Category Archives: Family

My family

To all my friends Turning 50!

Roughly ten years ago I wrote this blog: Turning 40

As I sit down to write this blog post, I can’t help but feel a little bit amused at the thought of dispensing advice to those who fear turning 50. You see, most of my friends are ten years younger than me, my wife is 12 years younger than me, and I remember vividly how they used to poke fun at me when I turned 50. Now, here I am, ten years later, still standing and feeling pretty good!

Turning 50 is a bit like hitting a milestone in a video game. You’ve made it past the beginner level, and you’re ready to take on the big bosses. Sure, you might have a few more aches and pains than you used to, but you’ve also gained a lot of wisdom and experience along the way.

One of the benefits of being in your 50s is that you’ve had the chance to try a lot of things and figure out what you really like. Maybe you’ve discovered that you love to travel or that you’re really good at baking pies. Whatever it is, now is the time to do more of it. Life is too short to waste time doing things you don’t enjoy. In my case I love to play golf, travel and spend time with family and friends. I have been very fortunate to have the means, the friendships and the family to allow me to do a lot of the things I love. I got to play Pebble Beach, watched my daughter become a second degree Blackbelt and celebrate her sweet 16, and got to travel and enjoy time with my wife, family and friends.

Another benefit of being in your 50s is that you no longer care so much about what other people think. You’ve been around the block a few times, and you know that it’s impossible to please everyone. So why bother trying? Instead, focus on doing what makes you happy and let the chips fall where they may.

Of course, there are some downsides to turning 50. For example, you might find yourself struggling to read the small print on restaurant menus. But fear not! This is what reading glasses were invented for. And who cares if you look a little bit like a librarian from the 1980s? You’re still a badass in your own right. Oh and cell phones have an option to increase the font size, some of my friends use that option and you can read their messages from across the room 😂.

As you get older, you’ll also notice that your social circle starts to change. Some of your friends will move away or become too busy with their own lives to hang out. But fear not, by this stage in the game you have your forever friendships that distance nor time can’t break. You’ll most likely start thinking about retiring in the coming years and you’ll start to ponder where you’ll end up. A lot of those conversations revolve around where your forever friends and family will end up. For me it revolves around being close to my kids and hopefully somewhere warm where the cost of living is not insane like here in the tristate area.

In conclusion, turning 50 is not the end of the world. It’s simply a new chapter in your life, filled with new opportunities and experiences. So embrace it! And to those of you who are younger and still teasing your older friends about their age, just remember that your time will come. And when it does, I’ll be here to give you the same advice. Cheers to another decade of living life to the fullest!

Happy Birthday to all my peeps turning 50!

The Story of the “Woobie”

So I’ve been meaning to write about this one since Christmas and just kept putting it off.

25 or so years ago I bought my niece Vanessa and my niece Ashley (sisters) a couple of blankets for Christmas. You know, those blankets that are snuggly and warm and usually are a big hit during the holidays? Well 20 years ago they were probably not as popular and at the time I thought they would be pretty cool gifts for them. But I never in a million years would have thought at that time that these blankets would give them as much joy and comfort and start a family tradition.

There was a movie in the early 80’s called Mr. Mom where one of the kids had a security blanket and the dad was trying to ween the kid off of it. They called the blanket the “Woobie”. I am sure that many of you have either seen this movie or have heard of it. You may remember this little speech from the movie “I understand that you little guys start out with your woobies and you think they’re great… and they are, they are terrific. But pretty soon, a woobie isn’t enough. You’re out on the street trying to score an electric blanket, or maybe a quilt. And the next thing you know, you’re strung out on bedspreads Ken. That’s serious.” Here is the clip from the Movie:

Well, when I gave my nieces these blankets I told them both that it was a “Woobie” and warned them both that they should not get hooked on it. 

