Sunday Night Blues

Sunday, during the daylight hours, has that “weekend” feel. We enjoy some free time, pursue hobbies, run errands, start or complete projects, or just chill. But by dinnertime, it whispers in our conscious that the Week is starting soon.

Sunday, after our evening meal, that voice is hammering in my head: time to start the Monday-morning-prep. Mentally and physically, it can tarnish the end of a stellar weekend.  During the school year and with fewer daylight hours, time seems to compress further. And it is the whole family who feels the end of the weekend, not just me.

The minutia starts to over power my restless mind—the upcoming week’s work and family schedule overlaps. I set priorities now so we can start Monday by doing, not necessarily thinking. We are not all morning people, especially on Mondays!

I keep trying to think of ways to extend the weekend feelings until Monday morning. But, I think it would exhaust me out more to wake up Monday and not be ready to jump into the week.

I wondered, do similar feelings reverberate through our neighbors homes?   Asking a couple friends, they confirmed that similar routines and emotions run through their households. After writing most this piece, I found a 2015 poll that showed a whopping 78% of American workers have these “Sunday Night Blues”. Wow, I had no idea!

How can we extend that weekend feeling a little longer? Most weekends we try to have a family dinner on Sunday night, which brings us together to relax, catch up, and plan for the week. We recently took a spontaneous drive to the beautiful Lake Geneva WI to wander and eat alongside the lake, which was a great change of pace. Maybe we should tweak our Sunday schedules, allow for a little more flexibility and surprise. Keep the weekend feeling alive just a few hours longer, leaving us just a smidge of time to gear up for Monday’s alarm clock ring.

If you have found successful tactics for easing into Monday morning, let me know!



Everyone Has Their Own $h!t

True events–in the space of a few months my dad died, my car was totaled, my husband’s company was purchased, my middle daughter got an extremely bad concussion, then broke her foot, then same said daughter left for college, and just got 6 stitches 24 hours after we dropped her off. Now I have two girls 6 hours away at school as summer fades.

Besides, my dad passing away, I know that many of these ebbs in life are normal—for us they happen to be squished together in a few short weeks . I also know that we all need some ughh and desperate times like these to appreciate the “normal”, the joy, and re-engage with what is important.

To boost spirits through these many tumultuous events, I have started thinking of them as transitions and not endings.  Then I hope that  the inevitable learning will then have positive energy on the other side. I try to start each day with the proverbial clean slate, hoping we are back on the upswing.  We slog through, knowing the days will eventually brighten.

I am aware that many people have worse situations than mine. But, please don’t belittle my life transitions. They are mine; I own them: the tears, the adjustments, the sleepless nights, and the complicated feelings that arise from them.

Daily, I continue to find happiness in the simple, the unexpected, my friends, a bike ride, a movie, making dinner with home-grown vegetables, taking some photographs, reaching out to connect with new people and opportunities, and then receding for a quiet moment.

I don’t talk about it too much. A mantra I say to myself often is that “Everyone has got their shit.” And it’s true.  But sometimes a gal has to vent. Or explode. So I say it, then move on.  And laugh when I can.


Eulogy for my Dad

My dad, Richard Albert Cardinal, died on June 23, just about 3 weeks ago. I gave the eulogy at his local service this week. Here are the words I wrote and said about him, since a couple people have asked to read them.  We miss you already.  Love you.  Cindy


My dad leaves behind a wonderful legacy of faith, family, and friendship. He knew the importance of embracing each day, since he first died when I was 15 years old. Now, that might seem crazy since we are here today, but it is true.

He suffered a major heart attack and was clinically dead for more than 10 minutes. During that time he argued with God that he was too young to die, that he still had to support me, Sharon, Dave, Steve, and my mom Barb. And he won that debate with God, which shows what a persuader he was. We were blessed to have him amongst us for 38 additional years.

His Catholic faith remained extremely important in his life. I especially remember him and my mom working on Spring Fever fundraiser at Holy Cross. He performed on stage with his friends, bringing down the house with their song and dance routine.

We moved from New Jersey to Deerfield IL when I was in second grade. During our childhood, my highlight was our annual trips back to the Jersey shore from Illinois. (though we learned early not to help him pack the paneled station wagon). We spent long days hanging out at the beach, went crabbing, and it felt like a huge family party every night. Many of those family members are here today.

