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The Teri Tome–My 2020 Hits and Misses

I can’t believe my blog, The Teri Tome, is five years old already. Wow, those years flew by way too fast.

Sitting here writing this blog post, I’m trying to remember back to 2015, and sadly, nothing earth-shattering is coming to mind.

Maybe it’s because my memory is shot, or maybe it’s because, in 2020, life interrupted my recollection of anything pre-covid.

And okay, maybe I sound like Trump when I say:

Covid, covid, covid. Covid, covid, covid.

Stick me in the arm with the vaccine already!

I’m sure you would all agree that 2020 was a lot to deal with. Okay, it was a dystopic sh**storm. And I’m happy to say buh-bye to all 366 days of it. (2020 was a leap year, remember?)

But, to be fair, it hasn’t been all bad. Forty-three long weeks in quarantine has taught me a lot about myself and my definition of essential.

In the early months of 2020, I considered it my lost year.

Until I realized that 2020 was the year I found myself. I’m a changed and hopefully better person than when I naively rang in 2020.

I’ve questioned the fundamentals of “normal,” and going back to my pre-covid life as my pre-covid self isn’t an option.

Just to be clear, I haven’t locked myself down for the past ten months because I’m afraid covid’s gonna get me.

My reason for living like a hermit all these months is simple. Without my family and close friends, I have no reason to venture out.

Let me break down my pre-covid routine for you:

My standing nail salon appointment: I’ve perfected my mani-pedi skills, and my nails have never been healthier.

My monthly haircut and color: I’ve become adept at trimming my hair, and I’m okay with going grey.

Grocery shopping: I always despised shopping for groceries, so having them delivered works for me.

Clothes and shoe shopping: 2020 was the year I wore schlumpf clothes 24/7. Schlumpf is a thing. Look it up in the Urban Dictionary.

Going out to restaurants: Sitting outside in the brutal heat or the freezing cold is not my idea of fine dining. If I can’t go to Peter Lugar’s in style, I’ll wait until I can.

The last time I filled my car with gas was early February 2020, and March 7 was the last time I left my house. (Except for my flu shot and three doctor visits.)

March quickly morphed into July, then September, followed by non-Thanksgiving, non-Chanukah, non-Christmas, and non-New Year’s Eve.

And please don’t judge me, but during my endless months in quarantine, I found solace in all things 1:12 scale. Okay, I’m more like obsessed.

There were too many 2020 days when I wanted to miniature myself small enough to move into my newly renovated dollhouse.

When my head wasn’t stuck in a dollhouse, I baked some killer bread, grew potted veggies and herbs on my patio, spic-and-spanned my house, socially distanced in my frosty garage, and created some awesomely impressive meals.

And my fingers to elbows have never been cleaner! I’ve been singing the ABCs and Happy Birthday in my inside voice at least fifty times per day.

In 2020 I binged on mindless reality shows I would never have otherwise wasted my time on. Awful shows like 90-Day Fiancé (so creepy) and Married at First Sight (so desperate).

2020 was also the year I could barely string together a sentence because I developed a severe case of writer’s block!

And whenever I wrote, it was forced and mostly dark, which is why I’m only going to bore you with my Top Five blog posts instead of my Top Ten.

And okay, I’ll throw in the worst blog post of 2020 as well as the best of all time (2015-2020).

I do owe you full disclosure: Of my 32 total posts in 2020, I wrote seven of them eons ago—pulled from a novel titled My Stolen Diaries that I’ve been writing since 1992.

And shocking to me was that when I calculated the traffic numbers for my 2020 Top Five blog posts, four of them were from that ancient rough draft novel.

It turned out my most popular blog posts were less of a post-mortem on what Teri was writing in 2020 and more about what Teri was writing in the 90s.

The Teri Tome generated over 300,000 page views in 2020, a whopping 47% increase from 2019, primarily due to my novelog My Stolen Diaries, so I’m pleased.

I’ll start with the worst blog post of 2020:

#1 WORST IN 2020 

I Tried to Save a Cat’s Life Yesterday: I was sorry to see that this blog post was a loser. I still haven’t gotten over that poor pregnant cat. And I’m not sure that anything can be done about it, but we have way too many feral cats in my North Woodmere, New York neighborhood.      

