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?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Update



Lucky to be:
- Alive
- Free
- Cognizant
- Ambulatory
- Loved
- Cared for
- Respected

Does luck truly exist in the world? Do circumstances beyond our control reach out and cause a ripple to rend the cosmic forces of the universe in order to change our fortunes? Is the extension of our free will and the ability to make good and bad choices equally, the instigator in determining our life’s path? I believe that life is a combination of lucky events, predetermined actions and self-sustained measures that all coalesce to create the path of life on which we travel.

Monday, November 3, 2008


“Cause nobody wants to be the last one there
Cause everyone wants to feel like someone cares
Someone to love with my life in their hands
There's gotta be somebody for me like that
Cause nobody wants to do it on their own
And everyone wants to know they're not alone
There's somebody else that feels the same somewhere
There's gotta be somebody for me out there”- Nickelback

The lyrics of this song, “
Gotta Be Somebody” have touched me deeply. This is Nickelback’s latest single release in anticipation of the November album release of Dark Horse. When I first heard it on XM radio, I instantly recognized the vocals of lead singer Chad Kroeger, as Nickelback is one of my favorite bands and their music has been the soundtrack of my life for the past three years.

I think the words of the song are meaningful on so many levels. Every human person on this planet longs to be connected to someone or something greater than themselves. We were not created to exist as a singular unit; we need people to be woven into our lives in some way. Studies have shown that individuals who are in relationships are healthier and live longer than those who are charting life alone.

Chad mentions in the refrain that “nobody wants to be the last one there”. You can see this really clearly in the adolescent years of life, as kids struggle to place themselves in groups or cliques to have that sense of belonging and to bring order to their world. No one wants to be perceived as the loner, the friend-less, the loser.

This continues into adulthood and with the advent of social networking, the internet and extremely busy lives, we turn to our computers to help us find that voice in the dark to call us out of our loneliness. With the entire virtual world at our fingertips and within sight of our webcams, we can truly find the soul out there that connects completely with our own. That person who completes us in such a way that we could spend an eternity with them:

“There's somebody else that feels the same somewhere
There's gotta be somebody for me out there…”

Today, we aren’t limited by the relationships and friendships forged in school, or by the water coolers of American corporations or even by our community and volunteer involvements. Due to the infinite reach of the internet we have the ability to get in touch with a wider audience from around the world, increasing exponentially the chances that someone’s attribute combination will measure up to be the best connection with our own.

This reaching out into the virtual darkness belies inherent danger. As with anything involving the potential for anonymity, there is risk that the person on the other side of cyber space is not truly who they say they are or at best are misrepresenting portions of their personality or character.

Do we take a risk to achieve a sense of belonging- to find love and companionship? If so, then proceed with caution………………………