Jessica Lee

According to our dear friend Webster, the definition of a soul mate is a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner. I don’t even have to think about it. I know my soul mate is my beautiful boo, my bestie, the Serena to my Blair…Jessica Lee. Don’t worry, my husband is aware of this. He knows there’s not even a competition. We even have our songs… Piano Man and Don’t Stop Believing. If you are lucky, you can catch us performing these songs when we are a few drinks in. I couldn’t imagine my life without her in it.

We met when my mom and Joe got together. Jessica and her family lived next door to Joe. The first memories I have of her are when she would come over to our townhouse in Fishkill. That’s when she was first introduced to our crazy. And it magically didn’t chase her away. Maybe it’s because we both come from a screwed-up family, or we both sensed a lifelong connection. I don’t know but I’m glad she didn’t run for the hills.

We really started to become close when my mom moved in with Joe. It was awesome having your best friend right next door. We have so many memories from that time. Remaking classic movies (Newsies), swimming in the greenest pool you have ever seen, getting in the car and just driving (going into creepy gas stations to ask for directions), burger king, sneaking into the city, seeing if she could cut me with a butter knife, seeing if it hurts to be hit with a soda bottle, mall trips, and my favorite, going to Ocean City Maryland with Jessica’s family. We felt like such adults when we went. Walking on the boardwalk, playing mini golf, eating at restaurants just us kids and staying up all hours of the night. Getting back to the hotel when the sun was coming up with Nanny sitting on her deck, drinking her coffee and just shaking her head at us as we headed inside.

One time, I was so sick when we were leaving Ocean City that Jessica had to drive us home. She only had her Learners’ Permit. I felt like death in the passenger seat and Ashley sat in the back. It was quite the learning experience. But she did it! Even having to drive through the city at one point. But I wasn’t worried because she had been learning from a fantastic driver all along. . . me. I taught her everything I know.

The August after I graduated from Cobleskill with my Associates’ degree, I got an apartment with Jessica, my brother Danny and our friend Sean in Poughkeepsie. Oh boy was that a wild time. Jessica and I started attending SUNY New Paltz. If you ever wanted to see what different students we were, all you had to do was sit in on our English class. Jessica would raise her hand and participate, while I sat there and prayed the teacher didn’t talk to me. We really balance each other out. Some of the best days were when we would drive to class together and couldn’t find any parking, so we took that as a sign to skip the day and head home. We would always stop for burger king on the way back. Needless to say, I wasn’t the best influence. It was probably a good thing I left New Paltz and finished my bachelor’s degree online instead.

It was a crazy time when we lived in our apartment on Hammersley. We were young, on our own and living with our friends. Every weekend was spent drinking at night and being hungover during the day. We had dinner parties, Halloween parties, fell off porches and had our only real fight. I have never really had a physical fight with someone before. I am usually known to attack with my words. But the one and only time I was ever punched was by my best friend and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It makes for a great story. We were having a party like every weekend and Jessica went to leave, saying she was goinging for a walk. We didn’t live in the best part of Poughkeepsie so I went out after her. I was nervous about her being out by herself. She was not pleased and let me know. To be fair she did tell me if I didn’t go back and leave her alone, she would hit me. She has always been a woman of her word. So, she hit me. I remember we fell to the ground, looked at each other and then I walked away. We didn’t speak for a week. And then one day we just moved on and it was over. Now we laugh about it. This is one of the things I love about our relationship. If we fight (very rarely if at all) or disagree with each other, I know it will never come between us. Because our friendship is more important then all that petty bullshit.

Whenever we get together, I know it is going to be fun. Take our wine nights for example. We cook dinner (usually a fish dish), have a bottle of wine (when we were younger it was two) and watch our guilty pleasure shows like Gossip Girl. We love experimenting with wine. We have tried some that are amazing and then we have tried some that made us want to throw up (looking at you, Booberry wine).  We always seem to get ourselves into situations that I swear would only happen to us. One time at Planet fitness we were looking for a parking space. I found one and put my blinker on to turn in when this woman cut me off and took the spot. Jessica and I were annoyed but moved on and found another spot. We went in, did our workout. But on the way out, an employee stopped us. He asked us if we had an altercation in the parking lot. We were so confused. The only thing we could think was that they meant the woman that took our spot. He said her mother called and told them Jessica and I got out of our car and started kicking the car and attacking it. The mother said she was on her way down there to find us. We were speechless. Thankfully the man believed us and told us to head out. We still laugh about it today. It was so ridiculous. The only thing I can think is that when the woman cut us off, she hit her car into the wall and damaged it. Then she was afraid of getting in trouble so came up with this crazy story of Jessica and I attacking her.

