Top 10 Things I learned at BlogHer

Blogher Award

I am unable to attend this year. But here is my Top Ten List of things I learned at the last conference.  I hope everyone going has a great time!

10. For several days following the conference you will amble around BlogHerized. Definition: The mindboggling state of sorting through the Who, Where, Why & When of What you experienced at the conference.

9. Some bloggers will look exactly like their online photos. Others will look like older versions of themselves. Some may even resemble the foods, flowers or fetishes they blog about.

8. The words “free” and “food” do not always go well together in a sentence or in one’s digestive system.

7. Speaking of free – all that SWAG could cost almost $100.00 to take home.  Note: I hope that nice TSA gentleman with the friendly smile got lucky with his wife for bringing her a bottle of Windex and some Trojan lubricant.

July 2013 149

6. During keynote speaker presentations some people will snicker under their breath, while others will find themselves crying. Which only goes to demonstrate the subjectivity of the entire business of blogging. You can’t to appeal to everyone.

5. It’s dangerous to carry a Voices of The Year poster through the hall, up the elevator, and across the lobby. This behavior can only be performed with “real live”  friends. Beware- a lasting bound will most definitely be formed.

Blogher Friends


4. “What’s your Twitter handle?” is to bloggers as “What’s your sign” is to strangers meeting in a bar.  Sometimes neither of them make much sense.

3.Sharing a bathroom with an online friend will turn them into someone you hope you get to see again soon.

2. 99.5% of bloggers want to write a book. My advice: Do it. But grow a thick skin. And nurture your patient side. There is no such thing as Instant Gratification in the world of publishing.

And the number one thing I learned is: 

You are not your blog. You are not your ranking. Or your SEO. But one woman writing. Writing something you want the world to hear. And if you can give someone an “aha” moment, get them to realize they are not alone, or make them laugh, then you’ve done your job as a blogger.

Have fun!


Posted in Blogging, BlogHer, Friendship, writing | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Then: Home Economics Now: Home Page



Home page


HOME used to mean a place to eat, sleep & party.  Now it means so much more!


Posted in Computers, Cooking, Home, Home Economics, Sewing, Technology | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Falling From the Sky on The 4th of July

Plane crash

Hamburgers. Hot dogs. Fireworks. Parades.

To all of us here in the US, these things symbolize the 4th of July. The day when we adopted The Declaration of Independence and broke away from our mother – cheery old England.

Not that Mom was so bad, but it was time to go out on our own. Start our own customs and laws.

And one of those customs includes shooting off fire crackers and lighting the sky with explosions of color.

I have fond memories of my dad along with the other fathers on our block, lighting ground snakes that sizzled into nothingness, fountains that sprayed higher than our houses and of course, the ever popular sparkler, used to terrorize your sibling and write your name in the air.

But although those celebrations stand out in my mind, nothing can compare to the 4th of July I experienced a few decades ago.

We lived across the street from a college which put on a fireworks show every year.  Now, because we did live right across the street, we would gather on the railroad tracks which ran behind our house. From there we could see the fireworks.

Of course, we couldn’t hear the patriotic music or hear any of the freedom speeches. But it was free and we were free to drink the beverage of our choice – an ice cold beer, a glass of wine or in my case, an ice cold martini.

So there we were – kids oohing and ahhing at the exploding sky, dogs cowering in fear under our seats, parents talking and sipping their drinks when suddenly the air seemed to stand still.

Of to my right, I saw something huge. Something that didn’t belong that low in the sky.

My mind jumped to that popular expression: It’s a bird.  It’s a plane.  It’s Superman.

Well, in this case, it WAS a plane!

At first I thought it was a huge 747 coming toward us. As it got closer, I realized is was only a small two-seater.  But still- a plane? Using our neighborhood congregation as a landing zone.

Utter chaos ensued.  I grabbed my daughter, the dog, my drink, my husband (in that order) and amidst shouts and screams ran for cover along with everyone else.

Miraculously, the pilot managed to land safely in the middle of the street.