And now for my Top Five 2020 posts:

#1 HIT IN 2020

My Stolen Diaries – Chapter Two: To Know Yourself Is to Know Your Family : I was dumbfounded to see that a chapter from my rough draft novel was numero uno. It took me a while to figure out a format for excerpting from my decades-old unfinished book. When I finally settled on calling it a Novelog (novel-in-a-blog), I put up a Disclaimer and six chapters. I was reasonably sure they would all bomb. The thousands of hits that this 28-year-old Chapter Two garnered made my heart happy.

#2 HIT IN 2020

My Stolen Diaries – Chapter Four: The Yellow Kitchen Table: Wow, so this was also a thrill for me! Another chapter of my dusty old novel? To be honest,  I almost didn’t post this chapter for reasons I won’t disclose. But I have no regrets.

#3 HIT IN 2020

2020 Cedarhurst Sidewalk Sale: I Was Fired for Seeking the Truth: Getting fired from my job as Executive Director of the Cedarhurst Business Improvement District for refusing to put people’s lives at risk during a pandemic was devastating. But I’m glad my post reached thousands of visitors, and I hope it continues to attract tons of traffic. I miss my job, but I don’t miss the Village of Cedarhurst’s political posturing, the lies, the misinformation, or the bullying. And I’m still weighing whether or not to sue the Deputy Mayor of Cedarhurst for defamation.

#4 HIT IN 2020

My Stolen Diaries – Chapter Five: My First Diary: The first thing I thought when I added up the numbers and saw that the #4 spot was yet another chapter of my book—was that maybe, just maybe, my languishing novel has legs!

#5 HIT IN 2020

My Stolen Diaries – Chapter Six: Tit: Another chapter of my book! And BTW, Tit is the nickname for a bully character in my novel. And the thousands of people this chapter reached gave me new resolve to pull out that book and take a fresh look at it.

#1 HIT OF ALL TERI TOME TIME (2015-2020)

Bullies Are Cowards and Why I Refuse To Turn the Other Cheek: I have a lot to say about this one. Year after year, this post, written in 2015, continues to outperform all the others, and to date, has garnered almost 550,000 page views. And year after year, I’m thankful for the blog traffic, but the fact that “bullies” is my number one keyword says volumes about our world’s character. And as history has shown us, there are way too many psychopathic bullies out there. And from my personal experience, someone with a psychopathic personality disorder will almost always display some sort of mental illness and or narcissistic derangement. As far as I’m concerned, all three conditions are little more than a convenient label for crackpots and social deviants who over-estimate and exaggerate their abilities, status, intelligence, and looks.

In reviewing my 2020 hits and misses, as well as my top post of all Teri Tome time, I’m excited about highlighting more chapters of my novel on my blog.

And 2021 might even be the year I finish it!

I want to wish my loyal readers a Happy New Year. I hope that 2021 brings you wellness and equality, plus all the hopes and dreams you thought would happen in 2020.

And I can’t wait to see what 2021 holds for the new and improved Teri.

Stay tuned!

2020 Cedarhurst Sidewalk Sale: I Was Fired for Seeking the Truth

Yes, this blog post headline is sadly real.

I was fired on July 21, 2020, for seeking the truth about whether or not holding this year’s Cedarhurst New York sidewalk sale would be legal.

At least I think I was fired. I never received a termination letter or anything in writing.

Nevertheless, I’m definitely out of a job, thanks to Cedarhurst’s Deputy Mayor Ari Brown.

For over ten years, I was the Executive Director of The Cedarhurst Business Improvement District, and the centerpiece of my position was the annual Cedarhurst summer sidewalk sale.

Last year, close to 85 merchants participated in the four-day event, every parking lot in the village was packed, and thousands of shoppers participated.

Year after year, it was an event I had always been proud of organizing, promoting, and running.

But to bring thousands of people to Cedarhurst smack in the middle of a pandemic and an array of emergency laws and executive orders established as a result?

Not so much.

And unless the event was legal and permitted, I wanted no part of it.

Do I need to explain why?

One of my favorite quotes (by F. Scott Fitzgerald):

“You don’t write because you want to say something. You write because you have something to say.”

Yeah, I have something to say.

To be fired for doing my job legally and responsibly?  Well, that’s just flat out WRONG.

To be fired for seeking the truth? WRONG.

To be fired for wanting to ensure that the Cedarhurst Business Improvement District and the Village of Cedarhurst didn’t sponsor an illegal public gathering? WRONG.

