As a young child, I looked forward to Friday nights with pizza with my family, renting a movie (or two) and maybe even a sleepover with a friend.
As a teenager, I looked forward to Friday nights out and about with my friends wherever we may be hanging out and possibly stirring up trouble that night.
In college, Friday night shenanigans started as soon as we were done with classes or work – even if it was still in the morning.
Now in my late 20s, Friday night seems to be the light at the end of what can sometimes seem to be a very dark – and long – tunnel.
Beginning To End
Earlier this week I focused on what is usually a dreaded start to a new week, and now I’ve turned to its much anticipated end.
It seems to be just as obvious why most people celebrate Friday. Traditionally, the following two days are supposed to be spent with leisure and free-mind; it’s a wonderful hiatus called the weekend.
Society as a whole has even shown its appreciation to Friday with the commonly used term, TGIF – Thank God It’s Friday.
Friday Night Where?
My Friday nights were usually planned out and marked on the calendar by the previous Saturday – if not sooner. There was always something to do on Friday night.
Stay home? Yea right. That’s funny.
Organize my bathroom vanities, hair & make up drawers? You have got to be kidding me.
Make plans to go out with friends all night? Absolutely.
Where? When? How?
I’m not sure when it started, how it happened, or even why; but what I do know is I feel darn old now that I’ve taken the time to realize that I might be slowing down.
But is that really what it is? Or is this part of the natural progression in the ‘aging’ process?
Am I maturing? Yes.
Making better decisions? Yes.
Still can party with the best of them? You bet your bottom dollar.
But ohhhhhhh the recovery! Has anyone noticed a recent increase in a typical Friday night’s recovery time? Holy headache over a dragged out following day. Ouch!
The Switch Up
It’s funny when you think how most Friday nights revolved around what establishment we would start at, where we would probably end up and who even knows what would happen in between.
Now sometimes by Wednesday evening of a long week I already know that my Friday night will consist mainly of my dear friend Mr. Malbec, a solid chick flick or maybe a Skype session with an old friend, with the inevitable pre-midnight crash.
Even without leaning towards one extreme or the other, the importance of making Friday night the all out blast that it was for so many years in my early twenties has diminished immensely.
And I’m OK with that.
I found my year book from high school when I was home in RI recently, and my quote from senior year read:
“Life is just one big party.”
I think it’s fair to say that’s a reasonable statement as to how I lived mine for many years. And I don’t regret one day nor one decision. The party favors may not have been always the best, but you accept them graciously and keep on keeping on.
It’s hard sometimes, but I still try to get myself back into that 18 year old mind that was just waiting to bust out into an open world with endless possibilities.
The party is not over just yet, my friends.
In fact, it’s a new and exciting chapter in my world that’s about to begin.
This girl is going to keep dancing until there is no music to be played.
Won’t you join me?
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While I have dreaded most of the final days in my twenties, there have been two days that I’ve looked forward to for almost two decades.
I grew up knowing we had family in Italy, and I had even met my cousin Cesare and his family during a school trip I made to the country in 1999.
Yet the one person whom I never met was the one person to whom I was most drawn.
Before There Was Internet…
Yes, that’s how I started a story last night.
Such statements are not particularly helping to ease my journey down the final stretch, considering up til this point, I wasn’t overwhelmed with any real ‘I’m getting old’ moments.
So yes, before there was internet, I wrote letters to my cousin in Italy. On major holidays, we would get calling cards to phone overseas but weren’t always successful with such digital sophistication in the 90s.
Once both countries broke into the 21st century, my cousin and I were able to communicate through email for several years. In just a few years, we went from an unpredictable delay between emails to an immediate connection of our worlds through Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp.
Do I Know You?
After 15 years of communicating across 5,000 miles, the wait was finally over. Ilaria and her new husband, Antonio, would be spending two days of their honeymoon just a few miles down A1A in South Beach, Miami.
I’ve always been the social type – (if you’ve ever met me, it’s kind of hard to deny.)
I’ve had many connections and relationships throughout my life with many people from all over the world; some lasted for just two weeks at summer camp, some saw me through four years of college, and some have lasted a lifetime.
Still, I have never felt such an overwhelming connection with someone in just a matter of seconds than I did the first time I hugged my cousin, Ilaria. It was an unreal feeling to be able to physically see, hear and touch mia cugina who always felt so near despite the vast ocean in between.
Genetics Don’t Lie
It didn’t take long for me to realize how much this beautiful woman sitting next to me was in fact, a true DiPanni.
I have three half-sisters whom also bear strong DiPanni characteristics and whose resemblance to Ilaria is almost freaky.
