Posted on 04-09-2015 | Posted in Uncategorized

Comments: 23

I didn’t want to read it. As a blogger myself, the title rang of “click bait.” You know what I mean. You’re mindlessly scrolling on Facebook looking at cute puppies and “Free Brady” posts and then all of a sudden you see something provocative. You think, I should look away. And yet?

The “12 Reasons Why Peanut Free Schools Are Not Okay” manifesto taunted me.

Maybe part of it was the timing. Not two days earlier, my husband spent five hours in an exam room at Boston Children’s Hospital with our three boys, 6, 8, and 10. They were there for extensive allergy scratch testing after our oldest had a mystery reaction to a plain bagel eaten at a bagel shop we’d frequented nearly every week for a few years without incident. Mind you, we were grateful to be there for allergy testing and not something worse. It could always be worse.

We’ve known since our oldest and middle were toddlers that they’ve been allergic to peanuts and tree nuts as well as a few other foods. The youngest had been tested and showed no signs of being allergic to any foods.

Oldest at the test the other day...not fun.

Oldest at the test the other day…not fun.

We’ve always been careful. We’ve always taken our responsibility to protect our kids seriously. We take all the food allergies seriously, but realize one tiny bite of a peanut could be catastrophic, especially to my oldest as he is also asthmatic. Anaphylaxis kills quickly and does not discriminate. So we carry the Epi Pens. Everywhere. They are not guaranteed to work. If they do work, they buy you 15 minutes til you can get to an emergency room. And so….We read food labels like it’s our job. It IS our job. We only go to certain trusted restaurants, over and over again, and when we do? We question them about every ingredient. Every time. We stay up on the latest allergy research. We are in Facebook groups for allergy moms. To have a tribe? It helps.

We read every single article written about every single child who dies of a reaction. And every time a child dies of an allergic reaction…at school, at a restaurant, at a camp, we all die a little inside.

I think you know why.

Despite all this, I have never asked that my kids’ school be peanut free. Have I advocated for them that their classrooms and field trips be peanut free? I have. And I will never apologize for that. I will never be bullied for that. And I will not feel sorry for that. Not one bit.

If we don’t advocate for the safety of our own kids, why should anyone else?

The author argues that there are kids who are allergic to many more food items than just peanuts. And she’s absolutely right. My oldest is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, egg, shellfish, sesame, sunflower, and….trout. (Please don’t pack trout in your kid’s lunch!) The middle…peanuts, tree nuts, soy, sesame and some raw fruits. The youngest…sigh. As of two days ago, peanut and tree nut.

I have never asked that my kids’ school be peanut free though. My kids have been conditioned from a young age that they are NOT to eat anyone else’s food or touch anyone else’s food. The author is correct when she asserts the rest of the world is not peanut free and it is most certainly our responsibility to help our kids learn how to navigate that world.

Does that mean though, that I want them to be confined in a classroom next to a kid eating peanut butter crackers and then touching all the shared materials my kid has to use two minutes later? We all know how neat and tidy small children are! Do you want arsenic sprinkled on your child’s crayons when you know kids put their grubby (they’re adorable but they’re grubby–let’s not kid ourselves!)  little fingers in their mouths? Same thing….. Peanut = poison.

Do I want my kid on a field trip to a science center an hour away in rural New Hampshire where there is no cell phone reception eating his lunch in a small, closed off room with half the kids eating peanut butter with no school nurse present? I don’t. No. So to ask someone to not pack it for one day, I don’t think is asking a whole lot.

So, when I overheard a field trip chaperone (a chaperone!) saying to another chaperone a few years ago, “I packed peanut butter. The peanut allergy parents should just tell their kids not to eat my daughter’s lunch!” every hair on the back of my neck stood up. The parents had been asked politely by the teacher not to pack peanut butter. For one day. Let me tell you, my son, then in second grade, well knew that eating a bite of that girl’s sandwich could kill him. That was NEVER going to happen.

