“Do the Hustle…”

As I grow older and enjoy new experiences, my mind cannot hold onto every memory. I wish I could recall more from my youth or even the countless treasured ones of my babies before they so quickly became young men. I try, but I can’t. I guess it’s why we take pictures and videos. It’s why we tell stories. My boys are fortunate enough to be growing up with their grandparents. Grandparents are great storytellers. Through them, we learn about who we are and where we come from.

One significant childhood memory I do hold, though, is of my parents dancing. I don’t remember how old I was when they took lessons. Old enough to remember how they looked as they practiced the Hustle in the living room, and young enough not to want to be anywhere else but on that couch watching them. Maybe I can recall that with such clarity because it wasn’t a one-time incident. They practiced all the time, for hours.

We took a family vacation every year until I was sixteen. Holiday dinners, summer barbeques and New Year’s Eve parties at my house were the norm. So, when my parents decided to separate in my eighteenth year, it came as somewhat of a surprise. My friends were shocked. But they dance together! was a common response. They never fight, was another.

I learned then that you don’t have to fight or hate each other to no longer want to be married. Sometimes, it happens. Even to two people who are fond of each other.

For twenty years since, I’ve had birthday parties for my children, holiday dinners and various gatherings. Both of my parents attended, every time, each with their significant others. Dad likes Mom’s husband and Mom likes Dad’s girlfriend. Sometimes, they talk and occasionally hang out without me involved. They buy each other Christmas and birthday gifts. It’s the best possible scenario for the child of divorced parents.

About four years ago, my mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It’s taking its toll on a woman who was once vibrant, loud and full of energy. But it can’t squelch her drive to keep going. Mom joined a boxing class specifically for Parkinson’s patients. A put-up-your-dukes, hour long session where she pushes herself to stay strong. Its offered once a week. Not enough.

Earlier this year, my father married his long-time love. The wedding was beautiful, the guest list, intimate. Mom was there, as was her husband, her sisters and nieces. I kid you not. Mom’s family took up half the room. At one point, my father helped my mother to the dance floor. She was stiff and slow, but oh so happy.

Dad, an awesome dance instructor for over twenty years, decided to research the benefits of dancing for Parkinson’s patients. He put together a plan and presented it to my mother. Now, they get together every week. He teaches her to Rhumba, Hustle, Line Dance. She’s got the Electric Slide down. Her doctor can’t believe how her mobility has improved.

I’m thankful for so many things this year. But I count my blessings most for two people who have taught me, by example, that love comes in so many different forms. Though a marriage may not last, affection, respect and kindness endures.

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Gone too soon

You welcomed us to the party. No matter our mood when we arrived, we had to be happy. We danced and drank, toasted and cheered. Most of all, we laughed. The laughter could be heard everywhere. There were so many of us, people of all ages, all with one thing in common.

Occasionally, we’d look around and wonder how we got so lucky to find ourselves at this celebration. This amazing, life-affirming, gleeful, wonderful bash. We knew we were blessed. We never wanted it to end.

Then the music stopped playing, the lights went dim and we were told it was over. It was time to move on. But how do we move from something so celebratory and joyous? What will we do now?

This is what it felt like to have you in our lives. In your presence, we were at life’s exclusive gala, laughing. Laughing until we cried.

Thank you for giving us cause to celebrate, for filling our lives with joy, for sharing your generous spirit and kindness and love. We know how lucky we are to have spent time with you. And we will forever be grateful.

Rest in peace, dear friend. We’ll miss you.

It’s here!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’re all well and if you’re in the Northeast, I hope you’re embracing the change of weather. Welcome Fall, my favorite season!

Okay, this post is not about Fall and how much I love it. I have news.

I am so happy (and slightly terrified) to announce the release of my new book, The Fabric Of Us, now available in both the Kindle version and paperback on Amazon.

I’m excited to share Chris and Olivia’s story with you all. I love these characters and I hope you fall in love with them too.

Here is the blurb for The Fabric Of Us:

On the eve of Olivia Bennet’s fiftieth birthday, she and her husband, Chris, toast to the next stage of their lives. Their children are settled; Ella is married and planning a family and Nick is starting his senior year at college. After thirty years of sacrifices and struggles for their family, it is finally time to do all the things they’ve dreamed to do as a couple.

Always unpredictable, life has other plans for the Bennets when Olivia gets shocking news that threatens all that she and Chris have built together.

* * *

Alternating between the past and present, THE FABRIC OF US beautifully unfolds the layers of a devoted marriage, exposing an interwoven thread of secrets and consequences that threaten to unravel a relationship once believed to be built on love, trust and faith.

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So comfy up on the couch, grab a blanket and sip a pumpkin beer. Tis the season. Happy reading!

Kim

The Highs and Lows of August

A teacher friend of mine calls August, “the Sunday of summer”. The month when the easy, breezy days warm days start to morph into fall – back to work, back to school, back to reality. I work everyday, every season. Did I mention I got a job? Anyway, I do know how she feels.

