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

Five Things I Learned at the Beach

Written By: Kim - Aug• 16•13

This week, my daughter and I spent a few days at the beach. Here are the five things I learned.

  1. If we lived near or on the water, I would ride my bike or walk every day. There is something about a body of water, but especially an ocean, that makes me want to get up and go. While I saw a few people using the indoor treadmills (which made me wonder at their sanity), the boardwalk was more than wide enough to accommodate everyone. This particular beach front even had a separate bicycle path. Maybe it was the constant ocean breeze, but it was a perfect way to incorporate healthy activity in to our day.photo
  2. At the beach, almost anything goes. Where else can you see someone waiting for the bus in a bikini? And holy cow, the trashy t-shirts. We haven’t been to an American beach in three years. I had forgotten about the tacky shops. Really America, we can do better.
  3. Dogs do not belong in baby strollers. If your dog cannot make it down the boardwalk, leave him or her at home. My daughter and I almost fell off our bikes from laughter when a 60-something woman was pushing her purse-size dog in a child-size stroller.
  4. The beach umbrella or cabana is worth the rental fee. It sounds like opposite day, but if I am mostly in the shade, I will stay on the beach longer. As you can see, I am not a sun worshipper. Despite my Italian mother, my fair skin, blue eyes and small amount of natural red tint comes via my German father. After I worked for a year at a cancer surgeon’s office, I am fanatical about sunscreen, hats, and shade. Interestingly enough, I don’t mind tanning my legs, with sunblock of course. So, if you want me to stick around the beach or the pool, then find me an umbrella or cabana.
  5. My daughter makes a great travel companion. Our trip this week was a girl’s retreat. She is enthusiastic about travel and is not afraid to let you see that. She likes to have an agenda. I often wonder if she will end up in meeting planning. The association world could use more people like her. The only complaint I have is that she likes to completely unpack and spread her items everywhere. When I say everywhere, I mean within an hour of getting inside our room, the entire contents of her suitcase, backpack and beach bag are in the closet, bureau drawers, desk, bed, chair and bathroom.

Maybe it’s because my children are both teenagers now, but the summer just seems to fly by. My husband and I only have three more before our son goes off to college and five more before my daughter heads to college and we are empty nesters. Maybe then, we will trade the suburban house for a beach front place.