Archives for category: diary


Back in 1996 I was heading to work after dropping my infant daughter off at my sisters when I noticed a cop behind me. I looked at my speedometer, and low and behold, I was going too fast. The lights switched on, and I was pulled over.

That was the last speeding ticket I got. In 1996. I’ve been pulled over a time or two for silly things…like for driving with a failed inspection sticker, or going 8 miles over the speed limit in my residential community. I was always let go with a warning, because I have a clean record and my offenses were petty.

Well, that streak came to an end on Friday night. Sigh.

My girls and I had attended Halloween Haunt at King’s Dominion, a theme park about an hour away from our home. The night had not been very fun for me, because I find as I grow older, getting startled and scared is losing it’s charm on me.

After walking through three haunted attractions, where ghouls pop out around every corner or scream in your ear, I was done. My lower back hurt really bad mostly because I had spent the last 45 minutes in a tense ball of nerves. I told the girls they were on their own…I was waiting outside the rest of the attractions.

When we were leaving, the road was crowded and I couldn’t manage to get over to get on the ramp for I-95. But I wasn’t worried because after years of going to good old KD, I knew the back roads. We were traveling down Rt. 1 rehashing the night and talking about our weekend, when a saw a car on the opposite side of the road turn on it’s headlights. I hit my brakes, saw my speed go down to around 45, and noticed that car, was indeed, a cop.

I looked in my rearview and saw him U-turn and thought, “shit.” Part of me hoped he would run my plate, see that I was had zero priors, and just let me go. But no, the lights went on and he pulled me over.


how cute is that?

Unfortunately this dude wasn’t going to let me go with a warning. He was taking way too long after getting my license. Even though I had a crystal clear record, and was wearing a super cute hat with fox ears, I got a speeding ticket. My 20 year streak, shot to hell.

Yeah, I probably was going too fast. The road was empty and we were talking so I guess I just didn’t realize that the speedometer was creeping higher. It sucks, but it wasn’t the end of my sucky night.

After pulling away from the cop, using directionals and coming to full and complete stops (even in the parking lot) we pulled into a McDonalds because I was thirsty. Before I know it, there are flashing lights behind me again. WTF?

ANOTHER cop was pulling me over. He approaches my window and tells me my headlights aren’t on. I say, “Yes they are – I can see the light from them.” He says, “No, that’s your fog lights.”

Oh great. He then asks if I were just pulled over. I said yes, for speeding. He had recognized my plate from the call that went over the radio. He said he’s not going to give me another ticket, but that I was lucky he recognized my plates. Yeah, gee – let me run out and play the lottery. I feel sooooo lucky.

But my lights were on. I had him come over to my car and look at my light switch on my steering column. The lights were turned on, but not working. What I was seeing was the glow of my fog lights. Thankfully my high beams worked, and I had to drive the hour home with them on. How is a person sitting behind the wheel, who sees lights, supposed to know her lights are not working. If he HAD given me a ticket, I totally would have fought it.

Ugh. It ruined my weekend. I hate when I’m careless and it costs my family money. I hate it. But, when you think on the bright side, if you spread the cost of the ticket over the 20 years, it’s only about 10 bucks a year.

Nah, there’s no bright side. It just sucks.


Today I came back from my lunchtime walk to see several instant message alerts from my daughter in high school.

It seems that during her World History class, a boy who sits near her pulled her chair out from under her when she went to sit down. She was hurt and humiliated in front of her whole class. And me? I was furious.

I don’t understand why stuff like this happens. How a human being can think that it is ever a good idea to make another person look foolish when they have done nothing to you. Even that douchebag Trump waits until you criticize him before he throws you under the pussy grabbing bus.

Do you know the last time I pulled a chair out from under somebody? I was around 7 years old, and I did it to my babysitter to get a laugh out of my older siblings. The next day my parents tore me a new one, saying how I could have hurt her badly. I still remember that today, and I’ve never even contemplated pulling that stunt since.

I was a child then, but this kid? He should know better.

She spent that period crying, and trying not to show it. She texted me that she wanted to turn around and smack him, that she was really tempted to do it. I told her to think of what Michelle Obama said…”when they go low, you go high.”

She answered, “LOL true” and took the high road.

That’s MY daughter. A girl who is always friendly to others, who calls out bullies and who tries to be a good role model and top student. And what did she get in return? Some fuckwad who has no manners that thought he would brighten his day by humiliating my child.

