Family Fun Myers-Briggs Style

The ability to hear the voices of people you love as the soundtrack of daily living is underrated. Making breakfast for a crowd is my everything. Heaven on earth is sitting in the back seat of the car between my kids, arms overlapping, thighs touching, and the sound of snoring beside me. How sweet to have my “kid” warn out from a trip to the zoo…a blast from the past. Truth is, he was actually warn out from the previous night at a sake bar in Brooklyn…but this mom can think what she chooses.

Our weekend was one of nostalgia. Birthday dinner…pizzas from two local parlors…reliving some childhood goodness. Games and more games. Thank you mother nature for the snow, it allowed for cozy time in front of the fire, the best gift. No Broadway shows this time, instead we did the Bronx Zoo…on a freezing cold March morning…proof of parental love. Somehow over the years the zoo has shrunk, we used to walk for miles, not covering it all, yesterday we did it in 4 hours. It is amazing how fast you can travel when you don’t have to push a 90 pound double stroller or walk the same speed as people with very little legs. We watched tree kangaroos get comfy, bears squabble, and picked our favorite animals…mine was an odd giraffe who licked the wall, no leaves for him, he was a wall licker. To each his own.

A few weeks ago I was feeling a bit like an odd duck…or a wall-licking giraffe…so for some reason I decided to take the Myers-Briggs Test. I immediately felt better. My “personality” is the rarest one, no wonder I feel alone sometimes. I mentioned this to my people and that led to both Greg and Olivia taking the test. It seems my Olivia’s personality mates are at both ends of the spectrum, Tom Hanks or The Joker…she is a debater, she stirs the pot, and has a great sense of humor. I am an advocate, the planner who wants everyone taking care of, and everything in its place…Mother Teresa and Lady Gaga…I am wondering how Mother Teresa would feel about that one. Greg the creative, the mediator, the dreamer…Tolkien, Shakespeare, and Bjork.

Over dinner we told Jacob our personality buddies, and out came his phone. He took the test twice because he believed his answers could go a bit differently depending on his mood. The first time he matched mine, perfectly. The second time he matched his dad’s, perfectly…and right there were our family dynamics. I was the organizer, the caretaker. Greg the creative, the go with the flow, the dreamer. Olivia the independent thinker, the explorer, the devil’s advocate. Jacob matched both his dad and myself. It all made sense. There are times when Olivia and I are oil and vinegar, we just do not mix, then there are times when we are literally perfect together, the best salad dressing ever. She has the same sense of humor as her dad and he doesn’t take her debates personally. Jacob can go with Greg to far off la la lands, then the next minute help me organize the family vacation, he is always the mediator. When family dynamics can be introduced via science, they become so easy to manage. Another gift.

We use our together time for big discussions…what does global warming mean for the house at Fire Island…what are our “must” rides for our upcoming trip to Disney World (yes, we are Disney people, haters gonna hate but we love it)…why a medical release allowing your girlfriend to make medical decisions is important, especially when you live across the country from your family…do you know where all of the passwords are in case something happens to us. Jacob dutifully replied…yes, yes I know where all the important stuff is. I even know where dad’s important things are. I was confused. I deal with all of the important papers, the passwords, the jewelry, what on earth was he hiding, did he have secret family that needed support if he died? The look of confusion on my face must have been clear. Greg piped in, it’s true, he does…he knows where my secret Pop-Tart collection is.

Science proven again, the one with her feet firmly planted on the ground deals with important papers…the dreamer has a secret Pop-Tart stash…a perfect team.


Wall licking giraffe.


Twenty six years ago this kid came into our lives. Sigh. He was a surprise, the best surprise we ever received. I am not sure we would have ever been “ready” to have a kid. I was not even ready to have the stray cat we found on the street let alone a human. I’m so very glad he chose us as his parents. Sigh.

Celebrating birthdays has always been a big thing in our house, parties with friends, celebrations with family, morning special breakfasts, and pick what you want for dinner. It is weird once your “kids” are adults. They have their own special people, their friends, their way of creating the birthday they want. Sigh.

Every morning leading up to his birthday social media memories pop up, baby pictures, thoughts about how much I adore my kids, forecasts on the future, looking back at the past. I was going through pictures the other day so that I can post an assortment of goodness tomorrow on my guy’s birthday. I could not find the right picture.

Twenty six. It used to be just another year, no milestones…it was no ten, becoming a double digit, or 13 when they officially became teenagers. There is nothing sweet about it like sweet 16 or scary like 18 when they can go to war. There are no “first drink” celebrations like 21 or quarter of a century festivities like at 25. It was just 26.