After one of his heart surgeries, his friend gave him a book about drawing. I had never seen my dad draw, though he and I often had dueling cameras on trips. Art changed his life. He showed us all that you are NEVER to old to learn. He continued to take classes and paint until just a few months ago.

We were so lucky to have my parents spend the last 10 summers with us in Hawthorn Woods. My parents became surrogate grandparents to my kids’ friends, and friends with our friends. The last couple years they came in right on July 3rd, and the first time we would see them was with all our friends at the local fireworks show.

My dad spent many days here giving art classes to my children Tara, Devon and Ronan and their friends. He would create a lesson plan that Tara would diligently follow, Devon (at 3 years younger) would try to imitate Tara’s work and become very frustrated, and Ronan would just want to draw pictures of animals or spaceships. And my dad would oblige them all. His motto to them was always “paint what you see.”

During their time with us he and Bob would grill together—or Bob would grill while my dad sat and drank wine, he and I spent many hours in my garden, they golfed, we had raucous family games nights, and day trips to Chicago.

Our kids often said that Bobbi and Papa had a busier social life than they did. This just might be true, as my dad has retained friendships from his childhood in NJ, our Lake Eleanor days, and more recently from the Fountain Hills Art League and Men’s Club in Arizona. People were drawn to him because of his sense of humor, that twinkle in his eye. And once you met him, he could be a friend for life.

My siblings and I are spread from here to Arizona to California. We cherish our time together, since we see each other infrequently. There is always laughter and debates whether we are in Puerto Vallarta yelling “watch out for mangos”, exploring Phoenix or the Grand Canyon, realizing that hike down Snowbird was 3 times the length we thought, California, Chicago and Abba dancing Christmas’, Colorado, and several extended family reunions.

I learned how to live by watching my dad and mom. My dad infused in me the love I have for my family, the importance of my friendships in times of laughter and heartache, how to overcome health issues, creativity, standing up for my beliefs and for others, to give back. Most importantly, that life can be short. That we need to live each day to its fullest and never stop trying new things.

We will miss my dad greatly, but we know that he was at peace when he passed away.



With an ill family member a plane ride away
that little rectangular tool
called the Cell Phone
so full of need
and escape
in a hand-held box
that I sometimes abhor,
(when others are hypnotized
and friends engaged in the screen
instead of today
and engaging conversation)
has become my lifeline.

I carry it on my person–
every step in the house,
during meetings,
while at the gym,
a brief escape with friends,
the ebony hour.
The buzzer is at the ready,
for a call
a text
an update
from afar.

It is a hope
an anchor
a wish
my reality.

So thankful I have it
to desperately grasp,
rather than the old-school landline,
to keep me truly tethered to my home,
while I wait
for the latest change
by voice or written word.


After 900+ Games, A Soccer Mom No More

I am no longer a Soccer Mom. It is truly the end of a parenting era for me. It has been such a huge part of our family life, with 3 kids involved in house league, club, and school soccer for 18+ years. I calculated they have played in over 950 soccer games, with 1000s more practices, trips to the ER, games in literally every type of weather, packing coolers and filling water bottles, show tying, attending soccer parties and award nights, taking a myriad of pictures, even coaching when they were younger.

There was a viral post last year lamenting competitive sports. While I agree that some parents and players have unrealistic expectations, it was never our goal that our children would continue sports in college unless they chose that route. They played soccer because they loved the game—and they got so, so much more from playing soccer than simply the game.

My children have learned discipline, the importance of teamwork, how practice improves your skills, why eating healthy and staying hydrated is important, how to play with teammates and coaches they do not agree with or even like, that you don’t always win when expected, the unexpected victory, how sidelining injuries are frustrating, how to speak up for themselves.

We have formed close bonds with other families, whether for a season or for years. We have travelled for many tournaments including Phoenix AZ, Cincinnati, OH, Madison WI, Kansas City, MO. In each city we have tried to explore–enjoying hiking, a variety restaurants, shopping, and experiences from the St. Louis Arch to college visits.

The end of our family soccer era ended with suddenly, with an elbow to the nose and a 35-yard header that caused a horrible concussion. Not the way I expected us to end our soccer involvement, with trips to the ER, neurologist, physical therapy, and wondering whether Devon would even get to walk at graduation. Thankfully, she is on the mend but soccer days are over.

I doubt our kids can yet appreciate how much soccer positively impacted our family. It allowed us to spend many hours together, watching them grow, learning about themselves and other families’ dynamics, politics in organized sports.

