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Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 289: Can't Teach the Teenagers to Drive

I just can't do it. Had a panic attack this afternoon and had to have one of the boys pull over as he was practicing driving with me. Poor kid, it wasn't his fault he was driving great!

For those of you who have had me as a passenger in their car, you know my phobia of others driving. I need to drive to have control. I am a horrible passenger and I will own that. So can you imagine me teaching two 15 year old boys how to drive!? I feel so bad that I can't do this, but I really can't ... too much fear of death or maiming!

I am a great Mom and have taught more things then I can remember to all three of my sons, but I am a failure at this one. I just don't have the nerves to be an effective and calm driving teacher. I truly fear for my life or of being maimed. I feel really sad that I can't let them drive me all over, but to preserve my sanity and our healthy relationship I believe it's best that they only drive with their Dad!

Ah, parenting!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 288: First Driving Lesson

Today teenagers Harrison & Spencer took their first "professional" driving lessons. They both drove for two hours... on Sunset Boulevard & Pacific Coast Highway! Yikes is all I can say. Can't believe the instructor took them on such busy streets their first time out on the road, but hey if they are going to drive in Los Angeles they better get very comfortable with our crazy, boulevards, highways, and freeways!

All I can say is better the instructor from the driving school, then me! I know they are going to be asking to drive home after school on a daily basis... that means driving on PCH and the 405 freeway. I better wrap my arms around the adventure that will be mine for the next 6 months!

Ah, parenting!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 287: More Baseball, So What's New

It's Saturday so you know what that means for us Simon's... PLAY BALL!

Today was another double header for us at Palisades High School. We are still in Winter ball, with the regular season due to start mid-February. These practice games serve as a great way for the coaches to move players around to assemble a strong fielding & hitting team.
The teams are starting to take shape, but more grooming is still required. It's wonderful to see Harrison & Spencer's progress and their growth.

I'm looking forward to a competitive and quality spring baseball season. I'm also eager to watch college boy Brandon play ball when his Willamette University baseball team heads South to play a tournament here in Los Angeles at the end of February.

One of my most favorite ways to spend time is watching all three of my boys play ball. It never gets old or tiring. And with baseball, there's always another game! Play Ball Boys!

Go Dolphins! Go Bearcats!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 286: When Your Child Has A Bad Day

Hey parents, bet no one told you this in the delivery room!

When your son or daughter is in pain, the world feels like it's off-balance. No parent wants to see their child hurt, disappointed, pained, angry, or frustrated, but these are emotions we all confront in life.

Allowing your child to experience defeat, or frustration or disappointment is being a good parent. We can't always "save" them. Can't always make it "better." We can, however, let them know that we love them, are here for them if they need to talk, and will always support them.

So today one of my son's had a tough day. We talked, made a plan of action, and I gave him all the space and support he needed. I encouraged him, and then I had to let him go. He would either survive the "challenge" or not. But the power was and is within him.

Thankfully he weathered "the storm" successfully and it was a good day. Not sure what tomorrow will bring. No parent is. You can only lay a solid foundation of what your expectations are for your children, instilling them with the values you hold to be true, love them, cuddle them, discipline them... and then trust that with your guidance they will make the right decisions.

No one ever said parenting was easy.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 285: Supporting Women Candidates

I know I may sound like a broken record on this issue, but that's just fine by me. I am passionate about ensuring that we have more women in public office. I write extensively on my blog and on other electronic publications about the benefits of women in appointed or elected office. I speak elaborately about my mission to recruit, train and support women to run for office.

I have also been writing a lot lately about my association to the Marisa Perez campaign. Marisa is running for city council in Lakewood. I am committed to seeing her be victorious.

Tonight I hosted a fundraiser in her honor. In addition to training and supporting women candidates, we also need to raise them resources in order for them to communicate their message with voters. With no funds, there is no campaign. It's that simple. It's very costly to run a campaign and spread your vision for the community. A team must be built, mail collateral designed and mailed, lawn signs printed, voter data purchased, and on and on. It's not a cheap enterprise.