So 25 or so years later. Their “Woobies” are still with them both. The “Woobies” have traveled with them from that time till now on vacations, sleepovers, college, and Vanessa brought it with her to her wedding. As the years past, I made a statement to the other kids in the family and to my nieces that only the owner of a “Woobie” can gift a Woobie to the next generation. Vanessa gifted one to my daughter a few years ago and I think she is also going to be attached to it for life. Abby (my daughter) just gifted one to Vanessa’s 6yr old girl. So the tradition continues.

Now for those in the family that are still deprived of this precious gift. You need to start begging those wobbie owners to gift you one. Alternatively, I’ve recently told Santa that he’s got the go-ahead to start giving them out if he feels you’re on the good list.

I started something that ended up being a great tradition. I hope it continues long after I am gone.

Here’s Abby with her Woobie too!

Allie sharing her Woobie with her Mom!

Vanessa with her Woobie

Helping someone you love when they lose someone they love

During my life I have lost a number of people that I loved. I’m all out of grandparents, I tragically lost my sister, I’ve lost aunts and uncles and dear friends. And almost going on 2 years now, I lost my Mother.

It recently started to hit me that now that I’m over the age of 50, coupled with the multiple dealings I’ve had throughout my life with loss that I should be somewhat of an expert on what to do and say when someone in my life experiences a loss. My wife lost her one and only Aunt this week. Of course I am here for her, I am trying my best to comfort her, be her best friend and I believe I am doing all the right things to console her. But let me make this clear: I am still never quite sure what to do.

No one ever is. It is very heartbreaking to watch someone you love lose a loved one, and you are left feeling hopeless. What can you do, as one person, to ease their pain, to give them comfort through such a terrible time, what is the “Right” thing to do?

One thing I do know for sure is this: The WRONG thing to do is to do nothing at all.

When someone you love dies there is an incredible void that is left and the truth is that many acts of kindness get lost in the sadness of it all. I probably can’t tell you who sent me cards or flowers when my mother passed away, but I can tell you that each time I went to the mailbox there was love and kindness waiting for me and my family.

As my wife is dealing with this loss, I am sure she will not remember how some of the things that got done got done. But I am sure that things will get done by the people in her life that came to help her when she was going through this tough time.

I often say when cooking that the most important ingredient for making a meal taste great is “Love”.

Well, I promise you this: If you reach out with Love and Compassion you are doing the right thing. When someone you love suffers a loss, everything is “The right thing to do”

Call them, send them a card, bake them some cookies, help clean up. And continue to do these thing even after you think that they are “Ok”

People treat grieving people like babies and try to avoid questions and mentioning the awful thing that just happened. Sometimes people try to even avoid the grieving person altogether just in fear that they will say or do the wrong thing that will send that person into tears. The problem with that is so obvious and we all miss it – A grieving person needs to be allowed to be upset. They need to hear the name of their loved one and be allowed to do whatever they need to do with friends and family around them to support them.

As for me, I will do my part, as best as I know how to comfort my wife and family through this loss. Aunt Linda was 72 years old, she was a kind lady, had a great love for reading and animals. She loved her dog. I don’t know much about her life, but I am sure she did some amazing things. She always used to mail me newspaper clippings of sports articles that related to the Jets or the Mets, sometimes just to rub it in my face (being that she was a Yankee fan). She will be missed. Ilyssa has a small family by comparison to mine. Aunt Linda was her only Aunt. There is never solace in saying that you have other Aunts and Uncles of course, but losing the only one you have must be quite hard. I’ll always be here for you Ilyssa.

The Santa Myth


We should never lie to our kids, lying to our kids is a bad thing. But for many children (including mine), believing in Santa is a normal and a healthy part of growing up.

The notion of a man who flies around the world in a sled drawn by flying reindeer,  entering our homes through our chimneys and delivering presents, all within the span of a single night, is highly improbable, to say the least. Yet the Santa Myth is a long-standing and powerful tradition for many families, and does indeed reinforce good values.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing for kids to believe in the myth of someone trying to make people happy if they’re behaving. Imagination is  normal and helps develop creative minds in my opinion.

