To The Class of 2019…

As our local high schools are winding up their year and our seniors are readying for prom, senior weeks, finals, and graduation I wanted to impart some wisdom and advice as you begin to make your way into the world.

Be great and be true to yourself. Our world is chock full of opportunities and everyone has the right to choose those opportunities that speak to their heart and our world needs the diversity of these choices.

Do not let fear stop you from moving forward. Fear is not new to you, you’ve been afraid before. Remember that first day of kindergarten? Or the first time you had to speak in front of class? Use the energy of that fear to push you forward, beyond the bounds of what you thought were possible.

When my daughter was making her post-high school decisions, there was a level of worry…”What if I hate where I go to college?”. It happens, all the time…but I told her that you are not bound to finish where you start. You can choose to transfer to a different school and start a different path toward your future. And this is important to remember, you may start your journey toward a future you planned and take several detours or even change the ultimate destination. This is the freedom that you have in your life and you should not fear these changes or opportunities.

John Krasinski, Jim from The Office, gave a speech last month to the graduates of his alma mater, Brown University. His speech recounted the time he spent at Brown and how much of his learning occurred outside the classroom and how he had to learn to embrace his fears to move forward. It’s an important realization and lesson…fear is not the enemy, instead it can be a great motivator.

Many of you will hear, “the future is yours” and not know what the heck you are supposed to do with that. For me, it means that you need to embrace your future and work to create a world that you fit in, one where you feel a sense of community and ownership. We do not expect that you will be changing the world immediately, but ask that you not lose the bright-eyed optimism of youth as you carve your way in this world.

Too often our youth believe that they have to have everything figured out at 18, this is far from the truth. Who you are at 18 is very different than who you will be at 21, 28, 35, etc. Your life will ebb and flow and as a result you may find yourself in an unexpected but ultimately logical place.

There will be people that may not understand or appreciate your journey, but do not let this deter you from becoming you who need to become. Find your pack, those that are willing and capable of supporting you and believing in your future. And you in turn offer this same support and understanding to those that choose you to be in their lives.

Our world needs the diversity that you will be achieving as you all start your independent futures. We need college graduates, skilled trade school graduates, military personnel and dreamers who take a little extra time to craft their future.

So as you cross that stage to receive your diploma, embrace the past for the lessons you have learned, appreciate and be present in the now and look forward to the future that you will create. Congratulations to the Class of 2019, go be great!

How Does Your Garden Grow?

With the sudden arrival of some very nice spring weather, now is the time to start buckling down on getting your gardens in shape! So let’s take a look at some kitchen ingredients that can make your gardens bloom!

Don’t I look blue-tiful?
  • Baking soda can make your flowers bloom like crazy! Sprinkle some on the top of the soil around your plants (geraniums, coneflowers, daylilies and clematis) for an explosion of blooms!
  • Cream of tartar can keeps the ants from spoiling your picnic! Simply sprinkle a little on the perimeter of your picnic table or blanket.
  • Cayenne pepper can keep those pesky squirrels from digging up your bulbs, the spice is just too much for these furry thieves.
  • White vinegar can take care of that unsightly algae that may have set up shop on your patio. Simply hit the unsightly slime with full strength vinegar.
  • Love sweet tomatoes? Then bust out that baking soda again…simply sprinkle a little on the soil around the plants.
  • Garden tools looking a little rusty? Give them a nice rub down with olive oil to help repel dirt and rust.
  • Do you want to blue up your pink hydrangeas? Then give them a nice drink of 1 cup white vinegar in 1 gallon of water! Acidic soil is what causes pink flowers to turn blue (does not work on white hydrangeas).
  • Fight the fungus! If you have plants that are prone to fungus (tomatoes and lilacs to name just two), then you need that baking soda again! Mix one teaspoons of baking soda with one litre of water and spray the leaves of the plants. This won’t kill existing fungus, but the alkalinity of the mixture will create an environment that prevents fungus from growing.
  • Coffee brings the early worms! Apparently coffee grounds in your soil will attract hardworking earthworms. You can use both fresh and used but you need to be aware that fresh ground are acidic, while the used grounds are neutral. This is important if you are trying to attract worms around your alkaline loving plants such as geraniums or tomato plants.
We like fun guys, not fungus!

Hopefully armed with these tips you can create a little magic in your yard this year!