We are always trying to go out and do fun things. Every year we go to the Tap Fest beer festival and we love Woodbury common trips. This year, we took a trip to the city for her birthday. We went to Bryant Park, saw the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and ate at a delicious restaurant. Another time recently Ashley, Jessica and I went to an interactive Van Gough experience which we loved. And the August before Covid-19, Jessica and I went to Rosé Mansion in NYC. Rosé Mansion is an interactive wine tasting with many different photo opportunities. We had such a fun time trying wines, dressing up, going in the ball pit and exploring the wine bar at the end. We may have gotten a little tipsy. And we may have forgotten Jessica’s purse and had to climb up the down escalator to retrieve it. But boy did we have fun. After the mansion we met up with my husband Dan and some friends of ours. We went for delicious Korean BBQ, had some sake and then ended the night at a bar. By the time we got to the train station, Dan was having a little trouble corralling us to the train. We were on a high and felt free. Dan may never let us forget what we put him trough that night, but we had the best time.

In October 2018, Ashley, Jess and me took a trip to surprise our dear friend Steph and her family in England. It was one of the best trips we ever went on. It was short but we were able to go to a cidery, visit family, eat and drink at beautiful restaurants, see Stonehenge, crossed Abbey Road and explored London at night. Next, we are planning a trip to Germany for this Spring and I can’t wait. I also hope we can plan many more trips in the future.

Jessica amazes me all the time. She has been through so much and keeps going. She may not always realize it, but she is by far one of the strongest, loyal, hardworking and smartest people I have ever met. We have been through tough times together, seen each other at our best and worst, but through it all we have supported and stood by each other.  My husband has deployed twice now and she was always there for me. Making sure I didn’t sit at home moping, watching our shows, making sure I didn’t get murdered by people showing up to my house with backpacks (long story) and just being there for me. He will be deploying again next year and I know she will be right there with me. We have so much to look forward to and I feel very lucky knowing she will be by my side through it all. Even when we are old and in the nursing home. We will be running that place. I can’t wait to see what adventure comes next.

“A best friend is like a four-leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have.”

  • Irish Proverb


Bucket List

For this blog, I thought it would be fun to share my bucket list and I encourage you to share yours in the comments! Recently, people have asked me why I have a bucket list. “That’s something you do when you’re old.” It could be because I am going through a midlife crisis early, but really it’s because why NOT now?! I don’t want to wait till I am old to do the things I long to do. I want to do it when I’m young and can really enjoy it. Not to mention, tomorrow is never promised so do the things you want today.

The first thing I ever put on my bucket list, and the only thing that was on it for a long time, is to swim with sharks. Specifically, Great Whites (go big or go home) in Cape Cod. I would of course be in a cage. I know it will be such a thrill and amazing experience to be around such powerful creatures that have been around since the time of the dinosaurs. Thankfully, Cape Cod has many opportunities to make this happen so hopefully in the next two years I will achieve this dream.

The next couple deal with travel. There are many places I would love to see but the two I have on my bucket list are Hawaii and Scotland. Hawaii has always seemed like a tropical paradise with all the beaches, food, dancing, waterfalls, volcanos and so much more. I haven’t had much opportunity to see somewhere like Hawaii and I really hope one day I can. Maybe I will even try surfing. Scotland is an absolute must for me. Right at the top of my list with swimming with sharks. Most of my heritage is Scottish. Like I said in a previous post, my grandmother was born in Scotland and came over to America sometime in the 50’s. She had her Scottish accent until the day she died. Scotland was always her home. Not only do I want to go to Scotland for myself but for her. I know she would be thrilled for me to experience the beauty and peacefulness of her homeland. I may never come home. I want to see Edinburgh Castle, discover the Loch Ness, explore the Scottish Highlands, enjoy some Scotch Whisky, visit family I still have there, see where my grandma grew up and of course see The Isle of Skye. My goal is to visit Scotland by 2026.

Kind of along the lines of the last two, I would love to drive on the Autobahn. Some people might say I go a little fast when driving. So what better way to be able to let loose and feel free than on the one road in the world where the recommended speed limit is 80 mph, but you are free to go as fast as you want in certain parts. The real dream would be to rent a Porsche and drive it on the Autobahn. Hopefully one day.