In hindsight, I am so grateful for almost every game I watched—even the bitter cold and snow games brings laughter and memories now. So whatever sport or activity your child embraces,  join their journey. Watch them grow.  And know this time will end.  Quicker than you expect.


A Familiar College Visit

Can you go back? To college, that is.

I loved college. My daughter Tara is now a junior at my alma mater, University of Dayton; my other daughter Devon is going to attend UD in the fall. I feel lucky to often visit this school that offered me so many opportunities, helped shape my adult life, and introduced me to some still-amazing friends.

Scan 16
my UD graduation with my grandmother and parents.

UD has expanded, is way classier looking, has more fields of study, new restaurants to enjoy, but the heart of the school is the same . The upperclassmen housing area, the UD Ghetto*, is overflowing with students on porches and yards enjoying the first gorgeous summer-like weekend this year. The university still seems the happiest place on Earth. Sorry, Disney.

When I was a student, I never once had a thought that one –let alone two–of my kids could be living and studying here, drinking at the same bars, hanging out in the same houses did.  Kinda crazy, in retrospect. Every time I am on campus, I remember so much of my time as a UD Flyer. But as I walk through the Ghetto today, I feel like a …. mom.

It is this generation’s turn to experience college, make friends, find love, join new clubs, travel to new cities or countries, stay up too late, change loves and friends, sleep until noon then study until 2 am.

They will stress about  class projects and exams, life after college, money, health, jobs, fitting in, discovering who they are, and suddenly–what they thought they wanted to study, they don’t. That’s OK. Hopefully your advisors can help you change majors or classes. The emotional turmoil is part of the college experience. Know that these are some of the first adult decisions that you will make—and even after you leave school, many of you will change careers, change friends, move to new cities, have kids.

So, as I walk through the Ghetto with my daughter and a few other moms, I look with envy at these joyous, welcoming, sassy, smart, silly students and hope that you find your way. Experience all you can during these years—you won’t regret it.


This weekend I will enjoy real conversation with Tara, the school sponsored 70’s themed block party, a few Ghetto gatherings, the infamous Timothy’s, running through the campus, the book store, then head home back to my daily life.

Until next time, when I will enjoy this campus again. Feeling like a … proud mom and UD alumni.


*term is UD politically incorrect, but student –and-alumni- correct. I know the school wants to eliminate that name but it’s been there since the 1960’s. Sorry admin.


Letter to my Daughters,

Of the many people you meet in life, some are with you for a moment, a day, a week, a year, a lifetime. Some barely touch your boundaries, others learn your heart, guess your secrets, know your emotions even when they are hiding. And there are many in-between layers, which will fluctuate over time.

Hold onto those girlfriends—you learn who they are as your foundation grows and life circumstances change—with all you can. They are the ones who

Make you laugh out loud. Most important.
Tell you when you look amazing (always, of course) and when asked, tell you not to buy that outfit.
Whether you speak daily or once a year, the conversation flows with no sense of separation.
Hand you Kleenex when you cry, hold your hair on nights you are unwell.
Know your history and dreams, your crushes, your dashed hopes.
Feel like an extension of you. Your family.
Know that sometimes silence is what you crave, a quiet touch.
Listen intently, sometimes offer opinions even when opposite yours,
but don’t force you to think their viewpoint is the only correct one.
They will be there when your romantic relationships fail—so don’t shut them out when you are flying,
Tell you unwanted truths about you, your partner, your children
If you are willing to hear them,
Reach out when you are in need, sometimes unexpectedly,
Share new hobbies, books, card games, films, or restaurants with you,
Explore your neighborhood or travel across the world with you,
stand up for you when you others gossip,
hold onto your secrets forever,
accept when you do not want to share,
let you vanish inside your world–for a little while
wish you joy.

Invest your time and truths with girls you can learn from, laugh with, cry with, yell at, eat and drink with, share with, listen to, forgive, accept. Just Be. Yourself.

On a truly lousy day, I often don’t want to bother anyone with the myriad of stresses crowding my brain. I know I have these girlfriends that I CAN call them if I want to talk; that alone can give me some peace.

Reach out to them. Help them. Thank them. Love them. Laugh with them and sometimes at them. Agree with them. Challenge them. Respect them. Nurture them.Trust them.

Know that some of those friendships will wane, some surprising ones will last decades. But hold onto those winners. You won’t regret it.


Your Mama