Memorial Day – Remember & Honor

Westerly-Pawcatuck Memorial Day Parade

When I was growing up, my grandparents used to have a HUGE Memorial Day party every year. All of my aunts, uncles, cousins and a variety of friends would descend upon Granny and Big G’s home in our most patriotic finery. The night before the big parade we would “help” my grandfather drive the two cars up to the Old Post Road and park them along the route as our viewing spot.

My cousin Maura, me and my cousin Susan, Memorial Day 1971
*Wearing shades stolen from our grandmothers!

When parade day rolled around, everyone would gather and park at my grandparents, store their party contributions and we would troop up to our waiting viewing spot. The kids were allowed to clamber all over the cars to perch on the roof or front hood for an excellent viewing spot or we would battle for an adult’s shoulders. We would be looking out for friends and family that were old enough to march with their troops, team, or school band. But we were also looking for the people in uniform, young and old, enlisted or discharged that put on their uniforms and marched to honor those of their platoon, unit or troop that did not make it home. These men and women marched for those that could no longer do so and there was a great sense of respect that ran through the crowds when these groups marched by…despite the festive atmosphere.

GrannyAndBigG
My grandparents, Granny & Big G, hosts extraordinaire!

The Memorial Day parade in Fairfield, CT was and still is, HUGE! The level of participation and respect offered to honor those that gave their lives to fight for and protect our freedoms has always been my ideal celebration of Memorial Day. Big G was an MP stationed in Italy during World War II. He rarely spoke about his service, it was wildly unpleasant; he saw behavior that was inhumane and disturbing. The few stories he did tell brought home to all of us that war is not a game and that the horrors of battle are too real. My other grandfather also served, as did numerous uncles and cousins. They all came home. But for those that did not come home, for those that gave their lives on the various battlefields around the world, we owe it to them to pay our respects and honor them on Memorial Day.

MemorialDay2014Gazebo
Wilcox Park Gazebo Memorial Day Ceremony, 2014

So as many of us are preparing to gather with friends and family for backyard barbecues or pool opening parties; the first official trip to the beach or a long weekend away, I ask that you take time to acknowledge the meaning of Memorial Day and pay your respects to those that made the ultimate sacrifice. This year I will be doing the “Murph” WOD at Westerly Crossfit. The Murph WOD is what is known as a “hero WOD”, named for men and women that gave everything for their country. This workout happens to be Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy’s favorite workout. Lt. Murphy was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.

Our workout will be:

  • One mile run
  • 100 pull-up
  • 200 push-ups
  • 300 air squats
  • One mile run
  • (*I am doing a 1/2 Murph)

It’s a grueling and challenging workout that asks us to remember the effort, sacrifice and pain members of our military give willingly.

Please click here to learn about Lt. Murphy’s ultimate heroism in the face of enemy fire.

Thank you.

Autonomous Vehicles…The (Road) Wave of the Future!

On May 15, 2019, Providence rolled out a pilot(less) program of six self-driving shuttles providing service between the Providence train station and Olneyville Square called Little Rhody. The program is slated to run for a year providing free shuttle service to twelve stops on the 5.3 mile route connecting neighborhoods with limited access to public transportation and downtown Providence. The shuttles are battery-powered, holding six passengers and have a maximum speed of 25mph.

Also on May 15, 2019 one of these shuttles was pulled over by a Providence police officer because he was curious about this odd looking vehicle. No tickets were issued, it was merely an opportunity for the officer to learn a bit about the vehicles and the program.

Six of these micro-shuttles have hit the road in Providence.
Photo credit: RI DOT website

The shuttles are autonomous but do have an operator that can take control of the vehicle if needed. If you want to check out the route, you can click over here for a live look at the shuttles!

The idea of the self-driving vehicle has been a hot issue of late, especially with the release of Tesla’s Autopilot feature. As the technology evolves and becomes more prevalent on our roadways, big questions surround how to legislate and insure these vehicles.

Self-driving or autonomous vehicles (AV) will rely on a wide variety of technologies that will make assigning liability very different than the current way accident responsibility is handled. Current insurance covers the liability of the driver of the vehicle should they cause damage to another vehicle or property. But what happens in an autonomous vehicle crash?

The technology involved in self-driving cars is extensive and still evolving. At this time the tech is all within the vehicle, but for fully autonomous vehicles to operate at optimum levels it is expected that city/town/state infrastructures will have to be developed and implemented. So how do you assess risk and create insurance for these types of vehicles?