I called the school to report it. See, it happened in front of a substitute and I didn’t want this little dickhead to think he got one over on her. Plus, my husband ranted to the assistant principal when he picked her up from school. He’ll get written up for it, and I’m fine with that. I didn’t expect him to get expelled or anything.

I just hope the school lets his parents know. I hope this “write up” goes home. Because mom & dad need to know that their little angel has shit on his halo. And they need to teach him how to respect people that have done absolutely nothing to him.

And my kid? She knows we’ve got her back. Big time.


The other night while I was making a batch of meatballs, I got a call from a CNN pollster wanting my opinions on the Presidential election.

Pretty cool, huh? Little ole Typical Tracy sharing her views and opinions in a national poll. So, if new poll numbers come out and Trump’s numbers have dropped, I can proudly say, “yeah, that’s me.”

Now you will have to bear with me. I’m not very adept at talking politics. It’s a subject that has always left me sort of stupefied… kind of like Chemistry or Star Trek. While I have opinions on this election, I find it hard to convincingly express my thoughts.

That having been said, I really despise Donald Trump. I don’t understand how anyone can be voting for him. I just don’t get it.

I know there are a lot of Trump followers who are voting for him only because they really hate Hillary Clinton. Fine. I may not get why they hate her, but at least their vote is more of a vote against Hillary than a vote for Trump.

But there are tons of people out there who are voting for Trump because they like him. And I just don’t get it.


He’s a fucking liar. Yes, Hillary has lied. Can anyone out there say they haven’t lied at some point in their lives? But Trump lies constantly. He will say A. on Monday morning. By Monday night, A. has been proven to be a lie, and then by Tuesday morning he will deny ever saying A. or, better yet, will find a spin on how it’s Hillary’s fault.

This happens several times a week. It never stops.

He, or his minions, never answer questions. It’s become page one of the Trump playbook: Deny and Deflect. I don’t think he really answered a single question during the debate in any specific terms. His answers are vague, giving little factual information, and then he falls back on his favorite dodge – pivot the heat off of him and blame it all on Obama and Hillary.

His minions do the same thing on every talk show. When asked a question, they deny and bring up 30,000 emails. They do it almost every time. Or, they deny and point blame at the current administration.

I always feel a little dizzy after watching Trumpbots argue a point. You feel like you just stepped out of a shit storm…no a shit hurricane. Okay, an F5 shitnado is more like it.

My point is, we are month away from the election and I know NOTHING OF ANY OF TRUMP’S POLICIES OR PLANS FOR THE COUNTRY IF, IN FACT, HE TAKES OFFICE.


But I do know how he feels about Rosie O’Donnell, Alicia Machado, and Elizabeth Warren.

I know he fat shames. God, he’d rake me over the coals.

I know he’s stiffed thousands of hard working small business who were unfortunate enough to go into business with. Hell, during the debate a Facebook friend of mine, someone from my hometown in New Jersey said her father was stiffed by Trump and he almost lost his business.

And Trump University? Don’t get me started.

Seriously, with all that is out there regarding his character, I just don’t get how anyone can actually like this guy let alone vote for him.

Now I guess I’ll wait for all the nasty grams.



I’m going to have a different kind of Thanksgiving this year.

Hubby will be driving the Zamboni for Disney on Ice in Hampton VA that whole week, so we are spending our Thanksgiving at a hotel. That means, for the first time in my life, I will eat Thanksgiving dinner out.

I’m not sure what that will be like. Sure it’ll be nice to not have to cook all day. It’ll be nice to not have to do 2 or 3 loads of dishes either. What I’m not looking forward to is the traffic. Whether I decide to travel the night before Thanksgiving or the morning of, I think I’m in for some serious bumper to bumper action.

Then I wonder, should we try to find traditional fare that day, or should we just eat whatever…steak, burgers, Chinese? I guess it all depends on what’s open. I’d rather not get stuck at a Golden Corral or a Cracker Barrel, because to be blunt – the food pretty much sucks. But I also don’t want to pay $35 bucks per person either. So we shall see.

I mean, why should I care…it’s just a meal, right?

But Thanksgiving has always meant a lot to me – it’s family, and food, and wine, and laughter and a feeling of home. I don’t know if I’ll feel that at all this year, spending it at a hotel.

It should be an interesting weekend.

We are spending Thanksgiving evening viewing the annual Holiday Lights at the Beach. Seems they gussy up the Virginia Beach boardwalk with zillions of lights and displays, and you drive your car down the boardwalk and soak it all in.