Next on my list is to learn to play piano. I have always wanted to learn, and it is my own fault I haven’t accomplished this yet. I plan on changing that. There are so many incredible songs out there that I would love to learn. Like Piano Man (obviously), Let it Be, Mad World and so many more. To me, it is the prettiest-sounding instrument.

The last item on my list may seem a little silly but damnit I really want to learn… how to YoYo! It is so frustrating that I can’t do it. But that will change. I am determined to at least be able to get it to come back up once. It will happen. I promise you that.

There it is! That is my bucket List. I’m sure I will add more to it in the years to come. Please, don’t forget to comment on this blog and share your Bucket List. I would love to see what you put high on your list and your must-dos. Let’s all start going through these lists now. Why wait?!

“We should all start to live before we get too old.” – Marilyn Monroe

High School – Confidence

Things started to look up when I entered high school. During Freshman year I attended Roy C. Ketcham High School and lived with my dad. I have so many great memories from that first year in high school. I had great friends, adventures and went to my first homecoming dance. I vividly remember watching Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time at my friend Samantha’s house and loving every second of it (Tim Curry is a GOD). And drinking became an every weekend event. I am very thankful to still have many of those people in my life today. I will be honest…I couldn’t tell you the name of any of my teachers or even what classes I took. But I remember the important things…time with my friends. I remember Steph and I walking home from Samantha’s or Brian’s houses back to hers singing songs from NSYNC’s Christmas album while freezing our asses off, or being a part of Mask & Mime behind the scenes and eating dipsy doodles every day from the vending machine. Meeting friends that I cared so much about like Marie (better watch out when Marie and I get together), Brian, Cory and Louie. It was perfect.

The summer between Freshman and Sophomore year my dad got remarried. He married my stepmom, Michele. And let me tell you we won the stepmom lotto. I know that I may have not been the easiest teenager to deal with, but she did it. She delt with and continues to deal with my insanity. I also gained a new brother and sister. My stepsister Gabby and stepbrother Michael. I won’t say too much about them here because they will have their own blog coming up. Anyway, dad and Michele had a beautiful wedding. I was happy my dad found love again. Him and Michele are perfect together. However, them getting married meant we were moving to Westchester. That’s where Michele lived. Her job was there. She worked in a hospital and my dad traveled for work, so it was easier for my dad to move there then for Michele to quit her job and move by us. Plus, my grandparents lived in Westchester, so this allowed us to be closer to them as well.

So, sophomore year I started at a new school. I was terrified. I was finally happy where I had been. I had great friends and was “finding myself,” as weird as that sounds. I felt like I was losing all my friends and starting all over. The first six months to a year at my new school was hard. Everyone was fine but I didn’t feel connected to them. They all drove expensive cars and had designer clothes and bags. That was not where I came from. But once I started working at a small daycare in the athletic gym, I met some kids from my school and got to know them. These girls allowed me an outlet at school and at work. I was glad to have them. Even though I don’t feel like I made any true long-lasting friends at this new school, (Facebook friends at best) I have to say it ended up not being so bad and everyone was nice and always seemed to include everyone else. I also discovered a passion during one of my favorite classes Junior year — my film class. I talked about it in one of my previous blogs. I loved this class and it helped me find an escape into movies, specifically old movies. Movies and TV have, and still do, give me away of disappearing for a while. I can get lost in them and forget about life for a while.

Even though I thought I was going to lose my friends from freshman year, I didn’t. I visited them every other weekend. I have fond memories of sneaking into the city with my friends Steph, Brian and Louie and going to TRL. We had so much fun. I even snuck into the city with my sister Ashley and my bestie Jessica. Great memories.

During my late teens and early 20s, I felt like I needed everyone to like me and cared a lot about what others thought of me. Honestly, I still feel that way. I am always worried someone is mad at me or I did something to piss someone off. I think as I have gotten older it doesn’t bother me as much, but I still catch myself thinking this way. Someone recommended once to look in the mirror every day and instead of saying what you don’t like about yourself, name a least one thing you do like about yourself. That is something I try to add into my daily routine. One of the most important things I want to teach Autumn is that she is worth more then what people see physically. I remember thinking one of the only things I had going for me were my breasts. They aren’t even that big. But my parents had friends, I specifically remember this one friend of theirs. I think his name was Shaun, but I don’t know for sure. He used to always comment on my breasts to my mom and Joe. It was uncomfortable but at the same time I was like okay this is what I have. This is my worth. My friends would talk about my breast too. About how big they are or try to shoot paper balls in between my cleavage like basketball. Honestly it was funny, and they meant absolutely no harm but again, it stays with you. I have never been the best at school. I can be awkward around people. I talk a lot and ramble when I’m nervous. I am always trying to make people laugh to get rid of the silence or to feel liked. In my head, things like my breasts is all I had going for me. Recently, I lost a lot of weight which I am very proud of. But along with the weight loss, my breasts became smaller. It messed with me mentally for a while. I had to keep telling myself it’s okay. You look great. There is way more to you. And thankfully I have amazing people in my life to remind me that there is more to me then what I think. I mean some of them have been in my life for more than 20 years so there must be something they like about me.

