A Birthday Ode to Mom

Written By: Kim - Aug• 27•14

Yesterday would have been my mom’s 88th birthday. Sadly, she passed away in 2002 at 76 from heart disease. She is one of the reasons I am on a quest for optimal health.

What you do not know about her is that she was the first born child of Italian immigrants long before Jersey Shore gave us caricatures. Her parents owned a grocery store in Long Beach. Her father could not get over the fact that his first born was not a son and mistreated her until the day my grandmother divorced him.

2014-08-27 07.02.56My Catholic mother was married twice, survived the Great Depression, WW II, Korea, Vietnam, being a military wife and five children. Despite the weird policies about divorced Catholics prior to Vatican II, she never lost her faith in God.

She welcomed all of my friends into our home, but if she did not like you, she had a reason. The reason was not always apparent to me. But, she would always let me know. And damn, she was always spot on. She could read people easily and she passed that along to me. Luckily, she loved my husband.

Our home was open to everyone, and I mean everyone before it was en vogue to be ok with your gay friends. One of her dearest friends and side business partner was gay. If you know anything about small towns and the south, you know that she was a rebel. She was a social butterfly who would have loved FB. She was a good cook and an even better baker.

I was the first of five kids to graduate from college. Neither one of my parents had a college degree. I believe that she was most proud of me on that day and six years later when I received my masters.

She lived long enough to see me be pregnant and birth two children, but sadly did not live long enough to get to really know them. She instilled in me many things but the greatest was my faith in God, love of family and the secret to making a great, moist cake. I feel some sense if relief that she is buried in Arlington.

Mothers are not perfect and I could list all of the things about her that drove me insane. Call your mom and tell her that you love her. Today

Gratitude Costs Nothing

Written By: Kim - May• 28•14

I ran into a fellow train commuter this week while I was coming back from a client’s site visit. He had just returned from a two-week trip to Greece. He looked glum and pouty. I told him that he should look much happier since he just returned from a two-week vacation in Greece. His reply? “Not when I had to pay off my son’s college tuition.”

Welcome to the USA where everyone is privileged and they complain about it. Welcome to the plight of the poor federal government worker (who also gets a retirement check from the US Air Force) who can afford a two-week vacation in another country, pay off his kid’s college tuition and then whines about it.

I was completely disgusted with him and by the end of our hour commute home, I had to speak my mind.

I suggested that he should stop be ungrateful and start keeping a gratitude journal; at the end of every day, he should write down three things that he is grateful for. His acerbic reply? “You are your own boss now. Of course you are happy.” In my mind, I was already smacking him, Gibbs-style.

I started keeping a gratitude journal about a year ago when a colleague (thanks Amanda) recommended it. Everything in my┬álife was good except my job. I was stuck in a no-win professional situation that was dragging me slowly into an abyss of misery. If you think that this is an over dramatization, it’s not. I love my profession and take pride in what I do. Not having this part of my life working was extremely painful. I knew that it had consumed me when my teenage son said that he “never wants to be as miserable as me in any job he holds.” Ouch.

When the right opportunity presented itself, I made the plunge and quit my job to start a consulting business. Was it a complete leap of faith? Yes. Was I freaked out by the prospect of owning a business and generating incoming? Just a little. Ok, a lot. But, being captain of your destiny is not for the faint of heart. If it were easy, we would all be business owners. But, circumstances often dictate a different course of action. You just have to see the path and be open to it. Let me repeat that: You just have to see the path and be open to it.

If you know me, you know that I often like to have the last word. And, yes, it sometimes gets me into trouble. I couldn’t let his comment slip by. My reply to the comfortable career government employee bemoaning his two-week vacation and the ability to pay off his son’s college tuition? I told him that he too could be his own boss, if he really wanted it.

“It’s easy. All you have to do is make your plan, walk in and quit your job.”

I walked off the train that evening grateful for who I was and how I handle myself, even through the miserable times. And, I walked away completely grateful that this putz was not my husband.