Lessons Learned From My Mother

  • Make no apologies for being the fabulous person you are.
  • Be open to everyone you meet (inclusive not exclusive!). People are fascinating. Oh, the things you can learn from others!
  • Education: one of the greatest investments you can make
  • Sometimes, cheese and crackers make a perfectly acceptable dinner.
  • Always look presentable when you leave the house, because the day you run out in your sweats is precisely the day you’ll run into that person whom you absolutely do not want seeing you in your sweats.





Originally written April 27th, 2007

Today I have to discuss time with my new underling. Mainly, that the working day is 9am-5pm. Therefore, she must be here by 9:30am or call me with a sufficient excuse saying that she is on her way. This will be the third time I speak with her, and she’s only been here two months.

I think I am a fair and nice boss. And I hate having to keep tabs on people. Becoming a boss is a strange thing. There is a huge ego boost, for one. But it’s hard being a boss, because I have the duty of both disciplining someone else and protecting them from the real money & power. I am the liaison. I became a boss just over a year into my first post-college job. I have to tell people older than me what to do. I am an EOC, and I only answer to the publisher.

The problem is that most people in my office work on their own schedules, so she sees everyone else come in at 10am or later, and so she assumes that she can vary her 8 hours and work 10-6, or something along the lines of everyone else. Which is still rather audacious considering this is her first job out of college and she’s only two months in.

I hate that I have to speak with her again. She’s efficient and she works hard. But if I walk over to her desk at 9:45, needing something, and she’s not there, we have a problem.

In the editor’s world, normal hours vary office to office. Often they are 10-6, sometimes even 11-7. For Editors-in-Chief, they are longer or shorter depending on outside office work. But EOCs also have seniority, the privilege of arriving when we damn well please and not leaving until the work is done. Now, the man who does the artwork for our mag works the hours of 8:30am-3:30pm. So I don’t care if a person on my team is staying here until 7 or 8pm. I need my entire team here when I’m here, when our artist is here.

Now, I am not the typical ”the world revolves around me” EOC. Many here are busy with their own lives and stroll in at whatever time suits their fancy. That is their MO, and that is fine. They do their jobs in their own hours. Time is not an issue with them & theirs, because by 11am, their workers are certainly here or else out for the day. (They also have different artists and production teams.)

But TIME is everything to me. I live a very structured life. I am here more or less at 9am every day, ready to work. I drink a coffee and an energy drink every morning at work. I go to the gym directly after work Monday-Thursday. Monday & Tuesday are cardio; Wednesday is weights; Thursday is usually cardio or a class. My roommates have me watching TV now, so it’s “A.I.” on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and “The Office” and ”Grey’s Anatomy” on Thursdays. Friday is my favorite day. On Friday, I arrive at the office at 9:30, I check all of my recreational email, and I mainly focus on creative projects at work. Whenever I have to take a day off for a doc appt or some other affair, I always try to make it a Friday. Fridays I have drinks with co-workers or friends after work and then meet up with my boyfriend, or I go to the Hamptons for the weekend (boyfriend). Fridays I also treat myself to lunch or dinner out and–my favorite–chocolate milk. I do my laundry on Thursdays—Friday if I don’t want to go out; Wednesday if I am going away for the weekend and stressed out. I self-tan on Tuesdays and Fridays. Same goes for bleaching my teeth. (All of this unnecessary detailing of my life is only to ennunciate my love of structure. It could go on forever, but I believe I’ve beat the dead horse.)

I have always been this way. I remember on Sundays as an adolescent watching “60 minutes” with my parents and then “Murder, She Wrote,” and then declaring that it was my bedtime. I knew if I didn’t go to bed then that I wouldn’t have as productive of a Monday as I would’ve liked.

Now some may say that I live a ridiculously rigid life. That I am not spontaneous, not fun. There is some truth in that. However, this overall structure provides merely comfort, security, and it’s often modified for the unexpected matters that arise. Additionally, I do whatever I feel inspired to do on Saturday and Sunday, even if that’s only sleeping (which lately, it often is).