She has the DiPanni curls – dark and soft.
She has the DiPanni hands – distinctively long and slender
She has the DiPanni smile – the high cheeks and hidden upper lip
But most important, she has the DiPanni attitude.
She is a strong woman who is confident in her beliefs and the direction she chooses. Her intelligence is an outstanding compliment to her physical beauty, and no one can stop her on the path she will follow. Still, she is as soft as she is strong, with an enormous heart and warm sense of generosity and kindness to all.
I am proud to say she is mia famiglia.
I’m a true sucker when it comes to parting ways with loved ones, but this was especially hard on the heart.
I had spent just a total of several hours with my cousin and her new husband; and after years of patiently waiting for these days to come, I was not ready to see them go. What had been just a couple evenings together meant a lifetime to me.
Through the sadness of our farewell, I saw the blessing of a family’s love that many people are not so fortunate to experience. I am so very lucky and extremely grateful to have spent this time with my family.
A wise man once told me,
‘It’s never goodbye; always I’ll see you later.’
There is something too definite with the ‘G’ word that is unappealing to me. It signifies a firm ending which is usually unwelcomed.
Life is too short to spend time with those whom you would not want to see later, so don’t make it so certain.
We have many more stories to share and memories to make, my Bella.
And I am very certain that we will see each other soon.
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Yesterday I received word that heaven gained another angel – Sistelia Jones.
Sis and her sisters, Blanche and Lucille, lived next door to me for my entire life. They were not just my neighbors, they were my adorable cute adopted grandmothers.
The ladies watched me get on the school bus my first day of kindergarten, waited every day for me to stop in on my way home, and waved as I pulled out of the driveway off to my high school graduation fully dressed in cap and gown.
Sis never had any children of her own and definitely wasn’t the mushy emotional type. Yet when it came to me, she became a ball of hugs and kisses. She called me her “Tiffy” which was a nickname that I only came to accept in my twenties.
Before then, only my father and Sis were allowed to use that special name.
“Grandmothers are just antique little girls.” ~Unknown
I spent a lot of time with my adorable adopted grandmothers, but I also spent much of my time with my own grandmothers as well.
Both grandfathers passed before I was born, so the ladies were all I had.
My Granny lived just a few doors down from my childhood home as well, and I’d spend countless hours playing gin rummy, high-low-jack, and poker with her and my elder ‘aunts’ .
It was also these ladies that introduced me to the game of golf for which I am forever grateful.
My Nona on my father’s side lived with my aunt Ella in an apartment downtown Providence til she was 90 years old, and then went to live in a nursing home for another 7 years.
I’d go visit her a few times a week with my Dad and she’d joke around, show me how to root plants, and my favorite: tell stories.
The elderly are walking, talking, live history books.
A Little Piece of History
I’ve always had a soft spot for the elderly, but what I love most about them are the stories they have and tell. The lives they have lived are so different and strange to those who are growing up in the 21st centuries.
My old soul still has an appreciation for those who have come before us, laid the pathways for us to follow, and sadly, most have been left behind without any appreciation.
My Nona was born in 1905 and lived until 2002. She witnessed every significant moment in history within the 20th Century, from the Depression to the invasion of Iraq, she was there. She suffered, sacrificed and succeeded.
It’s So Simple
We can learn so much from those who have come before us if we just take the time to listen and care.
You always see elderly couples waiting for the bus at the local super market. They obviously live near you, so why not offer them a ride home? That 5 or 10 minute ride is priceless to someone else.
When you see an elderly person in the park along your morning run, take a minute to stop and say hello
How many times have you seen an older Veteran sitting in Dunkin Donuts with his morning newspaper and coffee? Will it hurt that much to buy him a coffee and donut for $2 and sit for a minute?
Just A Little Bit
So after several decades of living and succeeding, what is it that most elderly people desperately crave?
A tiny bit of well deserved attention.
They want to tell their stories. They want to relive their past that they meant so much to them. They want to know that someone cares, someone is there, and someone is listening.
Let that someone be YOU.
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Down to only three Mondays in my twenties means what?
Am I going to wake up and not dread Monday morning any less in a few weeks? Will it magically get better (or worse) on the Monday I crawl back into the grind? Probably not.
But what is it about Mondays that we all dread so much?
When you think about it, everyone may have a different “Monday” depending on their work schedule – even my typical “Monday” can change once in a while. But what is it in that one word made up of just six letters…. M.O.N.D.A.Y….. that makes us cringe?
