Classmate Chatter

June 25: Here I Go Again; Straight From The Heart (Sing-Along)
June 14: Return of the "Go To Guy"

May 11: What to Wear to the Reunion
May 6: Don't Get All Worked Up About It
April 29: Moving Forward and Making Changes Along the Way
March 31: I've Got Nothing
March 21: Greatest Invention Known to Man
March 16: I've got shoes older than you!
March 10: Where is my Go To Guy?
March 4: Brother, Can you spare a dime?

February 28: What About Us?
February 12:
Forgiveness — the Bridge to Change
February 2:
Just Do... Something

January 10:
Are You Talking to Me?
December 14:
What's The Rush?
November 10:
The Biggest Loser
October 6:
Touching Base
October 1:
Hands Free
September 29:
Numbers in My Head
September 17: 
To That First Love
August 29:
August 26:
I'll Give You Reality
August 18:
Our Mini-Bios: Our hopes, dreams and aspirations
August 5:
Reasons Why YOU Shouldn't Attend Your High School Reunion
August 2:
Your Reunion Committee: A Motley Crew (Includes a list of committee members.)


Here I Go Again, Straight From The Heart
On the heels of our committee meeting last week, Time After Time I thought to myself, this is a Cruel Summer because we Just Can’t Get Enough classmates to register on our website, or get something more than Promises, Promises.
I decided on behalf of the committee, that We’re Not Gonna Take It. You might think we would be Tempted to cancel the reunion because we are Under Pressure; but Ain’t Nobody want to see that happen and some members thought we should have a little Faith. One option was to just wait until Manic Monday and I thought, I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do); It’s Inevitable I’ll contact you again; otherwise, I’ll Go Insane.
I Still Believe and I Can’t Fight This Feeling that we are going to have this reunion With Or Without You and Against All Odds. Emails and ideas have been flying through Suburbia and we’ve gone Round And Round trying to decide how to get more involvement. We continue to lift each other up and urge all to Don’t Stop Believin’; and have a little Patience because We Are In Too Deep to turn back now.
During the course of my life, I’ve gotten through tough times by Livin’ On A Prayer and this is no exception. It may be Overkill but I’ve talked to people as far as A Million Miles Away about their reunion ideas. They said that although there were some who had no plans to attend and from other classmates they Got No Reply At All, the majority of the responses were “I’ll Be There,” “Wouldn’t It Be Good Reminising About All Those Years Ago” when we were Fab; “I’ve Had The Time of My Life at my reunions; and “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It for the World.” 
We get that People Are People and you may prefer spending your Vacation in Key Largo or Kokomo rather than Salisbury because we definitely do not have anything close to a Hotel California for you to Relax. But think of this as a way to break free from your 9-5 job and get a little Footloose and crazy recalling those Endless Summer Nights at some of our local hangouts in and about town. For one weekend, we can Turn Back the Clock and be Forever Young before having to get Back on the Chain Gang.
It’s Human Nature to ask Should I Stay or Should I Go and you might be considering other opportunities, but Believe It Or Not, we are Mad About You and will Miss You Like Crazy if you are not at Your Reunion.
The DJ is going to play Some Old Time Rock ‘N Roll, definitely YMCA, Super Freak and Love Shack. Your friends will ask Where Are You Now; we will honor and remember the People Who Died; and most likely our Boys of Summer will be sporting Sunglasses at Night and will still look the same with just a Touch of Grey
This is the Time and I Don't Mind At All if you show up in a Bitchin' Camero, a Little Red Corvette or come on the Morning Train. Put on your Leather and Lace and be prepared to Come Dancing to songs that you probably still Cherish. Your Reunion Committee has spent a lot of Endless Summer Nights getting ready for this Your 30th Class Reunion to guarantee that you have great food and an awesome DJ that will prompt you to Bust a Move. So come on you Sharp Dressed Man, bring your Lady in Red, and meet us at the door - we'll be Right Here Waiting.



Committed Relationships By Any Other Name

Several Chatters ago [OK, it was March 10], I mentioned that a male friend, a/k/a my Go to Guy, (“GTG”) had virtually disappeared from my life – my rock solid and steady had just up and went. 

Well, several days ago, GTG telephoned me.  There were no apologies, no lengthy explanations to explain his absence except that “I’ve been busy.”  WTH?  Busy?  For 91 days?  Yes, I had been keeping track.  I guess I should feel “blessed” that he did remember my birthday and that his phone call was in close proximity to that date; however, I didn’t feel that he deserved to be let off the hook.  I tried to listen attentively while he filled me in on the comings and goings in his life but inside I was seething.  “For 91 days, you have been busy?”  Too busy to manage an email, a card, a note; too busy that you could callously disregard the anxiety caused by your silence after 29 years of somewhat constant contact? 

But then sense and sensibility appeared and demanded to know what I was so upset about.  After all, he didn’t owe me any explanation.  We weren’t in a relationship that could actually be defined.  Or were we?  Relationships come in all shapes and sizes.  There is the relationship with our employers and co-workers who expect us to commit to providing the best work product we can while we are at work.  There is the relationship with people that we frequent in the service industry who expect us to commit to showing up for a scheduled appointment and, if not, to have the courtesy to telephone and reschedule.  There is the relationship we have with fellow committee members who expect us to commit to pulling our share of the weight on a project.  This relationship I shared with GTG was one no less based on commitment – a commitment to be present for each other; a commitment to come when called, to lend an ear or a sympathetic shoulder; to do any less than this shows that we have little respect for the relationship and little respect for the parties that form that relationship.

To his credit, he has communicated in some form or another every day, although it has only been less than a week.  After a much-needed vacation, I came to work today to find a humorous email and two store-bought cards – he knew that coming back would be difficult for me.  I believe he knows that I am disappointed in his behavior and I am sure he is waiting for me to bring it up.  In the meantime, I will answer his phone calls, respond to his text messages and be satisfied that we are back on track, albeit a little shaky. 

I think what I have learned over the course of these 91 days is that when you are in a relationship, regardless of the form that it takes, you are not always on even ground.  At times, you may each be putting 50% in.  At other times, the balance can be tilted in one direction or another.  Regardless the percentage of commitment, the relationship still exists until each person decides that they no longer wish to keep it viable.  So for now, I’ll give my 70% and accept his 30.  My GTG is back and I’m committed to finding peace with that.

Take care,


What to Wear to the Reunion

I am posting this in the Classmate Chatter because I feel that this Chatter should not be limited to one sex.  Men, when your significant other drags you from store to store in an attempt to find just that perfect dress for the reunion, you too will have some information available to help you assist her in making that oh-so-important decision…

Ladies, I hope that you have had a chance to check out some of the entries in the NBA section of your website and are incorporating some of the information found there into your daily routine.  As a reminder, diet and exercise is not a for the occasion lifestyle change but should be incorporated to assist you in becoming a better, healthier and happier you for the long-term. 

At some point as you prepare for our upcoming reunion, you are going to ask yourself “what should I wear?”  For some of us, that question will be accompanied with beads of sweat, sick stomach and sweaty palms as we gaze into the deep, dark recesses of our closet for something appropriate.  However, if I can offer you one bit of advice to make the decision a little less daunting it would be this – GO BLACK. 

If a woman’s closet had one commonality, I believe it would be the Little Black Dress – “LBD.”  Dating back to the 1920s design of Coco Chanel, the LBD has been a wardrobe essential to many women.  A simple, elegant black dress can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion: for example, worn with a jacket and pumps for daytime business wear or with more ornate jewelry and accessories for evening.  One of the more classic LBDs is short-sleeve or ¾ length sleeve, fitted at the waist and slightly above the knees.  The LBD shows that you are a woman of power and in control and this will be immediately conveyed when you walk into a room.  The LBD can make you look skinny, sophisticated and sexy without looking over-done. 

