I have some ‘quirks’- a shit load not many admittedly, but a few.


I like my iced tea unsweetened and my hot tea sweet.


See, nothing weird there. 


I prefer to listen to NEWS radio whilst driving and not music. Music mellows my go-to road rage default position thus interfering with my daily release of frustration on unassuming fellow motorists.


Nothing odd so far.


I must have the house tidied-up before I retire for the evening and again before I leave for the day. My theory is that if a burglar shows up he will be so impressed with the perfect placement of the art that he’ll immediately fall in love with me and leave me flowers move on instead of making my life complicated. Same goes for the police.


I’m nothing if not always thinking ahead.


My whole ‘behind-closed-doors’ thing is organized to within an inch of it’s life. If my shit clutter doesn’t, in fact, LOOK like clutter then it’s not really clutter. Right?


Well, that’s my story and I’m storing it in clear plastic non-quirky boxes- that are labeled and color coordinated.


I have been known to ask for a pre-set menu selection to be changed in accommodation to my mood. I am also a tomato snob and I like my meat dead. Do not decorate my plate with little dribbles of saffron colored glaze unless it actually adds to the flavor explosion I fully expect to take place in my mouth after having spent three times the going rate for a plated leaf from the green grocer we all shop. You are not playing with an amateur here.


Or someone that has been known to actually go INTO a professional kitchen. Nope. 


cheryl in the kitchenPINIMAGE



I tend to throw things away if they appear to have no positive purpose or someone has forgotten to put them in their proper place ply them with reverence— for a while. Am I talking ‘objects’?


Okay. We’ll go with that.


I can’t seem to NOT talk during a movie. Things just pop into my head and I have to discuss.


Sometimes they actually have to do with the movie. Oh ohhhh.


I have/use/depend upon LISTS. I have so many lists that I have lists that tell me where the other lists are. It’s called a ‘system’.


Don’t judge. It works. Mostly. Unless I can’t find the List and then I’m immobile until I throw salt over my shoulder, spin three times to the West, and cluck like a chicken.



No Quirks here. 



What Came First? The Chicken or the Quirk?PINIMAGE


  • Nora Hall - I love writers with a sense of humor and you definitely fit the bill. Thanks for sharing–I have to pass this on to my readers.ReplyCancel

  • Audrey Van Petegem - I adore your sense of humor! We all have little (or big) idiosyncrasies but some should stay well hidden! lolReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - Yeah… I like the chicken thing. It’s very…French Quarter….ReplyCancel

  • David Stillwell - I always read your blog and walk away feeling worse. Now my problems are larger because I have to worry about how much I spent on greens, whether or not my lists are adequate, and if I should do the dishes again before I leave the house… Your’s truly, A Third World Nation living with First World Problems…ReplyCancel

  • Lisa at GrandmasBriefs - It’s funny you mention picking up the house in case a robber comes in the night. I do something similar: I lock the bathroom door when I’m alone in the house just in case a thief breaks in… I don’t want him/her catching me on the toilet!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I’m not laughing at you…. but that’s hysterical! And I’m totally going to do that from now on….ReplyCancel

  • Lois Alter Mark - Cheryl, I love your quirks! Well, except for the talking during a movie. SHHHH! xoReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - Of course, they aren’t quirks. We won’t even discuss mine, except I like my coffee black and don’t like tea-iced or hot.ReplyCancel

The Astrology of a BedroomPINIMAGE

The Astrology of a Bedroom

I’m a Cancer on a Leo cusp.


I have no God damn clue what that means, but I’ve read that ‘we’ love the kitchen and the bedroom best.


This has proven true for me- they’re my two favorite places.


Eat- Sleep- Eat- Be left alone- Prep a soiree- Sneak off to catch my breath . You get the picture.


I once had a man friend that said, “I can always tell when Cheryl is done for the day. She ‘retires'”.


I do.


When my day is done I close the door on the noise and slip into my own world.


It just so happens, that that ‘World’ is on top of a big ass bed with fabulous 800 thread count 100% Egyptian cotton manufactured in Italy sheets, firm pillows, and a down-filled comforter (inspired by– have you discovered them yet? Fabu!).



Wine on the side table optional- or not.


