Deanna Q

About Deanna Q

Deanna Q was raised in Jersey (exit 151) but has never, believe it or not, owned a Bon Jovi album. (Springsteen is the only true Jersey rock god, in her humble opinion.) After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she spent 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area where life was good and the burritos even better. She has recently returned to the Garden State and now resides in Morris County where she and her Texas-born/Jersey-raised/California-found husband are raising two wild and wonderful kids and trying not implode from the ongoing culture shock.

A freelance writer with a background in book publishing and the social expression industry (i.e., greeting cards), Deanna Q has a passion for international children’s film, chocolate, reading great fiction (and the occasional bit of fun trash), and 40-something movie stars named Johnny. She was utterly thrilled to have been chosen for the Star-Ledger’s Munchmobile on her first try and finds that writing about life in NJ continues to help ease the transition back from life on the left coast.

Beginnings, Endings, and the Pages in Between (Or Why I’ll Never Love Reading e-Books)

I recently started a new job, leaving behind a complicated workplace where I’d spent a little over a year and come to bond very deeply with my fellow inmates. Saying goodbye — even knowing full well I’ll see everyone again the very next time happy hour is convened — was unexpectedly painful. Why, I wondered, as a full-blown adult who has had my share of long-term employment, did this particular separation hit so hard?

The answer came to me as I lay in bed reading a few nights after my farewell party, a haze of melancholy still hanging over me. That night, I turned the pages of a novel I’d been savoring, slowing my usual pace to enjoy the beautiful flow of language. Then, unexpectedly, I reached the end. It was one of those paperbacks with the sneaky reader’s guide housed at the back. I wasn’t anticipating the final page and the story’s close left me feeling adrift, unwilling to let go.

I closed the pages, turned the book over in my hands. [Read more...]

Deanna Q

About Deanna Q

Deanna Q was raised in Jersey (exit 151) but has never, believe it or not, owned a Bon Jovi album. (Springsteen is the only true Jersey rock god, in her humble opinion.) After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she spent 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area where life was good and the burritos even better. She has recently returned to the Garden State and now resides in Morris County where she and her Texas-born/Jersey-raised/California-found husband are raising two wild and wonderful kids and trying not implode from the ongoing culture shock. A freelance writer with a background in book publishing and the social expression industry (i.e., greeting cards), Deanna Q has a passion for international children’s film, chocolate, reading great fiction (and the occasional bit of fun trash), and 40-something movie stars named Johnny. She was utterly thrilled to have been chosen for the Star-Ledger’s Munchmobile on her first try and finds that writing about life in NJ continues to help ease the transition back from life on the left coast.

Dear Younger Self — You May Be Shocked to Hear …

Raising children reminds you, at times, of your own childhood. You see your kids floating along in their own little bubbles of reality — blissfully unaware of the great big world just waiting to overtake them in a tsunami of endless worry, doubt, guilt, fear and every other swampy emotion that seems specially packaged for adulthood — and remember what it felt like to lose yourself for hours in some invented world of plastic characters, curling leaves, tiny pebbles, who knows what.

Now we have less than 7.4 minutes at any given time to focus on a particular task, thought or emotion before the next one plows into the cerebral station, demanding attention. Which isn’t helped in the least by technology that has shaped the cultural world to fit that perfect snippet of availability, training us to never stand still cognitively.

But I, like my brain, digress. Raising kids makes you think about growing up. As you watch them dressing up Barbies or smashing down virtual enemies, imagining their own glam, top-of-the-world futures, you realize how much you didn’t know when you were in their adorable shoes. Though these may not all be the ones I’d choose to go back and tell my small self, given the chance, here are a few things I never knew back then … [Read more...]

Deanna Q

About Deanna Q

Deanna Q was raised in Jersey (exit 151) but has never, believe it or not, owned a Bon Jovi album. (Springsteen is the only true Jersey rock god, in her humble opinion.) After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she spent 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area where life was good and the burritos even better. She has recently returned to the Garden State and now resides in Morris County where she and her Texas-born/Jersey-raised/California-found husband are raising two wild and wonderful kids and trying not implode from the ongoing culture shock. A freelance writer with a background in book publishing and the social expression industry (i.e., greeting cards), Deanna Q has a passion for international children’s film, chocolate, reading great fiction (and the occasional bit of fun trash), and 40-something movie stars named Johnny. She was utterly thrilled to have been chosen for the Star-Ledger’s Munchmobile on her first try and finds that writing about life in NJ continues to help ease the transition back from life on the left coast.

