The List

With 2 daughters in tournament/travel softball, my social media feed is often full of posts from teams looking for guest players, tryout dates, and tutorials and videos on batting and drills. In addition, there is a ton of advice from collegiate athletes and coaches on how to behave, interact with your teammates, coaches, and family, and present yourself because someone is always watching.

I appreciate all of the posts and would like to take this opportunity to add a few notes on what I, a parent, expect from coaches, because yes, someone IS always watching.

When my oldest daughter first started playing softball on our local recreational team, our goal was for her to learn a new sport, make friends, plus learn about teamwork, sportsmanship, and healthy competition where win or lose she was encouraged to try her best and to have fun.

During her first 2 recreational spring seasons she grew to love the sport and wanted to play in the fall season where local recreational teams were mixed up so that the girls could experience different coaches and play with girls from other nearby localities.

At the end of the registration from there were 2 areas that stood out. 1) Will softball be your daughter’s priority? 2) Comments

The answer to the first is only slightly complicated. While her commitment to her team is a priority, we have a plethora of other priorities that exceed sports including but not limited to health, family, and school. Most coaches understand this, and a coach who does not is simply not the right coach for us.

The comment section of the form was more complicated.

While many parents may not have much to say on the topic, my husband and I had plenty. After spending two seasons, watching and listening to some coaches berate, demean, and yell at young impressionable players who were there to learn not only skills to play a specific sport, but also learn life skills, such as teambuilding, sportsmanship, and perseverance through hardship, our comment section was comprised of a list of coaches that our daughter was not permitted to play for because they exhibited such negative behavior during the spring season.

During her final fall ball, season before making the switch to tournament and travel softball, a handful of coaches were trying to draft her onto their team. One coach pointed out to another, that he was not permitted to draft her according to “the list.” I am unapologetically sorry, not sorry.

Since then, after four years of travel ball, plus my younger daughter beginning to play, recreational softball followed by tournament softball, it has become more of a joke among my friends and our team parent families. When a coach on the opposing team goes “off the rails” at his players or an umpire, we just look at each other, and acknowledge that that coach would be added to “the list.“

In fairness, most coaches that we come across model positive reinforcement and the majority of the games that we play remain friendly. However, there are times when this is not the case and this is my advice to those coaches, who could use a little coaching on coaching:

1. Recognize that this is a game and it is meant to be fun. Of course we all want to win and your players should be putting in their best effort, but at the end of the day, it is a game and like it or not, the trajectory of your life and those of your players is not going to change based on today’s results. This game is not getting her a full ride or you a coaching position to a D-1 school, so chill out.

2. Understand that a players’ best is going to vary day to day and game to game. We all have off days and days when we’re unstoppable. If a player is off, talk to her respectfully or even remove her from the game if needed. But instead of insulting and embarrassing her from third base or the dugout, maybe quietly see if she’s ok or use the mistake as a teachable moment, not an opportunity to dance on her grave. Seriously. It’s not rocket science. It’s psych 101, basic human decency, and the golden rule. You know, the one about treating others how you want to be treated.

3. Take your ego out of the game. If an ump makes a questionable call, go ahead and ask a question. There is zero reason to puff up your chest, raise your voice, or slam your clipboard down. And once the final decision has been made, even if you disagree with it, take it in stride and move on gracefully.

4. And finally, if you, as a coach, feel it necessary to put down players on the opposing team in order to lift your team up, you are in the wrong field. You should be cheering FOR your team. NEVER against their opponents. If you can’t do this, have a seat on the sidelines, or better yet, stay home.

By the way, this same advice can be applied to parents as well. Just saying…

Looking forward to the next several years of cheering for my girls and their teammates!

See you on the sidelines!


Nine and half years ago I got my first real taste of our injustice system. You can read about the details in the drop down menu tab “The Event” but the very basic story is:

We had a devastating house fire that I ran from carrying my then 2.5 years old and 15 month old while being 14 weeks pregnant, minutes before I was expecting a house full of my friends and their toddlers for our weekly Mommy and Me class.