Our bedroom is filled with objects that are very personal- our daughter’s christening gown (handmade by my mother) shadow-framed hanging over the headboard flanked by a set of small golden shelves that hold treasures from abandoned homes I’ve happened upon (the two reindeer heads) and small toys we’ve unearthed in the gardens we have dug over the decades.


There is a corner hutch that houses all of our children’s paper mache attempts at fine art from grade school, and the small boots and diary my mother found in the secret drawer of a chest she once purchased.


This is the room in which we display all of our family photographs. They are ‘private’. They don’t belong to the guests at next week’s dinner party.


The floor is covered in a rug from England and a table is draped with an embroidered square from Belgium.


There is a lithograph from France and a wooden box from Boston.


There is peace. There is contentment. There are memories.


There is also a 100% linen hand woven coverlet with a 34 inch drop, not easy to find btw, and a European rolled pillow covered in 18th Century silk that fits perfectly underneath my slender Royal neck.


So, if you happen by and you’re told Her Majesty isn’t receiving anymore visitors for the day, know I’m in good hands, contemplating my Kingdom… in bed… surrounded by the spoils of my conquests…


Looking at the stars…


… on my hi-def 46inch flat screen tv.


I’m receiving audiences, tomorrow, after breakfast.



The Astrology Of A Bedroom


The Astrology Of A Bedroom

  • Linda Roy - You and me both, Cheryl, you and me both. I’m an Aquarius and I don’t know what I’m on the cusp of, but the kitchen and bedroom are my two main hangs. Okay, and now it’s my office too. I’m all about the pillows, the down comforter, my cup of tea or a cocktail on the side table, my books, my guitars…you get the idea. Heaven. I retire too. The whole bit; my own world, kids, you’re down for the night, don’t disturb mama while she’s reading or watching her stories unless there’s a fire. Your bedroom is gorgeous. You have such classic style. But then, we Northeastern Ohio ladies do have taste, don’t we?ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes we do- especially in friends. Love ya gal.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes- especially in friends! Love ya gal!ReplyCancel

  • Haralee - What a cozy bedroom. Very queenly! I have heard doctors, menopause experts and sleep experts say your bedroom must be a refuge of comfort and serenity. You are all set!!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Now- if I could ONLY sleep! Hahahaha. All things in time…ReplyCancel

  • Laurie Oien - I’m a Cancer on a Leo cusp and can relate to the kitchen and bedroom, as well!! I must say, I wish I had your bedroom! It certainly does seem like a kingdom. Jealous…I’ll have to work on mine.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - And the BEST thing is it has a BIG LOCK ON THE DOOR!ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - Umm. Do we have the same birthday? July 23? LOL I am one tiny degree Cancer on the Leo cusp. Just sayin’.ReplyCancel

  • Gary Sidley - It It is reassuring to hear that a lady of your status
    has somewhere suitable to retreat to when she has
    ceased lauding it over her subjects! Long may it

  • Doreen McGettigan - Very funny but seriously I am a Pisces on the cusp of Aquarius and my bedroom (under construction as I write) is my sanctuary. When I finally get there at the end of a good or bad day it is always the best part of the day. The only thing better for my Pisces self is a bedroom close to the sea. I’m working on that.
    Your room is beautiful.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I would also love a room by water. I’m working on that!ReplyCancel

  • Anita Dzirne-Irlen - Wow, this is beautifully written. I don’t do that, I need to do that. This Cancer (July 5) needs a sanctuary too!


    • Cheryl - Why thank you and yes you do! Every woman does. We have too much on our plates. Thanks for stopping by!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca Smith Galli - Loved this! I also retire for the evening. I shut my door and enjoy my bedroom and my family photos and the view my backyard.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - ‘Retiring’ is such an old fashioned thing to do- I think it deserves a come back.ReplyCancel

  • David Stillwell - sentimental you… emphasis on mental… I suspect you always create places that warm the heart… whether you are entertaining guests or just sitting by yourself…. you have that kind of soul… it is soothing and grating and sometimes both at once… you’d never tread softly nor carry a big stick…. but…. I happen to like your way… lead on…ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Hahahhaa! I like the emphasis on mental’ quip. As for sentimental, only for those I love. I find I am a combination of pragmatic and fierce about life. You’re right- I hardly ever tread softly but I have been known to bring out the BIG stick. I’m glad we’re friends. You always make me laugh. *wink*ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - Where as I retire to the bedroom to sleep. How different we are. You have a lovely room. At least I was able to afford a marble top, golden oak library table (original castors) in mine.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Nice. I do read in bed but it usually just gets me all worked-up. I find if I watch mindless tv I drift off.ReplyCancel

