Articles and blog posts I’ve written for SiliconANGLE, RainToday and TechTarget:

Keep the Social in Social Selling

Your Insecurity Is Showing

Ajax Website Security: Don’t Trust the Client

The First Line of Defense When Securing Data in the Cloud

Sunrise in Delray Beach

Sunrise in Delray Beach

You can go home again. And that’s what I’m doing this week. Sixteen years after moving to Florida, I’m moving back to Massachusetts.

It isn’t precisely the same home I left all those years ago—I’m returning by myself and to a different town—but it’s home nonetheless. I was born there (Springfield), went to college there (Boston—Go, Huskies!), got my first real job there (Newton), got married there (Weston), and gave birth to my beautiful daughter there (Newton).

I look forward to going home and the new adventures that await me and Dick (that nice fella I’ve been going with for the past few years), but I’m going to miss a lot of Florida-only things.

Despite all its craziness—flesh-eating zombies high on bath crystals, machete-wielding psychos, and escaped wild animals (lions, monkeys, cobras are just a few things that come to mind) and its ridiculous politics (don’t get me started)—Florida has a plethora of amazing things.

Combine those with the amazing people I’ve come to know, and I have had some of the best experiences. I may have come to Florida dragging my feet and complaining the entire first year, but I am glad I stuck around to enjoy all of those wonderful things.

So, with tears in my eyes (and often running down my cheeks), I thought I’d share some of my favorite things (and memories) about my living in South Florida: Read the rest of this entry »

The recent deaths of friends’ and family members’ pets have me thinking about the recent passing of my guinea pig Gabby.

Gabby was with us for nine years, and despite her critter size, played a huge role in my life. She greeted me every time I walked in the room with her squeaks, and clamored for attention–and food–when I would cut up vegetables. She even squeaked when she heard the sound of a tuna can hitting the counter because she knew celery wasn’t far behind.

We adopted Gabby (Gabriella) with her sister Izzy (Isabella) when they were just days old. They were sisters. Gabby was tiny because Izzy was a bully and would take all of the food. Gabby soon compensated for that–perhaps even over compensated–when she was moved to her own cage and didn’t have to fight Izzy anymore. She grew to be quite a porker–pun intended.

Izzy and Gabby

Sadly, in June I noticed Gabby had cold-like features. She had runny eyes and a sniffly nose. And she had stopped eating and drinking. This came at the end of a extremely trying week in which Paisley had a mysterious pain that resulted in a trip to the ER. Paisley was fine; Gabby was not.

Now, this is the third guinea pig in 12 years that has gotten sick on me. The two times before I rushed to vets, getting instructions to care for them, and nursing them the best I could — giving them meds, hand feeding them, using droppers to give them water. I believed the vets when they said there was a cure. There was not.

So, I should know by now that when a guinea pig shows symptoms of sickness, there’s no saving it. But I called the vet anyway. What I really wanted was for the vet to say yes or no if a guinea pig can survive the symptoms I described. But no, they said they needed to see her. So, because I couldn’t simply let her suffer without a proper diagnosis, off to the vet we went.

Upon seeing Gabby, the vet looked very concerned. At that point, she should have said to me there’s nothing she can do. Go home and let her die in peace. But noooooo. Instead she led me to believe there was hope — like the times before — and suggested a round of tests, medications, special food, and an injection of fluid under her skin because she was dehydrated. That was to the tune of $180.

“OK,” I think. “I can do this. Gabby can do this. She will recover. This time everything will turn out OK.” Read the rest of this entry »

The start of 2010 hasn’t been very rosy. Granted, it is better than last year when my professional life was in the toilet. Now that it is under control, it’s time to focus on my personal life and get happy — really, truly, deep down happy. While I can laugh and have fun moments, sadness isn’t far from the surface. This is the year to change that. Here’s how I plan to do it. I think I’ll stick it on the fridge, my bathroom mirror, and my computer monitor so that I don’t forget. Feel free to do the same.

Live in the moment: I need to stop worrying about the past and what might be coming down the road. For when I do that, I neglect the people around me and I withdraw from life. I need to enjoy every moment.

Treasure family and friends: When I’m with them I need to give them my full attention and all my love and care. I cannot take them for granted. I might be in the grumpiest of moods, but I cannot neglect or be mean to the people I love.

Do what is right for me: I cannot do things to please others. I must do things that are right for me and my daughter.