The gas company responded with a more than normal response such as digging up our entire street and replacing caps, lines, meters, and valves after over a year of neighbors complaining of smelling gas.

The police responded with an investigation (or lack there of) that lasted less than 24 hours. And our insurance company followed suit by never completing a full investigation to our knowledge and taking the detective’s word that I burned my own house down and thus, denied our claim.

Three weeks after we sued insurance for wrongful denial, I was indicted for aggravated arson and the insurance claim was put on hold.

I was initially offered a deal from the prosecution to plea down from a second degree felony to a third degree felony with no jail time and mandatory counseling. But I’d be a convicted felon. No deal. For 6 years my case was moved around from judge to judge, and prosecutor to prosecutor while I showed up to court every 6-8 weeks for a 2 minute appearance.

After 6 years of nonsense and 7 years after the loss, my case became the oldest on the docket and a new deal was brokered. I was offered pre trial intervention that stated that if I plea and don’t sue insurance, I can be on probation for 12-18 months, have a chance to expunge my record, and insurance won’t sue us.

Let me be clear that the fact that our civil lawsuit was completely intertwined with the criminal case is abhorrent. I was handcuffed to committing a crime in order to be free from a crime I never committed.

Let that sink in…

So here I am now, a college educated middle class Caucasian Stay at Home Mom with no record. Life is generally great for me now and I truly can’t complain about my personal day to day. And yes, agree or not, that is privilege.

Tonight, in preparation for Election Day, I went looking for my pearls. My grandparents gave me and each of my cousins a set of pearls for our bat mitzvahs. Years later, my boyfriend, now husband, added a ring to the set when we went to Disney and I picked an oyster in “Japan” at Epcot.

I rarely wear my pearls but they are extraordinarily sentimental to me. We had them cleaned and restrung after the fire after finding them in the charred oriental jade and wooden jewelry case my uncle had given to me, again, for my bat mitzvah.

My pearls sit in the same plastic bag the jeweler used to return them to me and have been untouched in a drawer since we moved into this house 5 years ago.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find my pearl ring and I knew there was only one place it could be, if it survived the fire.

I opened my bottom drawer in my closet, gingerly lifting the bag out and placing it on the floor. The scent of smoke and ash wafted up as I opened the bag to reveal the charred box. I slid each drawer open, revealing the imprints the fire left around each piece of my jeweled memories.

I sat and examined each burnt item in the box, tears flooding my eyes, soot blanketing my hands. The ring, unfortunately, was nowhere to be found.

As I sat there sobbing, a clarity overwhelmed me knowing that my grandparents and late uncle would be proud of me, the choices I’ve made, and the one I’m making tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I will don my pearls in honor of RBG and in memory of my grandparents. I will vote for the rights of my friends who are justified in demanding equality. I will vote for the future of my daughters to always have control over their own bodies. I will vote for a system that is truly blind to color, religion, orientation, and gender, and one that is honestly just.

Tomorrow, I will finally put out my charred jewelry box to the curb while taking out the rest of the trash at the polls. It’s time to let it go.

Tomorrow, may we all begin to heal our nation’s great divide.


(6.30.19: 12yrs)

You are the untucked side to my hospital corners

You are the the collared shirt to my yoga pants

You are the beer to my wine, the whiskey to my vodka, the coffee to my tea, and the Gatorade to my water.

I am the marathon in your golf game

I am the veggies to your steak

I am the spend to your save

I am the test in your patience

I am conservation. You are conservative.

You are law. I am equality.

I feel the passion. You search for facts.

I am the storm. You are the calm.

We take the time and make the effort to listen to and learn from one another. We celebrate and argue together. We agree to disagree. We don’t have it all figured out, but we’ll figure it out together.

We are a balancing act, acting as both the support and security net for each other. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I am…still smiling

Convos with Kids: Old School

The scene: Malt Shoppe

Young server to Max: Excuse me sir, but you need to remove your hat when inside this establishment.

Max complies.