  • Keriann McKenna - Beautiful bedroom in which to retire. I retire also and the kitchen and my bedroom are my favorite places in the house. I almost never sit in my living room, and only at the dining room table when I have company. I think we love having a haven to retire to when the day is done.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It’s our SAFE place isn’t it? Formal dining rooms are over. Formal living rooms are almost over. People want to be together in the same room- except the bedroom- that’s private. Thanks for stopping by Keriann.ReplyCancel

  • Diane Tolley - What a beautiful, restful, peaceful room! I could ‘retire’ to such a room as well! LOVE the memories that line your walls and shelves!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I open my eyes in the morning and use the ‘objects’ to trip down memory lane. A very nice way to start the day.ReplyCancel

God Wants To Talk To YouPINIMAGE


A (I’m sure) small bald wise man wrapped in lotus blossoms once said, ‘He who ‘Gives’ carries the heaviest load.’


What am I supposed to do with that?

Here’s the skinny:


See ‘stuff‘ you want.

Start figuring out a way to get the ‘stuff‘.

Go to college because someone convinced you if you did you’d have a greater chance of getting the ‘stuff‘.

Get some ‘stuff‘.

Get some more ‘stuff‘.

Have no more room for the ‘stuff‘.

Find a storage facility to store all the ‘stuff‘ in.

Sort through the ‘stuff‘.

Decide what ‘stuff‘ is worth holding onto and what ‘stuff‘ should move on.

Bring some ‘stuff‘ back to your home to become someone else’s ‘stuff‘…

… At a Yard Sale.

Because you’re nothing if not a Giver.

… And I’m sure even God likes ‘Stuff‘.

He’s got the room.



The STUFF In My Castle  



  • Carol Cassara - Ain’t it the truth! What’s also the truth is that “it ain’t about the stuff”!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Amen sister. I need to get rid of the ‘stuff’ so that I can concentrate on the REAL stuff. HahahaaReplyCancel

  • Roshni - LOL!! It’s amazing how much stuff we crave!!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It really is. I wanted more STUFF when I was younger- now… less. The wisdom of age!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Winer Maizes - My mom always taught me to not let the “stuff” I own, own me. That said…that’s a really cute little chair. How much? 😉ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Hahahaaaa. $1. But ya gotta come here and get it!ReplyCancel

  • Carolann Iadarola - I read today that you only lose what you cling to…stuff included! so true a post!ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - Sell it at yard sale to go buy more “stuff”. I need to get rid of some stuff as well…Love those chairs!ReplyCancel

  • Sue - That is going to be one amazing yard sale.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It should be fun! Wish you could be here!ReplyCancel

  • Abby - I love your Louis style armchair. I’m in the process of finding a nice pair for my hallway. Too bad you’re so far away, damn it – it would be perfect:) BTW love your house style in general!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I wish you were near too! As for my ‘style’ I call it Midlife Cleanout. hahaaaaReplyCancel

When we first moved to New Orleans I was svelte.


Okay- maybe not ‘svelte’ but not 20 lbs of grilled oysters on each hip heavy.


Anywho, a few months ago our soon to be daughter-n-law and her lovely yoga-body mother came in for a pre-wedding trip (They are getting married here! SCORE!).


We went Wedding dress shopping.


It was a perfect afternoon: soft music, champagne, credit cards being melted.


Lauren found her dress. She looked like a … she’s 25. ‘Nuff said.


Lynn found her dress. She looked like a … Pungu Mayurasana master.


I tried on dresses too! It was a ‘Girl’s Day”!