So tonight I had Marisa share with my friends & colleagues why she is running and what she plans to deliver for her community. It was an invigorating evening full of inspiring conversation and hope for the future. I'm so proud of Marisa and all my women friends who are brave enough to add their names to the ballot.
To support Marisa by volunteering or making a contribution, please visit

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 284: Winter Wonderland, Not So Much

I ran on the beach this morning along the bike path in Venice and Santa Monica. Logged 18 miles! Sun was shinning, just a magnificent day for a long distance run.

But as I was getting suntan on my arms, my kid sister Jennifer was being pounded by a winter storm like no other! How can this be? Check out the photo of the street in front of her apartment in Manhattan, New York! How is anyone suppose to live in these conditions?

It's crazy that there is such a weather discrepancy! Really a drastic one! I suppose we pay the enormous mortgages, insane property taxes, and state taxes in California to be able to absorb this sunshine ... I just don't know how people run, walk, work, go to school, do anything in those conditions hitting the east coast!

Bundle up, cuddle someone, and stay warm! Or come visit me in sunny California !

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 283: Protecting Our Bodies

Today marks the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v.Wade - the landmark decision that made abortion legal in the United States.

I join with other pro-choice supporters and those whose lives have been deeply impacted by this law in saying thank you to those who fought so diligently to ensure women have access to safe healthy reproductive procedures.

Thank you to the young, passionate attorneys who successfully argued the case, Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee; the women who have marched to protect the right, the legislators who have fought to defeat measures that would erode that right, and the courageous doctors who continue to make this important procedure safe and available to women, despite threats to the safety of themselves and their families.

Below is an excerpt from Lulu Flores, President of the National Women's Political Caucus:

The 112th Congress ushers in a renewed effort to reverse women's rights. John Boehner (R-OH), the new Speaker of the House, made campaign promises to be the most "pro-life speaker in history."

Anti-abortion rights groups, including Susan B. Anthony List and Americans United for Life (AUL), announced plans to pressure Congress to pass the No Tax Payer Funding for Abortion Act, sponsored by Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL), and the Title X Abortion Provider Act, introduced by Representative Mike Pence (R-IN).

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions and would ensure that health care reform law does not cover the cost of abortions. The Title X Abortion Provider Act would prevent tax dollars from being sent to abortion providers receiving Title X family-planning grants. AUL has drafted 38 additional model anti-abortion bills.

We need more pro-choice, feminist women (and men) in our Congress. Your contribution to NWPC helps us to continue to recruit, train, and support great women candidates across the country.

Our work is never finished. There will always be those who want to deny women choice. Don't ever become complacent.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 282: Nothing Like Old Friends

Tonight two of my oldest and closest friends came over for a visit. I have known Farrel Freeman and Jill Offer since I was 13 years old.

We attended middle school and high school together; were college roommates in San Francisco together; experienced our parent's get divorced together; lost our mom's together; shared boyfriends, girlfriends, marriages, and life together for more than 30 years.

This year we all turn 50! Wow.

There is nothing quite like an old friend who has known you for so long ... they know your history, how you grew up, your family dynamics, your quirks, your secrets, your dreams & aspirations.

Oh the crazy stories we shared as kids, stories none of us would want repeated today. We've gone through loss, and broken hearts, career changes, child birth... you name it! And it never ends. As we all enter our 50th year we face challenges, reflections, and thoughts about how we want to spend the next 50 years of our colorful lives.

One thing is a solid, we will travel this next chapter together.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 281: Play Ball

What a gorgeous day to be outside! And that's exactly how the Simon's spent the day! Baseball all day at the boys' high school in Pacific Palisades! Lovely sunshine all day as the teenagers Harrison & Spencer played some great ball.