While the rest of us, were left shaking in our boots, he climbed out, shouting. “Long live the Queen.” Moments later, he was handcuffed and hauled off.

I silently wished he could have been taken to the castle dungeon.

Looney as he was, the pilot left us all unscathed and free to go about our lives, free to watch many more 4th of July fireworks shows.

Most of them have paled in comparison to that evening.

How about you?  Any exciting stories to share?

Posted in 4th of July, Fireworks, Memories, Planes | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

God Bless Kayaking



It’s been said that sneezing ten times produces a physical sensation much like an orgasm.  Some people go as far as saying it actually causes an orgasm.  I don’t see how the involuntary expulsion of something from the nose can be as pleasurable as a climax.  But I’m not one to judge what brings others pleasure.

All I can say is that one of the most euphoric inducing activities in my life is kayaking.  Yes, an  early morning kayak  on a clear calm lake is pure bliss.  The water, the quiet, the solitude, the connection to Mother Nature.  It’s as necessary for my psyche as the Internet connection is for my job.  And this connection never shuts down, never needs an upgrade.

All you need is a kayak and a lake.

Unfortunately, I don’t have either in my backyard.  But I do have access to both whenever I, a city girl at heart, visit the small town where my sister lives. When I’m up in those mountains,  I throw off my city skin and blend into her world.

Which is what I had the opportunity to do just last week.  We got up with the sun and after watching it rise over the water, while drinking our necessary caffeine fix, we headed for the dock.

After launching my kayak, I climbed in, pressed my feet against the pedals, grabbed the oars and off I went.  And for the next hour it just me, the lake and my thoughts.

My oars lapped against the water. The wind blew through the aspens as the sun rose higher into the cloudless sky.

For those of you who have never experienced this sport, kayaking is a blend of working- out and looking- within.  With each pull of the oar, I felt my core strengthening, as I moved across the water.  With each deep breath, I felt all my worries fall away.   And soon I had a rhythm going that could challenge the best of the Olympiads.  Well, okay.  I’m not that good but I do have my own style.

Of course, my style does involve going around in circles for a bit, but I once that situation under control I headed for the middle of the lake.

Once there, I dropped my oars and rested my head back.   Seeing as how I was on a lake there was no threat of a sea monsters.  The only monsters were the ones in my mind and they soon disappeared as I stared at the beauty around me.  It’s one of the only places were I am totally in the moment.

No cell phone.  No email.  No crazy boss.  No whining kids.  No nagging husband.  No worries.

And then I heard my sister, sneezing from across the lake.   One, two, three, four, her sneezes carried across the water, interrupting my meditative state.

I had to smile.  Was her experience double the pleasure of mine?  Like I said, I’m not one to judge.   And right then it didn’t really matter.

I closed my eyes.  If only moments like this could last forever.

Posted in Kayaking, Orgasm, Peaceful, Sex, Sneezing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

What My Father Built


Father knows best


Modern family dads

When I was growing up, my father brought in the bacon.  All of it.  He went to work every morning at 6:00 and came home every evening around 5:30.  When he walked in the door after a hard day at the office, my mom handed him a cocktail, the newspaper and a slice of rye bread.  (Don’t ask.  I’m not sure why he wanted this, unless of course, it was a symbol of being the bread winner.) For the next half hour he would sit and relax while my mom finished making dinner and my sister and I set the table.

I guess you’d say he was a lot like Ward Cleaver or Jim Anderson on “Father Knows Best.” And back then I believed he did know best.  After all, he was the man of the house.  My father.

This routine lasted for many, many years until my sister and I started high school at which time our mom wanted to go to work.  Not so much for the money.  But how many times can you change the bedding, scrub the toilets, rearrange the pantry, or play golf in one week?

But Mom going to work wasn’t the only change that took place in our household.  Now my father’s daughters were dating.  Goodbye Ward Cleaver.  Hello Archie Bunker.