I was more upset that the mom had a chance to demonstrate some empathy for her daughter and chose not to.  In addition to showing her daughter that it’s NOT important to be respectful to the teacher and follow the rules, she could have taught her that for one day, she could make another choice to help a classmate out….a “neighbor”….just by choosing another sandwich for lunch. But she chose to be small and mean spirited. And to me, when people behave like that, it’s not about FOOD. It’s not. Your kid can survive without peanut butter at school for one day. Or everyday if that’s what your school requires. You can eat it for breakfast, for dinner, on weekends, all summer….my kids are picky and yet, they survive without it (and trout!) and are hardly wasting away!

That’s not what this is about.

And I think that’s what is bothering me so much about this 12 point manifesto. I could sit here and successfully argue her rambling post, which is riddled with inaccuracies by the way, point by point. But to what end?

It’s not about the peanuts.

And it’s sad. I’m sad. For this mom, for her children, for the kids she purportedly coaches in soccer….that she sounds so angry, so entitled, so lacking in empathy. Her survival of the fittest attitude is the antithesis of what a coach, a leader, a mother typically embodies. It is callous, at best.

I have seen the best and the worst in people since my kids have been diagnosed with these allergies. I have to say, for the most part, I’ve seen the best—and that is what tugs at my heart and is appreciated more than most will ever know. Teachers and school nurses who have worked to keep my kids safe, friends and moms of classmates who have gone out of their way to ask me what safe snacks they could buy for play dates and parties so that my kids don’t feel excluded, and even their friends who at a young age, “get” it. Young kids, who are inherently good and kind and say things like, “I’m not bringing pbj for lunch because I don’t want to make JP sick.”

Children learn by watching us–for better or worse. Our children will become the best and the worst examples we set. So go ahead. Stuff your ”normal, healthy children” with peanut butter, Mrs. Butterfinger.

I’ll go ahead and stuff mine with empathy and compassion.

I don’t think they’ll ever miss the peanut butter one bit.










Posted on 08-06-2015 | Posted in Friends...you got what I ne-ed, Mom-ness, Uncategorized

Comments: 7

Am I the last to know?

Hey, I thought it was cute when my kids asked me what a phone booth was last year. When my six year old grumbled he had to sit on a booster seat at the salon and I chirped, “Oh come on, you’re lucky you don’t have to sit on phone books!”,  he looked at me with the blank stare.

What’s worse than the blank stare? Does anything good come after the blank stare?

“What’s a PHONE BOOK?”

70's booster seat!

70′s booster seat!

Several years of being called ma’am, not being carded, or worse, being carded, and the woman looking at the ID with disbelief followed up by, “OH, well you have a baseball hat on.”

She took it back! Before I got to fully enjoy the moment. Before the last digit of my four number pin was entered onto the machine thingy at the register. She might as well have screeched over the loudspeaker.


She was a dope anyway. It’s called context clues, Sherlock. What underage chick would be buying a big banger of Cavit?

The past few years, I’ve started to notice a lot of the teachers looked younger and younger. And the student teachers! Please. They look 12. Do they even know what Hooked on Phonics IS?

I went back to work full time this year, and realized I looked like a legit grown up in meetings. And people I interview have serious credentials….and are way younger than me. Way.

But it’s the 20th reunion coming up that really did it to me.

I realized, I’ve been out of college almost half my life. Some of my best friends from college I’ve known for TWENTY FOUR years. Some of my friends from college have kids in high school. Their kids are taller than we are, with bigger feet! They aren’t babies and toddlers and tiny beings who leave a wake of Cheerios and discarded binkies. (Five second rule!) If they are real, BIG, people then we are real, middle aged grown ups.

So I approach my reunion with mixed feelings. Don’t get me wrong–I could not be more excited to see some of the best friends I know I will ever have in this lifetime. Though hugely separated by geography and the demands of….life….I know we’ll instantly pick up as if we were hanging on our porch having a beer after class. I know what seems like five minutes ago was half my life ago. And that paradox kind of hurts my head.