Pictured here is Spencer, 15 years old, and below is Harrison, also 15 years old

It's really great too because we have terrific families to socialize with while in the stands for some 6 to 7 hours! Really wonderful mom's and dad's and the camaraderie is really super. Makes the long days go by with great conversation while watching all our children play.

Great way to spend a Sunday ...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 280: Trolling for Votes

Today was a gorgeous sunshine day in Southern California! A day to be outside that's for sure. I spent the day walking precincts for my friend Marisa Perez who is a candidate for Lakewood City Council. Nothing like getting out and meeting voters face-to-face!

If you have never stomped for votes, I recommend you give it a try. It can be very empowering and invigorating. It also can be very frustrating to see how few people really care about who their elected leaders are... yet they are probably the loudest complainers!

Walking door-to-door today brought up a lot of emotions for me about my own campaign and the experiences I encountered when knocking on my neighbor's doors. Residents in the 5th district in Los Angeles, where I ran for city council, were far more rude and hostile then in the small town of Lakewood. It's also different when you are not the candidate. It's not as personal. It's hard to stand at someones door and have them size you up, make rude comments, slam the door, or yell at you ... yet it is the most effective tool when campaigning for a municipal race.
The personal connection leaves an indelible mark on voters. They are impressed that you have come to their door, taken your time to share a candidate with them.

If you really want to help a candidate win, their are two invaluable tasks you can perform to ensure victory ... make a contribution & walk on their behalf! To learn more about my friend Marisa, visit

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 279: They Passed, Should I be Happy?

So the twin teenagers Harrison & Spencer passed their written driver's exam today, means they are now licensed to drive (with an adult 25 years or older in the car)! Be warned I say, stay off the road. All their friends are getting their learner's permits... it's the year of turning 16.

While I know it is a rite of passage to get your license and experience freedom in a car, it's not exactly something I relish. At 16 years young your brain is still mush. Your judgement is poor, your instincts not trained, your driving skills mild at best, and yet thousands of kids hit the road with a machine that is deadly.

I remember going through this entire experience with college boy. We had him drive us everywhere so he got as much experience behind-the-wheel as possible. That was a very smart move on our part. But it still scared the heck out of me. I never really slept till I heard him come home. Now that I think about it, I've really never slept deep since having children.

As with my older boy, we had Harrison & Spencer take their exam today, January 21, which is exactly 6 months till their 16th birthday's on July 21st. That way if they pass the driving test in July they will receive their license on their 16th birthday. That's a very cool feeling and I'm happy for them, just so ambivalent about it myself.

The thought of them driving on Pacific Coast Highway and so much freeway driving to get to and from their school scares the heck out of me. Oh well, I suppose we'll cross that impasse when it arrives.

In the meantime, we hit another milestone today in the raising of children. Why is it that none of these experiences, feelings, emotions, fears, or worries were ever explained in the delivery room?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 278: So Young, So Much Pain

Many of us are trying to grasp the unexplainable act of a teenage boy who jumped to his death this past Friday. A freshman at Santa Monica High School, a diligent student, a member of his high school baseball team, a boy with so much to live for and so many more years to travel.

I've been told his parents are inconsolable. I would only expect that. I mean my goodness, how could you continue to live knowing that your son was in so much pain that he chose to take his own life?

Did he call out for help? Did he tell his friends of his pain? His parents? Anyone? What goes through the mind of such a young person to push them to the point that they will jump from the 10th floor of a Hotel in front of his teammates? What rage? How aggressive. How terribly sad.

Not too long ago I wrote about a woman in our community who lost her son to a tragic accident. He was running with his track team when a car hit and killed him. I attended a memorial for this young boy and the pain was unbearable. A loss.

What I write about today has even more layers of pain. This boy chose to end his own life. The unbearable pain his parents, friends, classmates, coaches, community, Rabbi must all feel... did they do enough to recognize any signs he may have displayed? Did they pick up on any signals? How they are probably suffering second guessing all their actions.