Tomorrow is hitting me like a brick. Tomorrow he is truly on his own, he is… officially off of our insurance. Oh, he has had his own insurance for the last two years, but he has had us as a safety net. Safety net no more…he is 26.

This picture popped up in our daily group Wordle text this am. It is my son’s new family, his Ella, his Opa, and his Luna…his ladies. It made me weep. They are not dressed to the nines or posing to perfection…but they are four beings that are 100% content. That is the best gift a mommy can receive on her birthing eve.

This morning I saw an FB ask for a date night babysitter. I responded because I miss being a mom. I miss reading to kids, playing games, and giving cuddles to little bits right after their tubbies. Between my morning little guy and a few week night babysitting gigs I should have my fix…and that is just delicious. I just received a message asking if I am free to babysit this weekend, and I was thrilled to be able to say I am so sorry, I can’t…my son is flying home for his birthday tomorrow.


Ella, Luna, Jacob, and Europa (Opa). I can hear the purring.


February, March, and April mean daily flashbacks to high school play production goodness, birthday celebrations, and vacations in Florida. Nanny and kids playing at the beach, insulation foam “pies”, parties, museum visits…and happy happy faces.

I am a bad mother…I completely adore when my son has a long commute home from work. On those days we chat, and since I am a failure at Star Wars, most pop culture, anything technical or Marvel…we tend to reflect on life. Last week he mentioned how insane our house was when he was a teenager. I could not deny it, it was. It was chaos, it was loud, it would not have been a fun sitcom to watch.

Then he asked why… why was it so nuts?

Sigh. Maybe because…living with teenagers is no easy trick, everything is in flux…social, educational, and emotional challenges appear what feels like out of nowhere, it is like standing on an island and hearing a tsunami warning with nowhere to go…I was just starting my own business, working at least 12+ hours a day…there were no viable medical insurance options back then for small businesses so we lived on edge, only covered for catastrophic illnesses…dad was back at school getting his masters while teaching preschool, after school classes, and college classes in another state, oh and illustrating at night…we were brought up to volunteer so anytime someone asked, we rolled up our sleeves and helped…I was still going for semi-annual checkups for a tumor removed from my mouth, it was a black cloud of stress over my head…oh, and we had no cleaning person, no lawn person, no handy person…none of it.

We acted insane…because we were, but we did the best we could given what we were working with.

One of the nice things about our kid is he completely gets it, and for that I am thankful.

Last night we were at a 50th birthday party, talk of colleges and middle schools galore. Listening to delightful people talking about struggles with their teens, the overwhelming college process, the stress. They were IN it, and I did not envy them. As we left I ran into my brother-in-laws bestie from high school, they moved to NY together in the early 90s. We got to the how are the kid’s…and he said mine is 12…on the younger spectrum of this party…I am hearing a lot of stuff that makes me really scared. I couldn’t lie so I smiled and said, oh, you should be, it is kinda hellish for all involved…but the good news is…it gets much much better.

To my dear Jacob and Olivia…I am so sorry for the insanity, take a look at the pictures, we had some fun times too! Oh, and I love you to the moon and back…always have.

Rainy days in Florida meant trips to any and every museum we could find.

Choice… (nothing to do with uteri)

I am a huge believer in choice. This is in no way a political post. This is about creating your own happy. Our choices are what make our lives bearable. We can choose to look on the bright side or we can focus on the gloom. It really comes down to that.

Many moons ago, I had a newborn and I was miserable. I was working full time, I wanted to be with my baby, life was not fair. We had a sitter two days a week so Greg could get some illustrating done without interruptions. Maria was amazing, she watched baby Jacob, taught me to make baby food, she straightened the apartment and did laundry while he slept…she never stopped moving. She was so lucky, she got to spend time with my baby. One day she told us she was “taking his whites”, this meant she was taking his bitty onsies home with her to wash and layout on her grassy patch in Brooklyn…so the sun would bleach out the stains. She was thrilled to take our laundry to another borough. Everything made her happy. Maria was away from her kids too…working…but she was not bitter…she was a beam of sunshine and wisdom. Maria made the choice to live a happy life.

The pandemic is still interrupting celebrating birthdays with my group of Pleasantville besties, what used to be dinners out, backyard drinkfests, and big birthdays away on wine tours or relaxing in a cabin… are now Zooms. Some have moved, some have underlying issues that we want to respect. We want everyone safe, so we Zoom. What we do not do is moan about it! Last night we had a blast, we did a beer flight bash with everyone doing their tastings while eating warm fresh pub pretzels. It. Was. Joyous. No I wish, too bad, if only…just fun and love…and happiness. One activity was to find a quote or song for the birthday girls. For the friend who always seems to find some goodness in difficult situations I found…

“If the storm forgets to bring the rainbow…paint your own!”