No matter what you decide to wear, allow me to give you a few additional ideas to pull off that reunion dinner/dance stunner:

  1. If your tummy is less than flat – consider some of the shape wear that is out on the market.  It smoothes and reshapes but also helps you stand taller.  Invest in a high-waisted shaping bike short that will help the stomach, hips and thighs. 
  2. If you feel that the skin under your arms has lost some of its tightness, especially in the triceps area, consider wearing a shrug, cardigan or even a fuller cap sleeve.
  3.  If you feel you have gained a little extra weight, do not go baggy – instead opt for something a little more tailored. 
  4. If you choose to go with pants, go long.  Hemming them up to the ankle makes legs look shorter and trouser pants have roomy legs that balance your figure.  Also choose pants that have front pockets as opposed to side pockets which tend to draw attention to your hips. 
  5. Avoid large, stiff expanses of fabric which make you look bigger.  Choose pieces that have some movement – small ruffles or pants that flow over your curves – detracting from your unwanted pounds.
  6. Simplify your color palette.  Wearing pants, a top and a jacket in different colors breaks up the body too much.   Head-to-toe in one color creates a long, thin line. 
  7. Fake a tummy tuck – Buy a pencil skirt without a tummy-hugging waistband and pair it with a shirt or jacket that falls below the stomach for a smooth, linear effect.
  8. Consider a wrap dress – the design will distract the eye and the flowing fabric will drape you without being too form fitting.
  9. Don’t be so top heavy – go with v-neck tops which create a vertical line and elongate the look.  An upside-down triangle pulls the eye down toward a narrower place.  If you opt to wear a shirt or blouse, consider opening the buttons and wearing a tank top or chemise underneath.  A tailored, silk blouse which is not too nipped in at the waist works well.  Avoid turtlenecks, collarless jackets and high-neck tops that just accentuate your chest.
  10. If you are working with wide hips, the key word to keep in mind is balance.  Consider an A-line skirt or dress that flows over the hips instead of hugging them.  Look for jackets or tops that fall at or just below the hip. 
  11. Improve your posture to look straight and tall until you get rid of your slouch for good.  Wear tailored jackets that follow the contours of your body, cutting in at the waist and having a bit of padding at the shoulders.  Sleeveless turtlenecks make your torso seem longer and your spine straighter. 
  12. Accessorize – a larger necklace can make you appear taller and leaner because it directs the attention up to and away from your figure flaws.  A choker can be good as well, drawing attention to the neck.  If you tend to be big busted, consider a necklace on a short chain.  Earrings or sparkly headbands are also great distractions because they draw people’s attention to where you want them to look.  As Fran Drescher (The Nanny) once said, “The bigger the hair, the smaller the hips will look.”
  13. Heels or wedges rather than flats give you the allusion of tall and lean as well.  Even a kitten heel will make you look taller.  Choose shoes in a color close to your skin tone to lengthen the legs.  NO ankle straps which will cut you off.  Shoe boots are terrible – not with skirts – they too cut off the legs.
  14. FINALLY:  Wear something that YOU feel good in – that YOU find comfortable.  This is YOUR reunion – YOUR time to shine.  If you are wearing something that your husband, friend, daughter picked out for you and it wasn’t your first choice, you are going to be spending too much time picking at your outfit as opposed to mingling with friends and hitting the dance floor. 

Can’t wait to see you there!



Don't Get All Worked Up

May 6

After our reunion committee meeting last evening, the collective group have discovered that not many people have (a) registered on our class website ( or (b) for those of you who have registered (we thank you) but you have not yet purchased your reunion weekend tickets.  

And the collective group is concerned because as much as we have gotten to enjoy each other’s company over the past six or so months as we plan this event, we truly would like to catch up with other classmates.  I for one am hoping that you all are just extremely busy and are eventually going to get around to both registering and making a solid commitment to attend your reunion.  

If, however, there are other reasons why you may be considering not attending, one of which may be pre-reunion anxiety, let me offer these words of encouragement: 

  • People will remember you--no matter what kind of complex you have developed over your adult years about being forgotten and unimportant.  You will realize this immediately when you walk up at the picnic to see a childhood friend and neighbor who you really didn't talk with much in high school rush over to hug you and talk about childhood memories. 
  • Everyone will look older, balder, fatter, and yet everyone will be recognizable minus one or two faces that have drastically changed. 

  • The sweet hometown boy who used to call you in the 7th grade and listen to all your tales of woe over crushes gone awry will show up now a bread delivery man who has kept up with everyone in your class and even many in the other classes close to yours and can tell you detailed stories about each and every one of them. 

  • You will not be the most overweight person at your reunion – not even by a long shot.  In fact, at one point some of the more overweight people will openly classify you in with the "skinny people" who were on the back row of the class reunion photo.  This will thrill you to no end. 

  • The dorky boy that made you laugh in school but usually went unnoticed or got picked on will suddenly be the hit of the reunion, cracking jokes and serving margaritas to everyone.  All the popular crowd will be so surprised at how funny he is--something you knew all along. 

  • And, the childhood friend who hurt you most and took you for granted often--the one who swore she'd never come back to your town especially not for a reunion?  Well, she will show up and tell you that you are the main reason she came and that she holds all those childhood memories so dear, and touch you with all the things she still remembers.

  • The really boring, but most popular girl in the class still will not have more than two words to say to you.  She will leave only an hour into the reunion and act as bored with everyone as ever.  Everyone will still act like she's a goddess for some reason that you still will not understand. 

  • The state champion sports star you most wanted to be like in high school will still look exactly the same and will be training for her next marathon.  However, she will be among the two girls that you are very convinced have had boob jobs.  There will be one very big girl who announced to everyone she's had breast reduction in a very awkward moment. 

  • The brilliant and dear boy who kept you in stitches senior year will not show up because he's commanding troops in Afghanistan.  This will make you quite sad and yet comforted all at the same time. 

  • The party girl you befriended in typing class will be unrecognizable by her weight and will barely say hello and then snub you fiercely as if she is superior to you.  For some reason, you find this sort of entertaining when it probably would have really irritated you in high school. 

  • The kind-hearted neighbor boy who rang your doorbell and cried on your mom's shoulder during his parents' divorce will still be just a big old teddy bear. 

  • The teachers you adored will all come to see your class and gosh, they will look so old. 

  • Your pal from grade school will still be the caretaker/mother hen, making sure every detail is taken care of for the reunion and hovering around to make sure everyone had the best time.  And, thanks to her, everyone will. 

  • The person you considered a best friend of high school days who betrayed and hurt you will not show up and will openly snub all those who try to convince her to come.  Reports at the party will surface and expose that she is, in fact, a self-centered beeotch that no one really likes anymore.  As petty as this sounds, this will also kind of make you smugly content. 

  • The same old stories will be told, but they will be fun to revisit.  Some of the new stories you will hear are only because you didn't party in those days at all.  But, no one will acknowledge this or tease you for that and you will feel like you fit right in laughing at them all.
  • In short, you have nothing to worry about at all.  You are going to be complemented and noticed enough for your appearance to up your self-esteem for months.  You are going to smile and dance the entire night.  You are going to get warm and gushy feelings about all of your classmates and it will not be from the 'ritas or the PMS. 
  • I can promise you that you will get a little teary just remembering the whole day/weekend.  You may even learn that looking back can reveal some new things about yourself that you never realized before and that there are so many more blessings growing up in a small town than you never could have imagined back when you were 17.

With all that said, I hope to see you there!


Moving Forward and Making Changes Along the Way

Classmates, yesterday I had banged away on my keyboard a Chatter that I was going to post about something (or specifically someone) that had just made me madder than I’d ever been – well at least madder than I’ve been in a long time.  Rather than post immediately, it was suggested that I just sit on it for a day and if I still felt the need to do so, the Chatter would go live on our website today.

It’s funny how things happen because as I was re-reading the Chatter and thinking about making some tweaks to it, a girlfriend of mine sent me an email touching base, together with the following – albeit a little late in her eyes – but right on time in mine.  Enjoy!

“Here are some ideas to help make 2011 the healthiest, happiest and most prosperous New Year ever!" 

For Your Health:

  1. Drink plenty of water.
  2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
  3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and east less food that is manufactured in plants.
  4. Live with the 3 E’s – Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
  5. Make time to be thankful.
  6. Play more games.
  7. Read more books than you did in 2010.
  8. Sit in silence for 10 minutes each day.
  9. Sleep for 7 hours.
  10. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily – and smile as you walk.