Perhaps it will give me ideas for my Christmas decorations…a thing hubby and I argue over every year. He likes it simple…I’d rather go all out.

One bonus about this weekend? I already know what I’m making for Christmas dinner. Turkey with all the trimmings. For sure.



It’s the first day of school for most northern children. My daughter went back to school on August 8th…they do things differently here in the kinda sorta South.

I have fond memories of the first day of school growing up – especially in my teen years. My mom would always take us “back to school” shopping, which meant a trip to Paramus Park or the Garden State Plaza for school clothes. By late August, the stores were featuring all the hot fall fashions, so we would stock up on corduroy pants, long sleeved shirts, sweater vests and blazers.

Unfortunately, you couldn’t wear any of it right after Labor Day. The society calendar might say that summer’s over, but in reality, it was still pretty hot. So your new cardigan and your argyle knee socks would have to wait until cooler climes blew in from Canada.

So you just made the best with your summer wardrobe. it was a time to show a new you…did anyone lose weight over the summer? Did the freshman freak grow into the sophomore stud? Brunettes came back as bleached blondes after months of spraying Sun-In onto wet locks. Everyone was tanned and rested.

It never lasted long. Note-taking, quizzes and homework soon began to fill brand new Mead notebooks. The mean girls remembered how much they hated you back in June, and took little time getting back into the bully swing of things. And before long, it was time to study for your first test, or hand in your first book report.

But just when you thought school really sucked, a cold front would come through, and you could finally wear that brand new “back to school” outfit…

And hope that you turned some heads.


I’ve been at my new job for a month now, and I have to say, I am really loving it.

After 2+ years of having to get permission from multiple people to take a day off, or leave early, and being chained to my desk from 9:30 to 5:30 (because God forbid the phone rings and isn’t answered IMMEDIATELY), it’s nice to be able to leave my phone-less desk and walk to get a cup of tea, or to just take a breather.

But it’s so much more than that. Because my newspaper is deeply steeped in our community, we have a presence at a lot of community functions. And with that presence comes free tickets. Free VIP tickets. Easy parking, lots of perks, and access to stuff the creme-de-la-creme of Charlottesville is used to, but I certainly am not.

For instance, next weekend I will attend the Heritage Harvest Festival at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. The next weekend is Tomtoberfest, a fall block party featuring a variety of danceable musicians and bands, a dozen of the best local food trucks and an Arts & Crafts fair. And all this is free and VIP. Yippee!

In October, my office will attend an Avett Brothers concert at an outdoor venue here in town. They have reserved this space called the Party Porch, and it’s a fun time to drink and socialize with my fellow co-workers. While I don’t really know the band very well, I’m willing to give them a listen to, especially if the wine is free.

I also found out, I get to claim expenses…now there’s something new. I get money towards my cell phone, towards parking, and if I joined a gym, they kick in money for that as well. When I go to take photos for the newspaper, I get mileage.

I get to work from home on Wednesdays. My company pays for a LogMeIn subscription, so I can access my work desktop from home and get my work done while sitting in my pajamas. It’s so awesome and it really breaks up the work week, making it seem a lot shorter.

And take this past Friday…almost the whole office left early. It was the Friday before Labor day weekend, and the ad work was all done, so…we just left, two hours early. And nobody cared.

At my last job there had to be a meeting of the chiefs just to see if we could leave early during a snow storm, or the day before Thanksgiving.

It’s all so wonderful. Each day that goes by, I discover something wonderful about my new job, and I’m pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

It makes me think back to the spring. I remember being in the shower and coming to the realization that I was never going to find another job. I hated the job I was at, but after several failed interviews at other companies I realized I was stuck where I was, and it was going to be fine. There were way worse places I could be working.

And now look at me. Everything has changed, and all because I happened to look on Craigslist on the right day. I’m certain it was divine intervention…or my dad from beyond the grave giving me a nudge.

When hubby and I were talking about all these fabulous new development and how happy and satisfied I am now, he said to me, “you’re not just on a roll. You’re on a buttered roll.”

He’s so right.


Today I had a salad with cucumbers that I grew in a pot on my front deck – I really dig that. While I didn’t grow them from seed, (for some reason when I do that I never get great cucumbers) I grew them from starter plants bought at from a local farmer.

And even though I’m not growing them in the ground…too many critters and bugs around for that…I got a halfway decent crop of cucumbers that looked like they could’ve been store bought.