This story just makes me sick to my core. As a mom of three teenage boys who have, and are still, travelling through adolescents -- no doubt a challenging time in one's young life -- I just can't bare this one.

What a loss. I'm so sad for his family. I really have no words to make this one better. Hug your children tightly tonight.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 277: Digging the New Judge

Tonight was the opening season for American Idol! I know it sounds corny, but the boys and I love to watch this show and it's a show we have watched together for years. The truth is, there is very limited programming where teenagers and parents can both watch with interest.

We love to watch the contestants - both the talented & shameful one's - and we love hearing the personal stories. Kudos to the American Idol producers who seek out the heart wrenching stories profiling those auditioning. Always makes me cry.

And this year of course as we all know, offered two new judges. I adore Jennifer Lopez so I was thrilled to have her joining the judging team, but I was a little confused about the Steven Tyler selection ... that is until I saw him tonight! Wow! He dazzled me. I thought he did an excellent job... and believe me I am not a rocker or a groupie of aging rockers.

I'm excited for this season... love witnessing young people's dreams come true!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 276: 50 For My 50th

Tonight was the first board meeting of 2011 for the National Women's Political Caucus, the political organization I am passionately committed to and serve as a member on the Board of Directors.

We laid out an ambitious year of events all designed to encourage more women to run for public office. As with most causes, resources are always what is needed.

I was thrilled that the Board had cooked up an idea where I can be intimately involved in raising money for a mission I care deeply about.

In honor of my 50th Birthday, NWPC - LA Westside is hosting a 50 for 50 Birthday Party for me. A $50 contribution to my favorite political organization, in honor of me turning 50! This is the best gift I could receive... I don't need more stuff, I need more women in public office.

Details about the party are being flushed out, but reserve Thursday, April 14, to party, celebrate and help elect more women during my 50th year of life!

I'm so excited with the idea, I'm actually giddy! Hope you can join the festivities and give me the best present... more women in office!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 275: Driver's Ed Times Two

Well, it's hard for me to believe, but my twin sons Harrison & Spencer will be 15 and a half years old this week. You say what, how the heck did that happen? Not only does this mean that they are getting older, but it means that in six months they'll get their driver's license. So the process has begun.

I remember the process with Brandon and while it was exciting, it was also very nerve wrecking. I mean as much as parents may relish not having to drive their young ones here, there and everywhere, along with that convenience comes the fear of letting go. I'd much rather continue driving them, keeping them sheltered a bit longer, safer a while longer. Once they begin to drive, you as a parent, have lost some control. Very scary.

So the first step has been completed. The on-line driver's education course. They both completed the course work and took the on-line test, and passed. Next up is heading to the DMV later this week for the written driving test. If they pass this exam then we will leave the DMV with permits in hand.... which means they are licensed to get behind-the-wheel and drive with an adult in the car. Oh my goodness.

With one child at a time it seems manageable, and I have already done that successfully. But the idea of having to teach two teenage boys at the same time seems a bit overwhelming. I'll keep you posted as to how their process pans out this week. Just another stage in raising children.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 274: Saying Farewell, Not Good Bye

Can you believe how beautiful the weather has been here in Los Angeles in January? Wow, just gorgeous. Perfect for hiking and of course my runs at the beach.

College boy Brandon wasn't too happy that the weather was so perfect as he headed back to rainy Oregon today. The Pacific Northwest is known for their extensive rainy, cloudy season. If you're an LA kid you either embrace the weather differences or you can't wait to return to the sunshine in sunny Southern California. My son is the latter.

Pictured here is proud Mama (me) with my eldest son Brandon.

But life chugs on and students have to return to college for the second semester. The best part of Brandon's next semester is that it's baseball season! He'll be back in LA in February for a series of games against local universities. And then we'll head up to Salem, Oregon in Spring to watch him play at Willamette.

