Money.  If I had to venture a very uneducated guess, I would say that money was the cause  of most relationship issues.  People have different ideas on money: how much is enough, how should it be spent, how much should be spent.  It’s also a somewhat delicate matter to talk about.  Some people view it as a status symbol, other as a tool of power.  This is why it can wreak havoc in a relationship.

My Husband and I are actually pretty good at the discussing money thing.  We are both a little to the economic (cheap) side and we don’t go for showy things.  Our apartment could be considered less than modest, and the contents of our home are bought for practicality purposes.  We occasionally splurge, but for the most part, we are in total agreement on how our money is divvied out.  This is never a source of an argument.

We also have a formula as to how much money we save and how much we spend.  We came up with this number together, and we’re both ok with that.  Our rainy day money is kept in a low interest yet relatively safe fund, because we both think that money should be liquid in case we need it.

But then there is retirement money, the money really put away for the future.  Now, while we agree as to the percentage amount put away every month, I don’t help my husband invest those funds, now does he help me invest mine.  We take responsibility for our own accounts.

My husband would like to change the way we do this.

He wants me to figure out how to invest his money.

I don’t actually know if I want to do this.

Background: I was a bond analyst back in the day.  I had all sorts of licenses, and had passed all sorts of tests.  I have vague ideas about how to handle money.  But honestly, I used to read all sorts of newspapers and articles about investments.  I used to be way more involved with current events.  While I still read these things, they are no longer the cornerstone of my life: I simply don’t care enough to do much research.

Here’s the thing:  my husband and I use a financial planner.  We meet a few times a year, he discusses what his firm sees as the strategies that one should think about, and we decide how to invest our retirement funds.  My husband and I are in the exact same meeting.  We hear the same exact things.  Yet….

My investments end up making more my husband.

How does this happen?  Is it skill?  Or is it luck?  See, I don’t actually know.  Maybe, after years of working in finance, I have some sort of knack as to what’s happening.  But that’s a really big maybe.  I think I have a little bit of smarts, but a whole bunch of luck.

Do I really want to be responsible for investing what can be considered “his” money?  Technically, we consider it “our” money, so why am I so hesitant to take control of his portfolio?

Why does life get so complicated over seemingly simple things?

Rationally, I know this is a “good” problem.  I know it’s a good thing to have money to invest for retirement.  But, I also know how money issues can bring trouble into a seemingly strong foundation.  I know how money tears people apart.  What if I invest his money and the money underperforms?  I can’t duplicate what’s in my portfolio: allocating funds the exact same way is just poor planning, sort of a too may eggs in one basket sort of scenario.  Can I come up with two planning strategies that will make good use of our money?

So I’m hesitating.  I’m not known for being a hesitate sort of gal: I’m an action girl.  But I am just not sure what to do….So in characteristic fashion, I’m overthinking.  But in uncharacteristic fashion, I’m not coming up with an action plan.  So in this moment in time, you see me like a deer caught in the headlights:  I don’t know what to do…

And I know I will come up with a decision (eventually)…but for now….yuck.



My Week in Review

Hmmm.  College tours.  Too much in too little time!

Here’s what we visited:

  1. Tidal Basin- Cherry Blossoms.
  2. MLK Memorial
  3. Korean Veterans Memorial
  4. Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  5. Lincoln Memorial
  6. Capital (drive by- visitor center but no tour)
  7. White House (drive by)
  8. Smithsonian American History
  9. Smithsonian Air and Space
  10. National Gallery West
  11. Smithsonian American Art Museum
  12. National Portrait Gallery
  13. International Spy Museum
  14. Chinatown Friendship Arch
  15. Supreme Court (outside)
  16. Library of Congress
  17. Georgetown University
  18. American University
  19. George Washington University
  20. Newseum
  21. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts- “Shear Madness” at the Lab

What I Listened to:

Tune Yards


Back in NYC- What I went to:

Escape Room NYC- the detective room




Gratitude Saturday April 7

This week started with Easter and quickly became a mini vacation/college tour week.  I’m still getting things in order on my apartment and playing catch up (I’m looking at my desk calendar which still says Monday April 2, so there’s that…) I wasn’t actively thinking about gratitude this week, but let’s see what I can come up with.

