What a Difference a Day Makes



  • Husband unemployed
  • Grandmother in hospital
  • Super nervous about implementing an important training this week
  • Exhausted from getting no sleep the night before due to insomnia, which prompted me to go downstairs to read at 3:00 AM, which led to the discovery that my teenaged son had snuck out of house

'Come look at this, hon!...Either your son has snuck out of the house again, or he's turned into a rubber chicken.'


  • Husband offered a job – yay!
  • Grandmother home from the hospital -yay!
  • Day one of training a success – yay!
  • Well-rested – yay!
  • Son grounded and sentenced to yard work – lucky to be alive

Lesson learned: There’s always tomorrow, so hang in there.

Cool Places to Hang Out in Newport, RI



Newport, RI Harbor Area

One of my favorite places in the world is Newport, RI. This charming city by the sea, located on Aquidneck Island, is famous for its Gilded Age mansions, five-mile long Cliff Walk, and bustling harbor area along Thames Street.

Here are some cool places to hang out if you’re going there for a visit:

Brenton Point State Park
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Located along scenic Ocean Drive, Brenton State Park is a relaxing place to spend an afternoon without having to spend a dime. We usually pack a cooler, set up some beach chairs and an umbrella, bring pails and shovels for the kids, a book or magazine for the grown-ups, and let the ocean breeze and views work their magic. We simply find a place along the rocks that looks inviting, park our car across the street, and plop down for the day. It’s a perfect spot for little ones who like to search for crabs and dip their toes in the water.

The Cliff Walk

A trip to Newport wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the famous Cliff Walk. While it does attract tons of tourists, if you’re willing to put on a pair of sneakers and get a good workout, about 2.5 miles in the smooth pathway turns rocky and rough. If you can make it near or to the end, you’ll have a long walk back to your original starting point, but it will bring you through lovely tree-lined neighborhoods filled with charming houses.  http://www.cliffwalk.com/

Sunset at either King Park or Pineapples on the Bay


King Park


View from Pineapples on the Bay

Both places are ideal for watching the sunset in Newport. Located at opposite ends of the harbor, each has majestic views of the Pell (Newport) Bridge, the harbor and, of course, the sunset. King Park is free, boasts a playscape for kids, and often has live entertainment in the gazebo. Pineapples is located outdoors at the Newport Hyatt Hotel on Goat Island. It’s tons of fun for singles, couples, and families alike, featuring live entertainment, a mini-lighthouse, and s’mores kits for the kids to melt over the bonfire. The menu, reasonably priced for Newport, offers a mean lobster grilled cheese sandwich .

Sardella’s Restaurant


My favorite place to dine in Newport. Sardella’s has delicious, reasonably priced Italian cuisine, a cozy bar, and a relaxed atmosphere. Guests can dine inside, outside on the patio or in the courtyard. Open year-round, it’s also a staple of many locals. http://sardellas.com/

Sachuest “Second” Beach

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Technically, Second Beach is located in nearby Middletown, Rhode Island, just a few minutes’ drive past Newport’s Easton’s, or First, Beach. We prefer Second Beach because it feels, well, more beachy. There are dunes, less (rowdy) people, and not nearly as much stinky seaweed as First Beach. Plus, you can play Frisbee or have a catch, which are not allowed on First Beach. There’s a snack stand if you don’t feel like packing a cooler and restrooms. Parking costs about $20 per day.

Easton’s “First” Beach


Easton’s “First” Beach

Lest you think I’m picking on First Beach, it, too, has lots to offer. There’s a merry-go-round and playground for the kids, a skateboard park, volleyball matches to watch, and a nearby beach bar.  http://www.cityofnewport.com/departments/easton-s-beach

My Mother’s Cottage


Backyard of my mother’s cottage

One of the best things to happen to me was my mother buying this adorable Newport cottage 17 years ago. I am eternally grateful that she so generously shares it with her family.

What are some of your favorite places in the world?

Shower Curtains In The Family Room?


People sometimes do crazy things during midlife. Like hang shower curtains in the family room.