So today was just a farewell, as I know how fast the days will fly before I see my big boy again. So to all my college bound kids, enjoy the experience and take full advantage of the gift you have been given. We'll see you soon enough.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 273: Simon Tacos

Tonight dinner was Simon Tacos. These delicious tacos designed by hubby Brian have brought much joy to our family for years. It was college boy Brandon's last night in town.... he heads back to school tomorrow after a very long winter break. Why do they give college students so much time off?

After baseball games all morning for teenagers Harrison & Spencer, we headed home where the boys had friends over and lots of basketball was played. A full day for sure.

Maybe it's just me, but I keep thinking about the young man (only 22 years old) who just one week ago today shot all those innocent people in Arizona at a political gathering in front of a supermarket. After reading extensively about this boy and his family, I don't imagine his parents ever experienced much nacaous (kvelling, joy, happiness) from their son. I doubt there were baseball games or backyard basketball games, or many family Simon taco nights.

I can't imagine having children that are so troubled that this type of violence occurs. I really can't. My heart has broken a thousand times over for the shooting victims, the injured, the community, the nation. Just a senseless crime. But isn't all crime senseless?

Sure there is plenty of blame to go around. Plenty of warning signs that this young man was troubled and in need of mental health services. How did his parents not know is what many are asking. We may never know the answer to this question.

So tonight while I hung with the boys I thought, be grateful they are mentally and physically healthy tonight.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 272: Dinner with the Girls

Had dinner tonight with two Mom's from college boy Brandon's high school days! What a treat. I adore these gals, but with life as chaotic as it is for us all, we do not get to see one another as often as we'd like. I find that true for most of my wonderful friendships.

Lina Fabrizio is Ricky's Mom, one of Brandon's high school chums and Michelle Simon is Matt's Mom one of Brandon's pals from the Pacific Hills baseball team.

All our son's are turning 20 this year ... where have those years gone? The boys are all in college, the road has not been seamless, as is true for many adolescents who struggle to find their niche in this world.

As parents you attempt to raise your children with the tools to conquer life, some they adopt, others they reject. Raising children is an endless journey ....

So us Mom's had fun catching up, eating, drinking our wine, talking about everything from our husbands to sex to parenting.... no topic was left untouched. And that's what us gals do, we share, bond, communicate ... it's refreshing too to be in the company of honest friends who don't sugar coat life...

Life has blemishes, and warts, and sometimes it's ugly, being able to recognize that and share our thoughts and emotions with other terrific women, is very cathartic. To all my wonderful girlfriends who are challenged with their marriages, their children, work, weight, family, what ever the poison may be today, know that we all go through it, and we are all on the ride together.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 271: The Outpouring of Encouragement

Wow, I am feeling pretty blessed today! Since launching my new website on 1/11/11, I have been inundated with passionate, moving, and emotional responses from my universe of supporters. Wow. Lovely emails from people who I have not connected with in years, each sending me their feedback on the new site.

"The site is so friendly to navigate."
"How creative and eye catching."
"Love the creativity & recommendations for services."

More than 1,000 people opened the launch announcement, not too shabby. What's refreshing is that the responses have been far more friendly then when I sent out political campaign emails, that's for sure!

I'm feeling very overwhelmed by the interest in my life, my Blog, and my site. Perhaps I have touched a nerve with my followers. I speak honestly about what daily life is like as a mother to three teenagers, to be a woman politically passionate to my candidates & causes, and speaking the truth about reaching a milestone age.

If you have not weighed in yet to offer your candid feedback on my new site, what are you waiting for? The site is a work-in-progress, just like I am ... I'll be spending a lot of time tweaking, adding content, expanding and continuing to provide inspiration. It's a daily challenge, but with enormous gratification... join me won't you!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 270: 16 Miles and Counting

This is insanity. Why did I make this my personal goal for turning 50? Who runs this much? Those people must be crazy, wait, that's me.... well then I am certifiable!

I ran 16 MILES today. That is the most I have EVER run in my life. I'm still alive so that's a good sign.