For Your Personality:

  1. Don’t compare your life to others.  You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  2. Don’t have negative thoughts on things you cannot control.  Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  3. Don’t over do.  Keep your limits.
  4. Don’t take yourself so seriously.  No one else does.
  5. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
  6. Dream more while you are awake.
  7. Envy is a waste of time.  You already have all you need.
  8. Forget issues of the past.  Don’t remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past.  That will ruin your present happiness.
  9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.  Don’t hate others.
  10. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil your present.
  11. No one is in charge of your happiness except for you.
  12. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.  Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  13. Smile and laugh more.
  14. You don’t have to win every argument.  Agree to disagree.

For Your Society:

  1. Call your family often.
  2. Each day give something good to others.  Change lives.
  3. Forgive everyone for everything.
  4. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
  5. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  6. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  7. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick.  Your friends will.  Stay in touch.

For Your Life:

  1. Do the right thing!
  2. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  3. GOD heals too.
  4. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  5. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  6. The best is yet to come.
  7. When you awake alive in the morning, give thanks for it.
  8. Your inner most is always happy.  So, be happy.

For Your Friends and Family:

  1. Feel free to share this with the people you care about.  I just did!!”

Take care, Classmates and can’t wait to see you ALL at the reunion!


I've Got Nothing

For the past week, I have been trying to come up with a post - something new, original and creative but I was hitting a wall - a writer's block if you will (although I use the term "writer" loosely.)  I eventually came to the conclusion that I would just post some random thoughts and title the post "I've Got Nothing."  Well life has a way of stepping in and changing the direction of our focus, as is the case here.
Several months ago, I talked about my girlfriend, "J", who had taken her life by jumping from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in '08 and how profoundly sad and devastated I was for her family, especially her daughter, at the loss of such a wonderful woman.  Well yesterday I learned that this family has been dealt another tragic blow, because J's husband, "M", died earlier this week in a single-car accident on a lonely, dark stretch of road less than two miles from his home.  How is it possible that this family that has suffered so much already must now mourn again.  How will J and M's daughter, "K" be able to overcome yet another devastating blow? 
I will attend M's memorial later this month and I will be able to offer words of encouragement and sympathy to K and her family.  I tried to muster the strength to reach out to her last night but words failed me and as I placed the telephone receiver back in its cradle I realized something:  for now - at this moment - I've got nothing.
One of my children called last night to vent about a little disagreement she was having with one of her siblings.  Normally, I listen patiently and dispense motherly advice, trying my best not to take sides.  But as I listened, my mind drifted to K and the fact that she would never be able to vent to her parents and how silly this disagreement actually was.  I wasn't able to offer any kind of solution to my child:  for now - at this moment - I've got nothing.
My workout buddy and I have decided to run in a half-marathon seven weeks from now and after I hit the registration submit button, the normal feelings of excitement at the challenge were not present.  In fact, there were no feelings at all:  for now - at this moment - I've got nothing.
Time is the antidote to pain and just as with J's death, as the days and weeks fly by, this ache I feel will slowly dissipate.  However, if at this moment, my chest wall were to be opened, I believe my heart would resemble a jigsaw puzzle, reflecting the thousands of pieces that it has been broken into with the news of yet another untimely death.  Other than a deep void and a hollowness in my soul:  for now - at this moment - I've got nothing.
I'll close with this:  I know that I should be trying to circle this post back around to reasons why you should attend our 30th Class Reunion and why you should try to attend one, if not all of the remaining, reunion committee meetings, but I just can't come up with any way to do that.  You know the reasons why you should attend our reunion; you've heard our pleas for help on various committees; and you know that there are people there that you've lost touch with that would love to see you and catch up with you. 

For me, I will probably in the next few weeks post another mundane chatter and it will somehow relate to our reunion:  but for now - at this moment - I've got nothing.

Greatest Invention Known to Man

As I backed out of the driveway this morning, bracing myself for the “severe weather and coastal flooding” that had been predicted by the weather forecasters, I was surprised to find that the roads were relatively dry and the winds surprisingly calm for the Eastern Shore.  In light of that, I was mentally drafting my Chatter today to be about other occupations where you could consistently misinform the general public and still be able to maintain your employment; however, I was coming up with very few examples that were not related to politics.  About ten minutes into my commute, the dam broke, so to speak, the skies opened and the “severe weather” made a dramatic appearance.  It was at that moment that I realized I needed to shift gears and decided what my topic was going to be…the greatest invention known to man…Rain-X!

Now before you scoff at the notion, think about the genius behind this product... You know that sound that your wipers make when there’s not enough rain on the windshield to really use them, but there’s just enough to make visibility difficult?  That squeaky, dry rubber against glass sound that has the same effect on one’s ears as nails on a chalkboard?  Rain-X – a leading expert in wet weather driving visibility – coats the windshield and the water literally beads off – a thing of beauty to behold.  Gone is the chatter, drag and noise, replaced by a smooth, clean windshield.

Oh if only Rain-X could be used on every surface:

The inside of those skinny jeans that we women struggle to conform to our bodies.  Those same skinny jeans that mysteriously shrink from the moment the cash register finalizes the sale to the moment when we wiggle and writhe on our bedroom floors in an all-out war to pull them up over our hips.

Our full-length mirrors when sparkling with the Rain-X sheen would reflect thighs, stomachs and other trouble spots devoid of dimples and bumps.

Wrinkles, worry lines, stress and stretch marks which bear witness to lives well lived would be replaced with smooth, clear skin and a youthful appearance.

Our hearts when the love of our lives unceremoniously dumps us for another, the hurt and anger, bitterness and sorrow repelled with one glorious spray.

Our backs, coated with the protective armor, when we are bombarded with criticisms and put-downs by others who think they are only trying to help.

Our tongues when we hurt others in retaliation for the wrongs we feel have been heaped upon us.

Because the above is truly a pipe-dream, perhaps Rain-X should be a metaphor for a coating of a temperament of self love, acceptance and perseverance.  We cannot change the thoughts, opinions and actions of others; however, we can change the way we allow those thoughts, opinions and actions to affect us. 

We can decide what people we want to be in our lives, people that will support us, encourage and uplift us, challenge us to better ourselves; we can decide whether or not to allow the opinions of others to shape the way we feel about ourselves; we can decide whether or not the person we see reflected back in that full-size mirror is one we are going to love and admire or one we’re going to stare at with self-loathing due to the criticisms that are echoing in our heads.  We can decide that the words we express to others be coated with a layer of tolerance, patience and admiration.  No longer will we lash out in an attempt to have the last word without first considering the consequences of doing so.

Wouldn’t it be nice to go to our reunion to find a little bottle of Rain-X on each of our tables?  I’ve heard numerous people say that celebrating their 30th high school reunion makes them feel old.  Squirting ourselves with a little Rain-X may not make the years bead off like raindrops on a windshield, but if we begin to repel negative thoughts and feelings, criticisms and personal attacks, perhaps we can look out toward the next 30 years with a more youthful attitude and better visibility.

See You There!


I've got shoes older than you!
March 16, 2011

It’s a competitive world that we live in – dog eat dog.  I get that!  I certainly understand that if you want to move up the corporate ladder, you have to make a name for yourself; you have to stand out. 

Around January of every year, our office is turned on its head by what we call “First Years.”  (As an aside, let me apologize for the constant references to my office, but when you work long hours, that’s pretty much your only frame of reference.  I mean I could talk about my new marriage, but I’m afraid I’ll jinx it!)  As I was saying, First Years’ are a batch of newly minted (recent law school graduates who have just passed the Bar Exam) and who are idealistic dreamers with aspirations of changing the world!  They are eager beavers, willing to spout off long-winded sentences to whoever may be listening and to show that the money spent on their education was money well spent.

Senior associates have the duty, obligation and “honor” of mentoring a First Year, helping them circumvent their way through administration forms, office protocol and just the general nuances that are found in every business.  My First Year is no less eager, no less idealistic and no less enthusiastic than any of her other First Year counterparts; however, I quickly learned that she is also a sneaky, conniving First Year!

One of the most important things that an attorney can do in our office is participate in client pitches, which is the practice where we "wine and dine" a prospective client and introduce them to our firm, our firm’s achievements and what benefits and value we can add to their company.  It’s a big deal to be asked to help draft the PowerPoint Presentations that are a major part of these pitches and I was asked to put one together earlier this week and to seek out the assistance of my First Year.