Actually, I got the idea from a friend years ago, long before either one of us entered midlife. It wasn’t until recently I had the gumption to implement it. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Last summer, my husband and I finally replaced some of the old windows in our 1930s house, including a bow window in the family room that I despised. Bow windows are highly overrated. They collect dust and don’t let in enough breezes. Unless it’s winter; then they are too drafty to sit near.

From the start I knew I didn’t want blinds or shades over them. Too much dusting, plus mostly I like my windows wide open to let in light and sun. However, there was still the issue of privacy at night and keeping out the hot sun in summer.

I opted for panels, which I could simply slide open or closed using rings along a rod. But there were four major problems with this:

  1. Most panels are 84 inches long, which meant they would touch the cast iron heaters running along the floor; a clear fire hazard. Sixty-three inch panels wouldn’t provide the look I was after; too short.
  2. The total width of the three windows that replaced the bow was 96 inches. Most panels are only 40 inches wide. Therefore, two panels pulled taut would not cover the entire window, nor would they look particularly flattering.
  3. I wanted panels that were somewhat sheer, but not so sheer that they didn’t block the sun or provide privacy at night.
  4. Custom-made panels can be  expensive. Plus, I get bored easily. I’d probably want to replace them in a couple of years.

Then I remembered my friend. She’d used shower curtains in her living room. They looked beautiful!

I headed to Target, where I immediately found the perfect white linen, lightly patterned shower curtains. They are 72 inches long, so fall about two inches above the heater.


Since they are extra wide, they cover the entire row of windows when closed without looking stretched thin. They provide privacy without darkening the room. Best of all, at $25 per curtain, they were more than

I guess I’m not so crazy after all.

Dealing With Your Partner’s Job Loss


So your partner just informed you that he lost his job. Regardless of whether he was laid off, fired or quit, there will be no paycheck coming in next week. Life is about to change, possibly big time.

While losing a major source of income can be a scary prospect for anyone, a mid-life job loss comes with its own unique set of  challenges. Suddenly everything you’ve spent the past 20 years working hard for may be in jeopardy – your lifestyle, savings, home, children’s educations, and the hope of a comfortable retirement.

Then there’s the matter of working on your bucket list. How does one do that when she’s worried about paying the mortgage and buying groceries?

During my 20 years of marriage, I’ve dealt with job loss on more than one occasion. I have not always handled the stress with the grace and dignity I would have liked. When your family’s survival is at stake, it’s easy to let negative emotions get the best of you.

Try not to lose faith.  Remember: This, too, shall pass. In the meantime, take a cue from some lessons about job loss I’ve learned the hard way.

  1. To the extent possible, remain calm. This is not always easy. Fear naturally kicks in when one’s survival is threatened. While fear has a place in our lives, it can cause us to overreact, behave irrationally, or become paralyzed. Stressful situations require reasonable, rational thought and action.
  2. Fight fairly, and not in front of the children. No matter how tempted you might be to lay into your partner, restrain yourself. Once spoken aloud, harsh words cannot be taken back, nor are they easily forgotten. Especially don’t let your children hear you speak to their parent in a negative way. And don’t argue loudly in front of them, especially about money; it scares them.
  3. Focus your energy on solutions. It is an absolute fact that every problem has at least one solution. Direct your energy here instead of on blaming your spouse or feeling hopeless. You’ll feel more empowered, less emotional, and you might even be able to turn this nightmare into a blessing.
  4. Take care of your health. In stressful situations, we may eat more junk food, drink too much alcohol, cut back on exercise, or watch too much T.V. – all in an effort to numb ourselves from the reality of our situation. Now more than ever you need to take care of yourself, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Effectively dealing with stress requires strength and stamina.
  5. Be willing to take action. When my husband was fired from a six-figure job a week before I gave birth to our youngest son, I thought I might die from the stress. Though he was able to find another job quickly, it was at about half of his former salary. As much as I didn’t want to, I put my son in daycare full-time to take on more hours at work. Sometimes, you just have to suck it up and do what’s necessary for your family’s survival. Try to do it without complaining.