I think older men have such an influence on young women. I have seen it for me, and I have seen it for people I care about. Joe used to feel my legs and comment on if they were smooth or not. Looking back it was not appropriate.  I hope I can teach Autumn that if someone older then her, in a position of power over her or anyone at all does something that ever makes her feel uncomfortable she does not need to take it. She can come to me or someone she trusts.

I never shared this before and even now I am having a hard time writing it. I want to think of it as the past and that it doesn’t matter anymore. But the fact that I am currently thinking about it means it’s still affecting my present. A couple of months before my stepfather Joe passed away, I was living at an apartment with my brother and some friends. Joe and mom’s relationship was extremely toxic at this point. I began receiving texts from Joe. Always asking me things like “Does the carpet match the drapes?” “Is it hardwood?” Inappropriate things. I would never respond. It upset me so much. I didn’t know what to think. This person I really cared about was making me very uncomfortable. He is someone I trusted. I think the worst part looking back now is that I always forgave him and never told anyone. I loved him and I know he didn’t mean it. He was just depressed and drunk. I only ever told two people. I knew if I told others they would view Joe differently and I didn’t want that. I still don’t want that. He was loving and giving and just made a mistake. Every morning after he sent the messages, he would text me and apologize. But when I think about someone my child trusts doing that to her, it freaks me out. I think this is a story I will have to share with her as she gets older, so she can learn from me.

I hope these blogs do not make me come off as someone who is looking for attention or to be the victim. (Here I am, caring what others think again.) I am not looking for that. I am sharing this with the hope it will help me move on or learn to accept them. I also feel that there are others out there who have experienced something similar or have their own stories. I hope I can give them an outlet to feel comfortable and share with me. We need to support each other. I want you to know I am here to support and listen to you as well. Thank you for continuing to read my blogs. It means so much to me.

Junior High-Confidence

Lacking confidence is something I know everyone experiences. I hope to teach Autumn to love, trust and have confidence in herself and the choices she makes. I often wish my parents had pushed me more as a kid. I would start something and never follow through. I did tap, jazz and ballet, but I quit right before the recitals. I told my parents I didn’t want to do it and they just said okay. Looking back, I not only let down the teachers who spent their time teaching me but I let down myself. I let fear stop me from having experiences. I let fear stop me from pushing myself, even as an adult. Recently, I told myself I would try to push myself out of my comfort zone more. Try new things. And I like to think I have. My sister Ashley and I joined a mixed martial arts gym. Not only is it a great workout and something I never thought I would do, but I find that I really enjoy it and look forward to going.  I hope to encourage Autumn to try new things, enjoy new experiences and push herself. Even if she fails, I will show her how to get back up.

Junior High is a vulnerable time for children. Our bodies start to change and we need friends and a good support system to help us through it. When I started Junior High, I felt lost. I was in limbo. I would barely show up to school. My grades were horrible. I had no one encouraging me. No one telling me I could do better. I lost a lot of friends. It felt like they were moving forward as I was standing still. There was so much I had to figure out on my own.

It really started the year before my parents divorced. In sixth grade, I was pissed and sad that my parents split up. I NEVER did my homework, so I would have to stay inside at recess to make it up. I literally never went outside with my classmates. Every day was the same. One day I finally did my homework and when I was able to go out to play it was like being released from prison. The feel of the sun on my face, playing on the swings and just being able to run. It didn’t last long. The next day was back to homework detention.

In junior high not only did I feel stupid, but I was not taught how to take care of myself. We didn’t have a working bathroom at home, so showering was out of the question most days. I didn’t know I should be wearing deodorant, washing my hair or even brushing my teeth. I know that sounds stupid but it’s the truth. With all of that, plus having trouble in school, my confidence level was pretty much nonexistent. Then you add in all the wonderful changes that happen to the female body and it’s not a surprise that I was a mess.

