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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 »

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 »

From the time we enter our elementary school years until we enter our senior citizen years, we are always trying to fit in. Where do we belong? With what group of people do we share interests? Where should I live? And if you’re a pre-teen or teen, how do I get into the “popular” group?

My 12-year-old daughter is dealing with that last struggle right now. She attends a wonderful high-tech middle school in Boca Raton, Fla., a wealthy community. Most of the students who attend that school, however, have parents who give them anything they want. Every day my daughter deals with the fact that she doesn’t own an iPhone or some type of smart phone and she doesn’t wear Abercrombie clothes. She also doesn’t look like the “popular” girls. She doesn’t have straight-straight hair, she has acne, and she has started getting a little figure. All of that, she says, makes her different — puts her outside of the “popular” girls group. Oh, the tragedy of being different!

Boston -- Where I fit in (c) FreeFoto.com

Boston -- Where I fit in (Photo supplied by FreeFoto.com)

I know exactly how she feels. I tell her that things will get better — that middle school is, and has always been, difficult for girls. I tell her to not try to be friends with everyone but find close friends and stick with them. They’re the ones who matter most, not the bitchy Boca snobs who look down at you because you have curly hair. I tell her to do activities that she loves and that she’ll make friends with kids in the same clubs and groups.

What I don’t tell her is that the struggle to fit in will continue.

I can think of just a couple times in my life where it wasn’t so hard. Ironically, one of them was during middle school. Somehow, I was in the “popular” group. I don’t know how it happened because we were not wealthy, I wore mostly second-hand clothes, I was not considered pretty, my family situation was different than “normal” (my mother was divorced and had recently announced that she was gay), and I was the new kid. We had moved to a small city in Vermont from Springfield, Mass. By middle school girl standards, I should have been an outcast. But they accepted me.

The real struggle to fit in started in eighth grade when my mother moved us to a tiny nearby town — Roxbury, Vt. I had to leave my “girls” behind and start all over again — new house, new school, new people to try to befriend. On top of that, now I was living in the country! That’s no place for a city mouse like me. Read the rest of this entry »