And so it hit me. If this is middle age, it’s pretty damn good. I didn’t lose that 25 pounds before the reunion. (I mean, I do have like four days left. Don’t be hating on my optimism.) I don’t have a good tan. (Tan fat is NOT better than white fat—we are middle aged and skin cancer is real!) I am going for a pedi though and my toes will sparkle, man!

Most of all I realize that being middle aged is not a curse, but a blessing. There are people who have walked this earth who haven’t had the luxury to live to 41…to watch their hair go grey, to realize the creases on their forehead that they catch themselves looking at… are becoming deeper and more permanent.

I am watching my kids grow and I like what I see. They are imperfect like their parents but have good hearts. Whatever they will be, they will be. And I am excited to see it all shake out.

When you get to be middle aged, you are smart enough to know you’re not smart enough to know everything. You’re old enough to learn to be comfortable in your own skin, pale as hell as it is, as imperfect as it might be. You’re old enough to figure out who and what is important… to you.

No one can tell me I’m too old to do cannonballs off my diving board or play cornhole with my kids. I can drink domestic beer from a can and admit that I still like it. More than fancy wine. I said it. I mean it. I earned that right! If you can’t handle the truth then get off my lawn! I mean, my blog. NO, I kinda do mean my lawn. If you come to my lawn, I will share my domestic beer in can. I will. If you judge me for that, or anything, it’s on you.

No one can dull the sparkle of my can.

So middle age? I’m here for you. Show me what you got!



Posted on 27-01-2015 | Posted in Friends...you got what I ne-ed, Mom-ness

Comments: 1

1. Google hypothyroidism and hope you have it. I feel tired! I’ve gained weight! My face IS puffy! 

2. Shop online for swimsuits that you know will fit better once you get your thyroid in check and the three thousand feet of snow melts!

3. Open the hall closet and vow today will be the day you finally organize it. Walk away.

4. Go back to closet and hide with coffee and Oreos while a melee ensues in family room during Wii u.

5. Twist ankle in closet on weights you would be using if you didn’t have an obvious thyroid condition.

6. Limp to unload dishwasher and realize you forgot to run it last night. See! My hypothyroidism is making me forgetful! Or was it the vino? Wait.

7. Text your friends to see if they want to come over for a playdate happy hour.

8. Answer the door, invite your friends in, don’t hang their coats in the closet because it’s a mess covered in Oreo crumbs and coffee splatter, and explain to them over a random assortment of party snacks you had in the house that you have a thyroid problem.

9. Google hypothyroidism and show them your awesome WebMD’ing.

10. Drink more wine and call endocrinologist to see if they offer group discounts. Indignantly shout, “NO! This isn’t a joke!” when they challenge you, and tell them,  ”Then we’re happy to book with the place I saw on Groupon that comes with a free trip to Mexico!”





Posted on 20-12-2014 | Posted in Uncategorized

Comments: 11

My late grandmother used to say, “There’s good and bad in every race—even the Irish.”

Her point–while not exactly accurate (are butt white Irish descendants such as moi REALLY a race???) was well taken by me.

Over the past several years, my blog, this blog, has ebbed and flowed from the silly to the funny to the sparingly somber. I’ve dabbled in DIY, and now am working full time and as such, haven’t had time to share a lot with you (five) readers who have hung in there.

But I don’t think I can be true to myself and be silent right now.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve watched, mostly silently, as collectively “the police” have been maligned in social media. Mostly by strangers; sometimes by friends. I’m not here to debate what happened in Missouri and New York City. I am not looking for an argument. What I’m looking for is some understanding. Some perspective. I’m looking for someone to acknowledge that the police do a damn difficult job. They make split second decisions. They are real people who have real spouses and real children who want them to come home at night. They are not superheroes. Nor are they villians.

They are not murderers.