I worked diligently on the presentation; the beautifully color graphics and thoughtful font selection was housed in a spiral-bound, clear plastic binder that was a beauty to behold!  I put a lot of effort into the PowerPoint and First Year and I ran through the presentation a couple of times, fine-tuning as we went.  With all due respect, my First Year is an eloquent speaker and I wasn’t surprised when she was asked to actually present the PowerPoint – I hope she understood that this was virtually unprecedented!

First Year did a very good job; she was clear, succinct and articulate and when the client praised her for the excellent work she did on the presentation, she stated, “Thank you so much.  I worked very hard on the PowerPoint.”  I couldn’t believe my ears!!!  “I worked very hard…”  Excuse me?!!  Her only interaction with the PowerPoint was to use the pointer to advance through the slides and she took credit for my work.  I wanted to back First Year into a corner and give her a piece of my mind…”Who does that young upstart think she is?  She has less than three months’ experience in our office and she is already taking credit for work that isn’t hers!”

A few days have passed since First Year stole the show and I did not confront her.  Just as in high school, I prefer to remain behind the scenes, doing the collaborative work; these Chatters being about as much attention as I prefer to bring upon myself.  I am embarrassed by accolades and like to do whatever I can to make others look and feel good.  In the case of First Year, some battles are better left on the field.  First Year has some growing and developing yet.  I’ve got shoes in my closet older than her and I’ve got quite a few years’ experience in how this whole thing works.  Despite myself, I’m hoping that my days as First Year’s mentor are numbered!

Just as there are those like me who wish to remain behind the scenes, our class reunion needs people to be on the front line, helping get things done.  We have a lot of work left to be done and only four months within which to do it.  We need you...we really, really need you, especially if you're an eager beaver and even if you're idealistic.  Show up at our next reunion meeting and together we'll all collaborate to make this reunion the best ever.

Hope to see you there,


Where is my Go To Guy?
March 10, 2011

For years, I have had this male friend, who I lovingly refer to as my Go to Guy, (“GTG”).  This man, who I met when I was about 19 years of age, has been at times my lifeline.  He’s listened through my rants and tirades over the course my life has taken; he pulled me back from the proverbial ledge when my marriage ended; was always willing to celebrate with me any accomplishments, large or small, that I may have experienced; and cried with me when we lost a friend that we both cherished.  When a relationship ended, he was the first person I would call, telling me that the man was a fool for letting me go and that I deserved better.  When I was beginning a new one, he was the first person I would call, and he would offer encouragement, advice and helpful hints with the hope that this one would last.

There was never anything romantic in our connection because he truly was a dog in the love arena, long before “dawg” was cool.  He loved and left women with alarming speed and I was never quite able to keep up with the love interests that came in and out of his life.  For us, we were each other’s constant…we knew that no matter what was going on in our lives, no matter how much time went by before we communicated with each other, we would be able to just pick up from where we left off in our last conversation.  He was my GTG; I counted on him to be rock solid and steady and to always be there.

With him, I could be brutally honest; I didn’t have to sugarcoat my words; I didn’t have to think before I spoke; I knew that he “got me,” that he understood what I meant even if I wasn’t sure myself.

But something happened recently and my GTG has disappeared.  Although, I’m not sure the exact nature of what has happened, I know that it has something to do with idle gossip, the result of which is that he refuses to speak to me.  He does not return any of my text messages or emails; his phone calls to me have ceased and the void his departure has left is impossible to fill.  I have made up all manner of excuses for his lack of communication – he is busy on appointments or sealing deals; he’s found a new love of his life and he is focused on making it work.  But the confident, self-assured woman that I'm supposed to be is rapidly disappearing due to the lack of contact with my GTG.  I wait for his text messages, emails, phone calls or any other manner of communication from him.  Whenever the phone rings, I hope and pray it is him, and then when it isn’t, I tell myself, that it doesn’t matter, because I wasn’t going to answer it anyway.  I’m going to give him a taste of his own medicine.    

I think the hardest part is not knowing where we stand or if our relationship due to whatever has caused this fall-out for lack of a better word, is irretrievably broken.  My mother, who as she so often does, dispensed these words of wisdom, “Oh, give him a month and things will be back to normal,” did little to dispel my confusion and dismay with the way things stood.  A month?!  That’s 30 days, 744 hours, 44,640 minutes and 2,268,400 seconds (I think!).  My husband, who God love him, seems to tolerate this friendship, did not seem as concerned about the lack of communication as I am.

My Go To Guy has got up and gone and I’m not sure when, or if, he’s coming back.  Twenty-nine years of friendship possibly destroyed for definitive reasons yet unknown.  Have you experienced that in your life?  Did you have that one true “go to” person who at one point held the deepest, darkest secrets of your soul and now is no longer even a blip on your radar?  Will that person be at our reunion?  If so, make a point to reach out and try to start a dialogue.  Perhaps fences can be mended, hearts opened and old wounds healed.  That is my wish…for all of us.

Take care,


Brother Can you spare a dime?
March 4, 2011

I feel horrible - allow me to explain.  This morning I overslept and consequently everything I had to do to get ready to leave for work (pick out my clothes for the day, pack my lunch, fill up my car, race to catch the early bus) put me further and further behind.  As I rushed into Starbucks to get my "Skinny Venti Carmel Macchiato, 1 shot espresso, whipped, extra-hot" and a banana, I knew I had about 7 minutes to make it to the gym in time for my spinning class.  As I was barreling out the door of the coffee shop, I ran squarely into what I gathered was a homeless man who proceeded to ask me if I had any spare change.
The extra hot coffee that I decided was so important had sloshed over the top and was now burning it's way through my warm-up jacket.  The anger, which I did nothing to quell, rushed out in a hurried, "No!  And why don't you get a job instead of standing here begging?"  I shuffled around him, a tight grip on my oh-so important coffee and banana, and rushed up the street to the gym.
"Are you kidding me?  Did I really just say that?"  I berated myself for the next several blocks and thought of all the things I could have said instead.  I remember when I first started working in Washington around 2002, I would give whatever spare change I had to anyone who asked.  I developed quite a following, I must say.  My path to work never changed and I would see the same faces asking for money on an almost daily basis, the weather never a pediment.  At first, I almost never turned any requests away, but over the years, I became hardened.  I avoided eye contact and walked past them, their requests falling on deaf ears; but I never, until today, "mouthed off" to any one of them.
What got into me?  I had spare change; it was rattling around in my coat pocket.  Heck, I could just as easily given him my coffee and banana.  After all, I didn't finish it:  the coffee got cold sitting in the gym locker and I managed to squish the banana with my pocketbook and ended up throwing it away.  I doubt this man's life would have been altered by the $.67 I could have offered; however, I'm sure the "extra-hot" beverage would have provided a little more warmth than the tattered blanket he had thrown around his shoulders. 
I feel horrible and now that I explained - I still feel horrible.  I have been told that some of my blog entries come off sounding a little "preachy" - perhaps I should step off my soap box, re-read some of my mini sermons and start to practice what I preach.

What About Us?
February 28, 2011

Once a month, our firm's two office chairs send out a newsletter that recognizes the achievements of various members within our firm.  The achievements may be a ranking in a legal publication or from a nationally-recognized survey.  The office chairs say that this external recognition is an important marker of our firm's success and that the partners' and associates' achievements raise our visibility and propel us further up the list of the "world’s elite global law firms" - a continuing firm goal.

This month, we are told that we obtained victory on behalf of an electronics giant in a Tokyo District Court that dismissed a $150 million claim filed by a Japanese chipmaker.  We represented a company on the sale of a $2.8 billion portfolio of distressed assets which was one of the largest bank sales of distressed real-estate loans since the downturn and we represented a leading gaming company, its officers and directors in an internal investigation as well as a federal investigation of securities fraud. 

The entire newsletter is sent out to all the offices that comprise our firm, both in the states and internationally, in an effort to boost morale and to get us to work harder, smarter and with renewed vigor and focus. 

Yet, in the midst of all these accolades, three well-liked, respected and honorable "rainmakers" within our DC office have left as of this week - without warning, without bravado, without so much as a goodbye. 