And get this one:

I get fired, and the Cedarhurst Business Improvement District and the Village of Cedarhurst then decide NOT to move ahead with the August Sidewalk Sale?

So WRONG. But based on the questionable character of some of the players, not surprising.

We are fighting against a deadly virus.

I mean seriously, do I need to remind anybody of that?

Health officials have warned against large gatherings. The larger the crowd, the greater the chance that someone in it will have the virus. As the size of the crowd increases, so do the chances of COVID-19 exposure.

Duh.

When I was instructed to start work on the annual sidewalk sale in early July 2020 I didn’t know whether the event was legal or not.

Under the present circumstances, it sure didn’t seem like inviting thousands of people to descend upon a quarter-mile shopping area was the safest idea.

So, I got permission from my boss to make some calls to New York State and Nassau County to get a written statement as to the legality of the sidewalk sale.

Seemed like a no-brainer, right?

Call your state and local government during a PANDEMIC and get the go-ahead. Or not.

Well, so much for a no-brainer.

Over a two-week period, I made at least twenty attempts to get someone in the State or County government to put something in writing.

No one wanted to put anything in written form.

Heck, no one wanted to give me their last names.

I had plenty of people willing to tell me verbally that the event was not allowed, would be reported, and a fine would be issued.

But not one of those government officials had the guts to put it in writing.

Why not? I didn’t get it. Were they afraid of certain Cedarhurst Village officials? And if so, what were they afraid the officials would accuse them of?

It seemed that the only one who had the guts to put anything in writing was me.

And once I sent a written report to Deputy Mayor Ari Brown about my findings, things got u-g-l-y.

Heartbreakingly ugly.

I heard a lot of nasty lies and rumors spread about me by Deputy Mayor Ari Brown. He attacked my mental health, claimed I was unwilling to do my job and accused me of redacting and tampering with my workplace databases.

As if that weren’t enough, Deputy Mayor Ari Brown also made false claims about my being fired from my Executive Director position years earlier, as well as accusations that I lied about what state and county representatives told me regarding the 2020 Cedarhurst Sidewalk Sale.

Seriously?

BTW: ALL UNTRUE. And all of which I can prove to be untrue.

And as incredible as it may sound, Deputy Mayor Ari Brown also made accusations against my daughter (yes, my daughter) concerning what I will refer to as Zoomgate.

There’s even supposed to be a taped conversation between a certain Cedarhurst store owner and Ari Brown proving that despicable and untrue things were indeed said about me by the Deputy Mayor of Cedarhurst.

According to the store owner who taped him, he allegedly promised to give her my job.

Unseemly, right?

I didn’t see anywhere in my Executive Director job description that said it was okay to kill people.

Okay, maybe that’s a stretch. Or maybe it’s not.

Because it’s no stretch that increases in new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported in 43 states this past week. And hospitalizations from the disease also increased. And COVID-19 deaths rose for the second straight week.

So why wouldn’t I question whether throwing a sidewalk sale party was legal or not?

Apparently, questioning the legality of the event was not allowed.

And refusing to work on the sale event unless I knew it was legal, was also impermissible.

And that’s why I lost my job.

Honestly, I really didn’t want to write this blog post.

But I felt compelled because I have something to say.

The character assassination by the Village of Cedarhurst Deputy Mayor Ari Brown against me was devastatingly vicious and wholly untrue.

To be clear, I would have been willing to let the false accusations go if Ari Brown would have apologized.

But Ari Brown had no intention of apologizing. He wanted me out. Plain and simple.

Anyway, it’s too late to apologize.

Because Ari Brown went out of his way to engineer my removal as Executive Director with untruths and false accusations.

For certain men, their actions aren’t a matter of principle. Their actions are a matter of power, and of winning—at any cost.

Even if it means trying to ruin someone’s reputation; in this case—mine.

My grandmother would always say that the only thing you have is your reputation and your good name, and to never let anyone take that away from you.

That, my dear deceased grandmother, is easier said than done.

But I’m working on it.

All I can do at this point is to feel pride in having done my due diligence.

And I can tell my grandkids that during the pandemic, I sought the truth in order to protect a village, the merchants, the shoppers, and the community at large.

And for that, I was fired.

I’ll take it.

I’ll proudly wear that badge of honor.