I’m not here to sanctify the police. But conversely, my question is, why are so many villifying the police? Why are the police guilty til proven innocent, while law breakers seem to be innocent til proven guilty?

Am I taking this personally? Damn right I am. My late grandfather and late father were with the Boston Police. My brother is a police officer. So, yes. It’s personal.

Every time I see an officer get killed in the line of duty, it’s personal. Today, two New York police officers were executed in cold blood. Their names are Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.

Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.

Will you remember their names five minutes from now? Five hours from now? Five days from now? Five weeks, months, years from now?

Eight years ago, a police officer was shot in the line of duty in a neighboring community. His name was Michael Briggs. It’s been eight years, but I still remember the story. I remember his name. Where he lived. He was a bike cop. He went to help someone and was ambushed. I remember the accounts that when he left for work that fateful and seemingly routine day 8 years ago, he kissed his boys goodbye and his wife. In interviews I think she said he pecked her on the cheek–I believe she was at the stove, and that life was so busy she merely glanced as he headed out the door and she said she saw the bottoms of his shoes. I’ll never forget that part. I’ve had mornings like that with my husband. The big blur with the kids and the rushing and the routine and the whole nine. But I always expected my husband to come home. And he has. I didn’t marry a police officer. I don’t know that I honestly could have. Could you?

I’m sure Michael Briggs’ wife thought she’d see him at the end of that day. That he’d be there to bring home milk and look at report cards and put bikes together. But someone killed him in cold blood. I wrote the following eight years ago and it was published in the local paper. I think it’s time to republish it. I want people to know….I want people who are plumbers and bankers and engineers to know….there is good and bad in every profession, in every race, even the Irish, even the police.

As my father used to say, “Everyone hates a cop til they need a cop.” The next time you are maligning one, try to imagine needing one. When you call, will they come?

Of course.

It’s their job. And likely, their calling.

To the editor:

I am deeply saddened by the brutal and senseless murder of Officer Michael Briggs. My heart goes out to his family, both immediate, as well as his family within the police department.

His murder hits home for me, as my father was a Boston Police detective for 36 years and my brother is currently a police sergeant. It is the worst fear of every wife, husband, son, daughter, father, mother, sister, brother, friend of a police officer that their loved one will be hurt or worse, killed in the line of duty. Before my siblings and I were even born, my father was shot in the line of duty, but lucky for all of us he survived. If not, I would not even be here to write this letter.

The general public does not see what police officers do every day both in plain view and quietly behind the scenes. I think most people don’t give a thought to what the police do. Some people think the police are “out to get them”, or that they just pull people over for speeding—not for safey reasons but just because they can, or they think they ride around town eating doughnuts! What they do is maintain safety in our communities, sometimes putting their own lives in peril to protect the lives of you and me and our loved ones. For all this, they receive a salary that by most people’s estimation would not be nearly enough, and worse, they encounter the obvious disdain of some and the lack of respect and understanding of many.

The average person doesn’t know how much stress an officer brings home after work. These folks are real people with real emotions. They sometimes see the worst of what the human race has to offer. So when an officer investigates a child molestation or a brutal assault or rape or a heinous murder or a hate crime, they carry that with them. They feel for the victims and for the family of the victims they encounter more than most people would ever imagine. The majority of police officers get into this line of work because they genuinely want to help others. They want to prevent terrible crimes from happening, but when they unfortunately do, they take very seriously their responsiblity to apprehend and see that the perpetrators are off the streets so they can’t harm others. Finally, they hope these perpetrators will be appropriately punished by our sometimes all too lenient judicial system.

The police work on holidays, their children’s birthdays, during little league practices, dance recitals and wedding anniversaries. They work in 100 degree heat and on freezing cold days and in the pouring rain when the rest of us are happily hibernating. They are the ones who will make you sigh with relief when they pull up when you’re broken down on a dark road late at night or curse under your breath when you’re pulled over going 80 in a 65—even if they are only trying to save you from hurting yourself or others. They will be the first to arrive if you call in trouble and the last person you will think to thank when crime is down where you live and all is well in your world. They will put their life in jeopardy in an instant to save you, whether you are a doctor or 7-Eleven clerk, whether you are a saint or a sinner, whether they know you or not.

