Sunday, December 21, 2008


So glad that my fave color is the hottest trend in the USA right now. Purple goes way back to my high school days when it was part of the school colors for the Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington, Maryland right outside of Washington, D.C. Some say that today it reflects confusion on the part of the people; that we just can't make up our minds on things today. Purple is made up of the cool color blue and the passionate, fiery red. Choosing purple as the pigment du jour symbolizes that we are torn between these disparate emotional states.

Kristina Zimbalist, in the November 10th, 2008 edition of Time Magazine states that: "On the off chance that it has escaped your notice, purple is having a moment. And while many may assume a sudden color explosion to be just another whim of fickle fashion, the analysts and anthropologists who study shifts in chromatic preferences see this particular manifestation- the purple proliferation- as a sign of our uncertain times."

Here's some recent purple in my life:

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Ok, you know that you had an extremely busy week when you fall asleep watching "It's a Wonderful Life" and it's only 9:00 p.m. on a Saturday night!! Of course it could have been the really cool and very smooth Italian Creme Liqueur that I made tonight (killer secret ingredients: Frangelica with Vodka) or it could be due to the ridiculous traffic and unbelievably long lines in all the stores I was even able to get my car close to. I guess we are a community of procrastinators all hitting the highway on the same day: TODAY!

Anyway, I did obviously awaken from the movie in time to see George's fall from grace and into depression. He made that infamous wish that he "had never been born" and then I watched Clarence redeem George and take him back to his rightful place as hero of Bedford Falls. Clarence earns his wings and all is right with the world, or at least their part of the universe.

Here's hoping all is right in your corner of Bedford Falls.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I have been holding a burning desire within myself for the past 24 hours. It has been smoldering within me as I travel through the business of my life, just waiting for an opportunity to stop and process what is on my mind. Of course the extremely dreary, gray day with the torrential down-pour adds nothing to lift the state of being that I currently reside in. In fact, as I write this, the sky is growing ever more blacker, and the rain is literally pounding on the skylights in my office loft.

I shall forge on regardless.............Yesterday, I followed my morning routine of breakfast, coffee and the Cincinnati Enquirer prior to jumping into my work day and noted the very depressing headlines that were screaming out in large black type just one week before Christmas. Given the already worrying conditions in this country, having all four lead articles spew out doom was very distressing. Here they are:


Then the news about Keri Shryock's death during the first Christmas performance of "Awakening" at the Crossroads Community Church was just too much. This young woman, a graduate student at my alma mater, Xavier University, had found community within this mega non-denominational church that does so much good for the local community and abroad. She was a performer in the show and fell 30 feet to her death (see earlier post). Reports from her friends show that she was a wonderful, caring, young woman who was truly making a difference in this world. A difference that is sorely needed given the above headlines that are morphing in various forms on every front page of every major city in this country. My prayers are with her family and friends as they go through this difficult period of loss. My hope is that her spirit of giving will live on in the many lives that she has touched and that these people will go on to pay it forward and touch other lives.

The message of Christmas is all about love: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Let's remember why we are celebrating December 25th and focus on the good that is going on in our lives.


Despite the picture of bleakness that the media never ceases to remind us of, there are many rays of sunshine: just look for them closely, or go create some like Kerry did in her short life-time. And please add Keri's family to your prayers.

God Bless!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Prayers for Keri Shryock's Family

Church performer dies after fall

By Jessica Brown and Quan Truong •, • December 18, 2008
Comments Print PrintShareThis • Type: A AClick To Listen Click-2-Listen
OAKLEY -- An actor in an elaborate Christmas production died this morning after falling as much as 30 feet Wednesday night while performing in the theater at Crossroads Community Church.
Keri Shryock, 23, of Sylvania, Ohio, was a graduate student at Xavier University who joined the non-denominational megachurch in August.
Audience members described the horrible scene on the opening night of the production "Awaited,'' a contemporary retelling story of the Christmas story.

They said the fall came about 20 minutes into the performance. Shryock and two other actors were playing the Three Wise Men on their way to Bethlehem. They ascended from the ground harnessed to ropes and moved slowly up toward a star.