My father wasn’t exactly like good old Archie, but when it came to the boys his girls were bringing home, he could be quite judgmental.  After all, he had once been a teenage boy and he knew how boys could act toward girls.  When their daughters start dating it must be a scary time for fathers.  And of course, as a teenage girl, I knew my father did NOT know what was best for me!

Some of my boy friends were definitely  “undesirables”  in my father’s eyes.  In looking back, I can’t say as I blame him.  With only two daughters, he had five son-in-laws.  So, I guess he had reason to be concerned.

Let’s not forget the time he had to bail me out of jail. (Nothing serious) The many months when he wondered when I was going to get on with my life after I came back from Europe.  And what the heck was I doing with my college degree.  Of course, I was wondering that same thing myself.

So, eventually I went to find who I was in life, with the security of always knowing where to find my father.  In his workshop.  Throughout the years he was always building something.  From gigantic wall units, to roll-top desks to rocking horses.

Toward the end of his life he turned to small wooden objects such as stamp holders, bagel tongs and boxes with secret openings.  Sometimes he actually made me guess what it was that he had created.

But I never had to guess how much he loved me.  And of all the things he built, the best was the strong foundation upon which my sister and I lived for many years. Until the time came for us to build lives of our own.

Janie Emaus and her dad

This is my third Father’s Day without him.  Yet, in my world, his presence is bigger than ever.

And I’ve since learned one truth:  My father really did know best.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the wonderful fathers in our lives.

Posted in Daughters, Father's Day, Fathers, Parents, TV Shows, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

Love Letters from WWII

Smiling mom and dad

How well do we know our parents?

What I found from reading old love letters written during WWII.   And what I will always treasure.

Posted in Aging, Father's Day, Fathers, Parents | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Woman in the Mirror

Woman in mirror


As I get older, the road back to my twenties, grows longer.

A bottle or two of Boone’s Farm Apple Wine or maybe some TJ Swan Easy Nights.\Hanging out with good friends. The Moody Blues playing on the stereo. We were young with dreams that knew no boundaries. We were young, idealistic and so sure the world was going to change.

There would be no more war after Vietnam. After all, aren’t we supposed to learn from our mistakes? Women would definitely earn as much as men. After all, aren’t all humans created equal? We were never going to get stretch marks or wrinkles or need reading glasses. After all, weren’t we always going to take care of ourselves? And we were never, definitely never, going to turn into our parents.

So, I ask you? – Who is that women staring at me from the mirror? The one who works in order to pay the mortgage, who sends e-mails to the troops and who smears anti-aging cream all over face each night hoping to wake up a few years younger each day. In fact, she’s hoping to be in her back in her forties by the end of the year.

Because I swear, it’s not me. She acts, she thinks and she looks just like my mom.

Yes, just as we thought, the world did change, but not exactly how I imagined it would. There are still wars. Everything is not always equal. And some years ago, my idealism was squeezed into a corner, a place I promised myself I’d come to later after the kids were fed, the bills paid and some sort of saving plan was set in motion. Responsibility knocked on the door with a one-way ticket to my future, and I climbed on board.

These days, if I drank a glass of Easy Nights, it would definitely not be followed by a Mellow Day, that’s for sure. But rather with a pounding headache. Today, I’m a more sophisticated drinker, preferring a Ketel One martini or a glass of Pinto Grigio.

But some things have not changed. In some ways I’m still exactly the same as that twenty-something girl. I still love hanging out with friends. Listening to The Moody Blues (now considered an Oldie) on my iPhone. And I still dream. Because to stop dreaming, is to stop living.

So most days when I look at that women in the mirror, I have to admit – she may not be who I was expecting, but I have come to love her.

Posted in Uncategorized | 34 Comments

Where Is Grandma?


Funky, big haired grandmother, last seen at  the corner of Ventura and Winnetka with her nose in a book. Seconds before her disappearance, passersby claim to have witnessed an enormous spaceship  hovering in the sky. Her family is devastated. If anyone knows anything, please contact…..

I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve envisioned that headline.  Or something similar.   If only to get my name out in the public.  If only to have my fifteen minutes of fame.

