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Friday, November 25, 2011

Oh Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving, aka “Dysfunctional Family Day”, it’s the day we watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, gather around the table with our family, and overindulge by eating more food in one day than the contestants on The Biggest Loser eat in a week! Jillian Michaels would not be pleased. It’s a day to give thanks for the food on our table, give thanks for the many blessings life has given us, and to give thanks, for better or for worse, for our family.

Family – that word means something different to each of us. For some, it brings a smile to our face and warms our heart; to others we realize that our family really should have a reality series because they’re… Just. That. Odd! However, I think we’d all agree, good or bad, we couldn’t live without them. And who’s to say what defines a family. Oh sure, perhaps in a perfect world, it consists of two loving parents with their children, a house and maybe a dog or a cat. But who says those two loving parents aren’t two men or two women? And who says there even has to be two parents?! I’m the single mom of an amazing, pretty spectacular son. He’s no worse for the wear, or any less loved simply because his father doesn’t live under the same roof.

They say you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. I’m not so sure about that. Isn’t it simply those we love and those who love us that define a family? I don’t believe a family is always one of shared blood. In fact, rarely do members of one’s family ever grow up under the same roof. My closest friends love me, accept me, they’re there in good and bad times and they support my every hope and dream. Isn’t that what defines a family? A family is the first people you go to when something spectacular happens because you can’t wait to share it with them. A family is the people you go to when the world is crashing in around you because when you’re with them, you’re protected; it’s like you’re wrapped in cotton because you know nothing bad can ever happen when you’re with them.

So this Thanksgiving, look around your table and give thanks to those you chose to be your family. Your wonderful, loving family, diverse and dysfunctional though it may be. That blended group of people you call family that, yes, should probably have their own reality series, but they also warm your heart, make you smile, supports you, accepts you, but most of all loves you…. always and all ways.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sick Defends Sicker

The other night as I was watching the Bob Costas interview with accused pedophile Jerry Sandusky, outside of the obvious, something didn’t sit right with me. Sandusky was doing the interview by phone, but his lawyer, Joseph Amendola, was in the studio with Bob Costas. The way Amendola answered some of Bob’s questions made my skin crawl. And at one point, he even cracked a smile. Really, what on earth is there to smile about in this horrific tragedy?

In the above photo, Amendola is smiling while saying they were able to locate an alleged victim (the one Mike McQueary witnessed being assaulted) when the Commonwealth has not. Funny?? How is this even remotely funny???

Costas: You said a few days ago, “much more is going to come out in our defense.” In broad terms, what?

Joseph Amendola: We expect we’re going to have a number of kids – now how many of those so-called eight kids we’re not sure – but we anticipate we’re going to have at least several of those kids come forward and say this never happened, this is me, this is the allegation, and it never occurred. In fact, one of the toughest allegations – the McQueary allegations – what McQueary said he saw, we have information that that child says that never happened. Now grown up.

Costas: Until now we were told that that alleged victim could not be identified. You have identified him?

Amendola: We think we have.

Costas: So you found him, the Commonwealth has not?

Amendola: Yeah. Interesting, isn’t it?

Costas: Would you allow your own children to be alone with your client?

Amendola: Absolutely. I believe in Jerry’s innocence. Quite honestly Bob, that’s why I’m involved in the case.

Costas: You believe in his innocence? Not just that you can mitigate his guilt, you believe in his innocence.

Amendola: I believe in his innocence.

The other day, a colleague and I were talking about this story and how repulsed we have both been about the details since the news broke. And, while I do understand that everyone in this country is entitled to representation, and I do understand that everyone is “innocent until proven guilty”. What I don’t understand is how in good conscience a lawyer can defend someone who is so clearly sick and needs help, or incarceration, or both. What I don’t understand is how a lawyer can blindly defend someone who is so clearly guilty. Apparently it helps when you have a lawyer who thinks along the same lines as the client. Joseph Amendola is, in my opinion, also a pedophile. And now I understand how this particular lawyer can, in his perception of good conscience, defend this particular client.

Back in 1996, this “fine, upstanding” citizen, represented then 16-year-old Mary Iavasile's emancipation petition. Why was she asking to be "divorced" from her parents just weeks before her 17th birthday? She was pregnant with Joseph Amendola's child. He was 49 at the time. According to Mary's mother she graduated from high school in two years with a 3.69 grade point average while holding down a full time job. A job at Amendola’s law office. She met her "mentor", Joseph Amendola, through her school district because she was interested in pursuing a law career. Mary had the child just before her 18th birthday and never did get a law degree. She and Joseph married in 2003, had another child and have since divorced.

Clearly, Joseph Amendola is not the moral compass to get justice for these children who were so brutally violated by Sandusky. When Mary Amendola watched the Costas interview and heard her ex-husband say, without hesitation, that he would feel comfortable leaving his kids alone with Jerry Sandusky, Mary took to her Facebook page. “OMG, did Joe just say that he would allow my kids to be alone with Jerry Sandusky??”

Makes your skin crawl, doesn’t it?

To watch the full interview with Bob Costas -

For the full story on Mary -

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth

“All it takes for evil to triumph is for a few good men to do nothing.”

Profound statement. What makes it more profound, considering this is a quote from the 1700’s by Irish political philosopher Edmond Burke, is how relevant it is today. I’m referring to the recent events surrounding the allegations of the football staff at Penn State. If a few (supposed) good men had spoken up when they first saw and heard of what was happening, then evil would not have triumphed. But no one spoke up and a sick, disgusting man got away with horrific atrocities. Children were betrayed; trust was shattered. So what do we, as a society, as individuals, as parents, do now? How can we learn from this?

At a young age we teach our kids about their “private parts”. We teach them no adult is allowed to touch them “down there”. Not even someone they know, trust, and love. It’s a tough conversation to have because kids’ brains don’t fully understand pure evil. As the mother of a nine-year old son, the same age as some of the kids who were assaulted, I’m outraged that more was not done to help and protect those children. The best I can do is to teach my son to do the right thing, no matter the cost. Teach him to speak up if any adult approaches him and to speak up if he witnesses anything he may think is inappropriate. When you’re truthful and honest, you don’t have to keep track of your lies. If you tell the truth, evil cannot prevail.

The individuals in the middle of the scandal at Penn State didn’t do enough. They did the bare minimum of what they were required to do. I wonder how they would feel had it been their son in the shower with Jerry Sandusky. During his 62 years as coach, Joe Paterno won 409 games, more than any coach in the history of major college football. However, Joe’s legacy will now be remembered not for what he did, but for what he didn’t do.

In the wake of Paterno’s firing, students at Penn State rioted the campus in support of their “beloved” coach. As many of you who listen to Broadminded know, I am the victim of a sexual assault. It happened right after college and the assailant has never been caught. As someone who knows what it’s like to be forced to do something against her will, it was extremely unsettling to watch the news of the Penn State students wreaking havoc across campus in support of those who didn’t speak up, didn’t do all they could, didn’t tell the truth. Where were the people protesting in support of those who were betrayed instead of supporting the people who stayed silent?

A few days later, just prior to Penn State’s final home game of the season, the players from both Penn State and their opponent, Nebraska, gathered at midfield kneeling together for a long moment of silence in support of the victims. Finally giving the abused some recognition. It was a simple, quiet, powerful statement. Donations for two child-abuse prevention organizations were being accepted at the stadium gates. And as fans were gathering in their seats getting ready for kick-off, a plane flew over the stadium pulling a sign that read, “Cry for the Kids, Not for the Cowards & Liars.”

“If I only had three words of advice, they would be, Tell the Truth. If I got three more words, I'd add, All the Time.” ~Randy Pausch

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Big Cut!!!

Check out the full Photo Gallery of "The Big Cut" on our Broadminded Facebook page.

Here is the video and someone please tell me how many times I say "OH MY GOSH"

Last week Jen, the producer of Broadminded, and I donated our hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. The American Cancer Society and Pantene partnered to create Beautiful Lengths which gives gorgeous, real-hair wigs free of charge to women fighting cancer. I really wanted to cut and donate my hair. I believe in the organization and think what they are doing is amazing. Even though all that was going through my mind, I was still selfishly worried about me. I have to tell you that the thought of cutting my hair was really freaking me out. Ever since I was a little girl I have always had long hair (minus some bad perms in the 80's). How was I going to look with short hair?

Later that afternoon, after “The Big Cut”, I went over to my friend’s house; she was curious to see what my new cut looked like. I admitted to her that I had freaked out a bit and was actually feeling quite guilty about it. She said it was totally understandable; with most women our hair is a huge part of our identity. It defines us. We count on it, use it, love it and it is a sort of security blanket for many of us. With those words, my friend did make me feel better. I realized I was that girl. I then thought, “Wait a minute. What about the women (the very women I just cut my hair for) who are going through one of the worst times of their lives and don't have the option to grow their own hair?” They are not only going to lose all the hair on their head, but also their eyebrows and their eye lashes. Yet here I was freaking out over willingly cutting off nine inches of my own hair???? It was then that I fully realized how blessed I am to be able to do this. I spent some time that evening on my back deck counting my blessings not just for my health, but also the health and well-being of my friends and family. I prayed that my hair would make someone receiving it happy and secure. I gained some strength that day by cutting my hair and, hopefully, am able to give another woman some strength, too, by having her receive it. I decided then and there to let my hair grow back out and can't wait until I have another nine inches to donate. If you have ever thought about doing this, DO IT! You will not regret it. In fact you will want to do it again and again!

I LOVE MY NEW HAIR! Thank you, Pantene Beautiful Lengths for not only making me feel beautiful, but for also giving beauty, strength and security to the thousands of woman battling cancer. Pretty cool if you ask this old broad.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play

At nine years old, Aidan was donning a press pass and working the red carpet (orange for Nickelodeon) like an old pro. Makes a Momma proud!

Aidan and I were so excited to find out that this year’s Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play was happening right here in DC. Nickelodeon has been putting on their WWDOP for the past eight years and I think their message is wonderful; for a portion of the day, all Nickelodeon channels shut down and encourage kids to “get outside and play!” We first became familiar with Worldwide Day of Play four years ago; when Aidan turned on Nick to watch Drake and Josh, the TV screen was gray and had a scroll going across that said, "turn off the TV and go outside and play." So we did! What a great, yet simple, idea. It is so important and exactly the kind of thing our kids need to be inspired and reminded to do. Kids spend way too much time in front of the TV and gaming consoles. Remember the “good ol’ days” before cable television and video games when we actually went outside and played with our friends? We rode our bikes, played kick-ball, tag, or simply just enjoyed the fresh air and we didn’t go home until our parents called us in for dinner. As a single parent I, too, am guilty of using the TV and video games as a "babysitter." I keep thinking, “if I can just get some time to check emails, clean the house, clean my office, clean my kitchen, catch up on work....” There are countless books written about it and everyone talks about it, but are we really taking the time to enjoy our children? One day your child will be too old for blocks, toy cars, and LEGOs. That day will come when your house will be spotless because your child has moved out and left for college. Enjoy your mess; it is beautiful. I am going to get a sign and put it above my front door that says "Welcome to my beautiful mess", because it is.

I was so proud of how well Aidan did today. He was nervous and excited to meet all his TV idols. You’d never know it, though, since he worked it like a professional reporter, asking great questions and entertaining the entertainers. Below is Aidan with the boys of Big Time Rush:

There were thousands of people on The Mall today enjoying the concerts, obstacle courses, and all the fun activities. I was going to come home and write all about the celebrities, who did what, who said what, but instead I decided to take a page out of Nickelodeon’s book; I turned off the TV, sat on my messy floor and played LEGOs with Aidan. We talked about our great day and the kind of cake he wanted me to bake for our friend’s birthday. I know there will come a time when, in the wee hours of the night, I will miss the excruciating pain of those itsy bitsy teeny tiny LEGO pieces impaling my feet. Until then, though, I need to continue this mindset, stay in the present, turn off the TV, and enjoy the special moments. Time passes far too quickly!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I love this!!