According to the experts the humans won’t be the driving factor behind the risk…it may broaden to incorporate the vehicle manufacturers and licensors of the AV software and potentially to local municipalities in cities/town that provide AV “beacons”. And the issue of “fault” will be a tough determination.

  • If the lidar fritzes out, is it the vehicle manufacturer’s fault or the lidar supplier’s? Same for the electronic eye or camera systems.
  • If the driver fails to download a system update, is this enough of a “failure” to make the accident 100% human error?
  • What if the driver takes control to reduce an AV crash…how do you “share” fault?
  • For vehicles that rely on cell towers to provide communications (such as Super Cruise in Cadillacs), if a cellular provider suffers an outage and vehicles crash are they liable?
  • How do you protect the vehicle owner from hackers taking over their system and causing a crash?
  • Who’s responsible if a municipalities’ “beacon” system fails and AV chaos ensues?

These are huge issues and will need serious research and data to finalize any determinations, but thankfully we are still years away from our robot car travel future. What do you think, are you looking forward to the day when all become passengers in our vehicles? Do you think the current technology will make our roads safer?

Check out this video of a Level 4 AV test drive! The current Tesla technology is considered Level 2. I have to say, watching this is a little unnerving when the car is in full autonomous mode.

Thank You, Janet.

The campaign to start the United States’ Mothers’ Day was the brainchild of Anna Jarvis in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. Mrs. Jarvis also created “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” to help address public health issues. Anna wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work Mrs. Jarvis started and to create a day to honor all mothers because Anna believed that a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”.

My mom has always had my back!

So today I am paying homage to my mother, Janet, as well as the millions of women who have mothered children, whether their own or others.

I was blessed with the world’s best mother. I know many will claim the same, but it’s true. She is far from perfect, but it is that imperfection that made her such a great mother. The harsh reality is that she didn’t have the best role model initially but was surrounded later in life by another wonderful mother (her mother-in-law) who helped and supported her in becoming the woman and mother I am grateful for today.

My mother, Janet, my daughter, Emma, myself and Granny.

I never once in my life ever doubted that my mother loved me. I was FAR from perfect and made some really big mistakes. There were times that my parents were furious with me, yelling and begging to understand how I could be so irresponsible or stupid. But when the dust cleared and tempers lowered, she* would always say that the anger was born out of the fact that she loved me absolutely and without hesitation.

My mother protected us and tried to shield us from the ugliness that this world breeds. But she was also very honest when we would have questions. She became this master at balance. She knew that telling us that the world was all rose and rainbows would leave us ill-prepared for the real world, so she would give us real answers that she knew we could handle. Somehow, she crafted those answers so that we understood the reality but were still buffeted from the too much ugliness. When I look back I realize how hard her job was, but to me she made it look so easy.

It wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I started to understand just how much of yourself you give to your children. It’s not just your heart, but it’s your entire being. There was an enormous shift in myself when I became a mother, that overwhelming awareness that your life is now physically embodied by two beings, yourself and your child. I looked to my mother even more in those early days, more than she will ever know. I was lucky that my mother chose to stay with us for the first month after our daughter was born. And not just as chief baby holder. My mother cooked, cleaned, grocery shopped, and did laundry so that I could adjust to the little human that took over our lives. Sure, she had a lot of time with her darling granddaughter, but the physical household support she provided and the quiet reassurances that we were doing a great job were worth everything.

I am the woman I am because of the woman and mother that Janet was. I too am not perfect, but my daughter would say that I am the best mom. And I am the best mom because I learned from the best.

So today, I thank my mother, Janet, for the courage, strength and overwhelming love that has never wavered in 50 years. For teaching me that life is hard but I am never alone in the struggle, there is always a voice that will comfort and encourage me, and it is her voice.

*Please note I am not excluding my dad, but this is a Mothers Day post.

The Calm Before The Storm

Our local businesses are the backbone of our community and natural disasters can quickly ruin them if proper business preparation is put on the back burner. Our weather is getting more extreme every year and it could take one powerful storm to not only create massive physical damage to local business, but cause extended periods of lost income which could cripple businesses. Let’s take a look at some proactive steps our local business can take to make them more resilient in the face of a disaster.