First Annual Hot Celebrity Dads DVD Festival

We’ve all heard about MILFs and the passion they inspire in so many men. Having just cruised through Father’s Day weekend, it seems like a perfect time to celebrate the DILFs and their equally sizzling hotness.

As a woman of a certain age, who also happens to be an entertainment junkie, I’m finding it increasingly squirmish to gaze longingly on sculpted young men who are, literally, young enough to be my sons. And when thinking like that pops into your mind, well, there goes the nice little flutter of excitement right along with it … no matter how unbearably gorgeous Ryan Gosling may be. Hey, girl – how about a backrub from someone you might have served juice boxes to during a playdate just a few years ago? Eww.

So, in honor of all the delectable dads out there who make over-40 look so damn good, I present a five-day program-at-home DVD festival featuring just a select few of Hollywood’s most perfect specimens of real-life dads who are doing the world a great service by reproducing.

[Read more...]

Deanna Q

About Deanna Q

Deanna Q was raised in Jersey (exit 151) but has never, believe it or not, owned a Bon Jovi album. (Springsteen is the only true Jersey rock god, in her humble opinion.) After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she spent 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area where life was good and the burritos even better. She has recently returned to the Garden State and now resides in Morris County where she and her Texas-born/Jersey-raised/California-found husband are raising two wild and wonderful kids and trying not implode from the ongoing culture shock. A freelance writer with a background in book publishing and the social expression industry (i.e., greeting cards), Deanna Q has a passion for international children’s film, chocolate, reading great fiction (and the occasional bit of fun trash), and 40-something movie stars named Johnny. She was utterly thrilled to have been chosen for the Star-Ledger’s Munchmobile on her first try and finds that writing about life in NJ continues to help ease the transition back from life on the left coast.

The Indignity of the Office Space

Nothing much changes in the great big world of human interaction. The last time I had a “real” job (translation: one that required me to be in an office, wear pants with constricting fasteners, and actually complete assigned tasks within a regular timeframe) there was not yet such a thing as Facebook and no one had cell phones that you could do much with beyond that old-fashioned thing known as calling people.

This wasn’t very long ago, mind you. But technology moves along at lightning speed in this millennium, so these past six-ish years have seen a great deal of change in the way people communicate, interact, and isolate during any given workday.

It has not, however, changed the way they crunch their goddamn disgusting saliva-moistened snack tidbits like tiny starved mice trapped between the walls nibbling, nibbling with frantic efforts to save themselves from impending doom ALL BLESSED DAY LONG while innocent others, invisibly positioned on the other side of the single shade of grey corporate partition, sit and try with equal desperation not to slip into irrevocable madness while attempting to compose a logical sentence without being mentally derailed by the sound, again, again, of – what? what are they?? crackers? carrots? panko-crusted Lego shards? – of the gnashing of terrible teeth* and swallowing of terrible throats.

That is not even to mention the phantom slurping of hot liquids, done ever so carefully, meticulously, with a triumphant loud swallow as the coffee, soup, or illegal elixir of pleasure is tamed by breath and conquering lips. Ah, how they savor every gulp over there on that side of the cube farm! I would envy them … if I weren’t so busy thinking of ways to slip odorless poisons into their cups.

[Read more...]

Deanna Q

About Deanna Q

Deanna Q was raised in Jersey (exit 151) but has never, believe it or not, owned a Bon Jovi album. (Springsteen is the only true Jersey rock god, in her humble opinion.) After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she spent 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area where life was good and the burritos even better. She has recently returned to the Garden State and now resides in Morris County where she and her Texas-born/Jersey-raised/California-found husband are raising two wild and wonderful kids and trying not implode from the ongoing culture shock. A freelance writer with a background in book publishing and the social expression industry (i.e., greeting cards), Deanna Q has a passion for international children’s film, chocolate, reading great fiction (and the occasional bit of fun trash), and 40-something movie stars named Johnny. She was utterly thrilled to have been chosen for the Star-Ledger’s Munchmobile on her first try and finds that writing about life in NJ continues to help ease the transition back from life on the left coast.

I Shop, Therefore I Am

I remember when I first became a true, active consumer. It was when I registered for wedding gifts. This was well before having kids, mind you, when I had the time and mental capacity to ponder such vital decisions as Calphalon vs. All-Clad and Wusthof vs. Henckles. Oh, how those things mattered to me in that moment! I even recall feeling strongly about being a Honda owner when it came time to buy our first car, even if it was a many-times-used beater with the loudest engine on the block.