The Los Angeles Marathon is 9 weeks away, and while 16 miles may sound impressive, I still need to log another 10 miles to complete a marathon. I told you, it's insane behavior!

My recovery was a bit tough this afternoon, but I did not collapse. It is amazing what we can train our bodies to handle. If you had told me one year ago that I'd be able to run 16 miles, I would have laughed in your face.

But, I did and next week I'll do it again, and I'll continue to tack on more miles. I really hope my body hangs on.... if you have been following my running antidotes, you know I have gone through intense pain to get to this point. It has been some journey, that's for sure!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 269: Website Launch

Did you get your announcement today? I hope so! Today I sent a detailed message announcing my newly designed Website! I am ecstatic to have the new site up and running, and to have the old campaign site a distant memory!

One of my goals for 2010 was to bring the old site down and replace it with a site that was more current and reflective of what my life is all about these days. I wanted a site that expressed by passions, intentions, and purpose, with a whimsical and fanciful feel. I believe I have achieved this goal and it feels terrific.

When you set a goal, and you reach it, it's a wonderful feeling. I know many of us have made New Year's resolutions, I implore you to stick to yours ... I promise that when you reach your intended goal, you will feel blissful!

While I shared with you, my faithful supporters the news of the site on New Year's day, the rest of my universe learned of my new creation today. Please take a peek at my new site by visiting, and let me know what you think. Be sure to check out MY CLOSET, it offers lots of cool finds.

2011 is off to a very productive start!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 268: Back to the Routine

The boys returned to high school today. The routine is back in swing. While I am a schedule driven person, I have to tell you it was very nice these past few weeks to not be so constricted by schedules and deadlines. While Brian and I continued our work projects, and daily life still needed to be managed, it was great to eliminate that daily grind of school, baseball, homework, cooked breakfasts, horrible traffic, and packed lunch's.

The fast pace that we live can get to you, if you don't take some time to re-charge. While I didn't exactly have days at the spa as I was Holiday entertaining, and still schlepping boys here, there and every where, it was a nice break from the routine... so today was long, but productive. And tomorrow is a new day.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day 267: The Office Cubby

This afternoon colleague Rebecca Simon and I worked for hours on several pending projects including my new Website (please visit to check it out!), to political endeavors, and potential speaking engagements for me. It was a very busy and productive afternoon.

Pictured here are us two huddled in her "office cubby". A tiny little cut our parcel that Rebecca has transformed to her "home office".

Who knew one could be so productive in such a tiny space. Makes you wonder why we always crave more, bigger, spacious. While it is good to stretch out and have room to ponder, there is something very inviting about small quarters. You feel cozy & warm and are far less distracted.

So there we were today, cruising along, drinking wine (of course) and getting our "stuff" done! A formal launch announcement for my new website will be going out this week and I encourage you to take a peek. This is a great way to kick-off the New Year.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day 266: Campaign Kick-Off Day

Talk about bringing back memories! Today was my friend Marisa Perez's campaign kick-off for her race for Lakewood City Council. I've posted about Marisa several times before, and I hope you will consider supporting her candidacy

While I don't have the desire to run for public office again, my passion continues with supporting other qualified and talented women to run and win. Today we assembled at a beautiful park in the Lakewood community where Marisa was surrounded by family and friends. The park was full of parents and children and it just felt like a perfect match for Marisa, a young mom herself with three darling children.

From there off we went to greet voters at their homes to introduce them to Marisa and tell them why they should vote for her on March 8th. Oh my gosh, it brought back so many memories. The hours, and hours, and hours and days and days and days I walked my district. It's exhausting, painful, emotional, inspiring, gratifying and overwhelming. However, it is the old fashion way to campaign, and is the proven and most affective way to reach voters with your message. But is takes a very confidant and assured person to knock on countless doors and talk politics.