They are people who play Santa at social services Christmas parties, who quietly collect donations and pool their own money to buy toys and food for kids during the holidays who otherwise wouldn’t have anything. They are the ones who try to positively influence kids who might not have any role models in their lives and who are at risk of getting into trouble.

Michael Briggs died doing his job, a job that countless others do every day. I hope that most people will stop and pause and appreciate Michael Briggs for the heroism he displayed not just the day he was shot and killed, but every day he had the courage to show up for his job. The next time you see a police officer, maybe you could pause a minute and thank them for being a professional who does a thankless job, or say a silent prayer that they will be safe another day to see their family..



Posted on 19-11-2014 | Posted in Uncategorized

Comments: 1

*Wayfair supplied me with a gift card which I used to purchase three pillows and a throw. All opinions, like ‘em are not, are my own, as usual!*

It’s dark at 4, south of thirty degrees, my car wouldn’t start after work, and running away from home to Cancun is not an option.

Send for me, Guillermo!

(OH stop. I’m just kidding! Unless your name is Guillermo. And you live in a hacienda with sweeping ocean views and unlimited margaritas.)

Fine. Plan B. It’s time to poof up the nest. A fluff and buff, if you will. If we have to hibernate, ain’t no reason we can’t do it in style!

My family room was badly in need of a refresh. Let’s not talk about the sectional that is taking on a life and shapes of its own. It’s clearly dying a slow death. BUT. BUT! A few fun pillows in a lively, colorful zig zag pattern winterizes and cozies up the lighter summer pillows without being all, woh, woh, woh, WINTER. By the way, you can click on any of these pictures for a closer look.

A little zig zag punch? Look out old man winter!

A little zig zag punch? Look out old man winter!

I love how the colors pick up on the neutral wall and couch color but the pops of blue and coral play to the blues I have in the other pillows, the curtains, the lamps, and the coral hits the dresserturnedtvstand.


Zig zag pillow comes to life with coral dresser turned tv stand in the vicinity!

Zig zag pillow comes to life with coral dresser turned tv stand in the vicinity!

Do you like my mad photography skillz? I don't mean to brag, but I have an iphone 4s and I am not afraid to misuse it.

Do you like my mad photography skillz? I don’t mean to brag, but I have an iphone 4s and I am not afraid to misuse it.

Close up?


Close up?

Close up?


A new quilted throw pretty enough to liven up a brown leather recliner but warm and big enough to snuggle under–I’m in.

Fun print, right? Whatever winter!

Fun print, right? Whatever winter!


I’ll just gaze at my fun zig zag pillows from my comfy recliner. That is not in Mexico, yet still bueno.

Wayfair was kind enough to give me a 15% off coupon code to share with you lovely muffintoppers. 15% off, good from November 20-24….and let me tell you, you can do some damage on the cheap there. I got the three zig zag pillows, plus the throw, for under $100 bones. Here it is: WFPTP15

Some other faves I considered?

Sunshine in a soft ottoman right here for under fitty bucks! Love it. Already have an ottoman, as pictured, to hold my vino, but if I hadn't, this would be MINE!

Sunshine in a soft ottoman right here for under fitty bucks! Love it. Already have an ottoman, as pictured, to hold my vino, but if I hadn’t, this would be MINE!


LOVE this pillow and it's a bargain to boot. This pillow punches winter in the face. I wish I bought it but it would have clashed with the pillows I already had.

LOVE this pillow and it’s a bargain to boot. This pillow punches winter in the face. I wish I bought it but it would have clashed with the pillows I already had.


Not gonna lie. Just want to wear this throw!

Not gonna lie. Just want to wear this throw!