Because some days it seems that is what it takes to get noticed.

Involvement, no matter how slight, in a natural disaster, or media grabbing situation often leads to movie deals, book contracts, one woman shows, art exhibits. You name it.

Remember those parents who claimed their son was flying over the mountains in a hot air balloon? They did have to serve time in jail, but I wouldn’t doubt if there is a movie about them in the works.

Now of course, the work itself has to be good in order to remain popular.  But having Steven Spielberg or Oprah Winfrey asking for my story, now that would satisfy my wildest dreams.

But my life has been made up of ordinary circumstances. According to the Six Degrees of Separation Theory, I could probably connect myself to someone famous or at least to the cousin of a guy who knows the janitor at the school where some celebrity sends his daughter.

And according to my husband, his mother is a descendant of Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of president Lincoln, a woman who suffered much tragedy.   But no one’s banging on my door for stories about her life.

And so I’ve relied on what I call the three Ps: Perseverance, Positive Thinking and a good Pinot.

Whatever it is that you’re doing – from running a small jewelry business to scripting a TV pilot, to being the best pancake maker in your “mommy and me” group, you have to believe in yourself.

If not, you can always resort to some publicity stunt.  But that’s not my style.

So, if I do go missing in the near future, please note that I really don’t want to make headlines this way. And send the authorities in search of me immediately.

Posted in Aging, fame, Grandparents | Tagged , , , , | 23 Comments



So, you’re sitting face to face with your daughter’s sixth grade teacher. She leans forward. Sweat is beading on her face. And she asks you this most awkward questions..

Are you….?

Read about this Most Memorable Mom Moment in the new and improved In The Powder Room.



Posted in Children, Mother's Day, Porn, Teachers, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The “W” Syndrome

I’m allergic to cleaning bathrooms.


I have all the best intentions when I start out. I take the bottle of glass cleaner and a nice rag and head for the shower door. In my mind I see myself spraying the glass and then wiping it off with wide, circular strokes, much like I’ve seen my mother and grandmother do a million times.  I visualize holding the toilet brush and scrubbing away the scum. I see knobs so shiny that my reflection smiles back at me.

But as soon as I step over the threshold and into the bathroom everything changes. And my mind goes into a“Pause” state.

This lasts for a few seconds and then the action returns to “Play.” But unlike a movie which returns to where it left off, my mind skips to a totally new activity.

Usually one that involves writing or walking or wine, depending on the time of day.  I call this the my “W” syndrome.

I’ve thought of seeing a doctor, but which one would I pick?  An internist, if I had one, would only say I was just procrastinating.  Nothing physical is actually going on in my brain.

A psychiatrist would start analyzing me in one of several ways.  A believer in the Freudian theory, would go back to my youth. Since my mom is an immaculate housekeeper he might suggest I have some regressed anger toward her.  Or some underlying issues linked to the word Wife, which back in my mom’s day was equivalent to cleaning, cooking and serving one’s husband.

A Gestalt therapist might suggest that I ignore the past and live in the moment. Which of course, would bring me no closer to cleaning the bathroom since those moments don’t exist in my life.

And as far as my dreams go, the only time cleaning shows up in my rem state is one in where I’m handing money over to a professional house cleaner. And with today’s economy that’s not about to happen any time soon.

So I decided to try to cure myself.

First, I put on some good old rock and roll music.  That was all well and good, until I started dancing around the house which led me to my tennis shoes and out the door for a long Walk.

I then switched to soothing meditation music. That brought me to my couch and a glass of Wine.


Next, I tried listening to an audio book that produced creative thought and I ended up at my computer Writing.

None of these solutions brought me any closer to cleaning the bathroom.

But one day, who knows exactly when, I’ll go into the shower and say WTF!

How come no one ever cleans this place? And I’ll go into a cleaning frenzy.

Until then. I say: Visitor Beware.

Come drink a bottle of wine with me. There are more important things in life than cleaning the damn bathroom.


Posted in Aging, allergies, cleaning, Dreaming, walking, wine, writing | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments