A Bit Confused….

Happy Spring to all!   This is my favorite time of the year, without question.    I was away all of last week looking at colleges with our second daughter and our wonderful exchange student from Austria.    The three of us arrived back in Westchester to find the entire area in full bloom.   As for the trip, the girls arrived back invigorated and excited about the prospects that lie ahead for them.  I simply came back confused.

Let’s start with the information sessions.   Luckily, I am semi-fluent in the foreign language called “college admission speak” thanks to touring a zillion places with Danielle.  SATs, ACTs, APs, early decision, early action, restricted early action, the common app and other such lingo is now part of my vocabulary.  Other parents were not so lucky.   A few dads looked faint and one mom seemed to be hyperventilating.   I am sure that those parents looking around were searching for hidden cameras convinced that this was a bad episode of “Punk’d”.  The students, of course, were fine.

The college admissions officers often speak about the wonderful essay topics for that particular university.   Some examples included, “What does Playdoh have to do with Plato?” “How do You Feel About Wednesday?” and “Are We Alone?”.  I believe better topics may include, “What Skill Do You Have That Will Make Us Give Your Parents $50,000 a Year to Pay for School?” “How Long Do You Plan to Live at Home after Graduation?” and my personal favorite, “Regardless of Your Dreams to Change the World, Will You Still Give Your Parents Grandchildren?”.

Then there were the tours.   I absolutely do not remember having outdoor coffee shops and ethnic food courts on my campus.  Nor do I remember the school funding our campus parties.  There were a few kegs and some paper lanterns back in the day. One student told us how he and his fellow dorm mates purposely flooded their courtyard, built a pirate ship to go into the water, built a dance floor on top of the pirate ship and then hooked up an entire wall with LED screens that coordinated with the dance music.  My confusion was so apparent that the student kindly turned to me and simply said, “There were a lot of lights.”   Whew.

The best part of touring these campuses is seeing the students in action.    There are so many more clubs than I remember.  In fact, one school had 600 clubs for 4,000 students.  Those kids must be busy.  We arrived at another school to find rows and rows of tables manned by students.  Yeah! A craft fair!   Wait, why are some of them lying on the ground?   Why are others wearing grim reaper masks? Yikes, that is not candy in those bowls!  It seems that daily student protest at some schools has replaced intramural sports.

One theme, though, was consistent on each campus we visited from here to California.  The students share an intellectual curiosity that goes way beyond which job will be garnered after graduation.    They care about bringing humanity to ever-increasing technological heights and ever-encompassing social action.    I still remain a bit confused but I also remain in awe as these young people shine with a hopefulness that tells me everything will be OK.  Just like the dawning of Spring.


The 2012 Girl Scout Cookie Campaign is in full swing across the country. Almost every local council runs a program allowing you to purchase boxes of cookies for the purpose of donation. Our council sends donated boxes to our soldiers serving in the Middle East in a campaign we call “Operation Cookie Drop.” Last year, girl scouts from five counties helped pack up 46,000 boxes at the Armory in Elmsford. Every picture and note received from a soldier expressed thanks for a piece of home. Please contact your local Girl Scout council to ask where they donate cookies.Otherwise, if you would like to donate boxes to the troops, just send me an email to mad@madforbusiness.com and I will make arrangements to pick up the cookies for you.

Central Commander….

Every week I try to keep notes on the things in my life that may be used for blog material.   This past week gave me plenty, but the overriding theme was the different roles the members of our family play in the overall decision-making process.  That is a nice way of saying that all would be fine if they simply remembered that I am the Central Commander and all movement must be cleared by me.

This position of Central Commander is one that is a singularly lonely position of power, one that I share with women everywhere.   After twenty-two years of marriage, I have come to terms that job-sharing in any form is fine as long as someone understands exactly what jobs need to be done and when.  My husband is a wonderful, patient man who spends lots of time away from home for his job, so I really don’t mind being in charge of the schedules.  What I do mind is when there are glitches.   Here are some examples from last week:

  • Our 12-year old decided that he wasn’t going to an important Boy Scout meeting, held at the same time weekly, and instead went to a friend’s house.  He took complete advantage of the fact that I wasn’t home and his father had forgotten that it was Wednesday.
  • Our 10-year old felt compelled to buy the HD version of every app on his iTouch.  He told me it was fine since he had the money to pay for all of the apps and he then handed me a wad of bills.  It seems his grandfathers keep handing him $20s whenever they see him.  We are a very close family so you can do the math.  First, Santa delivers the iTouch without a consultation and now this.   A clear breakdown in the system.
  • Our 16-year old owns an uncanny ability to ask for the same thing one hundred times, always using different words to express the request.  If only I had not allowed her to read so many books then maybe she would not know so many words.  This tactic often causes a systems overload in my brain.
  • An unclear message about pajama day prompted a 9:30 pm emergency trip to Kohl’s.
  • I received an email from our daughter in Scotland that sent me into an absolute panic.   Seems she meant to write “procrastinator” and “essay due” instead of “miserable” and “unable to sleep for days.”   She always preferred numbers to words.

Along these lines, I continually try to impress upon my family that their agendas really do matter, but they need to meet me halfway by giving me written notification of all activities.  I will even accept changes to the schedule as long as the request is received 24 hours in advance.  Doing this would allow me to concentrate on my other jobs, namely Inventory Investigator and Partner-in-charge of Procurement.  Those empty cereal boxes left in the pantry don’t replace themelves!


I have been exploring chemical free beauty and cleaning products for years now and lately I have been exploring the science behind it all for material for future blog posts. In the meantime, check out the cleaning products from Melaleuca.
I have tried them all and these products leave your house sparkling clean without the toxins. If you are interested in trying them out, please contact my friend, Jill Schantz at

Maybe the Mayans are right after all…

The Mayans have predicted that the world as we know it will be quite different after December 21st of this year.   I first heard about this from my seventh grade CCD students four years ago.   After doing some research, it seems that these changes are meant to be cataclysmic, not catastrophic.   One definition for cataclysmic is “…an upheaval that causes fundamental change.”     I, for one, would certainly welcome some fundamental changes in my life.   Here they are, in no particular order:

  • That the three-foot high pile of stuff at the bottom of the stairs be used as a weight lifting exercise while walking on an incline rather than as hurdling practice.
  • That the Yankees add a color to their uniform so that one of my sons could brighten up his blue and gray wardrobe.
  • That my other son would dress like superstars such as Jay-Z or Kanye as opposed to B-list rappers.
  • That all items that leave the kitchen arrive back safely before they become Petri dishes.
  • That the sum of the underwear coming out of the daily laundry not be less than the number of people who are living here.
  • That all of my offspring remember that I am not interested in their opinions of what I do wrong but rather, I prefer that they go off somewhere and talk about me behind closed doors.  It would be quite a timesaver for me.
  • That husbands the world over understand that the sentence, “I don’t need anything from you for my birthday.” is a lie.
  • That the world would once again embrace the curves of the Rubenesque form in women.  Thus, my dream of being a supermodel could come true.
  • That my dog would stop trying to eat my cats.
  • That gum is outlawed, or at a minimum, all gum chewers would attend a gum chewing etiquette course.
  • That we would all remember that one may not end a sentence in a preposition.
  • That one of my children would plan to go a college closer than a six-hour plane ride.
  • That the deer and I could form a binding agreement that I would feed them if they didn’t eat every flower I plant.
  • Finally, that wearing a tiara in public would be acceptable.

There are so many geographic, political and economic issues floating around that sometimes it may seem that the world is coming to an end.    I prefer to think that all of these issues simply point to our collective need to take a closer look at that which is truly important and to embrace it.   We humans have brought ourselves to the brink before and we always figure out how to move forward and do it better.  As for my list above, I can live without all of these changes, but one.   I really do want to wear a tiara.

Each week I will highlight a business whose goods or service may be of use to all of you.   My being able to thrive in cyberspace is due to the savvy and patient guidance of Holly Alexander, founder of TopSpin Communications. She has worked with me for the past year and a half to build a strong foundation in the world of social media. My ultimate goal is to build residual income streams that allow me the freedom to reach certain personal and philanthropic goals while teaching others to do the same. This blog allows me to chronicle the joys and heartaches of the journey.

Learn more about Holly and TopSpin Communications at www.tpspin.com.


Welcome to my new website, Mad for Business.   I am finally technologically organized!    Here you may find the entire line of vegan, all-natural Arbonne products, a way to save on your energy bill with Ambit Energy and this blog.

I spent the last two weeks fretting over this blog.  I thought about writing something hip, trendy and witty to reflect my new status in cyberspace.   I certainly didn’t want to write a sentimental piece.  That is so last year.  Yet, every time I thought about writing, only one thought came to mind – my grandmother.   She passed away on February 16th at the age of 98.   So, to steal from Meryl Streep’s Oscar acceptance speech, I say, “Whatever – I’m writing about Nanny.”

Madeline Massi grew up in lower Manhattan, where her parents ran the local grocery store.    Her social life revolved around her older brother and sister and she helped raise her younger brother, seventeen years her junior.   She met my Poppy, Frank Massi, in her teens and married at twenty-one.   Their sixty-year marriage remains a love story for the ages.

Nanny always reminded me of a butterfly, often seen as the most beautiful, gracious creature in nature.   She would almost glide into a room as if on the heels of a gentle breeze, never meaning to startle or to surprise.

When any of us had a problem she would rush to our side or pick up the phone, hovering until she knew that the problem was solved or at the very least, we were comforted.   Not unlike the butterfly that hovers over the flowers to make sure nothing interrupts their right to bloom.

Sometimes, all that was needed was for one of us to be heard.  Nanny would sit perfectly still, maybe even stroke our hand, and listen until I felt better.  It wasn’t until many years later that I realized how often she never even said a word for her love bathed us in so much warmth and understanding, no words were needed.

Her grace and charm were legendary.  Poppy’s career allowed them to travel the world where she met all sorts of people, even kings, queens and presidents.    Your status in life meant nothing to Nanny.  She simply wanted to know and appreciate the real you.

Her clothing tastes were impeccable and her hair was always perfectly in place.   The bag, jewelry, shoes and coat were always appropriate.    Again like the butterfly, one’s eyes would always search for Nanny in anticipation as she arrived.  While many women used the tools of beauty to portray themselves as important, Nanny simply believed that she owed those around her to always be her best and look her best.    She never failed.

Butterflies have always been a symbol of hope for me.   I can see the butterfly in my mind’s eye whenever I need to be reminded that beauty remains in the world.  For all of those blessed enough to know my Nanny, she will always be our personal butterfly.


Each week I will highlight a business whose goods or service may be of use to all of you.   My inaugural “shout-out” is to Beverley Delay, who most wondrously created my new website.   Beverley knew what I wanted even when I didn’t. Her services are so reasonable and everything can be done by computer and by telephone. Please do think of her for the web design needs of you and your friends.
Take a look at a sampling of Beverley’s work at www.beverleydesigns.com.