Max, after thinking about it: Mom? Why do I need to take off my hat but Jordyn and Kennedy don’t?

Me: That’s a great question! It has to do with some very old school rules on etiquette and manners. Men had to remove their hats when entering a building and women didn’t. I’m honestly not sure why or when it originated. We should look it up.

Max: Well I don’t think it’s fair.

Me: I honestly don’t disagree with you. In fact, when I was in high school, my teacher made a guy in my class remove his hat but not me. They got into an argument over fairness and he wound up getting a detention for arguing with the teacher. I felt horrible even though it wasn’t my fault.

Max: Yeah. But you probably should’ve taken off your hat too. But that still doesn’t make it fair or change the rule.

Kennedy: Well, ya know, boys can go topless at the pool and girls can’t do that so that’s not really fair.

Jordyn: But would you really want to be topless?

Kennedy: No. I don’t want anyone to see my nickles, but why is it ok if boys show theirs?

Max: Maybe it’s because boys don’t make milk in their breasts.

Jordyn: True. True. But usually only moms with babies make milk. Like our mom stopped making baby milk because we don’t need it anymore.

Max: Good point. So why do boys even have nipples?

Kennedy: Maybe it’s just for decoration.

Jordyn: Maybe it’s so they look more like women.

Max: Maybe the next level male people won’t even have them.

Jordyn: Mom, is that possible with evolution?

Server, approaching carefully: Um, can I get you anything else?

Me: An expert in history and evolution?

Thoughts from a 10.5 Mile Jog:

Mile 1: My legs are so sore from the last run so just try to do that loop in reverse but it’s ok if you don’t make it that far.

Mile 2: Oh hey! My quads are loosening up and I’m a whole minute per mile faster! Sweet!

Mile 3: Maybe I can just add a mile to the last run. Nothing too crazy. Don’t be a hero. Take a right here.

Mile 4: Well, I made it this far. Might as well keep going. Run, Forest, run!

Mile 5: Where the sidewalk ends, the adventure begins…that would be an awesome & inspirational quote. You heard it here first.

Mile 6: I totally forgot to put on glide. Can I just run with my hands on my hips the rest of the way? I must look so odd. Maybe lip balm will help instead. Hey! It does!!!! And now I’m minty fresh!

Mile 7: I’ve never been so happy to see a port-o-potty.

Mile 8: The only way to get away from the mosquitoes is to run faster and like Phoebe. Oh look! A turtle!

Mile 9: Hello? Yes-I’m-running-but-now’s-a-good-time-to-walk-so-I-can-talk-for-a-bit…

Mile 10: Is that my mailman? Bet I can beat him back to my house.

Mile 10.5: Saturday. Same time, same pace?

To Do

Dawn glanced at her to do list, laced up her shoes, filled her water bottles, slid them into her fanny pack, and turned on her running apps, heart rate monitor, music, and headed out the door.

This wasn’t the first time she laced up in the last 2 months. In fact, for the last 8 weeks Dawn had been getting dressed to run almost daily, yet something always stopped her, needing her attention, allowing her to put it off another day.

“Not today. Today has to be the day,” she thought as she began jogging away from her house, “You have less than 3 weeks to get your ass in gear for the half. All you need to do is finish. Next year you can work on breaking records. Just go.”

Her modest goal for the day was a 5k but after taking a 2 month hiatus from running, she wasn’t sure how it would go down. The last 2 months swam around her head as she listed all the reasons she hadn’t run:

  • An old knee injury that had flared up after a fall and possible mild concussion while on vacation
  • Back to school
  • Chairing a very involved fundraiser
  • Running the school store once a week
  • Putting together the school directory
  • Getting the house in order after a summer away
  • Dealing with the NJ Board of Education who was trying to revoke her teaching license
  • Needing yet another new attorney after learning through a google search that her previous lawyer had been disbarred…

“No more excuses. Just run. You need this. For the race. For the kids. To get back in shape. To prove to yourself that you can. For the peace of mind and clarity running brings you. For you. Just go.”