As our children get older, their independence is amplified during the summer. They’re rarely home for dinner, out all day with friends or working. It’s normal. We were their age not too long ago (okay, maybe long ago). Sometimes, we miss having them around: beach days, movie nights, playing board games, sitting outside gazing at stars and catching fireflies.  So, this August, we took a family trip to the Bahamas. Six fun-filled days with only the four of us, digging our toes in the soft white sand, next to a turquoise ocean so beautiful we couldn’t keep away. We had nowhere to go and all day to get there. We enjoyed every meal with the boys, these men, catching up on their lives, their thoughts and summer experiences. It was blissful.

After dinners, we roamed the huge hotel casino and found a jazz lounge where we spent most nights listening to a band called The Essence, singing along to songs of Anita Baker, Gladys Knight and Michael Jackson while sipping martinis. Good times.

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Symbolic, eh?

 

Our lovely vacation came to an abrupt halt when, merely 48 hours after we landed at JFK tanned and rested, our car was packed to capacity with the belongings of our older son. Leaving the younger one at home, due to space constraints, we made the eight-hour drive to bring our college student to school for his sophomore year.

The drop-off experience this year had a different vibe for sure. The mood permeating the car was less anxiety and fear of the unknown and more a subtle sadness that he was leaving us again. Even our son felt it, mentioning more than once just how fast the summer had flown.

Yes. It seems to pass faster every year. I have a high school senior at home. Next year, we’ll be whisking him to an institution of higher learning (God willing). And then, it will be me and my husband. Again.

Feeling wistful, I expressed my thoughts on the drive home while my husband silently focused on the double-yellow cutting through the fields of PA. Exhausted, we pulled into the driveway, unpacked what was left in the trunk and returned to the house, to work, to our daily routine, trying not to miss the boy and life as it was once.

Today at the office, I received an email from my love. It was an invitation. Four words.

Friday. Beach. Dinner. Wine.

Well, okay then.

The Big 5-0

Well, I’m here. I turned 50 this week.

It’s only a number, I know. But let’s face it. It’s a pretty big number.  Yesterday, I was twenty years old with my life in front of me. This age didn’t even factor into my thoughts.  And yet, now I can say…

I’ve lived half a century. Five decades. I’ve had friends for over 40 years. I’m a child of the 70’s and 80’s, when music was good, Mick Jagger was in his prime, Dudley Moore was Arthur, Rocky movies weren’t considered cheesy and we quoted lines from Sixteen Candles. (I should mention here that Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall are both turning 50 this year.) We ran around outside until sundown without anyone worrying about us. Fortnight meant two weeks. Atari, Space Invaders and Pac-Man were the video games we played and no one tried to kill virtual people.

Now I go to “reunions.” Songs I listened to in my youth and still do today, are considered classics. They’re re-making movies I watched in the theaters (yes, including Arthur). We no longer have David Cassidy, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett; icons of the day. I went to concerts with my friends and we  didn’t take selfies to prove we were there.

For these reasons, I embrace my age. I treasure my memories, the times I shared with the family and friends I grew up with and love and still see. I truly believe my generation enjoyed the last, great decades .

There’s a saying that with age comes wisdom. I can’t say. I’m still learning, still trying to figure out my path, which is always changing (Did I mention I work at an accounting firm?). Hopefully, I’ll always keep learning and changing.

Until you put a mirror in front of me, I still feel like the twenty-year-old optimistic girl with her life in front of her. I just might move a tad slower.

I wonder what the next decade will bring. I hope to God it doesn’t pass by as quickly as the previous ones. Maybe that’s what I’ve learned – that life is not to be taken for granted, that I should make the most of the time given to me.

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ice cream, of course

 

Something to think about.

I’m going to go now. It’s nearing five o’clock. Time to eat.

Bucket List Moments

I love award shows: Academy, SAG, Grammys, Emmys…and yes, the Tony’s. Comfy on my couch, in my pajamas, balancing a healthy-sized bowl of ice cream, is where you’ll find me during any of these broadcasts throughout the year.

With the exception of Sunday night. On Sunday night, I wore a dress and makeup – not a patch of flannel or a bowl of ice cream in sight – and sat in the audience at Radio City Music Hall.  That’s right, I went to the Tony Awards.

I have to say that again.

I went to the Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall Sunday night. 

It was A. May. Zing!

Thanks to my husband and the company he works for, who happens to be a large sponsor of the Tony’s, we had incredible seats. Mega-stars such as Denzel, Springsteen, Claire Danes, Laurie Metcalfe, Nathan Lane, Christine Baranski, Matt Bomer, Jim Parons, Amy Schumer, Kerry Washington, and the adorable Andrew Garfield (Yes  –Spiderman!) are among those who walked past us, a mere arms-length away, all night.  I was gaga.

Led by Josh Groban and Sarah Bareilles, the show itself was a veritable feast for the ears and eyes. Elaborate musical performances, presenters, winners and non-winners (there was not one “loser” in the place), entertained us for hours. Did you know that while you’re visiting the bathroom or the fridge during commercials, they’re still giving out awards? They take no breaks.