I poured myself into a gorgeous green sequined single-shouldered gown with deep back dip, fitted bodice, and a peek-a-boo De’colletage slit  (that should have accentuated my delusions curves ) swept the curtains aside (que: muzac) stepped out with a flourish, turned to the large gold gilt floor to ceiling mirror, and saw a … Holy-Shit-who-are-you-with-the-beignets-stuffed-in-your-back and a crawfish-boil-around-your-waist and why is the salesgirl expanding the closures with big-ass velvet clothes pins that look like exercise rubber bands used by people that actually e-x-e-r-c-i-s-e? What are those?


So many question, like: Why are all the samples in single digit sizes? Do they NOT have full figured women come in here? Who the hell do they think is actually paying for all this? The Bride? Is it wise to make the Mother’s of The Bride/Groom feel like yesterday’s news? Could I wear a paper bag over my head? Do I really have to show-up at all?


So, I declined to purchase, but vowed to return. Later. After a miracle.


For the first time in my entire life I am on a reduction diet because I WILL be at my Midlife physical best when my son walks down that God Damn aisle or I will kill someone trying. (Yes- drama and destruction are my go-to mantras when I’m feeling self-loathing and someone I love is celebrating a wonderful milestone. I’m nothing if not a giver).


Here’s how the world I loved look:



eating in bedPINIMAGE



Here’s how the world looks now:


old woman exercisingPINIMAGE



Can this old lady find her groove again?


Yes she can. But it’s not as simple as deciding to loose a few before a day on the beach when I was 20. In those days all I had to do was indulge in only one grilled cheese sandwich, instead of two, or maybe, pop a diuretic (somehow I got my hands on a few). Viola! Case closed.


Even after my kids were born– a pound a day– OFF. Easy peasy.


I maintained this indulgence superb physical superiority for decades… and then MENOPAUSE became my sleeping companion and shot to shit my metabolism.


But I was in New Orleans! And the livin’ is EASY. And the food is even better.




And the pounds they are a stubborn (Was that a Simon & Garfunckle song?).


So, here’s how it goes NOW:


I Reduce my caloric consumption to a level deemed inhumane in third world countries but somehow, suggested by the AHA for Americans. You know that program in Whole Foods where you can contribute to micro-loans for women attempting sustainable farming practices because the fathers of all of their children are AWOL in the jungle cooking Meth and can’t contribute? Could I mail them all of the Lobster Chowder in the big pot at the Soup Station, or the pizza in the brick oven next to the bakery full of chocolate Eclairs? I’d gladly give them my share.


I Increase my caloric burn rate. This is done by working a ‘Program’ four fucking days per week. When I enter, the cute girl with the perky tits always says, “Enjoy your workout Cheryl!”. I reply by saying, “Are you kidding? You must have perky tits.”


I am now on a first name basis with the once studdly, now Midlife overweight ex gymnastics coach that manages the gym. He tells me I’m the only one that minds my own business and just ‘works’. I tell him that’s because my ass was going to need it’s own zipcode.


He retorts with a mention that he’d like to send a package to that town.




But, it’s working- not quickly, but in a positive direction.


I don’t have MORE energy (So disregard THOSE claims meant to inspire you) but my boobs aren’t entering the room a week before me , and I no longer look like the 50yo crazbo grandmother who carried her barren daughter’s baby, and I can see my thighs again when I sit down, and my stomach doesn’t follow behind like a water balloon when I turn in bed.


The other added side effect bonus  is the fact that my face is melting, and by ‘melting’ I mean looking gaunt- with new creases in the hollows of my checks, and a sort of permanent sad clown thing going on around the eyes.


Royals – (_Sad Clown With The Golden Voice_ Version) – Lorde Cover – YouTubesad clownPINIMAGE

But I can always get THAT fixed. No workout involved…


Just tickets to the cosmetic surgeon Circus.


Step right up folks! And under the Big Top we have a…




  • Cary Vaughn - What about alcohol? Does your diet exclude alcohol?!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Does LIFE exclude the nectar of the Gods? Does the sun rise in the West? No NO NOOOOOOOO. burpReplyCancel

  • Abby - LOL Cheryl, you’re hilarious! Especially the perky tits and the grandma doing work out picture:)ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Isn’t that pic a hoot?! Seriously- me in a few years. I’m hoarding poison just in case.ReplyCancel

