Monday, December 17, 2012

Terrible News...

I have no words to express my thoughts on the terrible Connecticut shooting. As a mother, my whole soul aches for the families that experienced the loss of their child.  The pictures of each victim shows their innocence, their potential, their whole-hearted love for life and  makes watching the news unbearable.  To all those thoughts are with you, there is nothing that will make this event less tragic, this is irreversible and soul-wrenching, and I pray that you will find the support you need to cope.

Although this event has taken the issue of gun-control to the forefront and everyone has an opinion on whether its bad or good, or whether there should be restrictions, and so on and so on...what we fail to realize is that this debate, regardless of the event, will take time to actualize.  I am more concerned about putting the protections in place for our children NOW rather than putting all the efforts into a debate that may (or may not) change the situation in the future. I believe that every school, elementary, middle, high, college should have gun detectors and security as a mandatory part of its operations. We pay taxes every year to the district and as a taxpayer I want to know that my money is going to support a school where I feel my children will be safe. I want to know that there will be security at each school that can stop the problem at the source. I am tiered of hearing of reactionary responses rather than inputting proactive steps to prevent this from happening in the future. Yes, people will argue with me that changing the law is proactive, but as a person that has worked with the government, I know that this will be a dragged out process.  Simple adjustments to school safety like detectors, security, door-locking policies would be some very important steps that can be taken quickly. School shootings have happened too many times, its tragic and terrible, and we CAN take steps to protect our children knowing that these events occur.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Kitchen Rennovation Part I...

The moment my husband and I moved into our home, we talked about our need to remodel our kitchen. Four years, two children, and two jobs later we are finally in the process of rennovation!

Like any busy family we started to plan this process in advance. Our plan was simple, we do the reno in the the summer so that the kids could play outside, avoid the dust, we can cook on the grill- since every functionality of a kitchen will be absent, and have lots of picnics and walks in the park.  I would like my readers to please note the month of this post. As you will see, December did not quite make the summer cut and our reno just began a week ago.  Sooo...the reality of our plan turned into a complete demolition of the kitchen, freezing cold weather, two children that have both taken turns being sick and living and eating out of boxes in our living room for the next two weeks (one week down, in our three week reno hooray!). This has turned into a pretty hectic month.

With all that said, I have to admit how excited I am about the new kitchen!!! Our original kitchen was all white cabinets with grey counter tops.  And this wasn't just white pretty wooden cabinets, but the type that look like shiny plastic. To those that know me, they will quickly realize that white and I do not mesh. First nothing white stays white in our home for long, we are a very creative family. Second, I love, brown, green, I painted every room in our home some great shade...yet like a sore tooth just aching and aching, the kitchen was still there, white! It reminded me of a sterile doctors office. Ironically, as much as the kitchen bothered me, it was and continues to be the part of the house where all the action happens. We eat in the kitchen (yes, I am stating the obvious), do art and painting with the kids in the kitchen, we hang out there...its just the most social place that is located smack in the middle of our home. So now that the reno is here and we finally took the time to start the project the kitchen is an empty palette.

My husband and I decided to do IKEA, it definitely saves some money for us and we can create a kitchen exactly how we like it.  In fact we decided to put all the cabinets together ourselves and this has been an interesting project to balance on top of everything else in life.  Wake up, wake up kids, make breakfast, dress kids, run out the door, go to work, work like a dog, skip lunch, keep working, pick up kids, go home, make dinner, play with kids, put them to bed, make! Yet, we're pro's now and can whip up these cabinets in less than an hour (yeah, we're good, we're very good!).  This whole cabinet building experience has been interesting. First, I learned a lot more about my husband. I noticed little things like his logic, how careful he is in drilling or hammering a nail...he is precise and thought through his steps before taking them (unlike me, I took a nail, a hammer, and smacked away!). Second, it was kind of a good bonding experience...before this every night we sat down and watched TV together as a way to relax. As much as I enjoy relaxing with a good movie, I loved this SO much more...this was something to do, where we can truly be together while we built, and not just be present in the same room but actually interact, talk, laugh, it's great! Finally, I guess its rewarding to know this is mine...I think my pride in my new kitchen will be even bigger knowing we put in the work to piece it together.

It's all worth it! Imagine...deep dark cabinets, green walls, funky subway tile backsplash, accented by granite counter-tops (am I drooling?). 

So far, the biggest (one of my biggest) setbacks is my silly indecisiveness...the story of my color choice dilemma soon to come...stay tuned.