Now here I am, nearly 20 years down the road (on which I drive a Toyota) and I couldn’t care less whether my wine glasses match or what brand of pans I scramble eggs in. (Though I will mention that the high-quality All-Clad set so generously given to us by our friends and family are still in pristine condition and doing a damn fine job! Take that, Calphalon!!) Becoming a mom totally zeroed out the luxury of consumerism and brand fetishes I enjoyed for that little blip of time.

But I realized something curious recently. Now that I live in the burbs and spend such an inordinate amount of time thinking about food (i.e., feeding those endlessly gaping little mouths at home, finding ingredients for a new recipe, preserving my sanity with a good square of sea salt caramel), I’m finding that my fellow mommy-shoppers dedicate themselves to supermarkets the way Carrie Bradshaw once adhered to her Manolos.

[Read more...]

Deanna Q

About Deanna Q

Deanna Q was raised in Jersey (exit 151) but has never, believe it or not, owned a Bon Jovi album. (Springsteen is the only true Jersey rock god, in her humble opinion.) After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she spent 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area where life was good and the burritos even better. She has recently returned to the Garden State and now resides in Morris County where she and her Texas-born/Jersey-raised/California-found husband are raising two wild and wonderful kids and trying not implode from the ongoing culture shock. A freelance writer with a background in book publishing and the social expression industry (i.e., greeting cards), Deanna Q has a passion for international children’s film, chocolate, reading great fiction (and the occasional bit of fun trash), and 40-something movie stars named Johnny. She was utterly thrilled to have been chosen for the Star-Ledger’s Munchmobile on her first try and finds that writing about life in NJ continues to help ease the transition back from life on the left coast.

The Book of Love

My daughter, who is 7, has recently morphed into a rampaging mood-swing monster. She’s always had slight drama queen tendencies (and I have no idea where she gets those) but her new levels of highs and lows can set me trembling at the thought of her actual teenage years still to come.

Luckily, for me, some of that passion gets funneled into a desperate devotion to her mommy. She loves me, she needs me, she simply must have me all to herself. She’s like my own little Endless Love stalker. I just hope she doesn’t set the house on fire. Dad, on the other hand, is treated like a loathsome intruder, allowed to stay only for his skill in making homemade chicken nuggets.

Last week, she found a new outlet for her mommylove. She started writing a book about me. More of a little journal, really, capturing her impressions of me, complete with illustrations!

It’s thrilling, I admit, to have my biography underway; though as she ran through her initial ideas and then started asking me more about myself to trigger new entries, I found myself slightly chagrined at how few ‘interesting’ things I could come up with. Might be time to take up kickboxing or get into a shouting match with our loud-mouthed governor to give her some good material.

For now, I invite you to enjoy a few of my favorite pages so far …

She has black hair. p.s. and a little bit of white

and lots of lotion She is funny


She has a girl and boy children / She has a good/bad husband

She can save you! She’s in love with Johnny Depp


She likes to take pictures of food.


She can get back together with you (I’m sorry. It’s OK.)  / She is almost awesome.

Love the way this kid expresses her wild little self. And love the way she loves me … no matter how she spells it.

This is an original JerseyMomsBlog post. Deanna Q is a freelance writer and mother of two fantastic little beings

Deanna Q

About Deanna Q

Deanna Q was raised in Jersey (exit 151) but has never, believe it or not, owned a Bon Jovi album. (Springsteen is the only true Jersey rock god, in her humble opinion.) After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she spent 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area where life was good and the burritos even better. She has recently returned to the Garden State and now resides in Morris County where she and her Texas-born/Jersey-raised/California-found husband are raising two wild and wonderful kids and trying not implode from the ongoing culture shock. A freelance writer with a background in book publishing and the social expression industry (i.e., greeting cards), Deanna Q has a passion for international children’s film, chocolate, reading great fiction (and the occasional bit of fun trash), and 40-something movie stars named Johnny. She was utterly thrilled to have been chosen for the Star-Ledger’s Munchmobile on her first try and finds that writing about life in NJ continues to help ease the transition back from life on the left coast.