I say let’s take Mondays and put a different spin on them. Let’s put in some motivation, encouragement and excitement. “Another Monday?” can quickly be turned into “YES! Another Monday!”
It’s a start to a fresh week of taking on the world; it’s the mark of a new time period in which we can make even the impossible happen. Monday is the lightning bolt we need to spark the fire inside us to drive our path to success.
So I’ve got two more Mondays now to make things happen. I’ve got two more mornings in my 20′s to wake up and say, “Bring it on, world. I am ready to take you on and do great things!”
Care to join me?
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Sometimes new things can get a bit jumbled and confusing, even a bit overwhelming. Yet every now and then you may be able to throw a twisted analogy at it, and you just may ‘get it.’
Mine just happens to deal with a twisted thing called your spine.
What Is The MAA Cycle?
No, This isn’t fighting or martial arts, but any good sports fan could make that mistake, right? What I am talking about here is a process that Dennis Yu and his team at BlitzMetrics use to amplify and optimize a client’s ad campaign while minimizing time spent and maximizing its value.
The MAA Cycle is a very rapid process that ties the conversion funnel and viral cycle together. You may even consider the MAA Cycle as being the final piece of the puzzle; you truly can’t conduct MAA until you have successfully mastered the other two. It may make sense to explain the viral cycle and conversion funnel first, but that’s kind of expected.
So let’s start backwards and see where it takes us.
After five full days spent at #BlitzU with some of the best minds in the market, you can only imagine the massive amount of information there was to digest. An incredible experience, an intense week of number crunching & analyzing, and some of the best information on optimization social engagement and much more. It was fantastic – but info overload just a tad.
Upon dissection of the MAA cycle, I saw a trend in the way data is analyzed and how a visit to the chiropractor is practically the exact same process – and a heck of a lot easier to understand on a 101 level that I may require sometimes! These techniques can apply to almost everyone – including a chiropractor – but the content being produced is always going to be unique.
So here’s how it works & how we can compare the two:
Metrics → The X-Rays
Every plan, every strategy, and every process starts with a goal. What are we here for and what pertinent information do we have to collect for this analysis? Personal goals are identified and specific diagnostic testing is performed on your very first appointment with the chiropractor. An x-ray is usually taken to look at the “insides” of the subject matter.
Analysis → The Review of Findings
What are the numbers really saying in relation to the diagnostics? Here is the doctor reviews and explains your x-rays to show you what’s really going on. You need to be informed as to what your issues are if you are going to attempt to correct them.
Action → The Treatment Plan
So now what?
Well, we’ve collected the data, ran diagnostics, identified the problem and now it’s time to put some real action behind all of that. In this final step, your chiropractor should be making his recommendations for a treatment plan and identifying the exact steps that need to be taken in order to maximize your health – and your ROI.
Be careful as to which way your results lead you and your team.
If a patient wants to see results from any treatment plan, he/she needs to be just as much invest as the chiropractor, if not more. Therefore, if you do not invest the proper timing and planning that is required to maximize the results of this process, you will not be successful.
Its imperative to have your goals, audience and content established. Before entering the chiropractic office, a patient should know what type of results they are seeking, whether it be to be pain free, prevent injuries or even treat a specific one. The patient tends to be the targeted audience and, in conjunction with the doctor, can provide the relevant content.
Once these have been successfully managed and aligned, all other pieces will fall into place and the process will flow as easy as a lazy river – just quicker.
When more than 30 dedicated and loyal Florida Panthers employees reported to work on Monday, I’m sure they didn’t expect they’d be editing their LinkedIn profiles just hours later to show their unemployment status.
The message to these heart broken employees was: The team is losing money and needs to save some.
So you lose experience to save money while laying off the entire team that is responsible for acquiring new sales, which the organization desperately needs to make up for the money being lost.
SURPRISED? We shouldn’t be.
We should have seen it coming from the very minute an Italian from New York took interest in a struggling Florida hockey franchise.
We should have seen it coming from the very day the Yormark dynasty put its final mark in Florida and moved forward to bigger and better.
We should have seen it coming from the very minute 90% of the long time established ushers and arena staff were taken from their long-held positions.
We should have seen it coming the minute they sent an extremely vague email to partners, sponsors and suite owners about staff “changes.”
As a Red Sox fan, I should have seen it coming when Mr. Viola explained his family’s wavering team loyalty as a Yankees fan because the Dodgers left in the 50s.