   (this is what it feels like is happening to our home... nothing like a little chaos to spice up life :))

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


As I was driving to work this morning after dropping off my kids at daycare, I blasted my radio to an awesome Maroon 5 (sexy as always) tune and was jammin' out in my know, shoulder shimmies, head bobbing, jumping and singing at the top of my lungs kind of jammin'.  After a couple minutes of pure music and beat bliss I realized that I am being stared at by a the person in the car next to me. I quickly reddened, abandoned my nightclub zone and became a serious professional driver that was ready to come to my professional job on this very professional morning. 

Why is it that the car...this object with see-through glass that gets me to and from work everyday becomes my private place of refuge? Its funny, but if I think about it, being in my car is very public, I am surrounded by people (also in their cars)...crowds of them, yet I feel that in my car I am surrounded by privacy. I feel that this is the place where I can say what I want, dance to what I want, flick off who I want (I don't do this often, but it happens :)). Yet, I would never behave the way I do in my car in and actual crowd, right? I would never do a jam session on a bus or metro, I would never yell out loud or flick off a random individual as they walk next to me on the street or even if they accidentally walk into me...we would politely apologize to one another and go on with our day. Sometimes I would love to break into song and dance as I listed to my iPod in the store, on the sidewalk, in the park...yet I don't.  I can just picture the looks.  I wonder, why is it that the car allows me to feel that I can just relax and be me?  Then the question is why is it that I hide being the true me in public? (hence the embarrassment at the red light). Then the bigger question is, why is it that the public looks strangely at expression and makes subdued behavior the norm?  Hmmm...just a thought.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I read a quote yesterday that said “Winners find a way and losers find a reason” and it somehow just struck a chord that continued to echo and resonate.  I realized quickly how many reasons I find throughout the day to justify why things go wrong. I have been a “finger-pointer” so many times throughout life, when all the while I have preached that I loathe others that do the same thing. 

I think I repeated this phrase 20 times today and its only 9am :). Somehow the though seems to drive me. I am competitive by nature and thinking with that type of drive seems to help clear my head and allows me to plan things out, make my goals realistic, make my problems miniscule and easy to handle, and even gives me a bit of room to think bigger.

For today, for this week, for this month...I will make the phrase my mantra. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Unexpected Week

I hate repeating cliche saying but I have to admit that "when it rains it pours"! This week has been one of the bittersweet realizations that life can create unexpected surprises that can turn plans, work, parenting, and blogging upside down. The gap in my blogging resulted from a very tough sick week! Prepare yourself for a long story and my terrible anger toward the medical system.  WARNING: This blog is a rant!

I am a mother of two beautiful kids! My little girl is almost three and my son is four ( yes, yes, "Irish twins" I know- I get that all the time). Every parent knows that when their kids enter the wonderful realm of daycare along with education and socialization they share every germ possible with their peers. Therefore this year has been a repetitive trend of stuffy noses, sore throats, infections. My kids are great at getting over the cold and flu quickly, their sick and grouchy one day and the next they are running and playing. Me- not so much, I have a sick child, I take care of them, I hug them and kiss them, I get sick...and the next day still sick and the next, and the next, and the next. I actually typically get the dragged on crappy feeling of all the symptoms for two weeks.

SO when my daughter came home from daycare with a fever last Friday, I thought that with a little care, medicine and rest she will be good in no time. Yet her fever went up! My husband and I were shocked to see the thermometer read over 104! We gave her medicine, rocked her to sleep but with no success, her fever went down just a bit but stayed high...we gave it one more day, tried giving her water, tea, food, more medicine, yet nothing helped.  We called the doctor (this is Friday night so we call the on-call doc) and they said that with medicine her fever should go down in a few days, that there is a common virus going around and that she will be fine.  So the weekend passes, my daughter is up every hour crying and feeling terrible, we spent three days with no sleep and her fever consistently remained high. Monday comes around ( this is day 4 of this horrible fever), my husband takes the day off work and we take her to the doctor...the doctor looks at my daughter, says that everyone gets sick, give her medicine she'll be fine.  My husband calls me and tells me the doctors response and at this point I blow up! I am running on fumes with a total of 4 hours of sleep in 4 days and my patience is short...there is NO WAY that having a fever of 104 is OK and that there is nothing that can be done about it. I call the doctor and ask what can we do? Yet I get the same response.  At this point I am lost, I have to make my daughter better! I come home after work, take my daughter in my arms and notice that she is scratching her ear...suddenly the ear starts leaking blood and pus! OH MY GOD! I am freaking out, my daughter is crying, her fever is extremely high, her ear is bleeding, as a mother I am thinking everything..."Meningitis, she will go into a seizure, etc.".  I call the doctor...again this is after their working hours so the on-call doctor says, oh...well it sounds like an ear infection, just bring her in tomorrow. Again, I freak out..."why tomorrow? should we go to the ER?, she is really hot". The doctor simply says, well you can go to the ER but you'll most likely wait four to 5 hours and they will have you see us in the morning anyway.

