Friday, December 30, 2016

New Year, New Choices, New Opportunities

2016 has been one hell of a year. It has been difficult for many reasons: the Presidential election, the loss of so many celebrities, gun violence, attacks against police, the rise of ISIS. Personally, I have been challenged as a parent, a wife and just personal physical and emotional struggles. I am ready to see this year end. It started off with the death of a family member. He was 22 years old. He passed away from a heroin overdose. The epidemic I had heard about on news reports was real, was now personal.

As I said, 2016 was one hell of a year. There were lots of good things that happened too: as a family we went to a Phillies game with extended family, met my late cousin's daughter (she is the spitting image of him), we spent some time in Washington DC and Virginia learning more about our nation's history, and watched my daughter face challenges and adjust her thinking to conquer them. This summer my daughter and I got our live music fix with a Kenny Chesney concert and our annual trek to an Eagles Open Practice. We love Philadelphia Eagles football. Personally, I put my political beliefs into action and volunteered for the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this July.

For 2017 I am determined to be positive in my attitude in all things, not be afraid of the unknown, take some risks and finish projects I start. I will put my faith in God and trust that all things happen for a reason. I will remember that I am a Child of God and that He loves me. I am tired of feeling like I am wasting time. Life is short. We don't get a do over. Each day is the only day we have to make an impact, to make our voices heard.

I am happy to say goodbye to 2016 and really looking forward to a fantastic 2017!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

I didn't fully realize what was happening till it was over

When was the last time you did something brave?

Brave can be an adjective that means possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance.

I was trying to think of when I did something "brave" and I thought of an incident that happened a few year ago. My daughter was in elementary school at the time and it was just the two of us in the house. I was in our home office working on the computer and she was in the living room watching television. Since my daughter was an infant she made noise. Even when she is not talking, you hear her giggling or doing something with her hands or a game; she always makes noise. When you don't hear noise, you know something is wrong.

This particular day she had grabbed a piece of hard candy. A caramel or something. I could hear her in the living room and then I noticed I didn't hear her. I heard the TV, but not her. I stood up and walked into the living room and there she was standing in the middle of the room, her head sticking out more, her mouth opened and she motioned her hand to her throat. She was choking.

At the time I was a Girl Scout leader and one of the requirements was to be CPR/First Aid certified. I had taken a course given by the American Heart Association and learned about the Heimlich maneuver. While in the class I wondered if I would remember how to do this move in an emergency. I would have my answer today.

I immediately moved toward her, told her that I that I knew she was choking and that I was going to get behind her and help her. She didn't resist and let me start. I wrapped my arms around her, clasped my hands together like I was taught and pulled in and up towards her chest. Nothing happened. I relaxed a brief moment, took a deep breath and told her I was going to do it again. This time I pulled in harder. That time the candy dislodged and out it came of her mouth and fell onto the floor. I let go and immediately examined her face (she never changed color fortunately) and asked her some basic questions: "How do you feel? Does anything hurt? Are you breathing okay?" She was fine. I threw out the candy, pretty sure I gave her some water to sip on and went back into the office.

I sat down in the chair and the adrenaline rush that I was on subsided and my legs and arms went to jelly. I put my head in my hands and exhaled. Oh my God, I just did the Heimlich on my baby, I thought to myself. My strength was gone for a few moments and I was shaky and on the verge of tears. I allowed myself to feel these feelings and then regrouped. I did the Heimlich. In case of an emergency, I could and would remember what to do. A year or two later, I went back for another training in First Aid and CPR. This time I learned out to use the automatic defibrillator machine. Those things are cool.

During the training I offered my story of what I was able to do because of the training I had. I reassured the other participants that they would know what to do in case of an emergency. The skills become innate, automatic and allow you to do the unthinkable. They allow you to be brave.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

I'm having a bad day...what should I do?

One week ago I had my second surgery on my right wrist. I have been dealing with a constant pain and swelling in the wrist for 7 months. Today, 8 days later, I am able to type this post. The only discomfort I have is from my stitches and the wound itself. It feels so good to write again.