For me, it comes as quite a shock because I've worked closely with all three of them since joining the firm almost 10 years ago.  Their offices are empty except for boxes containing the clients they didn't want, the files they didn't need and the memos that didn't matter.  For those of us who are left, we wonder to ourselves what will become of our firm and more specifically our department - the same department that these partners fueled with their seemingly never-ending supply of clients and work. 

On a broad scale our firm is doing amazing things and gaining recognition right and left.  Down on the ground floor, we see a different landscape.  Our firm is suffering and hurting - people are leaving either out of dissatisfaction, frustration or something as yet unnamed.  They leave their access cards on the counter at the reception desk, they leave their parking space in the garage for the last time and they don't even fire a last "see ya later" email. 

For those of us who are left, we can't quite figure out what happened and we are not quite sure about the future of the firm and for a lot of us left, we simply delete the monthly newsletter without even reading it.  It is hard to get excited about the firm when some of its staunchest supporters are leaving.

The point of all of this is that we never quite know how our actions are going to impact others - people we may care about or people we may know only socially or in a work setting.  Our course of action may create a flood of feelings, emotions and ponderings of which we may not even realize. 

It's easy to say "look before you leap" and I'm sure it's even harder to do.  We've become a society that often doesn't think of the consequences before we react.  I'm sure these partners had their reasons for leaving; I'm sure they shared those reasons with someone; and, I'm sure our firm and our department will survive this latest "leap". 

There have been whispers in the hall and quite a few closed-door sessions over the last several days as we all quite selfishly are saying "what about us?"


Forgiveness - The Bridge to Change
February 12, 2011

Do you remember having an argument with a fellow classmate while in school and although, it was so long ago, you cannot remember specifically what went on, you know that it made you angry, perhaps so angry that you don't even speak to that person now.  Or maybe you can remember exactly what happened and you know exactly why you were (and quite possibly still are) mad as heck at them.

Whether you can or cannot remember the root cause, in my experience, if there are feelings of anger, being upset or moments of frustration toward someone - if it is present, then you are using up valuable fuel and wasting valuable energy holding onto this "thing".

Our emotional fuel is what drives us; however, if we consistently spend time and energy on emotions of a past hurt or "wrong", it means that we cannot use that energy to get more of what we ultimately want.  The result will be that it will take longer, or even worse, we may never achieve what we are aiming for because we have too little of the fuel we actually need to get us there.

If you have anger towards a classmate that has yet to be resolved, or even a family member, next-door neighbor or co-worker, you have to forgive them.  Let me repeat that:  You have to forgive someone if you have anger towards them.

Before you puff out your chest with shouts of righteous indignation about forgiving someone for something they did, remember that forgiving someone does not mean that you were wrong and forgiving someone does not mean what they did was right.

We were raised that right is good and wrong is bad, which is one reason that we always want to be right and we hate to admit when we are wrong.  The problem with that is that it creates a poor framework for relationships because at least half the time, for me anyway, I am wrong but I never want to say I am and it also means I never want to apologize and I never want to forgive because I think they did this thing to me.

Forgiveness my fellow classmates is about releasing within yourself anger, resentment, sadness, frustration or any other emotion that is holding you back.  It is just about letting go.  Whether the other person is ready to receive that, or ready to experience that or feel that, does not really matter.

So, if you have someone to forgive, go forgive them.  If that's with a phone call, great.  If  it's in person, even better.  Perhaps you will need to work up the courage and you wait until our class reunion.  That's fine too.  

Sometimes we have some people to forgive who aren't even around anymore, either they have physically moved away from us or they have passed on and yet we still have some stuff holding us back.  Regardless of where these people physically are, you need to forgive them.   

The next step is to figure out how to forgive and it starts with looking at whatever the emotion is that has a hold of you.  You recognize that it is causing you pain.  If it is as a result of something that happened a long time ago, it may not be causing you anymore pain, but it is still something that is hanging around.  You may still feel resentment towards this person and you just need to decide that enough is enough and just let it go.  Again, open up your heart and you just let it go.

If you are like me, I've only got room for so many people to love and adore and play with in my life and if I'm using some of my emotional fuel on negative emotions around people who are not even in my life anymore or people who are still in my life, then I need to do some housecleaning.  I need to clean it up, delete it and release it so that the people that I love in my life or the people that I want to bring in to my life have got some room and space to come in.

Consider how much more you could become, how much more you could do, how much more you could have if you freed up more space, more energy and more emotional fuel for those people, experiences and things in your life you really want.  Imagine the new and improved you that will attend our 30th Class Reunion if you've let go of the past and are ready to embrace the future and those people in it if you are renewed of mind and spirit. 

Hope to see you there,


Just Do... Something
Febuary 2, 2011

Time and time again we say to ourselves, I really should take care of X and time and time again, something comes along and X doesn't seem so important and before long, X is not taken care of. 

For example:Jane gets a bill to pay. Jane doesn't much care for bills.  And while she could pay the bill right away, because she doesn't like bills, she puts its aside.  Instead of paying the bill right then and there, she takes it and puts it on the pile of bills.  Jane gets bills just about every other day, and they too get added to the pile.  Soon enough the original bill is at the bottom of large pile of other things to pay.

As time passes Jane continually says to herself "I really should get to that".  It keeps popping into her thoughts but then she has the emotions come up she doesn't like about bills, wrestles with it and puts it off again.  All with the sense that it's hanging over her head. And all too quickly it seems she gets a bill for not paying the original bill.  Now Jane gets mad and upset at the company, the postman, herself and even the dog because it was in the room at the time.

Now I know this has probably never happened to you, but you probably know someone just like this right?  Or maybe it's nothing to do with paying bills - it could be that you promised you would send a friend some photos from a recent party and haven't.

One is a big thing and one seems like a little thing but they are so important to this thing called the energy of action - understand that action is an energy and a flow.
Action is an energy and flow and what most of us have been doing is getting great content, getting really laser sharp technology, getting a great machine but because we have got something holding that machine back, some friction stopping the energy from flowing we haven't been able to move forward.

We need to discover and get clear on what's causing that friction and let it go.
Simple little things like saying you are going to do something to someone and then doing it, even if you said you were going to do it ten years ago. Simple little things like paying a bill that's been waiting for a year to be paid or two years to be paid and finally paying it. Simple little things like forgiving someone or going back to someone and apologizing to them or doing any of those little things, that my friends is where you begin to release stored energy or friction energy and can start to really welcome in to your life the abundance that you deserve to have.

Decide.  Commit.  Make a date.  Write it down.  Do it.  Take some thing you have been putting off.  Decide to do it, decide when you are going to do it, commit to doing it and write it down to make it real.  Then just do it.  Notice what happens.
First of all you will get something done and if you have been putting it off, that in itself is an accomplishment.  So congratulate yourself.

Second of all - notice the feelings and energy you now have round it.  Doesn't it feel good to have got it done?  To have it out of the way?  To know you don't have to do it any more?

Thirdly, start being aware of what comes into your life as a result of clearing this energy. What great things, what great feelings, what abundance starts to transpire in your life?

So do one thing today and if you are an over achiever, or you just get on a roll do more than one thing.  If you need a starting point, might I suggest going to our website and registering.  Spend some time looking at the things we have posted.  Visit other classmates' profiles and catch up with what they've been doing.  Check out all the activities we've got planned for the reunion weekend and commit to one, two or all of them.  Notice when the next reunion meeting is and make a note in your calendar to try to attend. 

Decide.  Commit.  Make a date.  Write it down.  Do it.