And so she did.

Dawn let her music rhythmically carry her through the first 2 miles. Her pace was slow but she kept running, dragging her extra 50 pounds of stress and laziness behind her, step by step. “Just go.”

During the next 2 miles her back straightened and she held her head high, taking in deep cleansing breaths and exhaling, allowing the wind to blow away her doubts. “Just go.”

Her phone started to notify her about her volunteer duties and current events as she pounded uphill towards her descent home.

Ding: who is opening the school store this week?

Ding: what will this vote mean towards midterm elections?

Ding: the fundraiser is doing well but not as good as last year

Ding: we finally have your file from the previous attorney and got an extension on the response to the Board of Ed

Ding: pay the bills

Ding: what will this vote mean for women and for our future

Ding: how are we on volunteers for the fundraising event

Ding: call you probation officer even though you’ve completed your probation but your phone seems to ignore your monthly request to delete this notification forever so you don’t really need to call him but here’s a reminder to when you did…

“Just go,” Dawn pushed on, ignoring the rest of her world, for just a brief moment in time.

And so she went…for 7 miles of peaceful selfishness so she could get back to her world to tackle the rest of her to do list, already feeling refreshed and accomplished for the day…

On Daddy’s Shoulders

I watch in awe as you carry our world on your shoulders as if it’s nothing to bear.

You swing them up so gently as their tiny hands clutch to the safety that you provide.

They bounce with delight as I marvel at your strength, ever solid, never waning.

They rest their little legs, take solace in the throne you have provided, and feel like royalty for this moment.

The smiles on your faces brings reassurance that all is alright, everything’s going to be okay, life is still good and sweet and wonderful just the way it is, in this moment.

To the untrained eye, it’s just a ride on daddy’s shoulders. To me, it’s everything that’s right in our world. To our children, it is their world…

May your shoulders always be this strong and may our children know that you will always be there to carry them when they are in need. And please know that you can forever lean on mine for extra strength, courage, and support.

*this poem was originally written on Father’s Day, 2014


Autumn has always been my favorite time of the year: the crisp air, the vibrant colors, the beginning of school. To me, this is the season when the new year truly begins.

In Judaism, we celebrate our new year in the autumn with Rosh Hashana, followed ten days later with Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. The ten days between the two holy days are called t’shuvah, the days of repentance. It is a time for reflection and resolutions when necessary. It is a time to ask for and to offer forgiveness. At the conclusion of Yom Kippur, God makes the final judgement and seals the Book of Life, hopefully with your name written within its pages, granting forgiveness.

While I have never been truly religious, I am deeply spiritual. I do find the prayers and psalms of synagogue peaceful, beautiful, and full of sentimental memories from my childhood, yet I have always preferred one on one time in nature more helpful in providing clarity or allowing me to find a new path, previously unseen.

However, over the last six years, since the fire and subsequent issues that arose from the ashes, my path has been tumultuous, at best.

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PSA: Boardwalk Etiquette

It's that time of year again. Summer vacation is in full effect and beach towns along the seaboards are inundated with seasonal visitors, many of whom enjoy relaxing strolls, family rides, and exercise routines down the boardwalk. As someone who partakes in each of the previously mentioned activities, I make sure to follow a few guidelines and work hard to teach my children the proper safety rules and manners needed:
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Once Upon a Dream…

They were sleeping peacefully on a top floor of the hotel room in Washington D.C. with an 8 month old Riley between them when the bombs shook her awake, the entire building quaking. Dawn darted upright, still dazed and wide eyed, searching for answers. The flashes of light blazing through the slats in the shades and echoes of explosions were close. 

“Wake up, Scott. It’s here. It’s time. The war is here and we need to fight,” Dawn spoke gently, tears flowing down her cheeks as cradled the baby and slipped her safely into the infant seat…

….and then I woke up to the downpour of the storm that really did shake me awake and rattle our house, our 8 year old daughter sleeping between us, and the news of this weekend’s bombings in New York and New Jersey…