(So)(Co) Sit Down with Norine Spero (My Mom!)

It only felt appropriate on Mother's Day for this week's (So)(Co) Sit Down guest contributor to be the woman that inspires me the most in my life, my mom. I am incredibly fortunate to have the relationship that I do with my mom -- one that I majorly cherish.

One of the reasons I decided to start my business was to have a flexible schedule. This means in the middle of the day on any given day, you can find me in a yoga class, at lunch, shopping, seeing a film etc. with my mom. As you'll read below - she is open-minded, realistic, practical, mindful, supportive, an incredible chef/baker and overall a phenomenal human being. She's always wanted me to be the happiest and healthiest I could possibly be. She is constantly on my side in trying to figure out what works best for my health and well-being. She has taught me so much, and helped me through some of the toughest situations in my life. I'm so grateful to have her as a mother.  



How do you spend your days?

I start my day checking in on what work needs to be accomplished for Spero Media. I'm the CFO and some days there's plenty to do and other days less so. 

I'm fortunate to have such a flexible schedule so that I can arrange to meet with friends or family during the day to catch a film, head to a gallery or museum or simply get together to just hang if my workload allows for it. For certain every day I make sure I move, whether walking or practicing yoga or going to the gym. It's a must. 

What are three things you are grateful for?

The great parents I had, and what a wonderful relationship we had with each other. I think all their support and unconditional love helped me become the person I am today. They were always there for me, even during the stressful Hippie days, and those were some wild times I put them through.

Good health for all! (particularly Harper)

I'm really fortunate to have an amazing life partner, Harry. We've been together close to 40 years (that's insane!)

Explain your lifestyle in 5 words or less.

Fun and filled with laughter

If you were to attend a potluck dinner, what would you bring?

As my husband Harry says, "Norine is the best cook and baker that never cooks or bakes." Recently I made chocolate covered macaroons that seem to have become a signature item in my repertoire. So macaroons it is!

If you could gift everyone you meet with on book, what would it be and why?

The children's book called Lifetimes by Bryan Mellonie. Although it's meant for children as a beautiful way to explain death I think it's a beautiful way to explain life for adults as well as children.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Check my stupid email. I truly hate that I'm so connected to looking at it.

If you could change one thing in your daily routine, what would it be? What would it take for you to make that change?

I suppose I'd try to get to bed approximately the same time each night. From all of the scientific research I've read, it's one of the best ways to ensure uninterrupted sleep. However, since I have a very flexible schedule each day I usually read, watch TV or do both before bed.

What does being healthy mean to you?

Healthy means in body and mind, being conscious of moving my body each and every day whether it's with yoga, or the newly introduced Franklin Method (a method that teaches alignment and how to move your body with maximum efficiency). Also, always reading in order to keep those brain muscles as sharp as possible.

Have you ever been faced with health concerns that pushed you to change you lifestyle?

Oh yes, over 15 years ago I had arthroscopic knee surgery in my right knee for a torn meniscus. Quite a bit of arthritis was discovered at the time. The surgery went fine. It solved the problem of my knee buckling intermittently but it created a new problem. I found that getting up and down from a seated position took me a few seconds to get in balance and straighten out my leg. I dealt with that issue until around four years ago when I found that walking around the city (which I do much of) was becoming a challenge.

My knee and legs felt achy enough that I found myself taking a bus, or a cab or just not going places because of my knee/leg issue. Definitely hampering my quality of life and it was actually scary for me.

I went to an orthopedic doctor who basically said he'd inject some gel lubricant in my knee and it might be helpful for anywhere from 6-12 months (possibly longer). I came home from that appointment and knew I had to figure out how to get this remedied on my own.

I was fortunate enough to have this happen in the summertime when I had access to a swimming pool. I went into the pool every day and exercised. I had a wonderful session with Heidi Gerber LMT and she suggested I increase my fish oil intake, which I did gradually. This combination of the "right" exercise and fish oil seemed to work wonderfully. When the summer was over, I continued the pool-like exercises in a local gym. 

As Harper would say, I became the best version of myself by taking charge of my health and therefore, enjoying this amazing city of New York!

From time to time my knees are achy and I apply this fabulous cream/lotion my brother uses for his equine patients called Sore No More. One small application helps almost immediately and off I go!

What song can immediately change your mood in the best way possible?

Hey Ya' by Outkast

What is one piece of advice someone has given you that shifted your way of thinking?

My maternal grandmother (my Bubba) told me when I was a teenager to eat all the things you love and do everything you want to do now because when you get older (clearly as a result of her experience) you can no longer eat certain foods or get around the way you could when younger.

What article of clothing/outfit do you feel most empowered wearing?

My yoga outfit which includes my favorite David Bowie shirt, because it exemplifies the fact that I've taken control of my health and physical well-being.

Complete this sentence: "In order to be happy, I need to..."

Live each day to the fullest, with gratitude for all of the many gifts I have.

What do you have going on in your life that you'd like to share with the (So)(Co) Community?

Though my mantra is "be here now", I am looking forward to the summertime when I can enjoy the pleasure of beach sunsets, BBQ, yoga outdoors and pool time. 

Norine Spero was born in the Bronx and moved to Queens at the age of 11. Always a very independent person, she traveled to Israel and throughout Europe by herself, meeting wonderful people along the way. She lived in San Francisco for a year before deciding to return to New York to go to school to become an optician. She chose that career because at the time there were few women in that field and she saw it as an opportunity. As she began her career as an optician working for the State College of Optometry she met the love of her life, Harry.

She worked in many areas of the optical world (retail, at the State College of Optometry and teaching ophthalmic optics), but found that she was not satisfied. She then worked at the Village Voice as a national account executive and was recruited by Peter Funt to be an account executive for a new magazine called On Cable (a new frontier called Cable).

She gave birth to the oh-so-amazing Harper, and was fortunate to work part-time and spend much of her time raising her little girl. When Harper began kindergarten, Norine got a position as admissions director at Barrow Street Nursery School in Greenwich Village. Ten years later an opportunity arose for Norine to become co-director of a brand new holistic healing center called Olive Leaf Wholeness Center.

For the past seven years, Norine has the distinct title of CFO of Spero Media Inc.

As you can see from her bio, she is always open to trying new things and has thus far had a wide array of jobs in her life. Life is never dull!

Note from Harper: Don't even think about trying to find her on Facebook and friending her because she won't accept you. It's nothing personal, she's just not into Facebook - just what I'm up to ;)