Take care,


Are You Talking To Me?
January 10, 2011
Breaking up is hard to do but even harder when only one person is aware of the breakup, well at least initially.  My girlfriend's boyfriend broke up with her; however, he neglected to let her know.  Rather, he (a) changed his Facebook status to single and (b) had her removed from his Verizon Wireless' family share plan.  When your basic form of communication is cut-off, what does this say about the nature of that relationship?  My girlfriend often travels late at night through Washington's metro system.  By cutting off her phone, she is unable to call a friend should she need a ride home if she missed her bus connection or to let her family know she is running late.  She is cut-off from friends and family until such time as she gets a line in her own name.  Certainly, the boyfriend is under no obligation to continue to carry her on his plan, but common decency would dictate that he at least talk to her and let her know.
Back when we were in school, I think it was pretty much understood when someone had broken up with you.  You received it via a hastily scribbled note passed in class or in the hall.  You best friend might have heard it from his best friend and passed along the news.  The boy might even have the sense to call you directly and break up with you.  Either way, you were probably not the last to know.
I'm not sure what this guy's way of communicating the end of the relationship means.  I want to give him the benefit of the doubt - he could talk the ear off a stuffed animal any other time - so why is now any different?  Did he think that she was going to crumble into a heap and beg him to reconsider?  Did he think she was going to start throwing fine china at his elegantly coiffed head?  He's spared from her digging keys into his "souped up four wheel drive", "carving her name into his leather seat", taking out both his head lights with a Louisville slugger" or "slashing a hole in all four tires" because he's the only man I know in Washington who doesn't own a car.  So where's the problem?
When I asked her how she felt, she shrugged her shoulders and said, "I believe the relationship was dead along time before this so I'm okay with it."  Well, I'm not okay - I'm not okay with how the boyfriend did it.  I'm not okay with the fact that he thought so little of her that he would carelessly post his changed status on Facebook knowing that she would receive emails and IMs from people expressing their sadness and sympathy.  I'm not okay that two people who supposedly loved each other could not even end a relationship face-to-face.  I'm not okay that we have lost the ability to communicate the old fashioned way.
We need to do a better job getting our point across whether it's in our professional or personal lives.  We need to put the cell phones and the iPads down and reacquaint ourselves with the art of talking and listening. 

I believe that if each of us practices this lost art from now until our reunion, we'll connect with our fellow classmates on a much deeper level.
"Talk" to you soon,

What's The Rush?
December 14, 2010

This blog entry has been difficult to write and I've started and stopped several times but finish it I must.  Several weeks ago, as I was driving into work around 4 a.m., a small gray sedan was behind me darting in and out of what little traffic there was, flashing his high beams and basically being a nuisance.  I pulled over to the right and let him pass thinking that he must be late for a very important meeting and I, therefore, didn't want to impede his arrival.
About a mile or so up the road, traffic came to an abrupt halt.  I could see up ahead that the traffic light was green but there was no movement in front of me.  In my rear view mirror, I spotted red flashing lights and heard the sounds of sirens from what seemed like every direction.  The majority of us who were in the right travel lane pulled over to the shoulder to let the emergency rescue teams pull through but that was about all the forward progress we made.

For what seemed like hours we sat there, inching a little, stopping, inching a little more, stopping.  This pattern was repeated for about 55 minutes and for a total of five miles.  When I was finally able to make my way through the intersection, I saw the small gray sedan (or what was left of the small gray sedan) slammed into the rear and under the bed of a tractor trailer.  As I inched by, it was impossible to see any of the front driver or passenger seats as these were wedged up under the truck.  The car had been reduced to one the size of a Mini Cooper, the top of the car crushed in and all the windows smashed.  I couldn't look any more for fear of what else I would see, but I later discovered that my fellow road warrior did not survive the impact.

Where was this 37 year old, father of three young children off to in such a hurry?  What caused him to not see the tractor trailer or fail to reduce his speed such that he could have avoided his fate?  My heart breaks for his family that is left behind.  Did he peek in on his sleeping kids before he bolted out the door?  Were the last words to his wife, "I love you?"

The pressures and demands we feel society has placed on us has forced us to race everywhere we go.  We're an impatient bunch of people, tapping our fingers on our steering wheels as we wait for the lights to change or pedestrians to cross in front of us.  We constantly glance at our watches with an air of self-importance.  Imagine if that young father had known in advance that that early morning would be his last.  Would he have lingered longer over coffee?  Would he have driven a little under the speed limit marveling at the stillness of an early Fall day? 

As we prepare for the holiday season and the craziness that has become Christmas, I wish for each one of you a moment of silence, a moment to close your eyes, take a deep breath and remember that wherever your destination, whatever is on your calendar or filling your schedule, it will still be there regardless of whether you arrive ten minutes early or a few minutes late.  Cut yourself some slack, put your wristwatch in the dresser drawer for one week (okay start with one day if a week is impossible) and proceed through your day as if it were your last.  Kiss the people that are important to you; tell your friends you love them; call your parents if you are fortunate enough to still have them around; purchase a just because card and send it to your sibling.  But most importantly, slow...down...

All my best for the holiday season and coming year...and see you at the Reunion!!!


The Biggest Loser
November 10, 2010
I detest name calling.  As my children can attest, nothing earned them moments of silence in time out or a soap tasting faster than having me hear them call their siblings or friends any name from the Forbidden List.  So imagine my chagrin when last month I, along with a partner in our firm, was announced to be the Firm's Biggest Losers.  Now although this has negative connotations, there was something positive about it.
I have discovered that I am competitive by nature and so when our Firm offered a challenge to the over 100 men and women in our DC office to lose both weight and inches, I quickly perked up.  And when the Firm also announced that they would match the participants' entry free as one of two prizes, the deal was sealed.  In this recession, any time our Firm is willing to do anything other than cut back on what they consider luxuries or lay off staff, it is welcomed.  So, from August 2nd until October 29th, I worked out at least two times a day.  Although I had surgery during the last week of the contest, I wasn't sidetracked from my determination to win and did what exercises I could without risking injury to life or limb (okay that's a bit exaggerated but you get the idea).  On the afternoon of October 29th, after our final weigh-in and measurements, the partner and I were deemed to have lost the most weight and inches in the firm and each awarded half the prize money, as well as the title of "PHJW's Biggest Losers."
As I look at the plaque that sits on my desk, I wonder what people who do not know the history behind it will think when they see it.  Should I put the plaque in my desk drawer or leave it and let them draw their own conclusions?  I think back to high school and wonder how many times if I called someone a name that unknowingly hurt their feelings, and what would have caused me to do that.  I want to believe that I felt the same way then as I do now about name calling but I can't say that for sure.  What I am certain of is that this plaque has caused me to be more mindful of the names I throw out at random, when cut off on the highway by some inattentive driver or frustrated with a project or a team leader.  Of course, this is not to say that I'll never again express my exasperation by tossing off an "idiot", "jerk" or worse.
I challenge each of you to resist the temptation to call someone a name other than terms of endearment that we seem to use less and less and that the names you do call are your fellow classmates urging them to sign up at our Reunion website and attend the reunion weekend festivities. 


Touching Base
October 6, 2010

On my desk sits a letter-size basket that contains all occasion cards that I have purchased over the past year.  My normal habit is that whenever I need to purchase a birthday, anniversary or just because card, I purchase two at a time.  No two are exactly the same but they will share the same sentiment perhaps but with different wording.  This way, I am sure to have that same type of card when another occasion rolls around.  I address the card, write the date I need to send it out in pencil on the back of the envelope flap and put it in the basket in chronological order. 

As I was going through the cards to see if there were any to send, I came across one that I keep as a reminder to me.  In late 2007, I had purchased a card for one of my closest friends just to let her know that I was thinking of her.  Time got the best of me and I neglected to send it and I learned in early 2008, that she had taken her life.  I was devastated to say the least and wondered if I had remembered to send out that card, would it have touched her in some way to reach out to someone who could have helped her ease her pain. 

I will never know the answer to that question but what it has done is make me more diligent.  I check the card basket every morning as I enjoy my first cup of coffee.  I will never again let the hectic pace of life get in the way of letting those I care about know that I am thinking of them.

As you prepare to attend our 30th Class Reunion, think back to the friends that you had while in school.  Are there close friends that you have stopped talking to?  Are there people that you talked to every day while in high school and have barely spoken to since?

Let the class reunion weekend be the start of re-energizing those relationships/friendships.  I encourage each of you to take a small telephone directory with you to the reunion and get updated email addresses and phone numbers for those close friends.  For those more "tech" savvy, have your cell phone handy and enter their contact information while you are talking with them. 

Do not make the mistake I did and believe that you will get around to contacting them.  There are some opportunities that will never present themselves again and trust me, the loss is beyond profound.

See you at the Reunion!!