So…maybe we can’t make a run for the border, but we can cozy our nest as we flip winter THE BIRD!!!!!

Speaking of? So cute, right?????!!


Happy winter!

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Posted on 04-11-2014 | Posted in Uncategorized

Comments: 4

I love the Pat’s. I love my beers. I love my party snacks. But people, tonight is my Superbowl.

The Pat’s are Pop Warner…it’s politics that make me jump out of my seat and I am front row flippin’ from channel to channel, website to website.

The choices I face at the polls, quite frankly, seem abysmal at times. But I have a choice, nonetheless. A voice. The results aren’t always everything I want. They rarely are. But I love the process. I love the fight. I love that we have the right to fight. And if I forget for one second how lucky I am, I only have to look around the world to remind myself that living in a democracy is not only my right, but my privilege, and one that countless others aren’t lucky enough to enjoy. If I have a legacy to give my kids, it will be that they understand this one simple yet profound fact.

And some day I will tell them about the whiteboard. Because no one did election results like Tim Russert. The whiteboard. The unbridled passion. The master of the puzzle that is the political map.

Their dad and their uncle can wax poetic about Yaz and Bobby Orr. Larry Bird and the Hail Mary pass. I have visions of a whiteboard.

I will always love the process. I will respect the results, love them or hate them. And always on election night, I will miss the political genuis that was Tim Russert and his ever changing white board.



Posted on 12-10-2014 | Posted in Awesomeness, Friends...you got what I ne-ed, Mom-ness, MTM hits the road!, Uncategorized

Comments: 4

It’s not really stalking if you’re at an official event, right?

So goes the story. Kathie Lee Gifford has a new line of wines out (in conjunction with a winery in Monterey) called, Gifft. I wanted to picture her stomping grapes like I Love Lucy but alas, no.




The wine comes in two varieties, Chardonnay and Red Blend. (Red Blend? Ooh, it’s a mystery!) KLG visited a market down the street from my house to promote her new vino yesterday. Kathie Lee, wine, the chance to pimp my book to a woman who relishes cocktailing at 11 AM? How could I NOT? Some people dream of playing major league baseball or finding a cure for cancer. I just wanna sip some chard with KLG and Hoda.

Stop. It’s not nice to judge.




I came, I saw, we faux hugged, I gave her a copy of my book, Mommy Mixology: A Cocktail for Every Calamity. Which, for all I know, later hit the circular file at the market though she did graciously accept it!



Tick, tock. Not sure why my people I haven’t heard from her people yet? It’s been almost 24 hours! Don’t KLG and Hoda know how much fun sipping cocktails with me could be!? For the love of God, I’m a professional! And, I’m even willing to even endure the mental anguish of seeing my muffin top x an extra ten lbs!

Until then, I’ll be enjoying the GIFFT at home. In my polka dot jammies. I knew you’d be wondering if this stuff was any good, so as a public service to you my bestest readers, I twisted open the chard to test it! The hubs and I found it to be quite light and refreshing. And as you know, we are quite the wine afficionados. (NO.)




But hey, we like what we like and there is no shame in that! Sometimes I find chards to be kind of heavy and this was not–I truly enjoyed it. And clearly, this is not a sponsored post. I stalked it out and paid cash money for the vino!

My only complaint with this wine is it’s a twist off. I’m not implying that makes it inferior as I know there has been much debate about this in the wine world—it’s only because I like to save my corks to make fun crafts at Christmas. Geek alert. But, otoh, yay for twist off if you’re travelling and don’t want to deal with toting a wine opener. Nuttin’ worse than finding yourself in a square hotel room in East Bumblebee staring helplessly at a bottle with no opener, am I right? (Now who’s a dummy for travelling with beer in a can???) I picked the red up for a friend so I’ll have to let you know what she thinks! Red + Muffintopmommy = fetal position! No bueno. Until then, for the good of my Christmas list, I’ll keep pressing on with mah corks……salud!









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