Karen Quinn

Our Annual Christmas Letter!

December 21, 2010

Happy Holidays all!

Please forgive me for not being in touch more often this year. Actually, if you want to be my friend on Facebook (I’m under “Karen Nedler Quinn”) you could get a blow-by-blow of my every move, so feel free to “friend” me there as I’d love stay closer with everyone. But if you prefer big sweeping updates, well, here we go…

In the days of yore (i.e. pre-Facebook) I used to be quite famous for my holiday letters because they were really funny. I actually used to print and then mail them via the U.S. post office if you can believe that. Back then, my children said and did adorable things that made great copy and all I had to do was recount their precious antics and everyone thought I was gifted comedy writer. Now that my children have grown up, they mostly just do expensive things like rent apartments in NYC, buy cars, or go off to college. These sorts of things are not as entertaining to recount, but I’ll do my best.

It has been an interesting year, to say the least. Mark up and left me. That’s right. We’re separated. Not in that nasty, messy divorce way, mind you. No, he took a job in California. He was offered a position that seemed too interesting to pass up, so he accepted it. Meanwhile, Sam was in his senior year of high school and we’d already moved him once for his sophomore year, so we decided I would wait it out in Miami till he graduated. Like most teenagers, he appreciates the sacrifice his mother has made for him and thanks me profusely every day, which makes it all worthwhile. In a few months, I expect to be moving to San Diego, the land of perfect weather. Seriously, the minute you mention that you may be moving to San Diego, people say, “I hear they have perfect weather there.” Try it. You’ll see.

Mark is really enjoying his job, although (naturally) he hates being apart from us. The stress of being away from us has caused him to lose 10 pounds. For me, the stress of him being away from us has caused me to gain 10 pounds. Just another reminder that life is unfair.

Sam is busy finishing up his senior year, doing things to pad, er…“build” his resume as he applies to colleges. As you know, he spent the last few years mostly holed up in his room, but this year, he has been forced to come out more to go to-and-from his resume-padding/building activities, which has been nice. We actually trade words from time to time and sometimes he smiles. I taught him to make Shake ‘n Bake chicken and to do his laundry in preparation for impending adulthood.

Schuyler is in NYC going to Stella Adler Acting Conservatory. Her class started with 200 actors and they ask students to leave each semester if they aren’t working hard enough, don’t have the talent or drive to make it. Schuyler just found out on Friday that she can stay and graduate – one of 25 kids out of 200 to make it to the end. I guess they do this to give the kids a taste of the competitive real world of acting. We’re very proud of her for working so hard and doing well. She was the only student in her class to go there right out of high school. Most of the class had drama degrees and MFA’s from universities. She recently told me that she never wanted to go to another school that asks so many kids to leave each semester (is there another school that does this?). Meanwhile, she’s hostessing at Kenmare, a hip downtown restaurant in NYC, so if you go there, look her up! Mention my name and you’ll get a free appetizer (maybe – I can’t promise).

This year, my book Testing For Kindergarten, came out in July. I’m very proud of it. If you know someone with a child from newborn to 6, run right out and get them a copy. Parents who have read it really love it. It’s way more than a “getting ready for testing” book. It’s what to do with your children so they’ll be intellectually ready for testing and (more importantly) their first school experience. I developed a wonderful board game to go with the book (if I do say so myself) – IQ Fun Park. You can see it at www.TestingForKindergarten.com/game. What an adventure that has been – creating the game, getting it manufactured, selling it on-line. I had no idea what I was doing when I started. Developing it has been an amazing learning experience and it is so gratifying to hear that kids love playing it and they have no idea that it’s good for them.

Beyond that, I co-founded an on-line testing and admissions advice business called www.TestingMom.com. Check it out if you have time. It’s an affordable way for parents to get advice about testing and school admissions. It’s not just for NYC parents – we have clients from all over the country. And finally, I’m going to start a radio show on www.WebTalkRadio.net this January – “The 30 Minute Mom” – life changing advice for parents in just 30 minutes a week. It’s all the stuff I wish I’d known to do when my kids were little. Here’s just one example:  if I’d known then that self-control was more important to a child’s success than IQ, I might have worked a wee bit harder to teach my kids to be patient. Boy, did I screw up on that one.  Anyway, I’ll let you know when the show airs and how to listen.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had too much time to write fiction this year. I did contribute to an anthology that will come out in May called He Said What? Each writer wrote about something a man said to them that changed their life. I wrote about the time I went to a psychic who spoke to my late father from the other side. What my father said to me at that reading was life changing. And he only said one word, “Tina,” the name of his favorite pet. However, that changed everything (you’ll have to read the story when it comes out to learn why).


I want to wish you the most wonderful holiday. Enjoy being with family and friends. I know I will this year. I’ll try to write more often, but do “friend” me on Facebook by looking for “Karen Nedler Quinn.” I’m on pretty often and we can keep up with each other’s lives in ridiculous detail.



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