I also tried growing tomatoes. For some reason this never works out for me. I only got two tomatoes off the whole plant, and only one of them was edible…the other had split and gone mushy before I had the chance to pick it. I’ll try another variety next summer…maybe cherry tomatoes instead.

The rest of my deck is devoted to herbs. I have pots of parsley, thyme, rosemary, mint, and oregano. Last night I made potato salad, and it was nice to be able to just go out on my deck and grab a handful of fresh herbs to chop up and add in. And the best part is my thyme is from last year. I just left the pot on the deck all winter and this spring, new green shoots appeared.

Next summer I think I’ll buy a few more giant pots and plant some peppers. My neighbors grew jalapeños this year, and I helped myself to a couple while we were pet sitting and made a big pot of chili.

It may not be “farm to table”, but I really like eating food that I’ve grown myself. It’s cool even it it is only deck to table.


As many of my readers know, I tried to walk 1,000 miles last year, but my final tally was only a hair over 900. Even though it was twice as far as I walked the year before, there was little real improvement in the shape of my body.

I mean, I’m not a dope; I know all that walking did my body good in other ways…blood pressure, blood sugar, etc. But it did little to nothing in changing the shape of my body. My legs were still flabby, and the scale only showed a loss of maybe 30 pounds. I realized that just walking wasn’t the real answer.

So I kind of lost my passion for it. Here we are more than halfway into 2016 and I’ve only walked 200 miles.

Monday morning I realized I hadn’t been out to walk for almost the whole month of June. I’d been so busy with jobs and freelance that every single morning was devoted to meeting deadlines and getting work done. But with one of my magazines going to press, I finally had some time.

The walk was glorious, and I scolded myself for letting work get in the way of those cool, green morning walks to my favorite podcasts.

Then on Monday night, I got the call that my father had died. I’ll blog about that later. Now just isn’t the time.

I went out Tuesday morning, but my walk was anything but enjoyable. My legs felt heavy and my head and heart just plain hurt. I took out my earbuds and turned off my ipod and just walked, heading back home.

I thought of my dad, and how this was the first morning in my entire life that he wasn’t waking up to. How he’d never have another morning with the paper, and his slew of vitamin pills, and his breakfast with his wife Gabi.

But I also thought of how when I was a child, my dad would always go out very early and run. He’d drive down to a park in our town that had a long track, and he’d run. When I started walking a lot he reminded me of that, and said something to the affect of being a chip off the old block.

So Wednesday morning I went out again. And again today. I walked not so much for exercise, but more as a tribute of sorts to my dad. He’d want me out there, enjoying the morning, breathing deep and living life.

Both walks were phenomenal…I felt like I could fly. It felt less like a workout and more like a spiritual and physical release. It felt really fucking good.

Yes, there will be times when my walks are going to feel labored and annoying. But for now, with my dad looking over me, they are out of this world.


A few weeks back my family started a group text message to keep us all informed on my dad, who had gone into the hospital with an infection. I did not even see this initial message until more than 24 hours after my father had settled into his hospital bed.

Then this morning my sister calls me to ask if I had seen the barrage of texts from last night. What texts? Obviously not. After I hung up I checked my phone, and upon hitting the little text icon (with a red 15 beside it) my phone dinged for 30 seconds as all the texts flowed in. I had no clue they were even there.

Why? Because I am not a savvy smartphone user. Not by any stretch.

I mean, I look at my phone when it dings, but it’s rarely anything important; an email I wish to ignore, or some dopey Facebook alert.

But I’m not married to my phone. I don’t look at it first thing when I wake up – that’s what my computer is for. I go to my computer first thing after waking up (and putting the tea kettle on). I don’t even think about my phone unless I have to make a phone call. I’m just not married to it the way others seem to be.

So family, please don’t take my silence after one of the group texts to mean I don’t care. I am just absolutely clueless that the messages are even there.

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I owe Panera Bread an apology. My girls like going there for lunch or dinner, but I always hated it. I find their soups too salty, and their sandwiches are, what seems to me, made from too thickly sliced packaged deli meats. I find them to be generally flavorless. Plus it’s a tad pricey for food that really isn’t that great.

But this past weekend, my daughters wanted to “eat light” for dinner and I gave in and took them to Panera again. I figured I’d try something new, fully expecting to hate it and in return, have a really good, rant-worthy blog post.

I got the green goddess cobb salad, pictured above, I have to tell you, it was really good! I thoroughly enjoyed the entire salad, and so did my daughters, who kept sticking their forks in for another bite.

So, sorry Panera…you’re not so bad after all. You just have to know what to order.