May we all paint beautiful rainbows each and every day, after all, it is our choice to do so.

Thanks to SOUL Brewing Co. in Pleasantville NY for the beer education cheat sheet and beer bundles. We all had different favorites, cause ya know, it’s all about choice. Beer flight glasses and rating sheet from the online sales giant who shall not be named, numbers on recyclable glasses painted on with paint markers. Go for it, it was super fun.

Happy Birthday Dear Swoons! is two years old today, and just like with my kids, it feels like it has always been a part of my life. It kinda was. I have always felt my feels in XXXL. The need to want to share those feels combined with our friend FB…lead to swoonie posts, which lead to people suggesting a blog, which lead to….sigh, swoon, sigh…

Swooning is a gift to my mental health. A way to connect, tell stories, reflect, and spread hope in what was a really dark and confusing time. It got me through the pandemic, an artistic outlet when my graphic design business dried up for a bit. I am forever grateful to all who join me in swooning…all 28,000 plus people from over 60 different countries. I mean, Mauritius, Sint Maarten, that rocks. Egypt, Germany, and Turkey, homes of my grandparents and great-grandparents, seriously, it chokes me up.

This picture is taken a few years ago on my Lionel’s birthday…Lionel is my nephew who looks like my daddy, Lionel melts my heart. This bear was sitting against the cold windowsill at a local supermarket, it called to me…like Corduroy, this bear needed to be saved. I grabbed him and got on line, many conversations with strangers ensued, how can you not chat with a 5 foot lady holding a 5 foot bear? As I walked through the parking lot people smiled huge smiles, and as I drove home with my bear belted into the passenger seat, people honked their horns. Joy. I had not even given the gift and my heart was full. The FB post about this adventure popped up a few days ago, and I said to myself, ohhhhhh, this is why I swoon.

So, thank you dear swooners for joining my journey. I am not one to keep up with new hobbies, I am proud I stuck with this one. Thank you for not running away after experiencing my spelling and grammar assaults. Thank you for your comments, your likes, and your support. I am both mortified and honored that you read my thoughts.


Things I love about this picture… the bear of course…the art by kids and friends on the shelves…the ridiculous amount of Christmas stockings purchased for next years craft fair on the counter…the butterfly on the wall from our 25th anniversary party…and the cozy, yet ridiculous outfit.

The Cat Came Back…

My little guy’s ears perked up when he heard me singing this song the other day. At the the time I could not figure out how on earth it got into my head, now it makes sense.


Before 2020, all things Zoom were about a group of spectacularly cool (and a bit nerdy) tweens. Hanging out, creating, questioning, just experiencing life in their stripey shirts and bare feet. Kids I could relate to…no doe-eyed, smirky Laurie Partridge…no self-centered tiny skirt wearing Marcia…normal kids who wore jeans with patches and could use a good hair brushing.

There was just an article about the 50th anniversary of the Zoom TV show somewhere. The producers wanted a show like Sesame Street and Electric Company about kids just being kids…for kids. Skits, Zoom Dos, Fannee Doodles, Ubbi Duubi, guests, games, and poetry. Viewers were invited to participate, our thoughts counted…they wanted to hear from US…we knew their zip code by heart! 0 2 1 3 4….empowering.

I was in 4th grade or so when I received one of my favorite childhood possessions…The Zoom Catalog. I read, reread, and read it again. I acted out the plays with friends, and played the games (Statues anyone), I read the poems and felt my feels…bonding with strangers who somehow were just like me. The book was literally used to death, first the cover came off, then the spine broke in two, then three, then there were just lose pages. I think my fear of perfect binding came from my Zoom book being destroyed by my loving it too much. I always warn my clients…perfect binding is not for a book that will be used and loved.

I needed The Zoom Cataglog in my life again…and Ebay provided. Thankfully not everyone else in the world had the same urge, paying only triple the 3.00 price on the cover, I scored, some people just don’t understand the value of a good book.

Skimming it was so odd, it was incredible how many of my childhood experiences came from Zoom. Spinning friends around and around on the grass, letting go, then watching them fly through the air to fall into frozen statues. Always a cheater or two who clearly had their statue planned I’m a bowler…sorry dude, you did not “fall” in a bowling pose. Making pressed flowers in my grandmothers huge bible. Waiting for days then carefully unwrapping the flower shaped stained newspaper to unveil the flowers…beautifully stiff in their new flat form. Sigh, flipping through childhood was fun and then there it was…The Cat Came Back...the whole song.

