I’m From Jersey



It wasn’t until I went away to college that I learned firsthand that New Jersey, and its denizens, were a joke. Like, even my new roommate who hailed from Baltimore — BALTIMORE! — sneered at any mention of the Garden State.

Apparently, it was an embarassing place to live.

Even when we gather now as legit grown ups, there’s always some put down of my home state by my college friends and sometimes the person throwing the insult actually grew up in New Jersey. We went to high school together but after college she moved outside D.C. so I guess there’s a statute of limitations imposed on Jersey. You can disavow yourself of any relation to the state as long as you skeedaddle before you have to start paying taxes.

For a while, I dreamt of getting the hell out of Jersey, too. There’s just so many assumptions made about those of us who live here by those who don’t and for a long time, I really cared what other folks thought. I hated having the taint of Jersey on my skin.

I had a big interview for a PR job at Gucci years ago in Manhattan and the elegant Italian woman conducting the test-a-tete was astounded I grew up in the Garden State. “You don’t sound like you’re from New Jersey,” she observed, and this was long before Snooki and the Housewives gave the rest of the world the impression that we awl tawked liyk dis and ran around drunk pulling each other’s hair. I mean, I gave that shit up after college.

Following my divorce, I dreamt about moving with my youngest child to the city when the older three kids graduated from college. But as time went on, it became clear that my situation was not that cut-and-dry. It turns out, just because your child completes his or her’s higher education does not necessarily mean they’re relocating. Sometimes they’re still living in your basement despite a diploma.

So when I was looking to downsize a bit I realized a 2-bedroom apartment was really not going to work and I quietly wondered how long I would be trapped in the wilds of New Jersey.

But it was a conversation I had this fall with another college pal that helped me see that my thinking was twisted. She and her husband had relocated to Long Island and she said it was hard to make friends because she commutes to work every day and didn’t have kids in the school system to help forge those local connections.

“It’s nice that you’re a part of a community,” she said to me, and I was like, “What is my fucking problem?”

I have everything I need right here. My family. My friends. A lovely town. I’ve also got the beach, pork roll, proper pizza and bagels, Bruce Springsteen and a cool new national park  that’s got an Alexander Hamilton bent and I mean, who’s cooler than that fly founding father these days?

This is where I live. It’s where I’ve raised my four children. Practically my whole family is a quick drive away and I’ve come to appreciate the real Jersey part of Jersey. The Goombas. The accents. The Turnpike. That opening sequence of the Sopranos? You better believe you’ve got yourself a gun baby. Bada bing!

It’s all part of the charm of the state. It’s what gives it its color. The same can be said for where you live, too. Whether you hail from Long Island or Boston or Savannah or Minnesota.  Or even Baltimore. I don’t want us all to be the same. Shiny and hoity-toity. Let’s celebrate our differences and not make assumptions.

And on Sunday nights in the summer, there’s no place on Earth I’d rather be than dancing to Rosalita and being in love with a Jersey girl surrounded by friends in a crowded bar about a block away from the beach because, it turns out, down the shore everything’s alright.

Hey! You from Jersey? Doesn’t matter! Sign up to get all of my latest posts sent right to your inbox by typing your email into the box below. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter. 

 [wysija_form id=”1″]


I Would Not Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

I may be undead but at lease my hair looks good.

I may be undead but at lease my hair looks good.

Dudes, the news is not good.

On the cusp of tonight’s season finale of The Walking Dead, just prior to learning what terrible fate awaits Glen and Maggie (you know last week’s reunion was a wee too happy for that show) and what weird shit is going on at Terminus (because you know if something seems too good to be true on that show, it usually is), I discover that my own fate in a zombie apocalypse is in peril.

It turns out that in a ranking of all 50 states and the District of Columbia for likelihood of surviving a zombie threat, New Jersey ranks at the very bottom. THE VERY BOTTOM. Even below Mississippi.

I find this news rather terrifying.

I even thought I did my part in preparing for a sudden zombie uprising by learning to shoot a firearm not that long ago. I kept joking with one of the gals who was part of the group, another Walking Dead lover, about how we were going to rock the zombie apocalypse. There was even a zombie target we could have bought in the pistol range’s shop.

Maybe we should have learned to shoot crossbows instead.

Anyway, I really want to urge all my fellow New Jerseyans to get their shit together so we can survive whatever havoc brain-eaters bring to our state. I mean, we survived Snooki, right?

When I wasn’t obsessing over the zombie apocalypse this week, I had this to say:


Credit: Randjelovic.zzz

Credit: Randjelovic.zzz

This is What 47 Looks Like

“Why is everyone turning 50 this week?” my 11-​​year-​​old son asked yesterday and I have to say, it certainly felt that way this weekend.

I spent most of Sunday recovering from back-​​to-​​back 50th birthday parties the day before. On Saturday afternoon the kids and I helped our neighbor celebrate his milestone with a small group of friends and family and lots of pictures from various stages of his life. Later that evening I attended a surprise dinner at a local restaurant for a high school friend hitting the big five-​​oh with a mix of his old and new friends plus lots of red wine. (READ MORE … )


photo-15The ‘Conscious Uncoupling’ of Gwyneth and Chris

It can’t be easy being Gwyneth.

What with all the kale she’s got to juice, arms she needs to spin in circles with her friend Tracy the fitness guru and $350 Veronica Beard shorts she must ferret out for us to buy on her website, I don’t know where she finds the time to yell at her kids and watchTV like me. (READ MORE … )


photo-17That’s What She Said

So, lately I’ve drawn much of my inspiration for this blog from things going on in the news, mostly because there’s absolutely nothing going on in my life. Absolutely. Nothing.

It’s so bad that in the five-​​year memory book I try to write in at the end of every day, just a quick recap of what transpired in the previous 24 hours, I actually noted: Picked Nick up from karate. (READ MORE … )


photo-18Is it Cold or Allergies?

The worst part of feeling so lousy these last two weeks was not the hacking cough that actually caused me to vomit (I know, I’m sorry but it really happened) or the 90-​​minute wait for the five-​​minute exam with the nice, young doctor who quickly told me I had an upper respiratory infection and prescribed a Z-​​PAK. (READ MORE … )