Get happy: I need to discover what makes me happy and do those things. And enjoy them fully.

Be strong: I need to develop the strength to do what is right for me — and hold on to it. I can’t let others’ feelings, words, or actions weaken me.

When I worked at TechTarget, often at Thanksgiving I would do a top 10 list of things my readers could be thankful for. The first was for the IBM AS/400-iSeries-System i crowd. Fiercely loyal people, iSeries users love their midrange server and hate anything that competes with it, including Microsoft. That first year, the number one thing they could be thankful for — there’s no Bill Gates.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought I’d do my own top 10 list of things to be thankful for. What am I, a 42-year-old, recently re-employed woman with a pre-teen daughter and a failed marriage, thankful for? Let’s take a look:

10. That I look younger than my age — Thank you, Dad, for the fact that I have no gray hair and few wrinkles, save for those

Thanksgiving Chapel in Dallas

laugh lines that are starting to rear their ugly heads, and thank you, Mom, for my thinness. But as you can see from numbers 9 and 8, I believe my natural features need a little help.

9. My colorist & hair stylist — Thank you, Tawna, for the magical work you do coloring my hair, transforming my natural drab brown into golden blonde, and thank you, Harris, for knowing just how to cut my hair. Until I went away this past summer I had no idea how great you are. I went to two different colorists and stylists in Boston, and none did what you so ably do to make me look fabulous.

8. My trainer — I work out on my own, but without Josh to push me to the limit and figuratively kick my butt each week, I would not be in as good shape.

7. JetBlue — It might seem odd to have this company in my list, but with this airline I can easily and usually cheaply get back north to see my family, friends and co-workers. Plus, who wouldn’t love the free snacks, TV, roomy seats, crew, and customer service? And they fly direct from West Palm Beach, Fla., to Boston. Read the rest of this entry »

When you think about lies and people being untruthful, you might picture mean manipulative people — like the stereotypical sales person trying to get you to buy something, the guy you meet in a bar with his 101 pick-up lines, or politicians saying what people want to hear in order to get elected. But in reality, a lot of good people who generally live honest lives tell lies — myself included. They tell them not because they’re looking to gain from a situation, but because they want to others to feel good or to feel better about a situation.

Sometimes it's OK to lie (Photo by Leo Reynolds)

Sometimes it's OK to lie (Photo by Leo Reynolds)

Think about it: Humans created the idea of heaven to ease the fear of dying. Parents tell their children about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny to make Christmas and Easter more fun. Husbands and boyfriends tell the women in their lives their butts don’t look fat in those jeans. Women smile and say thank you, when their boyfriends or husbands buy them a slinky negligee for their birthday when what they really wanted was a pair of comfy sweatpants.

I am not always able to tell those white lies. If I don’t like a gift, it shows on my face. If someone asks me if they look good in an outfit, and they don’t look good, I tell them so. Ask me my opinion on a situation, and I’ll tell you exactly how I feel. You might think it’s good to be so honest, but my actions have hurt people’s feelings. When dinner is made for me as a surprise, I should say thank you and eat it — or some of it — regardless. I should not throw a fit like I did with the infamous Sloppy Joe supper made by my boyfriend years ago.

As a parent, however, lying is part of the game. “Mom, can I have some candy?” “Let me think about it.” “Mom, can we go to the mall?” “Maybe.” “Mom, can I go to Horror Nights with Amanda?” “We’ll see.”

The true answer to all of those questions was “No.” Why didn’t I just say no? Because I didn’t want the battle. While our kids are young, we can get away with those responses. Soon, however, they figure it out — “No, maybe! Maybe means no! Why caaaaaan’t I!” Read the rest of this entry »

I know the benefits of eating healthily and exercising. But the truth is, I do those things — or try to do those things — because I’m vain. I worry about what I will look like if I don’t take care of myself.

It wasn’t always like that. When I was in my teens and 20s, I ate junk and cared very little about the benefits of exercise. Exercise was a way to socialize. In high school I played sports — basketball and softball — and made friends with fellow jocks. In college I took aerobics classes (complete with my Olivia Newton-John outfit and headband — “Let’s Get Physical, Physical”) and joined a gym because I wanted new friends and I needed something to do other than study and go to bars.

And after college, forget it. I worked as a reporter where Dunkin Donuts coffee and doughnuts was my regular breakfast and late-night deadlines meant eating pizza or subs. Exercise was walking to and from my car and sometimes taking the dog for a walk. Fortunately, I did not put on a lot of weight. I was blessed with good genes, I guess. (Thanks, Mom!)