  1. Amtrak Palmetto (despite the very early and very late departure times)
  2. Uber Pool
  3. google maps
  4. comfy hotel beds after a long day
  5. Villanova NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions!!!
  6. Being in DC for cherry blossoms, a bucket list item crossed off
  7. foot massager
  8. flat shoes
  9. daughters good grades so college tours can be a little fun
  10. daughter that is a great traveling companion
  11. cheeseburgers
  12. Smithsonian
  13. luggage on wheels
  14. my daughter lugging 4 huge study guides on the trip so she could study and then only opening one of them

And there you go!!  I’m going to be more proactive this week. And- yes- still catching up!!!


Happiness is….

Arrived home very late last night from our DC college touring/sightseeing jag (don’t worry- posts to follow).  Here’s the thing about a trip- you’re doing only things you want to do, so even if you are tired and your legs hurt from walking, it’s really easy to be happy.  But, during real life, sometimes you need a little reminder.  As I am a little sore and a lot tired this am, and I didn’t prepare a post for this morning, you receive a list of the things I do on a weekly basis (or daily in some cases) to bring some joy into my life:

  1. buy flowers
  2. have a “date” with my husband
  3. have a “date’ with my daughter
  4. playdate with a friend
  5. read
  6. page a day journal
  7. blog
  8. have a 20 minute relax and unwind session with a cup of tea
  9. face mask (the skin care variety, not the Halloween type)
  10. bath
  11. listen to music
  12. cook/try new recipes
  13. do Buzzfeed quizzes
  14. play some sort of game app
  15. exercise
  16. laugh
  17. plan out something fun for the weekend
  18. take pictures
  19. text my besties who live in other parts of the country
  20. organize something

This is my particular list: the things that make ME happy.  What’s on your list?  What are the things that bring a little joy into your day/week?

I will be catching up on blogs and such over the next few days!!

It’s Not That Bad

Today, we’re sort of blending two recent posts- when I debated giving parenting advice to my sister, and when I talked about people might interpret things differently than you intended- and I’m giving a weird sort of follow up.

When I was talking about giving my sister advice, the situation I was talking about was not life threatening.  It was not dealing with abuse of any variety.  I just thought she was making a stupid parenting decision.  I was reluctant to give advice because it was a situation that didn’t really have a right or wrong answer.  My sister might have the right instinct, and I might be totally wrong.  Conversely, I could be right on target and my sister could be off base.  There was no evidence as to which way was better.  So I’m keeping my mouth shut.

But a few of my blog friends had a different interpretation of my blog: these readers assumed the situation was one of abuse, and it was necessary to get involved.

So, what did I learn?

Well, though I know that children are abused, I am a little naïve as to how often it might happen.   I have never had a sense that a child was being abused in any manner, so it’s never the first thought that comes to my mind.  Thus, when I wrote the blog, I assumed that everyone would get that I was speaking of a relatively benign matter.

I’ve gotten used to my in laws having comments about every aspect of my parenting.  There is not a choice that I have made that hasn’t been commented on, so I’m used to people having opinions on trivial things.  My perspective is that people often comment/advise on silly things, so I assumed that everyone would get this.

The Bottom Line.

I write from my perspective: the reader reads from their perspective.  I’m beginning to think that we can’t help but interpret things in this manner.  It’s very hard to separate yourself from a book: sometimes you sympathize or relate, or sometimes you cry foul, and say something isn’t believable or realistic.  Neither way is right, or wrong- it’s just how one interprets it.

We all know that assuming is bad.  Yet we always do it, both as readers and writers.  I’m going to try to be clearer in my writing, and clearer in my reading.  If I don’t understand something, I’m going to ask for clarification.  Communication is faltering in our society, and I’m really going to try my best to get better at it.



I am often quick to anger.  Little things annoy me.  I’ve been working on correcting this problem, and I really feel I’m getting better.  Let’s start with an example.

On Sunday mornings, I take a 9:15 body conditioning class (weights).  I love this class and the teacher- you sort of need to if you consistently go to a Sunday morning class.  Now T usually enters the classroom at exactly 9:15, and starts barking out orders as he sets up the music.  We’re used to this.  A few weeks ago, T was late.  Five minutes.  10 minutes.  He’s never that late, and the rare times he can’t make class he always gets a sub.  People in the class started complaining.  One woman was really really going nuts.  Cursing him out.  Stomping her feet.  Whining.