  • Adela - You are hilarious. I know what you mean about the creases. I went on a diet and lost the weight I wanted to. Friends asked me if I was sick. I decided at a certain age, I had to decide between wrinkled or round.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I know i know i know…. but with a little help from my anti-wrinkle doctors Mr. Botox and Ms. Filler I will get that solved!ReplyCancel

  • christina - I spent a week in New Orleans and gained about 10 pounds, I cannot imagine living there!
    Hilarious story, happy I clicked on it!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - And this rusty old gal is so glad you did! Come back!ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - Sorry, I just spit out my coffee. OMG, funny. And wayyy true!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Connolly - I just spit out my tea! That is too hilarious for words.ReplyCancel

  • Ellen Dolgen - You are so funny! I just adore your writing! BTW one menopausal maven to another …just go on Weight Watchers… it is quite amazing and EASY! David and I still eat this way – it is now our 4th year! It is NOT a crazy fad diet…just helps you not eat like it was your last meal – every meal! Congrats on the engagement………….how fab!!!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Carpenter - You’re THE funniest clown ever! Such hilarity. Good luck getting more gaunt, er, svelte. Sounds like you’re on the road to both!ReplyCancel

  • Cathy Chester - Oy, yoy, yoy. Oy vey. The old diet. So funny the way you put it. But now it’s finally warm out and I love the sleeveless dresses and shirts but I refuse to wear them. I hate my arms. And the weight with no exercise lately. Argh. I think I look like your 2nd photo! I have faith in you that you will look beautiful walking down that aisle. And you know why. Because you ARE beautiful, Cheryl. Always was, always will be!ReplyCancel

  • Sherry Macdonald - This is great! I own a personal training studio so I know what you are talking about and don’t judge me because I am over 50 and don’t have perky tits. Great writing I loved the story. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Diane Tolley - Pictures! When you get back into that dress, we want pictures! Someone once said diet was just ‘die’ with a ‘t’. Ugh.
    I’ve cut out sugar. One step at a time . . .ReplyCancel

  • Elena Peters - I hear Ya! This is hilarious! I’m not laughing at you as with you in same boat! Keep going!ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - I hear ya! Right now I’m in the fight for my life! I’ve given up every single “luxury” calorie known to man…except my sweet tea and I guess I am going to have to finally give up that too. I’d rather trade my first born.ReplyCancel

  • Lois Alter Mark - OMG I am crying laughing – because I totally relate! Those photos are hilarious, and I can’t wait to follow along as you reach your goal! You are beautiful no matter what, Cheryl!ReplyCancel

  • Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain's Wife - Is this a good time to mention a vegan diet?ReplyCancel

  • Shelley Zurek - Midlife clown..that’funny! I am always surprised at how much thicker I am. Buttoning coats has become hard!ReplyCancel

  • Denise Thomas - Oh, this is wonderful! I can compleeetely relate. It is SUCH a struggle, but I am glad to hear it’s working for you! Not working so much for me, but good for you!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It took me 4 weeks to loose 7 pounds. Things aren’t going so well here either. I’m up to 13lbs. Thank God the wedding isn’t until next spring. At this pace i’ll need it.ReplyCancel

  • David - You probably just had the dress on backwards. And… BTW thanks for the vision… Every time you walk I will hear oyster shells clanking. Having worked in healthcare for 29 years I have seen every form of the human body… especially the melting female form. The worst was some poor soul with a prolapsed uterus that made her look like she had a penis… that BTW is a quote from the Filipino RN who came to ask me if that woman in 12B was really a man dressed up like a women? She’d even left a urinal on the beds rail just in case. So… I know where you have been and I know where you are headed in this deflate-a-thon. If you want to do your body a favor… no I am not going to suggest giving up alcohol… but really lose weight because you love yourself not because you cannot fit into a 12 year old’s prom dress… also… remember that is worse comes to worse… done one of those Arab women tent things that only allow your eyes to see the light of day… make a political statement. The rich, white, farthest right republican men will hit on you while their wives try to ask if you really know where Obama was born.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Well you said a mouthful didn’t you? ps: I should have probably put on the dress the other way. Next time. XXOOReplyCancel

  • Becky Robbins - Cheryl! You. Are. Awesome! Love reading your writing! It seems like it just flies out of you like you and I were sitting across the table with a glass of um…wine!? I’m signing up for more!ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - Yes, I gained during menopause also. It happens. The hormones go wacko. Once that was over I started to lose. I’m down to a reasonable size, but things shift as one ages. It doesn’t matter the exercises one does. That, however, is not one of my worries. There are too many important things to worry about and youth gone is not one of them. Hugs.ReplyCancel

  • Roshni - You can do this and you will look fabulous!! Can’t wait to see how you look!ReplyCancel

  • Jenny Lynn - Sizing. I simply don’t get who they think they are sizing sample dresses for. Certainly not real women.

