.
Good times! Good Times!
Here’s to having more good times this Halloween and those to come.
Happy Halloween!

No Timelike the Present

Recently, I’ve become more aware that I have a number of friends that have blogs. I have dabbled in blogging over the years under different names and for the most part life gets in the way and I haven’t kept up with it.

Odd for me too, after all, I’ve been journaling since I was a teenager beginning in 1980. I still have volumes of my diaries filled with the lusty descriptions of sex with my boyfriend and how much I loved, loved, loved having sex (and still do) to the countless angry passages about my relationship with my family. Occasionally a friend or boyfriend had scribbled a note or drawing on my pages after perhaps I had shared with them in a trusting moment. Only to have my diary read by my mother and sister countless times. The shocking clarity of those early diaries made my mother blush. She’d say I should find a job writing for a xxx magazine. I do have a great imagination but I was at the time simply writing about my new sexual experiences and feelings of first love. The simple act of writing is cathartic. It’s a way of processing information for me.

Recently a new friend of mine who also shares my love of writing and I were talking about being afraid of doing new things. Change is a difficult thing and trying new things out can be a scary thing. Fear of the unknown. It stops many of us from trying at all. This is my attempt at trying to overcome a little of that. Because in the end it doesn’t really matter if my writing sucks or my views are stupid. It doesn’t matter if no one reads this blog at all but me. Its the process in the end which will matter the most I think.
I look forward to blogging more …

“You are a king by your own fireside, as much as any monarch in his throne.”

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra quotes (Spanish writer, author of the masterwork ‘El quijote’, 1547-1616)