Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Guess Who I'm Inviting to Dinner?

I don't know about you, but if you decided to become an Obama supporter, you've probably been receiving a ton of email blasts from their camp.  The messages come fast and furious - some are inspirational, some tattle on Hillary Clinton's latest misdeed, others urge you to join the grassroots movement and wave an Obama sign in the next state that will be holding a primary, but my favorite one of all has been the "you can have dinner with Obama" messages.  
When I first read the invitation and then saw the big honking DONATE NOW button right below it, I realized it was just a ploy to get me to fork over some bucks to the campaign so that he can keep steamrolling his way through to the nomination.  What I also realized is that even if I give $25 to Senator Obama, there's no way I'm going to wind up becoming the lucky person who will get to break bread with him on the campaign trail.
And so, I've decided that if Obama is truly reading all the commentary about himself in the blogosphere, that I would invite him over to dinner at my house.  But not just any dinner.  I've decided to invite Senator Obama to Passover with my family.  If he truly wants to know what goes on in the minds of bleeding heart liberals, several Democrats and three staunch Republicans, then I say, spend an evening with the Feldmans and get into that Pesach spirit.
If you get there early, my mom and I will give you a lesson on matzoh ball preparation - follow the directions on the box and add a little seltzer for buoyancy.  And then, if you're lucky, you can take a seat next to my dad, Neil who will re-tell the story of the first Passover from our vintage Waldbaums Haggadahs that we still have since 1976.  And don't worry if you can't follow along - most of our attendees are not of the Jewish faith since there were lots of intermarriages in our family.  My cousin Jeff married Terri, whose Irish; my sister-in-law Sherri, is married to Ed - an ultimate conservative whose family is from Puerto Rico; my father-in-law John is another Irishman; my cousin Lee's wife Sandy is Catholic but she converted to Judaism a few years back; then there's George and Evanthia - my husband's step father who is Greek (as is his girlfriend).  So Barack - if you and your family join the festivities, you'll fit right in with our Jewish melting pot.  
Come sing songs with us, learn how to use your red Manischewitz wine to symbolize the plagues.  And watch how my son, who is just learning to read attempts to tackle the four questions in Hebrew.  We've got lots of food to offer - from gefilte fish to chopped liver, to turkey, brisket, matzoh pudding and sweet potatoes mixed with apple compote, walnuts and roasted marshmallows. And here's the kicker - I won't ask you to give us a dime to come and partake in our fabulous meal.  You can breeze in like the wind just like Elijah does each year.  
So if you can make it to the first seder next Saturday, I'm officially inviting you, Barack Obama, your wife Michelle and your two kids to join in on the fun.  And if your children find the matzoh, they can feel free to use the $10 they receive to donate back to your campaign.   
Don't feel obligated to attend, because as my Grandma Dora used to say, "If you don't come, you don't have to go home."  But if you are in the area, feel free to give us a holler before sundown.  

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

You Had Me at Katie Couric

A few days ago Beth Blecherman, one of the incredible founders of Silicon Valley Moms Blog, which started out a few years back with a group of mom writers from the west coast and has expanded to Washington D.C., Chicago and New York City, called me with an incredible opportunity - the chance to go behind the scenes at the CBS Evening News and meet Katie Couric! OMG...what was I going to wear???
We all arrived early (looking great I might add) and chatted in the lobby for a while, until our incredibly young and affable guide (one of Katie's favorite digital geniuses) whisked us upstairs and gave us a tour of the studio and control room and took plenty of pictures of us with about 20 different cameras! While we were waiting in the newsroom, the woman of the hour breezed in and was ready for action. We immediately followed Katie into the studio where she recorded a few promos and a quick segment for her CBS radio show, took a picture of our group behind the news desk and when she had a little down time, she invited us into her office for a personal chat. They also shot some video of us with a Flip camera (must-have item for moms) that will wind up on Katie's YouTube page in a few days. Katie's behind the scenes videos are pretty funny - so check them out and get to know what she does when she's not delivering the news!
As we all gathered in her bright and inviting office - she's got pictures of powerful female leaders on her wall (gotta love her), Katie plopped down on the floor and started taking our questions. Right off the bat, one writer asked if Katie could call and surprise her mom and she immediately said yes and left the nicest message on her answering machine - I bet her mom will never erase that one! From there, we tackled tons of topics, from parenting, single motherhood, politics, American Idol, the power and dangers of the Internet and much much more. With every question we asked, I could sense that with Katie Couric, you get the real deal. An impassioned television journalist with the drive to accomplish anything she sets her heart out to achieve. She's got an engaging personality and an incredible sense of humor, and as she passed around a photo of her gorgeous girls, you could tell that at the heart of it, Katie Couric is a phenomenal mom who has always been there for her daughters and will continue to be a driving force in their lives (whether they want her to be or not :>) as they transition from their teenage years into adulthood.
I never thought that my journey away from CBS would one day lead me back through those doors again, but this time around, it was so nice to be on the other side as a writer who was given an amazing opportunity to meet a true Role Mommy. Major kudos to Jill Asher, Beth Blecherman and Tekla Nee, the founders of the Silicon Valley Moms Blog who invited me to become a part of the NYC Moms blog when it first launched a year ago. As I've attempted to reinvent my life and recapture my love for writing, I am so impressed to be in the company of the talented array of writers they've assembled on the site. From authors like Andi Silverman (Mama Knows Breast), Kelcey Kintner, a former television reporter and the gorgeous founder of Mama Bird Diaries, to television scribes Nancy Rabinowitz, to magazine writers like Amanda May and many, many more, at the heart of it, we're a group of mothers who are juggling our crazy schedules with our passion for writing, parenting, politics, entertainment, social commentary - you name it, it's on their site. With over 200 writers to date, Jill Asher, Beth Blecherman and Tekla Nee have managed to create a powerful community and voice for moms in five major cities (they've just added New Jersey too and one of my favorite authors Gwendolen Gross just joined that group too). At yesterday's Katie meeting, I got the chance to meet Devra from D.C., the author of Mommy Guilt and founder of Parentopia, plus Joanne, a lawyer who is best known for her incredible political commentary on Pundit Mom and Holli, who I had actually interviewed a few months back for MomLogic who by far had the best outfit and shoes in the crowd! Jill, Beth and Tekla should be incredibly proud of what they've accomplished so far. They have given a voice to intelligent, engaging and funny moms and for that, I'll be eternally grateful! So if you haven't paid a visit to their sites yet, then do it me you won't be disappointed Click Here to check out the NYC Moms blog.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