The first time I shaved my legs I only did it because I saw other girls in my class had. I went home, found a razor and gave it a shot. There was no shaving cream. It wasn’t the best experience, but I learned on my own and figured it out with trial and error. I wasn’t bullied but I also had no real friends. Like I said before, most of my close friends had moved on. They had support behind them and didn’t realize I needed help (but they were just kids like me so it’s not their fault).

It felt like it was me against the world — against my mother, my body, my school. When I looked in the mirror, I hated everything I saw. I hated my smile (still do, but I’m working on it), my old clothes that didn’t fit, my body, my unkept, unbrushed hair. Everything.

My parents didn’t communicate so things like the dentist and doctor just didn’t happen. I didn’t go to the dentist after my parents split up until I was in my 20s. That’s a regret I will always have because now here I am at 37 with a shit ton of work to be done on my teeth. Same with the doctor. On Christmas night 2021 I had the worse pain I have ever felt. I couldn’t move. I thought it was a Lactaid issue. But two days later the pain had only gotten worse, and I couldn’t eat or drink anything. I went to the hospital, and it turned out to be my Gallbladder. I spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s having my first ever surgery to remove the gallbladder and gall stones. The surgeon told me it was one of the worse cases he had ever seen. Maybe if I had gone to the doctors on a regular basis, it could have been caught sooner and I wouldn’t have gone through so much pain. It wasn’t till after the surgery that I finally found and went to a primary care doctor, and I plan on keeping up on that.

Honestly, if it wasn’t for my friend Steph, I don’t know that I would have made it through Junior High. We met in first grade and hit it off. But it really wasn’t until Junior High that we became family. She was the only person who instead of judging me saw that I needed a friend. She would invite me to her house before and after school. She loaned me her shampoo and conditioner and let me shower at her house. She encouraged me and gave me a second family. I know it sounds so simple and silly, but this small gesture made a huge impact on my life and how I felt. I am getting teary-eyed just thinking about it because she gave me the tools to have confidence in myself again. I am forever in her debt.

Junior high was the toughest two years of my life. You could not pay me enough to go through it again. The loneliness was overwhelming. I just wanted to hide from the world or start over. Occasionally, I still get that feeling. I think it’s because I felt that way at a young age and it is imprinted in my mind. I am constantly judging myself, gaining and losing confidence and sometimes have trouble seeing how great my life is. But with that said, I continue to work on myself physically and mentally and I like to think I can see a difference. I am lucky to have the best friends, husband, daughter and family (now) to support me and tell me when I am getting inside my own head. I will be there to help Autumn through those milestones, support her and show her the importance of friends, a support system and taking care of her body and mind.

High school and my early 20’s was a whole other ballgame but I will talk about that in the next blog! Thank you all for your continued support. Please remember I would love to hear your feedback, your own experiences or anything you want to share. This is a safe space that we can all use to share out experiences and feelings.


Grudges Part Two – Mom


I always thought my issues with mom started after my parents divorced, but when I really think about it, it was probably before that. She has an angry streak. One time when we were little, she was infuriated because the playroom was a mess. Any parent would have been upset I’m sure, but she took it to another level.  She started throwing toys — big ones, breakable ones. She didn’t care where she threw them. Eventually, a toddler-size rocking horse hit the wall, bounced off and smacked me in the head. I still have a nice dent as a reminder.

Continue reading “Grudges Part Two – Mom”

Great Friends

I just wanted to take a minute and give a huge shout out to my awesome friend Casey. I could not have made this website without him. He helped me set up the whole website and still continues to teach me the ins and outs of how it works. Technology and I are not friends so it has been a lifesaver having him as a resource. I also want to shout out my sister Ashley who has volunteered to edit my blogs. Without her there would be grammar mistakes everywhere. I literally could not do any of this without them so thank you Ashley and Casey. You’re the best.


I have dreamed of becoming a mother ever since I was a young girl playing with my cabbage patch doll. The April after the pandemic began, I found out my dream was coming true, and on December 2, 2020, my little girl Autumn was born. I was terrified despite, this being was something I always wanted. My mother was not an ideal role model. There are many important things I was never taught and had to figure out on my own. So, I made a list of everything I wish someone had taught me when I was growing up that I hope to teach Autumn. Maybe if someone had taught me these, I would be happier, have more self-confidence and know my worth. While I can’t change the past, I can affect the future. I promise to teach my daughter that she can do anything, be anything and that she’ll be a beautiful person no matter what path she follows. Please keep reading if you’d like to join me on that journey!

Continue reading “Grandparents”