But as I started thinking about having children, I became concerned about my physical being. I knew that I should exercise. By then Jane Fonda’s aerobics videotapes were the rage, and I bought one complete with the step to go with it. (I still have that step!) I got pregnant and soon added pregnancy exercise videotapes to the collection. Read the rest of this entry »

When we’re children and teenagers, we try to rush the future. We always want to be older than we are. We don’t want to be 9; we want to be in double digits and 10. We don’t want to be 12; we want to be 13–officially a teenager. We have high hopes for turning 16 and 18, and even higher hopes for turning 21. There are so many age milestones to reach for, and we don’t appreciate the age that we really are. That is, of course, until we get “old.” Then we realize how fast those years go by, and we tell younger people not to rush it.

An email has been passed around for years about getting older. It’s been attributed to comedian George Carlin, but it’s actually from actor and comedian Larry Miller. It captures exactly how we as a society perceive aging.

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 . . . and your dreams are gone.

I’m at the point where I’m putting on the brakes, trying like hell to slow the passage of time. And yet I still have difficulty enjoying the present. Mostly I have difficulty enjoying the moment. I take great pleasure in planning things, but when it comes to doing what I planned, my mind goes elsewhere. If I’m doing something that should be fun, I think about work that needs to be done. If I’m away from Paisley, I think about how I should be with her. If I’m in Florida, I think about being in Boston. The last day of a trip is especially difficult. The flight could be at 9pm, but I’m so distracted by what is waiting for me upon my return and what could happen when I leave, that I can’t just relax and enjoy the day. Read the rest of this entry »

Today I turned 42. How the hell did that happen?! I look at my 12-year-old daughter, listen to her sing her favorite songs, watch her giggle with her girlfriends, and hug her as she cries over a boy, and it seems like just yesterday I was that girl.

Birthday Cake

Fortunately — or maybe unfortunately — I still do those things, but on a different level. Get me with my girls, and I can be as goofy as any 12-year-old. Put on my favorite tune, and I still sing with abandon (when no one is listening, of course). And I still shed tears over men who were once boys — and I guess sometimes still act like boys. But now I have my life experiences to guide me, reassure me and keep me going, whereas when I was 12 there were so many unknowns and fears.

I would never want to go back to being 12, nor would I want to relive high school. Those years are just too tough — girlfriend fights, boyfriends (and breakups with those boyfriends), parents who drive you crazy, battles with your sister, school. And when one thing goes awry, you think your world is coming to an end. You don’t trust that there will be better, happier times. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s and 30s that life calmed down, and I began to feel comfortable with — and to accept — who I am. Read the rest of this entry »

On June 5 I began my journey to Boston to start a new job and possibly new life. I’ve named my journey “Breaking Boundaries,” as I am physically breaking boundaries by crossing state boundaries and I am breaking figurative boundaries — attempting to break out of my way of thinking and doing things. More than anything, it’s a journey to discover what I really want to do and what gives me joy. It’s a difficult journey, but I need to do it. I need to experience it — even if it reduces me to tears every other day.

My journey -- Breaking Boundaries (Photo by Rafael Gomes)

My journey -- Breaking Boundaries (Photo by Rafael Gomes)

My life in Florida as it was, was holding me back. I was confined to a certain role that was too small for me, too restricting. During the past six months I thought long and hard about how to change it. I decided to go back to the place that has always made me feel happy — Boston. I created a plan and fulfilled it — got a full-time job and have relocated there. Don’t ever let it be said that I can’t do what I say I’m going to do. But now that I’m here in this life, I’m questioning it. Actually, I started questioning the decision when I started packing, and several times during the drive north considered turning back, but I am going ahead with it to learn if my fears and doubts are true or if happiness truly resides here.

As I start my second week of work, I am feeling a slightly better about the change. However, when I stop and think about everything that’s going on, I feel fear deep in my stomach like the bottom is falling away bit by bit, I’m on edge, and I’m often on the verge of tears.

I question whether a full-time job that requires me to be in an office for nine hours a day is right for me. I question whether I can work such a job and care for my daughter if she lives here with me. I fear that having such a job means losing quality of life, as I have little to no time for social activity. I fear getting trapped in a job and losing my creative outlets. I wonder if my return to the Boston area is an attempt to relive my previous life here. Read the rest of this entry »