My daughter's math problem

Do you think I'm using my computer too much?   Take a look at the word problem my daughter just wrote for her class:
My mom started working on the computer at 2:00.  She ended at 4:00.  How many hours did she go on the computer for?
Answer:  2 hours.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mom MD

I don't know about you, but whenever my husband or my kids get sick, I become everyone's nursemaid.  This week, as the weather continues to go from cold to spring-like to cold again, everyone came down with something.  My son out of nowhere spiked a raging fever - of course, after hours so we had to take him to a medical clinic to check him out and then my daughter came down with an awful cold and cough and kept taking her temperature every 10 minutes hoping her illness would warrant a doctor visit too.
Then there's my husband, who usually goes for about two weeks at a time before something starts bugging him.  This week he probably has a head cold but he's thinking it's something way more serious - he always does.  I know I shouldn't just dismiss it as if he's delusional, but unfortunately, my mother-in-law is a fanatic when it comes to getting sick - she's literally at the doctor's office at least once a week.  In fact, I think it rivals her appointments at the beauty parlor. 
And somehow, amidst all the germs, the coughing, the wheezing, the sneezing and the 102 temperature, I've managed to build up some crazy resistance to whatever they throw at me.  Since I went out on my own, I have not caught a cold, which is amazing since I used to catch at least 3-4 colds per season.  I guess there are perks to working out of a freezing cold basement home office.  But let's get back to the patients.
This entire week I've been giving my kids cold medicine and children's motrin, bouncing into walls looking for a washcloth so I could put a cold compress on my son's head, preparing tea with honey for my daughter and finding the perfect girl scout cookie to go along with it, and telling my husband if he feels sick, then make an appointment with the doctor.  You see, I am not only Florence Nightengale, I'm also a therapist.  
The funny thing is that while my son was the one who was the sickest this week, he hardly complained (gotta love him), but my DH and daughter could rival each other on who felt sicker.  I know I may sound harsh and I may one day regret my constant feeling that people in my house overreact to their illnesses but sometimes it would be nice to just accept a cold for what it is.  A cold.  And realize that if you have a headache, it's just a headache.  Sure, there's always the chance it could be more serious, but my theory is simple on that subject.  If you're not coughing up or pooping out blood, passing out or having chest palpitations, then you are as healthy as a horse.    
And that's my free diagnosis of the day.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Short Order Cook

There is no such thing as the traditional family dinner at my home.  Sure, when we go to restaurants, we all eat together and select our favorite meals - me a salad, my hubby, a burger, and the kids - one gets chicken fingers and the other prefers pasta with butter.   At a restaurant, it's perfectly fine to choose different dishes, but when the tables are turned, I wind up juggling orders just like our favorite waitress at the diner.
No matter the meal, my kids constantly select different dishes and then, if I make something and it's not to their liking, they even send it back!  Last night, it was pasta for my daughter and a hamburger and fries for my son.  This morning, it was cocoa puffs and orange juice and my son called out to me "Mommy, I don't like orange juice, take it back!"  So instead, I switched his juice for a chocolate milk at no charge.
Back when I was a kid, my mom cooked a meal and we ate it - no complaints.  Cornish hens on Sunday, turkey meatloaf on Monday, chicken thrown in a few days later and baked ziti if we were really lucky.  But nowadays, since I don't spend much time in the kitchen (except when I'm juggling my kids' orders), the family dinner is now served restaurant style - you pick what you want and I attempt to make it.  And, if I burn it or it tastes funny, you send it back and demand a new dish.
I think it's time I take a page out of my mom's playbook - I mean today is Easter Sunday and although we're Jewish, maybe I'll hit the supermarket before it closes and cook up a tasty cornish hen.  Then again, maybe we'll hit a diner that's open and I'll force everyone to order the same thing!  