  • Check your insurance policies! Standing in three feet of flood water is NOT the time to realize you do not have flood insurance. A quick call to our office and we can tell you what you are and are not covered for and discuss the benefits of increased limits or additional coverages.
  • Create a business continuity plan. This goes for small disasters (one that may just affect your business) and large, community-wide disasters. Your small disaster plans may include having a secondary location that you can run your business from (your home, a friend’s office, etc.) while your office/store/shop is repaired. Make sure your client data is backed up offsite so you can continue to service your clients. If your business is big enough, you may want to appoint one person as the “go to” disaster coordinator.
  • Create a protection plan. This is as important for businesses as it is for the general population. If a storm is looming do you know where you can store your vital business equipment? Are there items that should be moved to higher ground, disconnected from power, covered or physically secured so they don’t float or blow away? Is your generator fueled up and properly serviced for quick and easy connection (and stored in a place that won’t flood)? Do you have ample supplies to protect your building (plywood, screws, tarps, etc)?
  • Establish a communication plan. You will want one for your employees as well as for your clients. Make sure you have up-to-date contact information for all employees and clients. Communicate early and honestly. Let everyone know if you have an issue that impacts their job or your ability to provide your service. Delays of schedule due to large scale disasters are obviously easier for your clients to understand as they are likely standing in a similar flood. But if the disaster is a smaller scale, it is imperative that you have your job schedule and client contact info at your fingertips to update them and come up with a plan.

This all may seem very time consuming and overwhelming, BUT it’s important to take a little time now to establish a clear plan for both yourself and your employees. The time and effort you take now could literally save your business when a disaster strikes.

National Car Care Month Tips

Did you know that April is National Car Care Month? I didn’t either, but it’s not too late to give your ride a little TLC! Following are seven easy things you can do to keep your car in good shape heading into the summer!

My trusty steed from my youth!
  • Living in New England and in close proximity to the beach, it’s important to remember that salt and grime can eat away at your car. So grab those buckets and make sure you give your car a bath at least once a month.
  • Now that winter is over, it might time to give your vehicle a fresh oil change. If your car runs out of oil you run the very real and very expensive risk of having your engine seize.
  • Check your car’s “kicks”. Your car’s tires need to be checked now that the weather is warming as well. Check that your tire’s tread is in good shape, look for any cracks or uneven wear. You may want to consider having your tires rotated as well, this helps to improve their longevity and evens out wear. Proper tire pressure is another important way to help improve the life of your tires and increase your car’s efficiency.
  • STOP! Did you know that you should have your brakes checked and tested every 25,000 miles? After a long winter now is a great time to have your trusted mechanic check your brakes.
  • Can you see at night? Car headlights are a vital piece of safety equipment and having a blown bulb is usually very easy to replace on your own. Have someone help you check the headlights, rear/brake lights and your blinkers for functionality. If any are out, you can zip to your local auto store to pick up the bulbs and replace them yourself.
  • Clean air is important for your car’s health. Another easy DIY for your vehicle is to check the cleanliness of the air filter. The air filter acts as your car’s lung and a dirty filter will negatively affect the performance of your engine. Your car’s owner’s manual will be able to show you where the filter lives and how to replace it easily.
  • Check your fluid levels. Antifreeze, brake fluid, steering fluid all are essential components to the safety of your car. Now is a great time to check the levels and top off as needed. Again, that trusty car manual will show you how to check these fluids, as well as recommend what type of fluids to use.
  • “Wiper” right for clear vision. After a harsh winter of snow, sleet, ice and road grime your wipers are probably in need of retirement. Again this another easy DIY maintenance item AND many car part stores will happily install the new blades for you free of charge (I know because I have them install mine twice a year)!

A little bit of preventative maintenance now, will give you miles of smiles through the summer!

♫ People Get Ready ♫

Our spring theme song!

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is predicting historic and wide spread flooding this spring, due in part to above average precipitation through May. While our immediate region is not in the riskiest area, it’s still important that we are prepared, especially since flooding season rolls right into hurricane season! Let’s look at steps you should take to prepare for yourself and your family.