Hand Check!
October 1, 2010

As I'm sure most of our Maryland classmates are aware, October 1st is the start of the official ban on using handheld mobile phones while driving.  What this means is that under Maryland's new law cell phone use is prohibited while driving unless a hands-free device is employed.  It calls for "secondary enforcement" (i.e., you have to have been stopped for some other traffic offense) and fines will range between $40 and $100.

The current prohibitions include:

  • Text messaging is prohibited for all drivers.
  • Handheld cell phone use banned for all drivers.
  • Drivers under the age of 18 and drivers with learner's permits or intermediate licenses are prohibited from using cell phones.

As the majority of us who have not wrapped ourselves around the use of a Bluetooth or other hands-free device rush to our local retailers, one of our very own classmates has come up with her own ingenious idea. 

I'll let the picture speak for itself but let's give credit where credit is due.  Cheryl (Barton) Tyndall is the innovative thinker behind this hands-free unit.  I for one already have an order for the first one off of her home assembly line.


Numbers In My Head
September 29, 2010

Every weekday morning, my alarm rings shrilly at 4:00 a.m.  Usually, I wake up promptly, throw on work-out clothes and make the two hour trip into Washington and head straight to the gym.

This morning, however, was another story.  I recall the alarm going off and I recall that I had every intention of getting up but the next glance at the clock revealed it to be 5:38 a.m.  This is not likely to be a good morning.

As I raced down Route 50 with one eye closely monitoring my speedometer, it suddenly dawned on me that I am governed by numbers.  Checking account balances, invoice due dates, project deadlines, the ever changing numbers on the digital bathroom scale - the list can be quite extensive.  I don't believe this is the way I'm supposed to be living my life.  This seems too rigid to me.  I'm flexible - I want to fly by the seat of my pants - without the constraints of deadlines and alarm clocks.

But wait!  I've even managed to add another set of numbers to my pile:  the number of classmates who have yet to register at our Class Reunion website!  I know that you can't help me with all those other numbers that are circling around in my head; however, do me a favor and lighten my load a little bit but reaching out to everyone you know who hasn't registered and providing them the website address.  Let our motto be "Each Reach One" and let's get those classmates registered and accounted for!


To That First Love
September 17, 2010

By Pamela "Penny" Ross (Neil

I am sure you don't remember much about me; I remember everything about you.  I remember how you smelled first thing in the morning, how you would run your hands through your hair when you were talking, how you had this quirky little smile when telling a joke to your buddies, how you chewed the tip of your pencil when you were taking a test.  I remember cheering (silently) for you during your sporting events and feeling heartsick when your team suffered a defeat. 

I remember how fast my heart would beat when you happened to walk up to the locker a few down from mine and how I would hold my breath hoping you would speak to me or at least glance in my direction. 

Throughout our school years, I watched girls come in and out of your life.  You were cavalier with them but they still continued to be drawn to you. 

After graduation, I would see you around but more often than not, our paths very rarely crossed.  As in school, we didn't travel in the same circles and on those occasions when I would see you, if I felt my hair and makeup were as good as they could get, I would approach you with a smile or wave.  If not, I quickly went in the opposite direction.  Either way, it didn't matter - you didn't acknowledge me.

I remember how I felt when I heard you got married.  I remember feeling sick to my stomach and was in a funk for quite a few days and never really being able to figure out the reason why.  A lot has happened since that time:  I've kissed quite a few frogs, married, had kids, and dated a professional boxer with a few lawyers, police officers and firemen thrown into the mix.  They've each been special in their own way and they've added value to my life.  But there are times when I think back to that first love, albeit totally one-sided. 

You may attend our 30th Class Reunion and YOUR first love may be there as well.  Perhaps you were one of those lucky ones that married that first love and have been able to keep the spark alive.  In your small way, I believe you too have added value to my life.  You set the bar high for those frogs that came after you and I've been able to tuck my memories of you far into the recesses of my heart and look to a future with what I hope is my last love.

Hope to see you there!


August 29, 2010

By Pamela "Penny" Ross (Neil)

By virtue of my mini-bio, I was a dud in high school, especially my junior and senior years.  I wasn't graceful so sports were of no particular interest to me.  I wasn't musically inclined so I didn't play in the band and although I loved singing, I believed that I was more of a Soprano than Mrs. Wright did, so I boycotted the Alto section and Chorus altogether.  I was, however, a voracious whatever I could get my hands on:  books, signs, sides of boxes, etc.  I think if I had any particular "claim to fame", it would have had to have been that I was a good student.
With all that said, I don't know if I would "do over" my high school years if given the chance.  I'm a firm believer that sometimes you can't go back...we are on a particular path for a particular reason.  People come and go in our lives when they are supposed to and we have experiences out of some sort of pre-ordained order.  I often wonder, on those rare occasions that I watch a futuristic movie, if it is in fact true that if you venture into the future and you step off the sidewalk or kill a fly or change or alter in some way a particular event, will the course of life that came before will likewise be altered?
Had I chosen a different path once I left Parkside, I might not have married the person I did and although I might have had three children, would I have had MY PARTICULAR three children:  a daughter whose valedictorian speech made me grab my ex-husband's hand and admit through tears that although we really screwed up, we at least made an amazing daughter; another daughter whose quiet devotion to her Faith, her Family and her Friends in that order, continues to leave me in awe; or a son who on my wedding day, after walking me down the aisle turned to me and said, "I'm so proud of the woman you've become and I'm sorry for being a little PITA (you can probably figure out what he actually said) while I was growing up."
Had I chosen not to answer Debbie C.S.'s or Debbie M's call for help with the 30th H.S. Reunion, I might never had become re-acquainted with people that I wasn't particularly close to while in school.  Although I've known our Chairperson for many, many years, although I was one of the people who introduced her to her husband, although she is Godmother to two of my children, I feel a different type of closeness to her through the committee. 

There are those on our committee who have a quiet sense of faith and see the good in all people.  There are those on our committee who have a wicked sense of humor and there are those on our committee who always encourage others' ideas no matter how far fetched they may sound.
It's a known fact that we can't go back, but I invite you to D.U.D. - discover [a] unique direction that your life will take if you join us at one (or all) of our upcoming committee meetings.  


I'll Give You Reality
August 26, 2010

By Pamela "Penny" Ross (Neil)

As much as I hate to admit this, I'm addicted to reality shows.  Not just any reality shows, but the ridiculous ones that center around kids barely out of their teens.  Come on, 'fess up, you know the ones I'm referring to:  Laguna Beach which warped into The Hills, which spun off into The City, in which one central character appears in Kel on Earth

And as I sit through each episode either via original MTV or Bravo programming, or by way of download from NetFlix or from or even going as far as to buy previous seasons, I cannot seem to stop.  Can you imagine my dismay when I learned and subsequently watched the final season/final episode/end of an era of The Hills?

After the final episode premiered, I wondered to myself what would have happened had our generation been propositioned with a chance to do a reality show on MTV, which launched in August of 1981.  What would have been filmed had the producers come to our school and followed us around as well as joining many of our class to just hang out at Dykes Pits, Reddens or Schumaker Pits?

While the girls of The Hills and The City can be found lunching at outdoor bistros and shopping at stores such as Badgley Mischka, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, our ladies could be seen wandering the interior of our first indoor mall, accurately named The Salisbury Mall, which included stores such as Hutzlers, Sears, and the Connection.

While the West Coast girls develop their tan and sigh and take spur of the moment trips to Las Vegas and Mexico, our girls juggled part-time jobs at McCory's, Roy Rogers and Gino's, and involvement in extra-curricular clubs, band and chorus.  Sure the East Coast girls worried about their hair, their figures and the cute guy two lockers down, but they also worried about what they were going to do after high school, whether college was on their radar screen, and how they could make a difference in their small piece of the world.

Katy Perry has a new song out that highlights the accolades of California Girls, but I think that our "chicks" 3,000 miles East also "got it on lock."  Heck, I believe that they were sporting authentic "Daisy Dukes with bikinis on top" and because boys will be boys and some things never change, our men were "break[ing] their necks try'na to creep a little sneak peek" back then as well.  Although it may be true that California girls...are "tone, tan, fit and ready," there is no denying that we could give them a run for their daddy's money!