The article had fired up the Zoom archives in my brain, and one morning as our cat walked into the room where my little guy was eating…I started singing the song. Now he asks me to sing it daily, and since I only remembered the refrain I showed him the animated videos online. It turns out one of the videos was a favorite of my Olivia, who renewed it from the library repeatedly…a joyful memory for her. Remembering and sharing…it’s so very good.

Making it Work

This is a classic picture from my childhood. I am on the right with the crazy huge smile. I have no recollection of this event but any time my sister and her friends allowed me to be in their presence it was the BEST DAY EVER. My sister is five years older than me, back then she was a god-like. Now…now, she is just Allison, a normal human, that said, she would still focus on her marshmallow roasting technique with the same need for perfection.

Back to the picture. My guess is it was a hot summers day, it started to rain, and my mom wanted to keep us busy. No better solution than “roasting marshmallows” over what looks like a citronella bug candle. Carcinogenic summer fun. It was probably 1968 or so, guessed by my lack of hair and my sister’s hip sandals. Did you know Birkenstocks came to America in 1966? Allison always had the latest in fashion trends, she also had Frye boots, and macrame wedged platforms in the 70s. Perks of spending weekends with her mom in Manhattan. I enjoyed the perks of hand-me-downs, win win.

Like most kids in the 70s, we grew up making it work, no instant Amazon solutions, no random purchases just because. If you wanted a toy when it wasn’t your birthday or Christmas…you made your own version. If you needed paints while on Fire Island…you smashed some beets, crushed some green leaves, or watered down thick house paint from the shed. Rainy summer days might mean mud fights in our bathing suits, frog hunting, or puddle splash wars with umbrella shields. Boredom was the path to creativity and we were bored a lot… all kids were.

Greg recently read me a eulogy his cousin wrote about their Aunt Rosie. I met her on our honeymoon in South Dakota…where we had the classic honeymoon experience of…visiting a pig farm. Seeing a billion baby pigs climbing all over each other was like being on another planet. Did you know their cute little spiral tails are clipped off so they won’t bite them off later? Fact. I squealed in delight at the thought of living a Fern and Wilbur moment…so Rosie let me pick up a piglet. Uncle Rubin arrived during said moment and everyone went quiet…and that’s when I learned holding piglets is a no no. Anyway, we moved on to sun tea and cookies, and it was glorious. The eulogy made Greg’s eyes water…filled with memories of playing games created by older cousins, having fun in the “itchy pit”, and Aunt Rosie…always with a smile. This gaggle of Midwesterners made their fun just like us New Yorkers…different worlds, same solution to boredom.

I interrupt this Swoon to point out that the beautiful fields (and pits) in South Dakota are sinister and evil. At age the of 24 (while on the same honeymoon), donning a very cute babydoll dress, I ran through the fields of the Nemec homestead. Living my long-awaited Little House on the Praire moment. While experiencing this bliss, I was bitten by a million and one chiggers. It was not the most romantic development…I itched for weeks. I am not sure why they would fondly remember the “itchy pit”, maybe it had nothing to do with chiggers.

Today is a winter Sunday…cleaning, writing a Swoon, making a turtle shell for the high school play, cooking, and football…not much boredom these days, but still making it work.


I love me a good meatloaf…a bit burnt on the outside, nice and firm inside. Ketchup top with a side of string beans and mashed potatoes. Yum. A blast from the past…but I am writing about a different blast from the past…Meatloaf the man.

Bat Out of Hell which sounds more like bad atta hell in my head, was one of my first record purchases. A trip to Korvette’s was always a treat…having enough saved money to buy an album instead of 45s was heaven. Flipping through the stacks, that indescribable smell, music of the moment playing…hoping mom would take an extra long time to do her shopping or returns. Somehow she was always back in a blink. Come on Kit Kat, pay and let’s go. Smoothing out my wrinkled dollar bills, counting my change, being handed the coveted brown paper bag with ragged edges. Once in the car…plastic wrap off, liner notes out, and the studying began. Home. Help mom unload the car and run up the stairs. Slamming my door to listen to the album while hanging off the bed, switching between lyric memorization and watching the record spin. Again, and again, and again. New records…so shiny and black, scratch-free and pure. Musical mishaps. Remember the sound of the first scratch on a pristine record, zippppp, ugg, it hurts my ears…or the sound of a cassette tape being eaten by the machine of choice, makes my stomach drop. Things my kids will never experience.