  1. First and foremost, make sure you have the right insurance coverage with appropriate limits for your needs. It’s important to remember that standard insurance policies specifically exclude flood damage. Talk to your agent about your flood risks and the benefits of a flood policy.
    1. Make sure you have your insurance policy information and claims contact numbers. Put this information in your cell phone, so you will always have it with you. Also, have the 24-hour contact information for a disaster recovery company in case you sustain damage, taking swift action to mitigate further damage is important.
  2. Back up and protect your important documents/information critical to your personal life. It is recommended that you back-up your personal data/documents to a cloud and/or a portable drive that is stored safely away from potential flooding.
  3. Establish your emergency plan for your entire family (including your pets) and review the plan with everyone! Ready.Gov has excellent planning tools for everyone.
    1. Click here for a fillable parents’ family communication plan
    2. Click here for a fillable family communication plan for your children (you can put this in their school backpack)
  4. If you are ordered to evacuate and time allows you should:
    1. Actually leave! Please be aware that when an evacuation order is given it is done so to protect the residents as well as emergency responders. If you do not leave, emergency responders will NOT come to help you until an all-clear for the area is given.
    2. Message your out of state contact to provide details of where you are evacuating.
    3. Lock all doors and windows before leaving your home.
    4. Take your emergency “bug out” bag/boxes.
    5. Unplug as many electrical items as possible (leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in UNLESS they are in an area that may flood).
    6. Consider turning off the main switches for power, gas and/or water before leaving.
    7. Leave a note on your front door that your home has been evacuated and prepared (i.e. if you turned off water/power/gas) with your contact number. This will help emergency responders work more efficiently.

Preparing now and reviewing your plans with your family/household members will save you precious time if an emergency occurs.

Spring Into Action!

The warming weather has many of us crawling out of our winter doldrums and the real estate market is chock full of buyers and sellers. If you are looking to make a home selling move, take a look at these most common, but minor, “home deficiencies” discovered during an inspection that could cost you.

  • Missing caulking, grout, and sealer inside the home.
  • Lighting fixture and bulb deficiencies.
  • Cosmetic issues with sheetrock such as small cracks or popped-up nails.
  • The absence of or broken smoke alarms.
  • Damaged or broken windows/screens.
  • Outlets or power switches with deficiencies, such a missing or broken switch plates.
  • Missing caulking or sealing outside.
  • Defective or cruddy faucets.
  • Doors that need to be adjusted or repaired.
  • Broken windows/screens.
  • “Statement” paint. Yes, that blood red in the dining room suits your family, but neutral walls show better.
While the bold colors fit your lifestyle, the more neutral tones makes it easier for a buyer to better picture their “stuff” in your space.

These may seem like very minor issues, but when someone is looking to purchase your home these issues will likely detract from the benefits of the home. Most buyers don’t want to worry about these annoying issues in order to move in and could turn them off completely. And let’s be honest, most of these issues are things that you can take care of yourself and they do not cost a lot.

If your bathrooms faucets have seen better days, a quick trip to the hardware store can have them shiny and new for less than $30. Are your doors a little dingy, then give them a quick scrub down or a fresh coat of paint. Have your cats made swiss cheese of your screens? You can buy screen replacement materials at the hardware store and fix them yourselves (I’ve done this numerous times, it’s quick and painless)! Are the ceiling light fixtures dirty and/or outdated? You can give them a good cleaning or an inexpensive updated globe! That’s another quick and inexpensive fix that gives your home a more polished effect.

Let’s be honest, this swap makes quite difference.

These simple and inexpensive updates and repairs will help make your home look more polished and attractive to potential home buyers and they won’t break the bank. It would be unfortunate to lose a buyer because they couldn’t see beyond very minor issues that are easily fixed.

Friends = A Healthy Life?

February is National Heart Disease Awareness month and there are thousands of articles that provide scientific evidence and methods for lower our heart disease risk…but did you know that having friends can help your heart as well?

A recent study showed that people with strong personal relationships increased their chance of survival over a certain time period by 50 percent! For reference, that’s about the same as quitting smoking and almost twice as good as engaging in physical activity! So let’s take a look at a few ways that having friends in your life can help you live healthier and longer.