The Funeral Will Not Be Televised

I’m on my way to San Francisco for a memorial service. It is impossible to describe the state of shock I have been in since learning of a dear friend’s sudden death. I sat in the airport for hours before takeoff on Saturday with Whitney Houston’s funeral broadcasting on every screen in sight. I sat alone, silent, listening to the famous friends, family, and preachers hailing her brilliance, her magic, her grace. I closed my eyes and let the gospel songs wash over me as I thought of my own friend—as vibrant, popular, and magnetic within our crowd as Whitney was in hers—lost so abruptly and much too soon.

Unlike Whitney, however, my friend’s memorial service (to paraphrase an outspoken social justice warrior like him) will not be televised. His name was Grif Fariello. He was a writer, a rascal, a raconteur, a crusader, a flirt, a rabble-rouser, a stalwart, a peacenik, a brilliant mind, a romantic, and a gentleman. I can hardly imagine a world without his great guffaw and the devotion he gave to his girlfriend of 12 years, one of my best friends on this earth.

This post is a short farewell to Grif. I hardly feel I have the words to do him justice. It wasn’t long ago that our group lost another of our shining stars, which I wrote about here. When I touch down on the ground—the hallowed soil of the Bay Area that still holds my spirit so firmly in its grip—I may very well sink to my knees to bid them both goodbye in the place that brought us together. Then I’ll journey on to where our family of friends will be gathered and do the only thing left to do … remember, and laugh, and give thanks for having known him.

This is an original JerseyMomsBlog post.

Deanna Q

About Deanna Q

Deanna Q was raised in Jersey (exit 151) but has never, believe it or not, owned a Bon Jovi album. (Springsteen is the only true Jersey rock god, in her humble opinion.) After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she spent 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area where life was good and the burritos even better. She has recently returned to the Garden State and now resides in Morris County where she and her Texas-born/Jersey-raised/California-found husband are raising two wild and wonderful kids and trying not implode from the ongoing culture shock. A freelance writer with a background in book publishing and the social expression industry (i.e., greeting cards), Deanna Q has a passion for international children’s film, chocolate, reading great fiction (and the occasional bit of fun trash), and 40-something movie stars named Johnny. She was utterly thrilled to have been chosen for the Star-Ledger’s Munchmobile on her first try and finds that writing about life in NJ continues to help ease the transition back from life on the left coast.

1-800-IMA-BTCH

I read Dante in college so I know all about the nine circles of hell. I’m pretty sure that working in telemarketing is round about the fourth or fifth level, but I fear that my own recent behavior will land me on an even deeper rung, hanging out near my scorchy old buddy Lucifer.

You see, despite the fact that I’m usually fairly well-mannered and do try to be respectful of others, I have somehow landed at the point in my overstressed do-it-all working parent life that I have begun to funnel all my frustration, my darkest social impulses, my (mostly) pent-up snark into tormenting invisible strangers who call my phone.

So please, if you are hired by some research firm or an alarm system installer or a professional credit card scammers union, please do us both a favor and do not call me. I have lost my mind and I promise you it ain’t coming back anytime soon!

Oh, come now, it’s not that bad, says you. I’m exaggerating, you insist. Hmmm … [Read more...]

Deanna Q

About Deanna Q

Deanna Q was raised in Jersey (exit 151) but has never, believe it or not, owned a Bon Jovi album. (Springsteen is the only true Jersey rock god, in her humble opinion.) After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she spent 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area where life was good and the burritos even better. She has recently returned to the Garden State and now resides in Morris County where she and her Texas-born/Jersey-raised/California-found husband are raising two wild and wonderful kids and trying not implode from the ongoing culture shock. A freelance writer with a background in book publishing and the social expression industry (i.e., greeting cards), Deanna Q has a passion for international children’s film, chocolate, reading great fiction (and the occasional bit of fun trash), and 40-something movie stars named Johnny. She was utterly thrilled to have been chosen for the Star-Ledger’s Munchmobile on her first try and finds that writing about life in NJ continues to help ease the transition back from life on the left coast.

Happy New Year! Do You Hate Me?

Here it is creeping toward mid-January and I have one last holiday card to write. I suppose it will have to be a New Year card at this point and luckily, having stockpiled roughly 4,638 greeting cards over the years, I have one handy. The problem is what exactly to say since the person I’m sending it to seems to have stopped speaking to me.