There were many humorous moments as well as tearful ones, in particular, the special award given to Melody Herzfeld, the drama teacher from Parkland, Fl,  who helped keep  65 of her students safe during the school shooting, which was followed by the surprise, emotional performance of her students on stage.

In the bathroom, a woman standing behind us accidentally stood on our guest’s (and my new friend’s) dress. She was horrified and apologized profusely, to which my friend assured her it was okay. Half an hour later, that same woman was on the stage with her cast, receiving her Tony! We peed with her! I whispered to my neighbor.

Steve returned from the bathroom, sat down and said: I just walked past Anna Wintour.

Oh, just another day.

After the show, we were invited to the post-Tony Gala at the Plaza. I kid you not. I didn’t think it was possible, but the night kept getting better. This is where all the nominees and Tony-award winners went to party after the show. I met Ari’el Stachel, who won for The Band’s Visit, shook his hand and told him I loved his acceptance speech. He thanked me graciously and then I took a picture of him with Christopher Jackson, who played George Washington in Hamilton.

Matthew Morrison (Glee)  was a doll, indulging me with a picture.

One word of advice: If you ever meet Andrew Rannells, the Tony award winner actor from The Book Of Mormon, Grammy award winner for Best Musical Theater Album, Tony nominee for Falsetto’s and Hairspray, Hamilton, Jersey Boys and The Boys in the Band actor, DON’T lead in with: I’m a huge fan…I loved you in The Intern. Take my word for it.

Food was in abundance and champagne flowed all night. Among other notables, we did miss Josh Groban and Sarah Bareilles, who were both upstairs socializing with the guests, and had left when we finally reached that floor. It was unfortunate but didn’t damped our high at all. After watching some performances by wonderful (unknown to us) singers, we finally pulled ourselves from the grandest party we’d ever been to and went home.

Here are some pics from the evening.

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The flowers are real! Aren’t they gorgeous?

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Champagne much?

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This is one of the main rooms at the Plaza

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 One of the performers at the gala – has a great voice

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With all of the stars in the building, this was still my favorite sight. 

Well, thank you for allowing me to share a memorable experience with you.

Next stop, The Academy Awards.

One day.

Talk soon. Kim xo

Hello!

It’s me. You know. Me. The one who seemed to drop off the radar for the past, oh..several months.

Hi. (I’m waving)

The last we connected, I was sending my first born off to college, commemorating the event with a nostalgic, Nope, Not Me post which expressed my sentiments at the time. Since then, the boy finished his freshman year and has returned to the nest for the summer. In a flash. My son being away was not the reason for my absence these past months. I have another reason.

I got a J.O.B.

That’s right. My first full-time-out-of-the-house job in 15 years. Now, you may ask, Where does someone who loves to write get a job?

If you answered: An accounting firm, you’d be a little nuts, but correct.

I know what you’re thinking. An accounting firm is the place where creativity goes to die.

Okay, maybe that’s what I was thinking.

So, I’ve been adapting these past months to the daily grind, as I like to refer to my new lifestyle. As difficult as the change is (I know, most of the world works, but give me this, ok? I’ve been wearing shirts with hoods for the past umpteen years and my commute went from fifteen steps to my home office to navigating traffic every single weekday, both ways, showered (by 7:00 am!) and dressed in pants and a blouse),  I find the most difficult adjustment for me is knowing nothing and having to learn everything. At almost fifty. I’ll give you an example: Since my last foray in an office, at the turn of the century, copy machines can now staple. Clearly, I’ve missed much.

So, among other things (cooking, cleaning), I gave up blogging for a bit. To adjust. To focus. To learn.

What I didn’t give up, is writing my novel. Which leads me to my news: I’m so proud to share that The Fabric of Us will be out this summer. August-ish. Here’s the blurb:

On the eve of Olivia Bennet’s fiftieth birthday, she and her husband, Chris, toast to the next stage of their lives. Their children are settled; Ella is married and planning a family and Nick is starting his senior year at college. After thirty years of sacrifices and struggles for their family, it is finally time to do all of things they’ve longed to do as a couple.

But life, always unpredictable, has other plans for the Bennets when Olivia gets shocking news that threatens all that she and Chris have built together.

Alternating between the past and present, The Fabric of Us beautifully unfolds the layers of a devoted marriage, exposing an interwoven thread of secrets and consequences that threaten to unravel a relationship once believed to be built on love, trust and faith.

Currently, I’m working on the cover with my fan-tabulous graphic designer and friend, Suzanne, (who also runs a publishing company). Suzanne designed my first two books.  I’m in good hands.

So, that’s what’s been going on with me.

I’ve missed you guys. I hope you’re still within earshot (you know what I mean). We have a lot of catching up to do. I’ll be sure to touch base weekly bi-weekly more often.

I hope you’re all well. Drop me a line and let me know what you’re up to.

I’m all ears.

~Kimberly