Before kids we attended a lot of weddings, hotel overnights, grown-up cocktails galore, dancing…celebrating beautiful couples. Love Shack forever in my mind as a moment from our wedding…dancing hard, bouncing, my dress so so very heavy, not a care in the world. Joy. Meatloaf…I think of my sister-in-law’s beautiful church wedding and reception in the heart of the country…and loved ones ages 5-70 dancing and singing Paradise by the Dashboard Light at the top of their lungs.

I started swearing to my god and on my mother’s grave
That I would love you to the end of time
I swore that I would love you to the end of time!
So now I’m praying for the end of time
To hurry up and arrive
‘Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you
I don’t think that I can really survive

Watching the bride twirling and experiencing pure contentment…perfection. Wondering, hmmm, is this an appropriate song for a wedding…then getting out of my head to enjoy the moment, because in my heart I knew….they really would love each other to the end of time.

Meatloaf…may you rest in peace. I adore your music to this day. Thank you for sharing your talent, I am eternally grateful to you for supplying me with a forever moment.

Actual wedding photo (thank you Jan), not sure if this is THE Meatloaf moment.

Being Five

Being five means you get to wear two pairs of gloves when you want to. It means french toast tastes better when cut into 24 bite sized pieces. It means being both in love and a bit afraid of a 10 pound dog.

Being five means you can ask to marry that 10 pound dog, “even though the dog is a girl”, and even though you are so much taller. Those are the only obstacles to marrying a dog…when you are five.

Being five means repeating “I’m gonna shake my butt”…while shaking your butt…is hysterical. It is even funnier when you can get an 84-year-old woman to shake her butt and chant with you. Being five means singing Christmas songs at the top of your lungs…in late January.

Being five means it’s okay to be really really excited about your birthday months ahead of time. You can ask for specific gifts and you can declare you want a banner saying happy birthday…in a home other than your own. Being five means you can invite your babysitter to your party and also remind her to go to your house right after school to help clean up the outside toys before the snow storm.

Being five in suburbia means public buses are mysterious, and the Metro Card on the bus sign is coveted. Being five means walking backwards is a blast and jumping off low walls is “so dangerous”…so dangerous that a hug is in order once you land safely. Being five means you give and get lots of hugs.

Being with a five year old is magical.

I hope my kids remember the every day joy of being five. When jumping into my arms was the safest place in the world. When building, crafting, baking, playing, reading, and swinging was their job and night time giggles filled our souls.

As my daughter listens to our banter and watches us play before running out the door to work, I hope she remembers I did the same for her…when she was five.


A Roz Chast cartoon was being forwarded on social media last week, A Year-At-A-Glance pie chart. January is the biggest piece, February is a bit smaller, then March, April, and so on. November and December are barely there, slivers in time, gone in a blink.

January, not much to look forward to, the coldest of the cold ahead. Snow shoveling and frigid walks, long gray days. Oh January, does anyone like you?

I blame everything on the month at this time of year… it was January’s fault that my Zoom stopped working. An exercise Zoom scheduled with friends, I was a gray rectangle…a meeting with clients, still a gray void. Following advice from online geniuses (try restarting the computer) I got the camera working again…and there I was…upside down and silhouetted in space.

This is Major Tom to Ground ControlI’m stepping through the door…And I’m floating in a most peculiar way…And the stars look very different today…

Thinking about David Bowie, sigh…he died in January…of course he did.

January, means a plethora of annual doctor appointments for me. Scheduled with a why not, there is nothing else going on attitude. Doctors investigating every orifice of my body…for a month straight…not the best plan. My mouth has a temporary crown, my right breast has been abused by numerous sonogram machines, and the rest I will just keep to myself.

My dentist is a great guy. He and his wife welcome each patient as they arrive. The dog in the waiting room in front of the electric fireplace of “crackling wood”. There is soft recognizable music playing and pictures of their daughters on the mantle. They go out of their way to make everyone feel comfortable. Heaven. Today I looked at the poor man and said, I’m sorry, I hate to be rude but I really don’t want to be here and I need to put in my earphones before you start drilling, the sounds make me so sick, I like YOU but I really really hate being here. Laughing, he told me he has heard it all and has developed a thick skin. I wonder if January knows most people hate it? I wonder if it sends us snow storms in retaliation for our disdain.

Poor January.

With a restart AND a reinstall…Zoom was back and I was no longer floating in space.
That is my slaphappy borderline going insane face, my family knows it well.