That’s me on the left and my long time #BFF, Kathy on the far right in 1986 or 1987 in the gym of our high school!*
  • Stress. While a little stress can be good in that it can boost your system in times of crises, constant stress has a very negative impact on both your emotional and physical well-being. But having a strong social/personal network helps to alleviate this type of stress. Being social and having people that you can trust and rely on helps to alleviate the type of chronic stress that can come from or be exacerbated by being isolated and alone.
  • Overall health. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, using “biomarkers” (ie blood pressure, body mass index, waist circumference and levels of the inflammation marker C- reactive protein) of hundreds of thousands of people aged 12 to 91 and then studying the health of those with a strong social circle and those that were more isolated were eye-opening. For example, for the older subjects with a lack of social connections their risk of high blood pressure was more than double (124%) that of their social counterparts. Social isolation is a higher risk factor for high blood pressure than having diabetes, which has a 70% risk of causing high blood pressure.
  • Mental. A 2012 study discovered that older people’s risk of dementia increased when they are living with a feeling of loneliness. This study followed 2000 people 65 and older over a three year period who had no dementia at the start of the study. For those that stated at the outset of the study that they felt lonely, 13.4% developed dementia; while only 5.7% developed dementia in the group that did not feel a sense of loneliness.
  • Influence. Yes, our friends can be a bad influence on us, but as we get older and start seeking out people that we trust and value, they tend to have a positive influence on our lives. This is something I do not need a study for because I’ve seen it in my own life. In October 2017, I joined a CrossFit gym because I made a commitment to myself to get healthy after my daughter left for college. Yes, taking the step to get more active was done on my own, but what happened after I joined is where the friends “influence” takes effect. Crossfit is a community that welcomes any and all people into its fold and I now have a big circle of friends not only in the gym but in my “real” life. We talk about training tips to battle our weaknesses, diet strategies, work issues, home issues, and yes, we socialize outside of the gym as well. And I as I have become healthier, I have had some of my non-gym friends start to engage and ask me for tips to improve their own health. So the influence of our friends and family can have a huge impact on our willingness and ability to better ourselves.
  • Support. Life is hard and sometimes just downright stinks. But having a strong social network can help you get through the worst of times. A 1989 study published in The Lancet showed that women with breast cancer that were randomly assigned to support groups with other cancer patients reported on having a better quality of life and lived longer than those that were not put into such support groups. In the intervening 30 years, there have been numerous similar studies and the jury is still out on the increased life span of such support, BUT there is strong agreement that these types of support groups do improve the quality of life of the patients and that’s a positive in anyone’s life who is battling cancer.
  • Rejection. While many of these studies were done on adults, a 2011 study conducted on 4th graders showed that having a strong group of friends helped to reduce the stress of children who were picked on or excluded from activities. We’ve all suffered rejection at some point, and those times that we had a friend or two to lean on and listen to us makes the pain easier to bear. The study with the 4th graders showed that those that suffered rejection but who had friends had lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
  • Fun! Yes, it is very possible to have fun by yourself, but having at least one other person with you to encourage you to take chances or who has your crazy sense of humor allowing you laugh until tears are rolling down your cheeks helps to reduce your stress and increase your emotional happiness.
Above is myself, Leanne & Laura in 1995, below is us in 2017!*

For the most part, the studies showed that quality over quantity matters. Having five people that you consider close friends who you not only can have fun with but trust them to help you during your bad times is better than dozens of “acquaintance” type friends. AND it’s important to remember that you can leave a friendship that has become toxic or stressful. Just as strong and healthy relationships have a positive effect on our mental and physical well-being, unhealthy relationships can have a very negative impact on our lives.

And make sure you are making friends IRL (in real life) not just on social media. While having positive online friends can help improve your life, it’s vital to have real flesh and bone people that you can call or see in person. The University of Oxford published a study on 3,300 British people and found that though on average each person had 155 Facebook “friends”, the number the respondents felt they could call on was just four. And don’t think that your closest friends have to be geographically close. In this digital age, maintaining a close relationship may require a bit more effort, but the reward of having that person that knows your “tone” in a text and calls you for the details despite being 1,500 miles away, is worth far more than 15 people that don’t notice when your normally bubbly persona is MIA for a few days.

*Kathy and I have been friends since junior high school…that’s over 36 years! Laura and I met in the fall of my junior year high school (1985) and then she introduced me to Leanne in 1995. We have been through thick and thin over the years and I know for a fact that my life is 100% better because I know that we can count on each other regardless of the fact that we no longer live near one another or see each other all the time. We have gone through some of the absolute best and worst times together and I know that it has made my life 100% better having them in my corner. When you find “your people” it’s important that you work to keep them in your life.