At this point I call my colleague at work and ask her to refer me to her family physician so that we can seek a second opinion. I call her doctors office and enter a two hour conversation with the scheduling office that asks me 45 questions about our insurance...her computer is slow so every answer is processed for 10 minutes at a time. I am walking around with a sick child in my arms, on the phone with a scheduler who is chewing gum and asking me about insurance! She said that before she can even schedule an appointment she has to have this info or else my daughter cannot be seen. I tell her "please hurry this process", I ask her if I can email her a scanned version of the insurance card? I try everything to simply schedule another doctor to see my child...yet no, she is following a process that must be followed exactly. At the 45 minute mark, I give up...I just have to go back to our original doctors office.

So the saga continued through the night, my child is hot, not sleeping, ear is bleeding, I am freaking out! First thing in the morning we call the doctor and schedule an appointment. They tell me that the only doctor available for a same day appointment is the one that saw her on Monday and said nothing was wrong, yet lo and behold her ear ruptured!  I ask for another doctor to see my daughter, and tell them that my trust in the first one is gone. They say, "sorry, you can try to schedule an appointment on tomorrow".  Now my patience is up...I have never screamed at the phone or blown up publicly in my life but this was the day to do it. I say: "My daughter has a high fever for the fifth day, her ear is BLEEDING, she has had nothing to eat for almost a week...DO YOU THINK I WANT TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT TOMORROW!" Finally, the secretary gives. She said that she will make sure that our off-duty doctor comes in to see my little girl. We come in, and of course my daughter has a severe ear infection...we got antibiotics and by the evening, my daughter actually stopped crying and ate something.

On a side note, after this chaos was over, my son came home sick the next day and we had to take the rest of the week off, taking shifts with my husband to take care of  both my recovering daughter and my now sick with a fever son (Oh sleep, where are you?)

Yet, although I am SO relieved that both my kids are ok  am still seething mad at the medical system.  First, the doctor that saw my daughter treated her as an item on a conveyor belt in a factory- he stamped on a diagnosis without ever looking for other issues. He was so sure of his diagnosis that our frantic calls did not raise any concern. With a simple observation, the problem could have been treated early and not caused as many complications we needed to deal with for a full week. Second, even after realizing the issue and being called out on it, the doctor kept saying that the ear infection was not there when he saw her...unfortunately we talked with another doctor and they said that with the amount of fluid coming out of her ear, this inflammation would be impossible to miss. So now I have a doctor that not only failed to diagnose correctly but is lying to my face. Third, the whole process of picking my daughter up out of bed, carrying her to the various doctors offices, going there back and forth several times, waiting in the waiting room, waiting in the actual office, waiting to fill the perscription with a child that is barely alive from weakness is ridiculous!  I know that we are past the days where a doctor visited a patient at home, but the whole time as I carried my daughter I kept thinking "why?". Do we not pay thousands of dollars for our insurance and medical care? Is it really normal to be dragging my daughter for hours to and from the doctors office? Is it really ok to have a pharmacy take 45 minutes to fill a prescription and make a person wait that long? 

I cannot express in words the emotions that I went through this past week! The toll this week has taken on my life, my relationship, my job is high and I went through so many thoughts ranging from care, my own childhood memories of my mother caring for me, understanding how much i love my children and how deeply I would give anything to make them better, realizing my husband is also human and that I cannot put all the weight on him, and understanding how much pent up anger I actually have.  I hope that I have some people that can relate to my post and would love to hear their stories. Logically, post factum, I understand and can come up with answers to my questions and appease my anger, but as a mother I will continue to hate this system and hope with all my might I can keep my kids as healthy as possible so we can avoid dealing with it!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Tis the season of …Re-gifting?

I know (believe me) that life can get busy and sometimes there is no time for the last minute shopping spree. You may find yourself in a situation that you’re running out the door to birthday, anniversary, Christmas or Chanukah party with nothing in hand and there is a desire to grab an unwanted unopened gift sitting in our house to pass along. 