I’m not absolutely sure she isn’t speaking to me. It’s one of those relationships, you see, that is built on best intentions but no longer involves any actual connection. “Gloria” was my daughter’s home daycare ‘mom’ in San Francisco for just one year before we relocated back east. We don’t talk on the phone, we don’t exchange emails, we’re not Facebook friends; we’ve only seen each other once on a rare family trip back to the Bay Area. We just exchange holiday cards and share what I believed to be a mutual devotion and fondness that we extolled to each other whenever we had the chance.

It’s a relationship that exists in that fragile sphere where someone who was once tremendously important in your life is now essentially irrelevant but you pledge, to yourself and tacitly between you, to reserve a permanent place of honor for the other.

Gloria gave my daughter several gifts when we left, including a photo album of their year together and a book inscribed with a beautiful, heartfelt poem about the place she’d always have in her heart. Over the years, I’ve flipped through the photos and re-read the book and poem to her, reminding her about Gloria and her family. And each year at Christmastime, Gloria sends me a photo card featuring her growing boys and I send her one displaying the gap-toothed grade-schooler’s smile and clunky hand-written signature of the baby she once knew.

But a little over a year ago, I got an email from Gloria asking for a favor. She had gone on hiatus from her daycare business and was now hoping to advertise and restart with new clients. She wondered if I would write a letter of recommendation that she could share with prospective families. I was more than happy to do so and dashed off a letter that spoke from my heart. Here are some excerpts: [Read more...]

Deanna Q

About Deanna Q

Deanna Q was raised in Jersey (exit 151) but has never, believe it or not, owned a Bon Jovi album. (Springsteen is the only true Jersey rock god, in her humble opinion.) After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she spent 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area where life was good and the burritos even better. She has recently returned to the Garden State and now resides in Morris County where she and her Texas-born/Jersey-raised/California-found husband are raising two wild and wonderful kids and trying not implode from the ongoing culture shock. A freelance writer with a background in book publishing and the social expression industry (i.e., greeting cards), Deanna Q has a passion for international children’s film, chocolate, reading great fiction (and the occasional bit of fun trash), and 40-something movie stars named Johnny. She was utterly thrilled to have been chosen for the Star-Ledger’s Munchmobile on her first try and finds that writing about life in NJ continues to help ease the transition back from life on the left coast.

Hunger Relief in the Season of Stuffing

Most of us are probably still feeling the effects of too much of too many good things over the holiday weekend. That half-demolished lemon curd tart sitting in my fridge begs for attention every time I reach in for the milk, and the third repeat leftover dinner last night still didn’t finish off the cranberry relish and marshmallow-crusted sweet potatoes waiting so patiently in their Tupperware way stations. Yet there are so many others, across the nation as well as right here in Jersey, who rarely get the luxury of three decent meals a day, let alone the spoils of extravagant feasts to enjoy for days on end.

Hunger relief organizations like Community FoodBank and Feeding America certainly get increased awareness and response at this time of year, when people are looking for ways to reach out to those in need, but once the spirit of the season starts to fade and the post-holiday spending fatigue strikes, it’s likely a tough job to keep donations coming. In recent weeks, though, I heard about two new hunger relief initiatives that target awareness and ongoing aid that I thought JerseyMoms Blog readers would like to hear about.

3 Square Deals is a new discount deals site (similar to Groupon) that is the brainchild of the multi-talented (and multi-tasking) Deborah Smith, social media marketing guru and founder/editor of regional food site JerseyBites.com. Launching in January 2012, 3 Square Deals is the perfect way to have your cake and share it with others, too. Daily or weekly deals will promote discount pricing at participating restaurants, retailers, and events, and a portion of every deal consumers purchase goes directly to Community FoodBank of New Jersey and other hunger relief organizations around the state.

[Read more...]

Deanna Q

About Deanna Q

Deanna Q was raised in Jersey (exit 151) but has never, believe it or not, owned a Bon Jovi album. (Springsteen is the only true Jersey rock god, in her humble opinion.) After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she spent 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area where life was good and the burritos even better. She has recently returned to the Garden State and now resides in Morris County where she and her Texas-born/Jersey-raised/California-found husband are raising two wild and wonderful kids and trying not implode from the ongoing culture shock. A freelance writer with a background in book publishing and the social expression industry (i.e., greeting cards), Deanna Q has a passion for international children’s film, chocolate, reading great fiction (and the occasional bit of fun trash), and 40-something movie stars named Johnny. She was utterly thrilled to have been chosen for the Star-Ledger’s Munchmobile on her first try and finds that writing about life in NJ continues to help ease the transition back from life on the left coast.