Don’t get me wrong: I was a little perturbed.  But this was not a normal occurrence at all.  I couldn’t bring myself to get that mad.  In my mind, things happen.  You can’t control everything.

Twenty minutes late. Half the class was gone, including whiny stomper. I was still there, doing my own weights workout.  Biceps, triceps, shoulders.  Doing the exercises I wanted to do that day.  At 9:40, my patience was rewarded.  T showed up.  Turns out, the NYC half marathon was that day:  street closures were massive.  He had trouble getting downtown to the gym.  Even though we only had a half hour, he gave an awesome class, and I felt I got a really good workout.  Score one for me and my good attitude.

However, I was not totally nice and patient at the gym that morning.  When I entered the class to set up my station, I went to get a mat.  Someone had draped their coat on the rack that holds the mats.  The mats are a bit of a pain to grab under optimal circumstances (ie- nothing on top of them) so I was just a tad annoyed (I may have stomped and whined)

When class was finished I began to put my equipment away.  Bench, weights, mat…..When I went to put the mat away, the errant coat was still there on the rack.  I was a little peeved and a lot passive aggressive.  I put my mat over the coat.  The person behind me put her mat over my mat, over the coat.  And so on, until you couldn’t even see the coat.

So take away the point that I gave myself.  I ended the day flat.

I’m still a work in progress.

Don’t Worry – It will Happen

Sorry.  This is going to be a bit of a rant, but something irked me and I have to complain write about it.

A few weeks ago, Husband and I were at dinner with friends.  My daughter was coming home from her tennis match (the parent who drove parks his car near the restaurant) and she saw us through the window, so she came in to say “Hi”.  As this was about 7pm on a Saturday, our couple friends asked what she was doing that night, to which she responded “homework”.

To make this clear, my kid is an avid studier and not so avid partier.  That’s just who she is.  Grades and extracurricular are much more important to her, and she has surrounded herself with friends who feel the same way.

Well, S asked her where the boyfriend was. (I think you all remember my blog about this particular topic) And she said that a significant other isn’t even a thought in her mind, that she’s just not interested.

When she left, he said to me.  “Don’t worry.  One day she’s going to wake up and meet a boy.”


He continued.  “It will happen.  A boy will walk in and she’ll fall in love and won’t be alone anymore.”

I changed the subject.  (also- to be clear- this is my husband’s friend) In my mind though, I was sort of pissed off.  OK- not sort of.  Really annoyed.

  1. What’s wrong with a kid who is a serious student?
  2. What’s wrong with a kid who doesn’t want to date?
  3. Why are you looking with me with pity in your eyes that my 16 year old doesn’t have a boyfriend and it’s a tragedy?
  4. Why are you consoling me with one day a prince will come mentality?
  5. Maybe I think his kids being under 30 and all married is the wrong choice….( I know- not a question, but emphatic point that I thought should be included here_)

I know.  I’ve written this before, but today is blog as therapy day, and I have to put my frustration and anger on the page.  But the real question is:  why does it bother me so much?  Am I really subconsciously worried about why my daughter doesn’t choose to date?

So I thought about this.

And I thought.

And I over thought.

And I’ve decided that no, I really don’t care whether or not my daughter dates.  I’m actually pretty happy with the way she is.  She’s confident and hard working.  She’s a good person who isn’t mean and treats people with respect and dignity.  She has self worth. She has friends who treat her with respect and dignity.  She is a pretty happy kid, especially for a teenager growing up today.  And maybe she is all these things because she has focused on herself instead of focusing on popularity or pairing off.

So here’s the lesson.  Be yourself first.  Figure out who you are, what you like, what you don’t like.  Smile when someone gives you a look of pity, because you’ll probably have the last laugh.

Just like me.  Rant over.  Whew- aren’t you glad?



What Did You Learn Today?

As you know, I finished my writing class recently.  Some of my classmates wondered what they actually learned during the class.  Some of them thought they learned nothing.  They felt that they gained no new knowledge, that they were in the exact same place they started. (to be fair- people felt this after the first class as well.) Now, I felt I learned from both classes.  Does this mean I was stupider than others in my class?  (careful…) Or do I just view learning differently?