But most importantly, I should have picked up the phone and called my account rep when Mr. CEO Rory Babich sent an extremely vague email yesterday to partners, sponsors and season ticket holders stating,
“As part of any organizational review, there are typically some changes in staff as the business model continues to evolve. Some of the sales and service representatives with whom you may have worked in the past will be changing but the quality and level of service will continue to be a priority. If your account representative has changed, we will be assigning another member of our team to take over the service of your account and that person will be reaching out to you shortly.”
Been There. Done That.
Let’s forget the whole bad business practice of leaving a six-figure account in limbo without a representative. Let’s not even spend time on how that right there is Bad Business 101. That’s another blog in itself. What Mr. Babich fails to realize is that we’ve been here before as season ticket holders. We’ve seen the changes. We’ve seen the fails. We’ve seen the success. THIS, Mr. Babich and Mr. Viola, is and will be an epic fail.
How dare to insult the competence of your loyal supporters and fans with this unstable and inaccurate statement, considering this email was sent hours after you terminated almost every account representative. This is not a part of an organization review, this is the reality that we have been duped yet again by someone who just 9 months ago stated he would be running this as a “family business.”
Any fine minded human being would believe that to represent how you treat your employees and customers, but apparently Mr. Viola meant that this would be a family-run business, putting his 25 year-old son with no sports experience – not even in a front office position – in charge of hockey operations for a team that is in desperate need of solid players and experienced staff.
Just a weeks ago, Yahoo Sports writer, Greg Wyshynski, wrote an article titled, “Who is Travis Viola and why was he the FL Panthers’ NHL draft rep?” As if that isn’t the most valid question for all hockey fans right now… And then to have the audacity to compare your family to the Krafts of the New England Patriots … What world are you living in, Mr. Viola?
Poor Myra is probably rolling over in her grave right now and hopefully her spirit will pay you a few nightly visits for that horrific comparison.
Yet with these recent antics from the new owners, what upstanding coach or business professional would ever walk into the doors of the BB&T Center without having to look over their shoulder every day in fear of their job being taken over by a nephew or brother or ‘paisan’.
With such deceit and lack of communication with business partners, sponsors and season ticket holders, who is going to spend their hard earned money on a team that can’t even control their own staff nevermind their ticket sales.
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
The organization has stated that these cutbacks were made to “save money,” but we all know that’s a bunch of rubbish. Now you have to spend money to hire, train, and repair (if even possible) the relationships you have tainted thru these down right wrong business practices.
Mr. Babich stated, “As we continue to develop a long-term, sustainable business model, these changes will enable us to operate efficiently and effectively while continuing to focus on bringing the best in sports and entertainment to BB&T Center and providing best in class service for our sports and entertainment fans.”
I’m sorry, fans, but did you understand any of this overly wordy non-sense statement taken straight from a sports law book titled, “How To Avoid The Truth.”
How do I know this?
Because since the Viola family took over the team and venue, the overall quality of service, food, amenities and customer service has flopped faster than a bunny’s ears. Statements like this to the media are exactly that, for the media. There has been no sense of sympathy, camaraderie or care shown for the employees, staff, and partners.
How do I know this?
Because I am at every show. I am at every game. I am at every event. You can not tell me differently. I am there so often that people have thought for the past 4 years I’ve been a paid employee there. During the Yormark era, I would have proudly taken that as a compliment. Now, I would firmly resent the association.
A “staff change” is not what happened; “Budget cuts” is not what happened. A betrayal of long term trust, loyalty and partnerships is what happened.
A big “uppa yours,” as my Italian father would say, is what happened. (Don’t forget the typical hand gesture to go along)
Any true Italian family would recognize this and respect that, but that’s not what we have in the new ownership at the BB&T Center and the Florida Panthers. What you have is an ownership that is instilling its own peoples, its family members and other ‘paisons’ into positions that are completely ‘out of their league.’
You mean you didn’t save enough money by removing several employees that pushed buttons in the elevators for the guests? They even took out the elevator operators in the VIP/Admin/Owners entrance – well when you live 1500 miles away from something you are running, I guess those little touches in said areas don’t mean much.
So basically you take away the people that pushed your buttons and now you’re pushing everyone else’s in so many ways. Apparently those people that were let go were obviously doing something right for you to want to invest your hard earned NY financial money on our team.What a slap in the face to the entire organization, its partners, fans and community.
Epic fail – GOOD LUCK gaining back the trust of everyone you betrayed yesterday.
I write this blog post with passion because of the close relationship I have had with the BB&T Center and the Florida Panthers over the past 4 years and loyalty to the team as a season ticket holder and corporate sponsor.
I encourage you to share this post or write your own in support of those who made our team good enough for someone to buy and then destroy. And yes, this is OUR team, and always will be.
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