When I am their age this is exactly the kind of relationship I hope to have. They are so cute!! What is your favorite part?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Are any other parents awaiting the countdown to the all new Star Wars The Clone Wars?

Are any other parents awaiting the countdown to the all-new Star Wars: The Clone Wars?

Well, in my house tonight, we are in hour 3 of watching the clock click down on Cartoon Network for the Season Premiere of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Aidan has been waiting all summer for this and when he got home from school today he realized it was Friday, his eyes lit up and he began the preparations. By the way, this was at 4 in the afternoon and the show doesn’t air until 8pm EST. The first order of business was to build his "King Chair" where he will remain until the show begins.

I delivered dinner and drinks and now I believe we are 1 1/2 hours away. This is so cute to watch. I love all the Star Wars movies especially the originals from my generation. I have shown Aidan the original VHS copies not all the new fancy Blue Ray DVD's. Speaking of which I believe the box set came out today.

Let’s check back in with Aidan and see how he is doing.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Comic-Con 2011 starts with Captain America

Comic-Con, where do I start? Wow!! Crazy, fun and so much more. On Wednesday I flew from DC to San Diego and sat next the cutest little boy who was moving to San Diego with his family. He kept tapping me on the shoulder asking me questions about the mountains out the window. By the end of the flight he was sitting in my lap. What a great way to start the trip. Needless to say, 3:30am came very quickly on Thursday. In my pj’s down to the Sheraton lobby to do the show I went. Immediately after the show, I ran to the Convention Center in downtown San Diego to get my badge, that was when I got my first glimpse of the REAL fans of Comic-Con. The costumes are amazingly creative and no expense is spared. Check out the Comic-Con Photo Gallery on the front page of my website Once I got my badge, I hit the ground running. First stop; the movie theater to see a screening of Captain America: The First Avenger. They were running a little late showing the movie since Chris Evans, Captain America himself, was stopping by each theater to say hello. It was very cool. The war girls were all dressed up and dancing as well. If you are not familiar with the comic book characters (which I was not) the movie is all about Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a skinny, wimpy man who wanted to serve his country in WWII

He is constantly rejected but never gives up. When he runs across Dr. Abraham Erskine, played by Stanley Tucci, his dreams are answered. That is where the transformation begins and let me tell you that the difference is amazing! The special effects are fantastic, making his little body on his head look real and then his REAL body comes into play. Ladies and gentleman, you will not be disappointed. The movie is great and actually very funny. Tommy Lee Jones plays Colonel Chester Phillips and, along with Tucci, his comedic timing is amazing. Hayley Atwell and her red lips are beautiful as the leading lady.

But, Hayley is no damsel in distress, which I love; she is a bad ass military broad who can wield a gun. If you are not a fan of comics, just suspend disbelief, especially for the train scene. I highly recommend this movie. It is fantastic, fun and the kids will love it as well.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Clothes that don't fit are the best exercise

Oh my gosh I seriously can't fit into half of my wardrobe this is the best incentive yet. I am going to pin up these pants I can't get over my thighs on my wall or refrigerator as a constant reminder to stay in shape. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH

No More Santa...

More to come I am to devestated to write right now!

The Tony Awards 2011

Oh my gosh so much happened this weekend in NY at the Tony's. Met so many people...more to come here too.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Oh what a week, thank you Lady Jacob

I will get back to the Lady Jocob story later but I am having one heck of a time right now. My 9 year old son is giving me a run for my money ALREADY!! I really feel like I didn't start trying to drive my parents crazy until I was a teenager and then I went HOG Wild (sorry mom and dad). Not that my child is the angel but I will say these 2 other boys are new to our house so I am quickly figuring out them out. The biggest problem was when he got caught he just keep lying, then I thought we were done and found more proof of lying. He knows our rule he doesn't get in trouble for the truth it is the lies that will cost him TV, IPOD touch well really anything electronic until I get over this. Help, is anyone else out there dealing with this? Also the bullying he has been going through at school is so extreme for his age. It is a new way a new generation raising these kids and right now I feel like I am failing. Do you????