I think teaching/learning writing is difficult to quantify.  Can you teach someone to write?  I think you can be taught basics.  I think you can learn how to structure a story, how to write dialogue, how to set a scene.  But is that teaching someone how to write?  Well, it depends on how open minded you are.

I went into each class with a very open mind.  I listened very carefully to what the teacher had to say.  After each class, I would think about the lesson as I read whatever fiction choice was on my ereader.  I would look at how the author actually  put into practice the lessons that we learned.  If we learned about moving a story forward, I would pay attention to how an author actually moved the story forward- how they got from place to place, idea to idea.  If we talked about description, I would look for how the author didn’t rely on adverbs and adjectives, how they looked for different ways to set a scene.  Then, when I would sit down to write, I would try to incorporate what I learned.  Because, I actually felt I learned something.  And my writing got tighter.

I’m going to give you the two lessons I’ve never forgotten:

  1. Man v Man.  Man v Nature. Man v Himself.  That’s it.  Every story boils down to one of these three elements.  That’s it.
  2. Who, what, when, where, why, how. The old journalism prompts.  Use them.  That’s how you make one of the stories your own.

I think people want a cheat sheet, a checklist of what they are “supposed” to do. They think if they memorize this writing playlist, they will produce an amazing work. But writing is not like that: you can’t memorize “rules” and spit out a magnum opus. You have to write from the heart, you have to put the story that’s buried in your soul onto a page. Yes, there are guidelines, but they’re just that: guidelines. No one can teach you to actually be a good writer. Only you can teach yourself how to write.

Look at my lessons.  Memorize them.  Then write your story.  Don’t expect someone else to “teach” you to write your story, because it’s your story.  Your rules.  Your words.  Your story.



My Week in Review 3/25-3/31

Happy Easter!

Where I went:

Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence” I love the Impressionist movement.  I love the colors, I love the way things are depicted, I just love to look at the paintings.  So the new Met show was sort of perfect for me.  It was hard for me to find a favorite work, but I’m going with Vincent Van Gogh- Iris’s


Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings.  My Husband loves landscapes, so this was a win/win again.

What I Listened to:


Justin Timberlake- “Man of the Woods”

Bernhard Zimmerman

Jon Batiste

The Zombies

Andrew Bird

Diet Cig

“Pretty Woman” soundtrack

“Kiss me Kate” soundtrack

Cigarettes After Sex

Jennifer Koh


What I Watched

“Love, Simon” Love, this movie

NCAA basketball

Spring Baking Championship

What I did:

Leila Heller Gallery “NDD Immersion: Part I of the Women’s Trilogy Project Rachel Lee Hovnanian” This is a really cool installation/immersion (I think that’s what you would call it) piece where you enter a room set up to be like the woods at night, including faux stars and campfire, and sounds of crickets chirping, and you carry a lantern in as you go into the room one person at a time.  Catch?  They lock up your cell phone.  You’re supposed to experience it without distraction.

Snapchat Virtual Easter Egg Hunt: Spurred on by my daughter, we did an egg hunt circa 2018.  We looked at a snapchat map of where virtual eggs were hidden, and we walked around the city looking for them.  I know- sort of the exact opposite of the other thing I did this week…but really, really fun!!

What I’m Reading:

“The Secret Adversary” Agatha Christie (yes- part of Jay’s Agatha Christieathon)

Random Question: (getrandomthings.com)

Who would you want to be stranded on a desert island with?  Gilligan, the Professor, Mary Ann, Ginger, Mr. and Mrs. Howell and the Skipper (though the skipper is the one that got us on the island….)

Side Note:  I will be away this coming week.  College visits.  But never fear!  I’ve written in advance so you will not miss my varied and random thoughts!  Have a great week everyone!

Clarification:  In my post “Act Your Age”, I used the term pop culture.  I did not really mean pop culture- it was a poor word choice.  In my head, I was thinking about something specific.  In NYC, there is a Broadway show called “Hamilton”.  In you live in the NYC area, it’s almost impossible to not know about this show.  The person I was referring to in the blog had never heard of “Hamilton”.  I thought this was beyond odd.