    Dieting. Yuck. It is such a dirty word.

    But, none the less. I am here to support your journey. I am sure you will look fabulous for the big day.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Ya know I once worked in the ‘Fashion’ industry and always wondered why store samples or ‘Trunk’ shows only had s-m-a-l-l sizes available when the women that were attending those shows and shopping at those shops did not fit in ANY OF THEM. It’s very discouraging. Hopefully someday someone will smarten up. Thanks for the support- I’ll need it, and I don’t mean spanx (or maybe I do?). HahahahaaReplyCancel

  • Gary Sidley - Hilarious fayre, Cheryl! But do remember, perky tits aren’t everything and many men still much prefer a curvy lady; only male, homosexual fashion designers like female stick-insects.

    Whatever, I’m sure you’ll look fabulous when your son walks down that aisle.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you for the glad tidings Gary! Ben doesn’t seem to mind! heheheheeeeeeReplyCancel

  • Lynn Hogue Paige - Hi Cheryl – thank you for the compliment. It’s funny – I don’t see myself that way at all. What is also funny…. is all I could think about after that trip is how fabulous you are. You have it all together – the beautiful eyes and features, look great in every photo, the amazing family, wonderful house ……the works. I guess we are all hard on ourselves and may not see the things that others do. Namaste.ReplyCancel




Thank you for inviting me here today. I am honored.


Let me begin by saying that it is hotter then Hell. I am ‘swimming’ under this cap and gown. There is no amount of deodorant that will take care of what I believe is going on under there. Like life, sometimes things get uncomfortable and you need to cast off the gown that has been provided by others- and remember everyone smells sometimes, so give yourselves, and others, a break every now and again. Unless it’s chronic- then you’ll need to change things up. Maybe find a new deodorant- or situation.


When I was asked to impart my wisdom today, your University President, asked if I could come-up with a ten minute speech.


I think ten minutes is about ten minutes too short, but I’m receiving an ‘honorary’ degree in Letters, in exchange, so I showed-up. This proves two things: 1) people like to be honored for stuff they don’t deserve, and 2) most people don’t spend enough time on things that are worthwhile.


When I graduated many years ago, the only thing I was interested in was finding a job so that I could get an apartment, and a car, and a ‘life’ of my own. But, Carter was Prez and gasoline was being rationed, and the economy stunk, and people were going to be replaced by this new thing called ‘computers’, and we were all being tracked by aliens, and the USSR (look it up) was likely going to nuke us, and Cancer would be cured, and no one needed Viagra, and going braless seemed like a good idea.


Things change. Your ‘things’ will change too.


Today, you are all starting out of the ‘gate’ together. You all believe anything is possible- and it is, but it won’t stay that way forever. Every decision you make out of fear, every influence that isn’t motivated by love, every year you hesitate to begin your journey, is time that you will never get back. All of you will be occasionally disappointed but you’ll need to get back on the horse.


Disappointment is a gift. Use it to re-tool. Re-think. Reinvent- get a new saddle.


You have all worked hard to be here today. None of you have done it alone. No one does. That island we’ve all heard about- with that guy who’s on it all by himself and having the time of his life? That guy? He’s miserable. No cell service to that island, but he’s not on anyone’s Contact list anyways.