The Santa myth is grounded in truth — after all, St. Nicholas is a real person. He became famous for giving gifts and money to the poor, and it’s those values that are important to continue teaching our children.  It’s a real story, it’s a real value and it’s something that inspires our children and us. That’s the spirit of Christmas…

Santa Claus is just one mythical figure many kids believe in, along with the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and others. Our kids use their imaginations all the time, even if they know the characters they are creating are not real. When kids play cops and robbers, they know they aren’t really cops or robbers.

Christmas brings families together, and the Santa myth reinforces these bonds. Christmas also reinforces some positive habits, like writing letters to Santa. Lots of kids don’t like to write, but they’ll make the effort to write these letters won’t they?

But like many good things, the Santa story eventually comes to an end. Kids stop believing in Santa at different ages. Usually, a friend at school will break the news. I still hold on as long as I could with my daughter, even though I know that she is beginning to question it now. The Elf on the shelf has helped a bit, but even that will not last much longer.

She will soon try to figure it out for herself too, when she starts to notice that the story doesn’t quite add up. For example, she might stay up late trying to catch Santa delivering presents.

When children ask us whether Santa is real or not, we need to decide whether our child is ready to know the truth. I plan on telling my daughter the truth one day, but will always maintain that the spirit of Christmas is very real. I will tell her the story of St. Nicholas and how he delivered presents on his white horse to children in need.

Santa may be a Christmas tradition. But, the spirit of giving to the poor, and the spirit of family and being together — that is universal.

Lets get the kids outside to play!


A few weeks ago I posted “Educating our children…don’t take away their creativity” 

The weather got a bit nicer this week and my daughter was outside playing with her friends. It was nice to see them outside and it reminded me of the post I had about creativity and the role outdoor plays in providing it. So it inspired me to write this post today.

One of the things that I believe keeps kids creative is outdoor play. Today Kids don’t play outside much anymore. They are watching TV or playing video games. I think they are losing some great creativity. When I was a kid, I would come home from school, do my homework and go outside to play.

I guess there are many factors that have contributed to the demise of outdoor play over the years. Both parents working, more TV channels, video games, the internet, and safety for your children. Years ago, there were more stay at home Moms but we didn’t use that term back then, they were simply Moms that didn’t work. Kids could come home after school. They weren’t taken to childcare or after school care. Today more kids end up in after school childcare and don’t get home until after 6pm or later.

Regular TV consisted of a just a few channels like, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX AND PBS. Kids could find TV shows to watch only during certain times of the day. No one offered children’s programming 24 hours a day. Now we have dozens of channels for kids to watch everyday, all day.

Kids are spending hours everyday, playing video games. They are glued to a screen. Thank goodness that some of the video games today require you to actually get up and move around. Before these existed they would just sit and play. This time spent indoors used to be outdoor time before.

The internet is the key to email, texting and Facebook. These things have sucked the life out of outside play, not to mention other social behaviors. There are 1st graders with iPhones these days. Kids under 14 years old should not be allowed to even have a Facebook account in my opinion.

This is a very sad factor today. Some kids live in neighborhoods that are not safe, so they can’t go outside to play. Back in the day, kids were able to play safely even in the worst neighborhoods.

Parents today tend to over schedule their kids as well. I’m not against the Karate, Dance and Instrument lessons, etc. But there needs to be a balance. Parents should reflect more on their own childhood and not deny their children the opportunity to have simple fun like they did. Take your kid outside to play dammit!

Kids need outside play time. It fosters creativity. Sometimes kids just want to play and not think. Maybe they just want to run around. Every kid should have some unstructured outside play time every week if the weather permits. And we as Parents need to make this happen!

What ever happened to hide and seek, freeze tag, catching fire flies, red light green light, jump rope, hope scotch, duck duck goose, tag, kick ball and the other games we used to play or just make up on the fly?

What games did you and your friends play?