I’ve learned that structure not only lends itself to productivity, but, for me at least, to creativity. It enables me to be actively creative and aware in everyday life. The background is always the same, always expected. There is no unnecessary chaos, so I look for novelty. I must create “new.” Last weekend was the first warm weather weekend since I’ve moved, so I explored my neighborhood, finally settling on a grassy knoll in a small, nearby park. From that high point, down and in the distance, I could see downtown Jersey City to the right, Hoboken right in front, and New York City further to the front and left, the Hudson of course in between. It was glorious. I lay down under a dying cherry tree, admiring its last luscious pink blossoms and studying the intricate way the bare branches laced in the foreground of clear blue sky. The world was mine, or rather, my world was mine. This is the life. This is what I want to tell my entry-level girl: Follow my example, and you will own it; you will own your own life.

What I want to convey to my new hire is that if she lives by my example, she will do very well for herself. I have a great life; I really can’t complain.

She has the working hard part down. By following my lead, over time and with experience, she can be great. Not as great as me, but great nonetheless.

My Dumbphone May Be A Smartphone After All

After many months of calling my supposed “smart”phone a dumbphone, I have finally decided to cease dissing it. Though it constantly does make this editor look dumb, it has also introduced me to hilarious new phrases with its misuse of words. My favorites so far:


Therefore, “hibernation season,” my name for January-April, which I’ve had to cite in many a text, became “liberation season.”  This proved to be especially poignant when my older bro was laid off last week and wrote “I am liberated” as the status on his facebook wall (not knowing anything about my phone joke). Also, since I did not adhere to my regular hibernating agenda save one weekend this season, and then in addition gave in to my every whim on the fly (impulse purchases, skipping the gym, spontaneous trips, eating whatever, among a few other erratic behavioral moves completely uncharacteristic of me), it just has become trés apropos.

kickball=kickback Pretending to start a new team & start a rivalry since the boys were being lame—this just did not work out.

hang out=gang out This is just brilliant. Will use this replacement in my everyday vernacular.

groupon=grouping Always confuses the issue.

stunning=winning With the rise of Charlie Sheenisms, Stunning Vermont became Winning Vermont as the name of a photo album. Much improved.

love=live you should live what you love, so this one sometimes works.

Urban Outfitters=Urban Outfitted The city suits me.

I=U or U=I > I still don’t get this one, especially since I type out the word “you.” Anyhow, this switch causes your friend to hate you, because you are either ordering her to do something or taking credit for her work.

Tues=Ties There must be some context in which this is funny. Anyone?

Messaged me= Massaged me Quite one of the best! Texting a friend about a boy, I said messaged, phone said massaged. This still cracks my ribs with laughs.

Bouncer=Bounced A noun, a verb… completely different meanings.

fiending=friended Well that was awkward 🙂

Post your best dumbphone moments in the comments section.

Is Narcissism Keeping You Single?

By Wendy Atterberry (originally published on thefrisky.com 2009)

It’s no secret that people are getting married later these days than in previous generations, and in this culture of hook-ups and “modern female dating anxiety,” we’re at no loss for theories that explain why. Some people say today’s twentysomethings are delaying marriage to focus on careers and build close friendships instead, but another explanation paints a less flattering picture of young people: apparently, they’re all just a bunch of narcissists. In an article on The Daily Beast this week, writer Hannah Seligson, explores this theory, writing: “narcissism, even in small doses, has shifted courtship into a high-stakes relationship culture. Now that people think more highly of themselves, expectations of what a relationship should be like have skyrocketed into the realm of superlatives. Twentysomethings not only expect to waltz into high-level career positions right out of college, they also expect partners who have the moral fortitude of Nelson Mandela, the comedic timing of Stephen Colbert, the abs of Hugh Jackman, and the hair of Patrick Dempsey.”

But is it true that twenty-somethings think more highly of themselves and have greater expectations for their lives than older generations did at their age? And, if so, is that such a bad thing?

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