Every year my husband and I receive gifts that we know right away have been “re-gifted” and have been sitting in our friends’ basements or a relatives closet for over a year and now show up nicely wrapped at our doorstep.  People are under a strange fog if they think that they are being crafty and that a re-gift is not obvious. If not done right and without a little bit of thought put into the item, a re-gifted item could have a reverse effect of brightening someone’s day and result in hurt feelings , negative impressions, and embarrassing moments. In fair warning to all the “re-gifters” out there, if your friends catch on to your plot you may be receiving the not-so-hot gifts next time around. 
That said, “re-gifting” can be ok in some instances, especially for those that are budget conscious. In this economy not everyone can handle the huge expenses with buying new gifts fro all. A re-gift can become a great gift for someone if its done correctly with a few personal touches and a little bit of thought.

1)    Use a little bit of common sense and think about the receiver. Will this person use or appreciate the gift you did not want? If your children never played with this item would your friend’s children (or parents) appreciate it?

2)    Usability: Do a little research- has this gift been discontinued since you received it (just in case your will want to purchase any supplemental items to it)?

3)    Condition. Does the gift look new? Can you spice it up with better wrapping fit for the occasion? 

Some gifts actually make a good presents.  Gifts that are ok to re-route to a new home:

1)  A great bottle of unopened wine or cognac (if your friends drink! Don’t bring it so they open it just for you :) )

2)  Clothing items, if new with a tag on them- such as children’s clothes, a shawl- just make sure you know the style of the person getting the gift. I have received re-gifted kids clothes before and loved it! It was something I used right away, was my son’s size and style.  

3)   Books and Games- a great new book or a fun family game is always a great gift if unopened and if you know that the gift will be used. (i.e. Make sure your friend likes to read or loves to play games).

Alternate quick solutions not to re-gift:

1)    Create your own money or gift card-holder:

Sometimes, just giving money is a great way to show you care.  Everyone enjoys getting a little extra cash, even if it means that you didn’t go out and shop.  Here is a fast way to use extra gift-wrap paper around the house to create your own money or card holder. If you want to create a little surprise (and if you feel the person receiving the gift will like this)- quickly pull into a gas station before the event and buy 25 dollars worth of lottery tickets to put into the beautifully crafted envelope instead of cash…one of them has to win, right?

2)   Sending Flowers via internet or buy flowers at the store- a quick bouquet brightens the day. If it’s a major event consider getting a cool potted plant- they last and most people enjoy them.

3)    Send an E-card with an attached gift certificate

4)    If you’re crafty you can always create something from you. Anyone receiving the gift will see you put work into it and appreciate it.

5)    When in doubt...Pintrest!-

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A must-have...

I would like to highlight one my biggest trade secrets of a succesful work I will not advise anyone on organization, stretching, soft skills, or any of the typical things you secret is (drum roll please) a space heater!

 I work in an office located in an office building with central heating and cooling. No matter how hard the building management tries, they unfortunately cannot regulate the temperature to my personal preference. In fact, I work in an office that consists of 95% women and we've noticed that we are almost always cold.   We all layer, which helps, but even with the layers I am always just a little uncomfortably cold. I noticed that whenever I feel a little colder than I want to be, like a toothache, it makes me less productive. I tend to get up more to walk around the office, I tend to take lunch earlier, I make excuses to "heat up".

One of my colleagues let me borrow her space heater and it was "love at first heat"! I have the thing blaring under my desk, creating a cocoon of warmth in my office. It's wonderful! I come in the morning, turn it on, and cuddle into my workspace. Although it sounds like now all I need is a blanket and to fall into a blissful sleep, I actually begin to concentrate on my work.  Not only do I have better concentration but my saleswoman kicks in in full throttle, I am friendly to my coworkers, I don't complain, I want to stay in my office. It's really a great tool and my advice of the day.

I found this really great article for businesses and the connection of temparature to workplace productivity. Check it out:

Side note:

Granted there are women that do not fall into this category, but most of my friends and colleagues will agree that we like the thermostat higher than our significant others. My husband and I have an evening tradition, everyday I wrap three blankets around me on the couch while he sits watching TV comfortably in a T-shirt.  We have had many silent battles over the thermostat at home...while he's upstairs I would sneak to the living room to turn it up, and while I slept he would turn it down. My husband is practical by nature and always remembers to turn off the thermostat when we're not at home. I am realistic by nature and know that when we come home it will be FREEZING, so I naturally "forget" to take that step when leaving the house. I know its not frugal and I know that saving money is important, but I would rather skip going out to dinner than coming home from my cozy car to enter a refrigerator.