The first prompt of the BlogHer challenge for November is When you're having a bad day with your mental health, what do you do to help yourself?

Over a dozen years ago I was diagnosed with depression. Therapy helped a lot in the beginning then a few years later it became apparent I needed medication. I still taking my medicine faithfully every time and attend therapy a couple of times a month. There are quite a few things I do when I feel myself getting into a funk. First, I make sure I got enough sleep the night before. If I need to take a nap and literally reboot myself, I do that and sometimes that is all I need to get back on track again.

On days when a nap isn't enough, I allow myself to feel whatever is I am feeling. Then, I write. Sometimes it is just making a list of things I would like to do or things that need to get done for a specific event, like Thanksgiving. I leave the house. Even if it is just to the grocery store to pick up a few things, I make sure I get out of the house. A year ago I started karate with my daughter and I really enjoy those sessions. Karate requires a lot of concentration so it is a great way to get out of my own head and focus on something else for an hour.

Another way I cope is eating. It's not the best way and I have to limit myself, but I do enjoy a frosted doughnut with sprinkles from the local grocery store. That with a glass of milk...mmmmm good. I used to go shopping when I felt bad, but I found myself buying things that felt good in the moment and sometimes by the time I got home, realized I didn't need or really want that item at all.

One last thing I do which may seem odd to some, but brings me great joy, writing in my planner. I love planners and calendars! I carry a planner with me at all times and when I am feeling low I look at the upcoming week and start listing things that need to be done. And then I break out the stickers and decorate the pages. It is so pretty and it is very relaxing to me. My planner is my life line so any stickers I use can be pretty, but they must be functional as well.

I would love to hear what you do when you are not feeling all that spunky.

Monday, June 6, 2016

That Scar

I have quite a few scars. Unfortunately I develop keloid scars. That means the surface of the scar tends to be raised and in my case stays purply color.  There is a gel patch I ask for when I have surgery to put over the incision site to reduce the raising and the color.  They work!  It is a beautiful thing.

The scar I will write about is the one on my left wrist.

When I was in high school I was in the Marching Band. I was in the Bandfront; I twirled flags - Large Silks. I loved it. I was able to start with the band in 8th grade and did it through 12th grade. I even continued with it for two years in college. I decided at the end of the football season my second year in college to put down my flag and retire. My wrists were constantly aching and at one point I could not even move my wrists. Once I stopped twirling, the pain went away.

Over the years my wrists would ache occasionally but would dissipate quickly. Then I started noticing that my left wrist would ache when it rained. A few years ago we had continuous days of rain/thunderstorms, humidity and my wrist was throbbing. I was beginning to think there might be a bigger issue. Then one day I put my left arm on the window of my car while driving and I got a shooting pain in my arm.  It was time to call a doctor.

Eventually I found my way to Dr. Peter Hutchinson. We did occupational therapy, steroid shots, and a brace over about a year's time. It eventually got to the point I was in my wrist brace 24/7, only taking it off for showering. There were times it was painful showering and getting dressed. I was at my wit's end. I didn't mind easing up on chores or resting it throughout the day, but I was drawing the line at having difficulty taking care of myself. I went to see Dr. Peter in August 2013 at the end of my rope. He was completely perplexed. An MRI had showed that I had 2 slight tears in tendons on the top of my wrist but that wasn't where I was experiencing pain. The pain seemed to be under my wrist. When he would examine my hand there weren't any "hot spots" when he touched them, but afterwards my wrist would throb for hours. At this august appointment he took my hand again, flipped it over and started pressing.  He pressed down on the right side of my wrist where a bone is. I yelled. We finally found the spot. He had me go across the hall to get an x-ray. Within minutes he could see the problem.  My pima form bone was worn away from arthritis. He said he could remove the bone, it would not affect the use of my hand at all. He would also "clean up" the tendons on the other side of my hand. Sign me up Doc. When can we do this?