There’s really only a few suggestions I can give you with any kind of certainty:


  • Mind your own business. Life’s complicated enough so ease up on the finding someone/thing to bitch about so that you feel better about your own frustrations. It’s a slippery slope. You’ll be scaling mountains, without reaching your summit, forever.
  • You can’t ‘fix’ people. You can only ‘fix’ situations. Sometimes that means changing jobs. Sometimes that means acceptance.
  • Know the difference between ‘daring’ and ‘stupid’. One is calculated and the other is reckless. Sorta the difference between Atticus Finch and Johnny Knoxville.
  • Be good to yourself, even love yourself, but not so much that you think you are the Center Of The Universe. We are all but passing through and someone’s got to know how to fix a toilet.
  • Don’t just take up space and suck air. Even if you don’t change the world, don’t leave it a worse place.
  • Do fall in love, but not without first being friends, however, don’t be your child’s friend without being a parent first. There are appropriate steps to meaningful relationships. Not everyone is as blessed as the Kardashians, whom appear to be able to do so much in reverse.
  • Don’t assume you ‘deserve’ anything. Life’s not fair. There will always be an asshole driving the car of your dreams and a Veteran trying to find a meal. Enjoy what you do have. Be grateful for all the small reasons.
  • Tip well. The difference between being gracious and being a jerk is so often a percentage– and I’m not just talking money.


And finally, always, have an emergency contact, a few bucks in your pocket, a phone charger available, drink champagne from a tall flute, and have a personal fan up your pants…


God, it’s hot out here.


  • Linda Roy (elleroy was here) - This is just so excellent Cheryl. Wonderful advice. I wish you’d spoken to my graduating class. Can I book you to speak at Max’s in 3 years? 😉ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Ha! Yes- I can be bought with wine.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Froman - Ha great minds think alike. Lol. I wrote a commencement speech blog too.. I like your advice too—lots of good life lessons!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Actually…. I saw yours and thought ‘Why Not?” Thanks for the inspiration Lisa! ps: yours is better written….ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - I love what you advise about handling disappointment. What wisdom that one line is! Among your other gems, of course.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - At our age I think we know a thing or two about reinventing- am I right Carol? HA!ReplyCancel

  • Doreen McGettigan - This is a fabulous commencement speech, perfect. I am going to share it with a few college students.

    • Cheryl - That would be amazing (and a little embarrassing) but please do! Another life lesson- don’t be embarrassed. I should read myself.ReplyCancel

  • Gary Sidley - Cheryl, you’ve excelled here, even by your own supreme standards. Such wisdom, I’ve today re-christened you as ‘The Sassy Sage of New Orleans’! I believe your recommendation to be friends before lovers, and a parent to a child before a friend, constitutes human knowledge of a (honorary)degree most people can only aspire to.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I’ve seen the reverse screw things up soooo many times. One time my son said, “We’ll never be friends!”. I said, “Good. I’ll take being your mother over any other relationship with you.” Never heard it out of his mouth again. Thanks Gary. For the SHARE and the ‘Title’. I’ll TAKE IT!ReplyCancel

  • Diane Tolley - This is the best graduation speech ever! Sharing . . .ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - And I THANK YOU. You may graduate with Honors.ReplyCancel

  • Carolann - Brilliant! I love the point that you can’t fix people. Love this! Sharing!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - How many people do we both know that think they can? Many! It’s so arrogant. Fix yourself first! HA!ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - Oh, yes, I want to hear that speech when you give it. Not bad though, particularly the don’t leave the world in a worse place.ReplyCancel

  • Roshni - Wish someone had given me this advice! !ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I wish it had been given to me too. Maybe in my next life I’ll come back as a wiser me? Or at least speak at my own graduation? One can only hope!ReplyCancel

  • Courtney Conover - The Brown Girl With Long Hair - Cheryl, there aren’t enough words in the English language to describe how utterly perfect your bullet points are. I loved this!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Well…. may be SOME of them. Hahahaha. Thanks for stopping by Court. Love your new shoes! Have a great time!!ReplyCancel

  • Sue - You can’t fix people, only situations is my favorite. This is a go-to words of wisdom for me now.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - And decorating mistakes– those you can fix. HahahahaaReplyCancel

  • Abby - Dear Cheryl,
    Loved all of them, but especially the one about loving ourselves. As it turned out my husband was loving me first before I was loving my-self. It actually took me a whole 40 years to start accepting and getting to know myself. I think when we do that it fixes many things. And then the world becomes a better place. Amazing post:)

    • Cheryl - Dear Abby, You are so right. One must feel comfortable in their own skin and confident about their choices to be able to stop and smell the roses- or move to France. I think you’ve got it ‘down’. Ha!ReplyCancel

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