I walked with a former Chamber colleague Catherine Gaughen who is President of the Cerritos Chamber (a neighboring community) and we had a great time. Mostly because we adore the subject we were campaigning for.... Marisa is fresh, smart, and wants to preserve the quality life in Lakewood to raise her family.

I am hosting an event for Marisa at my home on January 27th and invite you to attend to meet my candidate and support our efforts to get her elected. It was a great way to spend Saturday, stomping for a cool woman, and doing what I have passion for.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 265: A Beautiful Story of HOPE

Well by now most of you have heard of the Ted Williams story, if you haven't, I'm not sure where you've been as it's led the news for days now.

Ted had been raised in a good family, had a good life until drugs & alcohol ripped him of that life. He fell so deep that for the past ten years he's been sleeping in a tent under a freeway overpass in Cleveland. He was panhandling with a sign for money. You know the people you avoid making eye contact with when you are stopped at a red light, that was Ted for TEN years.

Until one day a man who took the time to speak to Ted, who happened to be a news producer, discovered that Mr. Williams had a special gift... his baritone voice. And what a voice it is. The producer videotaped Ted speaking and posted the images on You Tube. What happened next, as they say, is history. The You Tube clip went viral and Ted's life has been changed over night.

He's appeared on every National news program, Oprah Winfrey wants him to do voice over work for her new network OWN, the Cleavland Cavaliers want him to do voice over work for their professional basketball team, Kraft Foods has picked him up to record commercials... it goes on an on.

The story is clearly one of HOPE. It illustrates that no matter what your situation, or how down you are (and most of us can agree that homelessness and panhandling are the lowest we can go), you can still change your destiny.

While revelations have surfaced that he is the father to 9 children and has not provided for them, I recognize by no means is Ted a saint, but a person who had one time enjoyed a life of decency who fell into the abyss of drugs.

This is his moment . If he can stay clean, reunite with his family, make good on all the years lost, then he just may become the first miracle story of 2011.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 264: Happy Birthday Papa Joe

What a perfect day for a golf game, and what a perfect way to celebrate Papa Joe's Birthday! Hubby Brian, and teenagers Harrison & Spencer met Dad at Penmar golf course this morning for a round of golf.

Check out how damn cute they are Harrison, Dad, and Spencer

Afterwards college boy Brandon, niece Zoe, and I met them all for lunch. We went to a FABULOUS BBQ joint in Venice. It's called Baby Blues BBQ and if you are ever in Venice on Lincoln Boulevard you must visit this delicious southern home cooked BBQ place. What a yummy lunch we had and a fabulous celebration.

Seems like we just celebrated Papa Joe's 80th Birthday one year ago -- how fast the year has passed. It has been a year full of great happiness and some sorrow. We lost Papa Nat last March, hard to believe we are coming up on one year for that. The kids have all grown and are happy and healthy. Life keeps tickin'.

Pictured here are Spencer, Me, Dad, Zoe, Harrison and Brandon.

Make sure you make an effort to see the one's you love and care about, because someday we'll all be gone.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 263: Last Week of Winter Break

The boys are out of school this one last week for Winter break. Today two of them, college boy Brandon, and teenager Spencer, headed to Disneyland with friends. The other boy, Harrison went bowling with friends. At 10 p.m. tonight they all ended up back at the Simon house with about 7 other teenagers for an outside basketball game. I tell you it just keeps on goin'! Here, there, and everywhere are these boys.

I, of course, want them reading Charles Dickens masterpiece, Great Expectations (which is their reading assignment for the break), or working on their driver's education on-line, or filling out those college transfer applications, or, or, or.... ahhh, well they'll either get to it or they won't! One thing is for sure, they are having a lot of happy days together over break, and for that I am grateful.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 262: The Biggest Loser

Tonight was the season premiere of The Biggest Loser, and well it was a whopper! I really love this program. Let me tell you why. I feel like these folks' lives have gotten so far off track, and food has become an enemy. Some contestants have experienced extreme loss, hardship, overbearing disappointment, while others just simply stuffed their mouth with way too much food (honestly they all did this).

