Dozens and Dozens of Cousins


You may have noticed that a lot of my posts have mentioned my cousins.  When I married my husband, at one point I mentioned that I had over 100 cousins and he thought I was exaggerating to make a point.  Six years later, he is still surprised when mention of yet another cousin comes up.

My mother is Irish Catholic and my father is Russian Jew.  I have over 100 cousins.  I have 18 first cousins alone, and when you add in all the seconds and thirds and second cousins twice removed and realize that we are all pretty close, I don’t think 100 even covers it.

So that is my way of saying that in the course of reading this blog, you will read about a lot of cousins.  The book, Happiness as a Second Language, only refers to one or two, as that is an instructional guidebook —  a textbook on learning to be happy — but in writing every day about what makes me happy, of course my cousins will make frequent appearances.

The latest is my cousin Rob (a second cousin, for those keeping track – his dad and my dad are first cousins).  Upon looking at the calories, sodium and sugar in Girlscout Cookies, and how little his daughter’s troop got from each box sold (60 cents), he immediately launched GardenScouts.org – an organization dedicated to finding healthy alternatives for scout troops that don’t want to sell cookies.  I love that men like this exist in the world, and am particularly happy to be related to one of them.  Good job, Rob!  Thanks for the happiness.

And if any other cousins are reading this, feel free to say Hi, and help me prove you exist.  Love you lots!  — Valerie


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9 thoughts on “Dozens and Dozens of Cousins

  • Robert Renick

    Well thank you Valerie, is this the start of a cousin De Jour segment? Valerie, you have long been an inspiration, I admire that you have always taken a personal look at situations and formed your own opinions based on your own definitions of success and happiness. This type of perspective is what led me to see the girl scout cookies fundraising as a less then ideal way to educate youth on earning money, improving community and cementing healthy habits.
    I am further inspired to become more productive in front of the computer, My first site, affordableviews.net has had some success, but that has remained stagnant as I have allowed. Reading this every day reminds me of how my site reached its current level, doing a bit of work every day, and weighing everything against my personal core values. Thanks Valerie.

  • Heidi

    A Second Second (Cousin) checking in! Hi Val and hi Robert! Lovin’ the blog so far! Keep up the great work speaking and spreading happiness!

  • Lisa Hubbard

    I, a first cousin to Valerie, do exist! The bond that is felt between you (Valerie) and I is quite remarkable, considering the amount of cousins that we do have. We share the same blood, but it goes beyond that. We understand the little idiocracies of our family, which is always so important. When I see you (which is by far too infrequently), I feel a sense of belonging and love. We have shared early childhood experiences, adult joy and sorrows. I love you, kiddo. Now and forever.

  • Judy Detrick

    I am the eldest sister of Lisa Hubbard and therefore, also a first cousin of the lovely and articulate Valerie! While growing up many miles apart has made first hand knowledge of the intricacies of each others life seemingly impossible, there has always been a soft spot in my heart for Valerie and her sister Carol. Valerie is the one who lives out loud what I may be feeling in my head or heart….. even if I don’t always feel exactly as she does, my admiration for her sense of conviction and her ability to know and share her truth is tremendous. I am so very proud to call her my cousin and my friend!! Love you too Val!!

  • Nancy Jean Tierney

    As the mom who made sure ALL the cousins stayed ‘Family’, long after legal bonds were severed, I cannot be prouder of ALL of you for continuing the connections, and the deep love I have of ALL of you … A call from Valerie’s cell phone 02/02, reconnecting me with my ‘First Wives Club’ buddy, Jane in CT, cemented that there is no ‘water’ only ‘blood’ in clans Tierney, Horwitz, Rogers, & ‘Peterman Family Circle” cousins … As the Marines say: “Semper Fi!”

  • Kathy

    Just another of those first cousins here; proving I do indeed exist. First memories are of Val and her sister, Carol, in fuzzy 1970-ish photos sent from across the states and a few chance childhood meetings at the Tierney family center in Philadelphia from where many of our shared first cousins come. Fast forward to our adult lives, filled with duties and children and pets and mortgages and to when we all truly bonded by realizing just how much we shared in the way of how and who we love (not to mention our shared love for sports and dancing). Valerie, you are the best and I am so proud to be one of those dozens and dozens. Can’t wait to see you again!