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Teen Brain Baffles Parents

Being a teenager is tough, and so is parenting one, especially in today’s fast-paced, high-tech world where, for the first time, kids are the ones teaching us about social media and how to navigate our way into the future. Honestly, without their help, I’d never figure out how to operate the television remote control or know how to add new contacts into my cell phone. Teenagers consider themselves masters at multi-tasking. They do homework while they watch television, text their friends, play on the computer, and listen to music, all at the same time.

“It helps me relax and focus on my studies,” says my son Jack, 15, who used to collect baseball cards and now accumulates apps on his iPhone.

Continue reading

Obama’s Era of ‘Change’ Welcomes Movers & Shakers

Where were you when Barack Obama placed his left hand on a burgundy velvet bible that was last held by Abraham Lincoln and was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America?

If you’re a mom, chances are you were doing something else while you were glued to the most anticipated inauguration of our lifetime, either that or you set your TIVOs. Carrie Craven was waiting at the doctor’s office. Michelle Beilenson was hanging out with her mom. Karen Fox was running errands in her car and tuning into NPR. Laurie Velasquez was working in her office at a market research firm. Sandy Brand was zooming home from yoga class. Continue reading

Moms Make Connections, Build Community on Facebook

I never thought that I was the type to crumble under peer pressure, surrender to the insanity, and plummet into the bizarre, underground world of web-based social networking. Call me old-fashioned, but I’d rather schmooze over a café latte at Starbucks than silly icons in cyberspace. Continue reading

Deflating Helium Balloons Release Bar Mitzvah Stress

If there’s one thing I learned at Jack’s bar mitzvah, besides never wear new shoes without breaking them in first, is that I can’t control some things in life. For example, I can’t control the weather and whether the rain will allow Jack’s baseball friends to attend his party. Also, I can’t control the health of people and whether they will be sick or well enough to physically be there for the special time in my son’s life. Continue reading

Bar Mitzvah Brings Us Closer To Family and Faith

By the time you read this column, Jack’s bar mitzvah will be over. No more sleepless nights playing musical chairs with seating charts. For more than a year now, I’ve been writing about this upcoming Jewish milestone in my son’s life. What am I going to talk about now—matza brei? Continue reading

‘Mishegas’ Columnist Debuts in Hollywood, Part Two

One day I’m an ordinary stay-at-home mom trying to plan an extraordinary bar mitzvah and the next week I’m a star-struck writer mingling with celebs and watching one of my stories come to life as part of a hilarious webisode series filmed in Hollywood. Hey, that’s showbiz. Continue reading

Winning Mishegas Column Debuts in Hollywood ‘Webisode’

As the expiration date on the gallon milk jug gets closer to the day of Jack’s bar mitzvah, the reality of this major lifecycle event hits me like a ton of bricks. I’m not old enough to have a teenage son, especially one dressed in a designer suit, silk tie, and a mezuzah necklace. As Jack polishes his prayers everyday, I frantically run in circles and make changes to the guest list, menu, party favors, music, programs, decorations, entertainment, speeches, biographical slide show, and, of course, my outfits. Every chance I get, I rearrange the seating chart like I’m playing musical chairs.

Obviously, I’m in bar mitzvah mode full force right now. Nothing can distract me from my list of things to do. Not even the flu. Then suddenly, without any warning, my party planning comes to a screeching halt. That’s when I find out that I’m going to Hollywood, California, for the trip of a lifetime. Continue reading

Mom’s Bar Mitzvah Speech Stirs Emotions

I’m working on my speech for Jack’s upcoming bar mitzvah, and it’s harder to write than I thought. I mean, how can I adequately put down into words my uttermost feelings of pride and joy for my first born, who has now reached a new status within Judaism. It seems like only yesterday when my son was eating soggy Cheerios with his fingers. Wait a minute…that was yesterday. Continue reading

Modern Bar Mitzvahs Play The Name Game

The other day Jack had the nerve to ask, “Mom, did you buy my Hanukkah presents yet?” I starred at him in disbelief. Doesn’t he realize that I just forked over $300 to get our dog’s teeth cleaned? Or what about the check I wrote last month for his basketball registration? He must think that money grows on trees, and those brand new black suede boots in my closet were free. Continue reading

Everything I Need To Know, I Learn From My Dog

Sometimes the most important lessons in life come from unexpected teachers, such as my dog. I’m not the only philosophical pet-owner who writes about canine inspiration, so here’s my take on what my six-pound apricot toy poodle named Luci teaches me. Continue reading