This season there are 54 year old identical twin brothers on the show. One brother shared how he lost his son to an overdose of drugs a few years before. The other brother shared how his only son won't even speak to him because he is so obese. There is a former Olympic Gold athlete on the show who has let his body mushroom to 500 pounds. Really? How the hell does this happen? Each has a story to tell about their journey to obesity. Some are very painful. Abuse, victims of a violent crime, divorce, loss of a spouse, loss of a child. If I ever experienced such a tragedy would I turn to food to soothe my soul?

Parts of the show are almost too grotesque to view. What happens though throughout the season is that these people transform their lives. They are given the tools to be healthier people and to deal with their demons. It is so gratifying to see a contestant at the end of the program when they have transformed their bodies. It shows that no matter how far gone you may be, there is hope to get back to the person you were before the tragedy, the loss, the "whatever".

I know that many people have no empathy for these folks. They just chalk it up to an abuse of food. In part this is accurate, but not everyone has the strength to be so strong to resist temptation. So I rejoice in people's triumphs and their desire to change their bodies and in the process their lives.

I say kudos to the program producers for creating a show that doesn't make you a star, but gives you your life back.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day 261: Dinner With Zoe

Tonight hubby Brian and I went to the movies and dinner with our niece Zoe, who is home from college for Winter Break. I love spending one-on-one time with my boys and all the other children in my life. While family gatherings are wonderful, spending time with just one child at a time, gives you a chance to really visit and connect.

Pictured here is Miss Zoe looking so hip!

Zoe now 19 years old and attending Utah State University in Logan, Utah has come a long way. We couldn't be more proud of her accomplishments. She works full-time and takes a full load of classes. She's performing great with both endeavors. Not an easy task as I know.

We caught up on life, school, her plans for the future and I just kept flashing back to the day she was born. I was in New York with Brandon (who at the time was only 9 months old) when she was born and it was a day I can see so clearly. How did 19 years go by? Damn, this is when I feel so reflective -- not sure if I'm happy that so many memories have been created over the years or sad that so much time has passed? So many days I wish I could travel back to the days when all my nieces were young playing with my boys on the beach. I wish I could have frozen that moment, at least for a little longer.

Pictured here are the Bernstein sisters: Olivia, Esme, and Zoe.

But as we all know, life marches on and you've got to be present and active to absorb it all... spending the evening with Zoe tonight warmed my heart. While the journey to adulthood has not been easy for her or her family, she is on a healthy path of self discovery and what more could you ask for.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day 260: Campaign Strategy Dinner

Great way to kick-off the New Year by attending a "kitchen cabinet" meeting for Marisa Perez' campaign for Lakewood City Council. Marisa is a dear friend, a former colleague of mine from the LA Area Chamber of Commerce, a mom to three young children, and a rock star candidate. The Election is March 8th.

Tonight we met with her political consultant and other political operatives from the Long Beach & Lakewood communities to map out the campaign strategy. I was honored to be included and working with Marisa on her communication plan. Please visit to learn more about Marisa's accomplishments and goals for her community.

And save Thursday, January 27th for an event at my house to meet Marisa and support her candidacy. Being active and engaged in a campaign was a great way to kick start the New Year today!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day 259: New Year, New Website

Happy first day of the New Decade!

I'm so excited to announce on this first day of 2011, the news of my new Website! Finally is all I can say! My campaign for city council was back in March 2009 and my campaign site was still "live" causing me much anxiety!

I had made one of my goals for 2010 to bring that site down and replace it with a whimsical, fun and fanciful site that better reflects where I'm at with my life these days.

Please check it out at It's still being fine tuned and a formal launch will take place next week with a grand announcement.

As followers of my Birthday Blog, you are all my loyal supporters, so if you have thoughts, comments, ideas, I'm open to incorporating your creativity into the new site.

What a great way to kick off the New Year! I'm feeling good today!