Three others stood on the ground below them holding the ropes. The three actors began performing acrobatic-type moves similar to those in "Cirque de Soleil'' productions. One audience member said Shryock was trying to move farther up the rope to be as high as the other actors.

Suddenly, Shryock fell headfirst about 30 feet into an aisle in the audience portion of the theater. A silence fell over the audience of 2,000 people, the lights came up and people raced to Shryock.

The pastor urged everyone to remain in their seats so that EMS workers had room to help Shryock. An ambulance took Shryock to University Hospital.

Audience member Daniel Doepke, 55, of Middletown, said the performers were high up on a cable and pointed toward a star in the ceiling as music played. They wore Middle Eastern head wraps and pants.

“Toward the ending of the song she came loose,'' Doepke said. "I can’t describe how heart-wrenching it was, her fall to a hard concrete surface.''

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


The exercise in writing circle today was to look at a very interesting ornament, in this case a silver heart with a ruby in it's center and full of glitter and sparkle, and to write whatever came to mind about the ornament. We had to turn off our internal censor and just let the words flow. Here is my random piece:

Silver heart with bicycle spokes
a ruby center directing the motion
Glitter sparkles on the ribbon-entwined edge
Christmas ornament, yet so much more............

Here is my heart forever to hold
I will carry you within me forever
Your beauty shines more brilliantly than the center ruby
and your smile, like your personality, dazzles and delights me
as you flow through your world dispensing
pieces of glitter over all who enter your perimeter

The heart is timeless
just like our love
It will go on forever
Surviving wars and tough economic times
only to be reborn in later generations
as a reminder of what was and
what could be................

Thanks Shelly Steffen-Byrne for leading this exercise!


SO TIRED...........I hate when I am disappointed by the failure of other people to live up to my expectations. Why can't we all operate in a way that is full of integrity? If I place my trust in you and you violate that trust, a fissure occurs in our relationship. I operate with honesty and integrity with the intention to always do the right thing to the best of my ability. It is so tiring to have to deal with people who don't follow this golden way of living. UGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Xavier Universty now #7 in the nation. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer:

"Monday the Musketeers (9-0) matched or established program highs by ascending to No. 7 in the Associated Press Top 25 and tying Gonzaga for seventh in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll."

GO X!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Unusual Virus Stops Me in My Tracks

I never, ever get sick. I am a huge germ freak and wash my hands every time I return home even if it isn't cold and flu season. For some bizarre reason, I caught this strange virus that attacked every sinus passage on the right side of my head. I felt like there were a million tiny knives slicing my brain, ear drum and facial muscles. It was even near impossible to chew and the severe pain made me wonder if I was headed for a root canal or some other major procedure. After 10 days of antibiotics and a major decongestant Rx, I finally feel normal again. My life is usually this big whir of activity and accomplishments coexisting at breakneck pace trying so hard to keep up with my synapse-popping brain cells. I am a study in motion and my finished To-Do lists rival any major work of art for their slashes and circles and symbols. I am a major multi-tasker, yet if someone needs me, I drop everything just to listen to their problems. I am just thankful to be returned to the land of the living fully. Having very gloomy weather last week just added to my health woes and lack of energy. Bring on the sunshine, banish the talk of snow!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008



I sat down this morning to review my vast collection of writing and turned to the pages from the year 2003. I found this wonderful essay about Mackenzie when she was just 6 years old and a first grader at IHM. I love it, but at the same time it makes me sad because it reminds me of her precociousness and her sheer brilliance in intelligence and how once again for the 7th year in a row she is bored in school and not challenged to the level of her abilities, despite being in all of the advanced programs that her school offers. She has always made straight As- and not your garden variety type of A, no the upper echelon As where the lowest grade is a 97% for any subject, with lots of 100s and 99s sprinkled in for good measure. She is a good standardized test taker as well, hitting the 99th percentile in several areas. Thank God that she has also been active in lots of sports and activities and music lessons and lots & lots & lots of friends. This keeps the loss on the academic end from being a gnawing feeling in the pit of her being. The really cool thing about Mac is that she is one of the nicest little girls one could ever meet- truly has a big heart. Anyway, this is starting to sound sappy so........... here is the essay from January of 2003:

To Speak or Not

Dear Mackenzie,
It will be interesting to see the person that you grow into. As a mere child, you are so astonishing. As a toddler, the thought-structure and complex sentences that came out of your mouth always gave me pause. I always wished that I had carried a pencil and pad of paper with me to capture your words. The few I could remember amidst my busy day, I would phone to Grandma leaving her long messages regaling your brilliance.
Most recently you were in the midst of the flu and 104 degree fever. You were due to be the greeter for the all school mass at Immaculate Heart of Mary; bringing the group to attention and giving an overview of the Gospel and how it relates to our lives today. It was three paragraphs long and filled with large 4 & 5 syllable words. Quite fitting for a precocious reader like you. The flurry of phone calls from your teacher, even while we were in the doctor’s office (the wonder of cell phones!) checking on your health; enquiring whether you could come to school just for mass. Mrs. Corey said, “Quite frankly, no one else is capable of doing it.” What an honor! We got the doctor’s clearance. The next morning, you felt awful, but were excited to be reading in front of the 700+ students and faculty. To my surprise, you processed in with the priest and altar servers at the beginning of mass instead of being seated with the other students who would be reading petitions later. Everyone came to attention when they heard your six-year-old voice. I will never forget that morning. You were magnificent! Your use of eye contact to connect with the room was uncanny I can still picture you in your navy Lands End uniform pants and your brightly striped Talbot’s sweater (you got the out of uniform break, since you weren’t officially in school that day). The teachers and other adults present were amazed at your prowess and many complimented you on your reading the next day when you returned to school. Your brother, seated near the ambo whispered “Great job” when you finished and turned to bow at the altar. I was proud of him for recognizing your accomplishment and giving you the thumbs up.

I remember being asked by my 5th grade teacher at St. Peter's to do a reading at our class mass, and being terrified to speak in front of a group. I recall asking Grandpa Ken to write a note to Mrs. Doherty to excuse me from the task at hand. I don’t think I got out of it, but I remember being very nervous, uncomfortable and quite terrified and I was 10 years old! You weren’t nervous one single bit. Public speaking will not be an obstacle for anything you wish to do in the future. Only time will tell which path your little feet will follow.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Missing Madrid

I hope life is treating you well

As you sun in that corner café,

Eating Tapas and sipping dark, red wine

Contemplating what Picasso meant in his infamous "Le Guitariste"

Cubism vs. Web 2.0- where do you go from here?

Just continue to unleash your creative energy

And let the words & music flow....................

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


One of my most favorite places in the world is Xavier University. I absolutely had the best undergrad experience there, despite the fact that I had no clue where Ohio was upon first visiting the campus (due to being from the East Coast). Xavier led to many life-long friendships, my career at P&G and my rebirth with the post-MBA certificate program, "Back To Business" last fall.

As an undergrad, I was very involved in Student Government, Admissions, Psi Chi (Psychology National Honor Society), Psychology Club, Alpha Sigma Nu (Jesuit National Honor Society), Student Government Association and Theta Phi Alpha Sorority to name a few. Later got my MBA there as well. Hard to believe that after living all over the US and overseas as a child, I ended up living my adult life thus far in the same city that I went away to college in. I LOVE it- Cincinnati is like Mayberry all over again. I think we exist in 3 degrees of separation here, just ask anyone in Cincy about this.

Was there last week for some meetings at the Williams College of Business and took a couple quick shots of the campus. My how the campus has changed! Also posting a shot of me at the Back to Business Course.

Monday, November 24, 2008


"What if I'm not the hero, what if I'm the......bad guy?" I survived Twilight and lived to tell about it! It all began with the after-school pickup. The girls were so pumped up that even their Language Arts and Social Studies teachers were excited when I ran into them in the school cafeteria (it helps that they are young teachers in their 20s!). In fact, it was probably hard for the girls to concentrate on anything after lunch that day. They had convinced one of the dads to drive them to Hot Topic the night before to get matching Twilight shirts and bracelets. What a guy! And I must say that he is a St. Xavier grad!!!! The movie was great- lots of moms banished to far corners of the theater to render themselves invisible. I was lucky- I was able to be a single empty seat away from my group; probably because my tween wanted to share my popcorn since braces dictate that she can't have her own- go figure!

I haven't read the books- shame on me, but h
ey if you saw the pile of books and magazines on my someday to-do list, then you can understand why I'm not going to take time out of my busy schedule to read her books. I'm waiting for the Cliff Notes/Spark Notes to come out- just in time for movie #3. It's a shame because I am truly a huge Ann Rice fan and probably would enjoy biting into another Vampire series. The movie was cute in a tween/teen way and there wasn't anything objectionable for the PG-13 rating for my 7th grade group. Lots of teen romance and angst with an ending that implied there is much more to come.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I am about to embark upon the journey of my life. I will need to hold on tightly to my peaceful inner core as I place myself within the midst of the swirl and screams and crowds of tween and teen girls who all will be converging on area movie theaters in a couple of hours. I am driving a car load of tweens to the premier of Twilight, the movie based on the extremely popular series by Stephenie Meyers.

Here's what the New York Times had to say:

"It’s love at first look instead of first bite in “Twilight,” a deeply sincere, outright goofy vampire romance for the hot-not-to-trot abstinence set. Based on the foundational book in Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling multivolume series, “The Twilight Saga” (four doorstops and counting), this carefully faithful adaptation traces the sighs and whispers, the shy glances and furious glares of two unlikely teenage lovers who fall into each other’s pale, pale arms amid swirling hormones, raging instincts, high school dramas and oh-so-confusing feelings, like, OMG he’s SO HOT!! Does he like ME?? Will he KILL me??? I don’t CARE!!! :)" And, reader, she doesn’t, the she being Bella (for Isabella)
Skip to next paragraph

The tickets at my theater of choice sold out by Tuesday afternoon, not for our showing time, but for every show this entire weekend! I got myself a ticket, as I'm not leaving a group of 12 year-olds alone in a movie theatre

(um..........maybe I also had a secret wish to see the movie as well!), and I'm sure that my ticket would sell for a mint on Ebay. Oh well..... The only negative is that the Cincinnati Enquirer gave it a D+ rating in today's paper. Hmmmmn, I hope the popcorn is good!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Check this out: Great message on developing self-esteem and a true notion of beauty in your daughters before the Media Monsters eat her up and spit her out on her therapist's couch at age 30.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008



“Making a difference” has always been my mantra, yet age, wisdom and stage in life have united to bring me to the point where I can now take greater action. It is time for me to move beyond my family and community; beyond the individual lives that I have impacted. I have felt a calling, actually a very large magnetic pull towards some type of greater difference for a while now, but had felt limited due to lack of surplus funds. Sure it would be great to have a fully funded foundation to make donations to worthy causes that I believe in, but I think that a lofty plan like that has to have a simple start. The simple start is the major “ah ha” or awakening that I have just experienced. If I silence the call due to thinking that I am limited in doing my heart’s work, then I will live a life unfulfilled, not being able to use the strengths and talents that I have been given to exact change in the world around me.

Two recent events have come together in my life to put me back on the path to realizing the whisper of my dreams. The first occurred Monday night when I participated in the CEO-ACT seminar. After listening to veteran financier Steve Klumb, SVP of National Bank, I realized that there are funds out there for all kinds of endeavors. I look at my friend and fellow XU MBA alum, Brian Siegel, who also is quite passionate about making a difference and I see that beyond his volunteer roles, and positions on foundation boards, he has stepped up to the plate to create his own foundation and to gather a team of people who can help him reach his goals.

The turning point for me was the front page article in today’s 11/19/08 Enquirer with the headline: This year, Santa needs some Christmas cheer”. The picture of Bill Zapf, Sr. as Santa is the absolutely most realistic picture of Santa I have ever seen in my life and the look on his face of such concern amidst the wonder and magic of Christmas is so clearly evident. Enquirer writer, Cliff Radel, reports that Bill has been “playing” Santa for 37 years, decorating his North College Hill home with a bazillion lights and holiday decorations and donning his “uniform” to stand outside, no matter the weather, to wave at passing cars and hand out candy canes. He said it all began when he was young, and his large family of 8 could not afford to put up lots of decorations and light displays. His father would pile the whole family into their station wagon and drive through the Cincinnati neighborhoods looking at the Christmas magic displayed in other people’s yards. Bill wanted to create that same magic for the families of his neighborhood and thus his display and nearly four decade run as Santa was born.

The Enquirer photo shows Bill with that look of concern because he won’t be out in front of his brightly lit house this Christmas season spreading the cheer that will most certainly be needed more than in any other year. Bill won’t be there, because he has pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly forms of cancer there is. Bill isn’t concerned about himself or the pain he is going through; he is concerned that he won’t be able to personally make a difference in the lives of the people who will be passing by his house this holiday season. He won’t have the strength to stand outside; to lift his arm in a huge wave; to voice a boisterous “ho, ho, ho”; to hand out small canes of red, and white striped candy. In this time of personal challenge, he cares more about others than himself. The Enquirer quoted Bill as saying, “Tell everybody, my prayers go out to them…and if they can say a prayer, say one for me.”

My prayers are with Bill as he takes this final journey and with his family as they help him through it and work to keep his dream of making a difference alive in North College Hill.

His story has had such a profound effect on me and is the last tiny key that unlocks the restrictions on my ability to give of myself in a greater way. Now I take this knowledge with the solid idea that nothing can stop me from achieving my heart’s work. Nothing. Because in the end, doing what you are called to do is what life is really all about.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mackenzie Unwritten



Snow flurries, Christmas music and crowded aisles at Kroger. What's up with that!!!!! I attempted to go grocery shopping at my local Kroger on Sunday afternoon and after cruising the parking lot for several minutes before finding a spot in East BFU, I managed to make it inside without being run over by the many cars going through the parking spot mating dance that I had just successfully mastered. There were very few shopping carts left, which was immediately a bad sign. The place was packed with people: so many that it was hard to maneuver through the aisles. As I approached my favorite part of the store, the pre-prepared, ready-to-heat gourmet food section, I noticed a Kroger employee cheerfully asking people to sign up for a free Thanksgiving Dinner Give-Away. The table behind her was expertly laid in complete Thanksgiving Fashion with a real Turkey and all the sides shimmering on fine china.

At this point I began to panic. I knew my heavy work load from last week was leaving lasting affects on my brain. I had completely lost a week of my life and the crowded store, the snow flurries, the Turkey Dinner give-away and that Christmas muzak sound track were all converging to let me know that I was totally unprepared for Thanksgiving to be in 4 days!!!!! What other reason could there be to explain what I was witnessing? This was surely the pre-Thanksgiving shopping panic that sets in every year.

While still standing in the same place in stressful amazement and angst, the pre-teen walks up with her "lunch": a slice of some crumb cake or other and a grande Mochachina- something from Starbucks. I tell her what I have discovered about Turkey day being next week and she looked at me with full Tween attitude and said, "Mom, you've been spending too much time on the internet, Thanksgiving is in two weeks!" I could feel the stress of not being ready for the big T-Day feast (hosted at our house this year) fall away from my shoulders and land in puddles on the floor below me. "Clean up in Aisle 5!!" I wanted to shout into the nearest microphone.

What is up with the shoppers, the weather (normal highs are supposed to be in the 50s for God's sake!) and the piped in Christmas music??? Even the radio stations have abandoned their tradition of beginning Carols on the day after Thanksgiving and are playing them NOW!!!!

I suppose the state of the economy is causing retailers to do everything in their creative genius power to tempt shoppers into spending their tightly held cash. They want to create a warm and comfortable atmosphere and they achieve this end by bringing the nostalgia and wonder of Christmas a little early.

Oh well, if you can't beat em, then slide a Christmas CD into your car player and join in the fun. Just don't forget the cranberry relish for the 27th of November.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Complement vs. Complicate


"I will be your mirror."

Sometimes it takes a fall before we are forced to confront who and what we are made up of. It is within the raising and the repairing of our bruised souls that we learn about our inner strength and ability for survival. We can rise above the ashes of our former circumstances and soar triumphant in life and love if we only give ourselves the ability to believe.

Look inward and be a voyeur into your own life. Find the power that is within you to become who you truly were meant to be. Uncomfortable with introspection, then find a good friend who can be a mirror into the depths of who you truly are. We are all meant to live up to our fullest potential. Take the time to listen carefully to what pours forth.

Bon Chance!

Friday, November 14, 2008



A front page article in the Local section of Thursday’s (11/13) Cincinnati Enquirer brought me to tears before I could even get through half of the column. Mother has sobering advice for young drivers” by Cindy Kranz detailed the horrific loss of Christy Bishop’s 23 month old son, Ian, due to a car crash involving a driver with a suspended license who was also on cocaine. It has only been a year since Ian’s death, yet Christy has been able to summon up the strength and courage to speak to groups about the dangers of driving under the influence. She is a 2004 graduate of Amelia High School and went back to her alma mater to deliver her message with the hope that her words would somehow impact these teen listeners and cause them to make the right decisions about their actions while driving.

Her message is so heartfelt- straight from the gut and the listener is left with a heart-wrenching feeling inside. Bishop told the audience: “She took his heartbeat away. She took the breath from his lungs because of her dangerous driving…..No parent, no aunt, no uncle, no grandparent, no daddy, no mommy, no brother, no sister, should ever have to celebrate a baby’s birthday in a cemetery.”

Cold hard punch right to the heart. Ms. Bishop’s message will surely have an impact not only on her teen audiences, but on any person who hears her story. As a mother, I recognize the agony of the loss she is going through. As a parent of a 14 year old, it brings the reality that in less than two years I will have a new driver. He will need to focus not only on making right decisions for himself, but also on being wary of the other drivers around him. He will need to learn how to be a defensive driver. You never know what type of mental or substance-abused state exists in the oncoming traffic and we all need to be prepared and cautious of those around us.

Ian was singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” in the car as they drove along on November 3rd, 2007. His last words to Christy were: ‘Mommy, watch. One, two, three, above the star.”

Please say a prayer for this courageous young woman as she shares her message with others. Go out and hug your child today just one more time.


"Hush now baby

One day we’re gonna ride

Hush now baby

Our white horse through the sky

Hush now baby

Let every angel sing

Hush now baby

One day we’ll ride again"

- “White Horse” by Over The Rhine

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


The leaves have all but left this land of Ohio and once again, the bare branches reach their arms out to me from the perch on my bedroom windowsill. The wind makes them dance and sway like objects possessed by the night. How happy I shall be when the sun finally returns to our corner of the earth. Until then, enjoy the shadows.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Why me, why now?

What name do I put forth to this driving need to rescue people from themselves? Why do I always let myself get emotionally involved in someone else’s problems?

I think it’s because I am too inquisitive and ask too many probing questions of people when others merely exist on a simple “Hi, how are you? I’m fine thanks. We’ll have to do lunch some time, gotta run.” basis. My top strength is Learner and I have always been intrigued by EVERYTHING, but especially human behavior. I constantly thirst to know more about anything or anyone that I come into contact with.

In our current fast-paced world, a good listener is hard to find. The fact that I listen is not a unique feature, it is the manner in which I take in your words and swirl them around in my head like a connoisseur judging a fine amber-colored whiskey in a glass by the fire. I let the flavor of your sentiments soak in and I taste them and take them in so far deep inside myself that I in turn experience your pain. For that one moment, I am you, but from a distance. This space in time allows me to view the totality of your situation and to offer counsel back to you. I think these are the things that make me stand out- make me approachable vs. another and unfortunately, sometimes very hard to let me go. Is this a gift or a curse that I have been given?