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hillary According to the New York Times...the Party is Over

To the editors at the New York Times:
Can you please stop blatantly endorsing Barack Obama in nearly every article you publish?  It's getting a bit obvious.  I mean, I even voted for the guy but the effusive praise it's getting a bit tired.  I do believe he definitely bounced back when he gave that eloquent speech this week that attempted to put out the flames on all the negative press swirling around his pastor who had made derogatory comments about rich white men and even endorsed a well known anti-semite, but now after all has been forgiven, I'm starting to feel really bad for Hillary Clinton.
Today's NY Times goes on and on and on about New Mexico's Governor Richardson's endorsement of Obama.  The same man who spent Superbowl Sunday with Bill Clinton, who was given numerous positions in the Clinton cabinet, turned his back on his old friend, didn't return his calls and drank the Obama Kool Aid.  "Yes we can!" Gulp!
Hillary, as much as I'd hate to admit it, if it were up to the NY Times, Obama is going to get that nomination.  Plus, that Times article about your involvement in the peace process in Northern Ireland isn't helping your cause either.  Sure as a First Lady, you probably made lots of phone calls and had tons of teas with all the leaders in Ireland but when it came time to sign any treaties, you were banished to the tea room and let the men take over to sign on the dotted line.  Let's face it.  You're not going to win the presidency this time around.   That doesn't mean you won't be president one day - but right now, things are not looking to good for you.  But if I were you, I wouldn't let the media praise of Obama and all that negativity get you down.
Take the high road like Al Gore.  Produce a movie, win an Academy Award and an Emmy and realize that there are better things out there than being President.  And judging from the sex scandals among all these politicians, who needs politics anyway - they're all a bunch of pompous power mongers who can't really relate to what the rest of the nation is going through anyway.   
And as for Obama - I'm thoroughly impressed by your words, your intelligence and your charisma - I just hope that once you and John McCain get into the ring that it won't turn into a boxing match.  You've already got the gray lady in your corner and the reliably conservative NY Post - maybe you should quit while you're ahead and just become the Governor of NY.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

The Cinderella Syndrome

In my new book, Peeing in Peace (yes, shameless plug), we talk about the Cinderella Syndrome - how a mom transforms into Cinderella when she leaves the house and heads into the office. But now that I've been off on my own these last six months, I've begun to realize that the Cinderella Syndrome takes on a whole new meaning when you're launching a new business and have to start all over again.
Suddenly, escaping your kids so you can put on a trendy suit is not the vision of Cinderella that's conjured up in this truly uncomfortable scenario.  This time you are Cinderella, hard at work in your bunny slippers, mopping floors, sweeping up after everybody and constantly being passed over by the people who you thought were your friends when you had a swanky office, a big title next to your name and an expense account.
When you go off on your own, you quickly realize who your friends are and who has no use for you whatsoever.  While many of my former contacts still take my calls and respond to my emails, I can now count on one hand the number of times many of them have come through for me. 
The funny thing is, the contacts that I've made since leaving behind that big stable job have actually opened the doors to new opportunities and I've found there are people just like me in the same exact boat who have left corporate jobs and are willing to lend advice and support me as I grow my fledgling business.    
Other times, I've met people who believe that my former association with a major TV network could potentially help them get ahead.  I quickly realized that if I can't help myself get into the Prince's Ball, I sure as hell can't help someone else break in either.   
While I've actually become pretty comfortable with my PR business, the worst part about being on my own have been the times that I've had to be my own publicist.  I've officially decided - I hate pitching myself - so when I finally got a publicist to pitch our new book, I thought things would be easier.  I thought my contacts would be impressed that we went from being self published to getting a real publisher behind us and would instantly put us on their shows.  But I thought wrong.  Now, instead of being rejected directly by one of my contacts, I'm being shot down indirectly.   And hence, that's why I feel like Cinderella before the ball.  I keep hoping one day my time will come, but every time I come close, someone slams the door shut and sends me back home to sweep the floors.   Or worse, I wind up getting my own clients booked on things but then when it's time for me, I don't make the grade.
Rejection is one of the toughest things any business owner or aspiring artist faces when putting themselves out on a limb or out on display.  And I'm determined that one day, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next month, but sometime in the not too distant future, my own fairy godmother will pop in, grab my hand, pick me up off the floor and say, hey - you belong on Oprah!  But until that day arrives, I'll just be here biding my time with my mop and broom. 

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