So to all the ladies from PHS, put your "hands up and represent" and make it a point to attend this your 30th High School Reunion.  Although we cannot guarantee that you will be "laying underneath the palm trees", there will be opportunities to "sip gin and juice" and prove once and for all that East Coast girls and more specifically, graduates of Parkside High School, are "undeniable fine, fresh, fierce."  Now how's that for a reality check?


Our Mini-Bios: Our hopes, dreams and aspirations
August 18, 2010

By Pamela "Penny" Ross (Neil)

When we were seniors and submitting our mini-bio to the Yearbook Committee for the Senior Index, the world was at our fingertips.  We had everything going for us.  Looking forward to a vast array of possibilities was our only choice and boy did we have hopes, dreams and aspirations!
A lot of us wanted to go to college, get married and have a family.   Some of us were undecided but within that indecision lay the desire to "make a lot of money."  The military was on the agenda for some of our seniors and the military as a last resort "if I can't find a job" for others.  Two of my personal favorites, "to get the best out of life" and "to live in wealthy splendor" seemed to strike a chord with many.
For me, I wanted to be a secretary and a writer.  How did I do?  Well, I was a secretary for almost half my life, while at the same time, raising three amazing children and attending undergrad and law school at night and weekends.  As far as being a writer: I do write a lot:  emails, letters, pleadings, memos but I don't think that is exactly what I meant.
So what does our Senior Index entries say about us?

  1. If you are among those that followed your ambition and stayed true to course, it says that you accomplish what you set your mind to.  You set goals for yourself and you achieve them.  The Reunion Committee needs YOU.  We have a list of goals we want to accomplish for our reunion weekend and you have the skill set we could use.
  2. If you are among those that threw caution to the wind and set out on in an entirely different direction, it says that you can change direction and can adapt.  You're not hindered if plans change.  The Reunion Committee needs YOU.  We know that things may not go entirely according to plan and we need you to help us change and adapt in the event S*** happens.
  3. If you are among those that had setbacks and disappointments but continued to persevere, continued your pursuit "to get the best out of life", it says that you may falter and you may stumble, but you rise up and you continue on.  The Reunion Committee needs YOU.  Things could go terribly wrong during reunion weekend.  That wonderful outdoor picnic area may be so waterlogged that we have to canoe in from Old Ocean City Road.  We need you to help us keep moving forward.  Offer encouragement or just pick up the reins and lead us through.

Whatever you wrote in your Senior Index means very little 30 years later except that the Reunion Committee needs YOU.  We need your voice, your energy, your wit and wisdom to make this the best reunion ever.


Reasons Why YOU Shouldn't Attend 
Your High School Reunion
August 5, 2010

By Pamela "Penny" Ross (Neil)

Within the next several months, you will be receiving more information about our upcoming 30th High School Reunion, including Save-the-Dates, E-Vites, Facebook notifications and emails. I'm sure that once you do, you will begin thinking about what reasons you can come up with as to why you are not going to make a single reunion activity.

On the off chance that you can't come up with any excuses for your no-show, let me offer up some suggestions. Sit down with a tall glass of humor as you ponder these excuses:
  1.  You have done nothing exciting with your life since you graduated.  For that matter, you were not much of a stand-out during your school years either.

  2.  You were voted least likely to be remembered.  Heck, you mom gets you confused and you're an only child.

  3.  You have not been able to maintain any long-term relationships with any members of any sex so you will have no one to drag to the reunion with you.

  4.  Your children are a source of embarrassment and they can't hold down any relationships either (but then look at their role models).

  5.  You constantly dodge 1-800 Debt Collector so how are you going to pull together the money for the reunion?

  6.  The car you drive is a source of embarrassment for you.

  7.  You have not been able to hold down a steady job since graduation.

  8.  You were voted least likely to amount to anything...and you have lived up to that.

HOWEVER, despite all the cards being stacked against you, we hope you have the stamina to square your shoulders and soldier on and actually attend one or all of the reunion weekend activities.

Here are some valid reasons why YOU should attend

Our lives are not all about the accomplishments that gain us accolades.

Perhaps you found the love of your life and have been able to successfully juggle career, children and a marriage despite the statistics that say 50% of all marriages end in divorce. 

Perhaps your children have been a constant source of pride for you and your family.  They've graduated from high school, avoided drugs and alcohol and are becoming viable members and future leaders of our great nation.
Maybe you are one of those few people that has that one true friend that you forged in high school and that friendship has continued to blossom and mature.  Are you someone that has a warm and loving relationship with their parent(s)?
These are all accomplishments that although may not make it into any history books, they are accomplishments none the less.  Maybe you can lend a listening ear or a sympathetic shoulder to someone at the reunion who is experienced a breakdown of a relationship and just needs to vent.

In these at times unforgiving economic realities, we have all faced uncertainties and anxiety regarding our livelihood.  We have all been forced to take a very harsh look at where we are in our current circumstances and how those circumstances stack against the economic forecast. 

There may be someone at the reunion that you will engage in a discussion with that will change your outlook and perhaps the direction of your current employment path. Perhaps you will get "Linked-In" with someone that can assist you if you are currently job hunting or has contacts that will prove invaluable.

Someone may attend the reunion that you would have not dared talk to while in school. Why not? We all are created from the same cloth; we all have insecurities and hang-ups that make us no better or no worse than our peers.

I challenge you to approach someone that you felt was outside "your league" and strike up a conversation. If you are dismissed out of hand, that becomes their loss because you are a very interesting person and they would have benefited from knowing you.

If money is an issue, think of ways to save or cut back. I know that the idea of spending $50 or $100 for a weekend pales in comparison to an unpaid utility bill or food on the table or clothes for your children.  Reach out, let us know.  Perhaps, confidentially and without condemnation or judgment, we can help.

And if you are judged at this reunion by what you arrive in, how you are dressed or how much weight you have gained or lost, then those doing the judging are ones that need a mental re-evaluation. We should have all outgrown our cliques, our prejudices and our ability to make someone feel inferior by a dismissive look or an uncaring remark by the time we arrive at this—our 30th high school reunion.

 We want you at this reunion. You were a viable member of our class; you are a vital member of our reunion and we will miss you if you don't make it.


Your Reunion Committee
- A Motley Crew
August 2, 2010

by Pamela "Penny" Ross (Neil) 

You may not remember some of them from high school or the name may be familiar but you may not be able to place them. Others stood out in our class and have continued to stand out since graduation, either by making an impact in our community, or being someone you could always count on to lend a hand.  
30th Reunion Committee Members


Lorie Bratten Carron
Randa Collins
Mike Davis
Sonya Hotton
Debbie Marvel
Elizabeth Groton Mohr
Penny Ross Neil
Mike Robins
Elaine Farmer Sap
Debbie Carlisle Smith
Cheryl Barton Tyndall
Debbie Jones White
Tim White
There's room for you, too!

But once a month, these people gather together at the long table at the back of Lombardi's. There are no assigned seats and there are at least two members who will be there ahead of the rest to place the order for at least a pitcher of beer and an order of Nachos.
Although our Chairperson, Debbie Carlisle Smith, would like the meeting to start promptly at seven, we tend to hold out for the few stragglers that might attend and as Debbie Marvel is quick to point out, "if we can't fit at this table, we'll pull up another one." We are, after all, not all known for our promptness. Once everyone arrives, dinner orders are placed and the meeting is called to order.
More often or not, the agenda has been circulated ahead of time, instructions have been given (at least twice) that if you cannot attend, send your information in to someone who will be there. Time is short and matters need to be addressed.  
We are, after all, a very busy group. We discuss the agenda items and Debbie C.S. will call for a vote.  Some members may decline to vote if they have a personal vested interest or a personal relationship with a particular vendor. We go around the table, offer our opinions and Debbie C.S. tallies the votes and we come together as one voice.  
Now if you think we sit around the table, join hands and sing Kum Ba Yah, nothing could be further from the truth. We talk about the agenda items, solicit opinions from each other and each person has a voice and their opinion is valued. However, when it is all said and done, we vote and the majority wins. We are, after all, a very democratic group.

Although committees have been formed, we are still in need of more help. There is plenty to go around and all are welcome. If you would like to participate, please feel free to do so. Contact one of your committee members or watch this website for the date, time and location. We'd love to have you and would appreciate your help. We are, after all, a very welcoming group.