He asked me if I was okay with being operated on Friday the 13th - September 13th. I said yes, let's do this. A month later I had my surgery and two weeks after that my stitches came out and I started occupational therapy. The pain in my wrist was gone. Sure I had pain, but that was strictly from the surgery and just my hand healing. We had bouts of rain during this time and there was no pain. Finally after about 3 years of doctor visits, injections, therapy, and wrist brace my pain was gone, I was healed.

So yes I do have a scar on the underside of my wrist, but I love that scar. It is proof of healing.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Stickers, Stickers, Stickers

When you delve into the planner obsessed world you realize there are a few things that planners consider a necessity: pens, washi tape, stickers. Lots and lots of stickers. Some people use their planners more like scrapbooks. The pages are filled with stickers, washi tape and fancy writing. Me? I need my planner to be functional. Yes, I do have some pens and washi tape I like to use. But I have so many commitments between myself, daughter, husband and family I need as much space as possible to write everything down. If I do not write it down, there is a good chance it won’t get done.

I do use the calendar on my phone. Specifically I use the Google Calendar. That is mostly for when I am out and about.  It is to convenient to check when the next event is happening to help me keep track of time better.

I do put some stickers on my pages. I like some seasonal ones like colored leaves, acorns, pumpkins, and Christmas trees just to dress up the page a bit. I have ordered personalized stickers from Erin Condren and I am just phanatic about a Etsy shop called Planner Penny. They are removable! She designs Monthly sets to match the color schemes of the Erin Condren Life Planner. They are imaginative and useful. I have a new shipment on the way. I cannot wait for them to arrive. I will post pictures soon.


Above is an example of a layout of a week in my planner.

How do you decorate your calendar/planner?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


There is a video going viral of Steve Harvey speaking to a Family Feud audience. It is called Jump. I have seen this video a few times and I am sure I will watch it about a hundred more times. If you haven’t seen it yet, I have the link below.

It has inspired me. God gives each of us gifts. Sometimes those gifts have absolutely nothing to do with our jobs/careers. Other times it could lead to a new career. Either way we need to take a leap, a jump, of faith. We have to trust our parachute will open and we will soar.

I love writing. I have been writing poems and stories since I was a little kid. There was a number of years I got away from it, but in the past year I have been doing more. It is like fresh oxygen for me. I have to write. which is why i have this blog. I would love to be published someday. I have been trying to think of my “niche” or speciality and I was stressing about that. Then I realized I don’t have to have a speciality. I realized it is essays that I love to write.

I have been thinking of some current topics and I realized I need to do some research. Research. It has been a while since I have needed to do that. But I did enjoy that in high school and college. There are so many resources available because of the internet, however, not everything on the internet is reliable. So it will take some figuring to see which sources are better than others.

Writing makes me happy. I’m ready to jump. Wanna come with me? What makes you jump? I would love to hear and cheer you on.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

There are three things I really enjoy: Planners, Purses, and Phootball

Planners - Erin Condren Life Planner (
I love planners. Paper, digital, Iove them all. I just had a conversation with my husband on how I needed to update our family calendar in the kitchen. I said I have three calendars going. 3? Why not just use your phone? I need paper. I just can’t go without a paper planner. Well, the past couple of days i decided to try just the phone calendar. I'm not convinced. we’ll see how it goes. but i do love paper planners and this year my favorite is my ECLP. There are interchangeable covers and i can personalize the covers too. So, even if i decide to go with phone calendar for appointments and such i will always have a paper planner for other things. perhaps this blog?

three covers with title.jpg

Purses - I love 31 (
A few years ago I was introduced to 31 Bags. 31 is a direct sales company - consultants book parties/shows where the host can earn free and discounted products based on sales at their show. My sister hosted a show and about a year later became a consultant. She has a rapidly growing team and I am a number one customer.

I have several favorite items and right now one of my favorites is Everything Crossbody bag. I love it because i can wear it crossbody, over the shoulder and the wrist. Also my ECLP fits perfectly in the main zipper compartment. AAAAHHHHH! The bag is light weight before I add all my stuff to it and it isn’t much heavier with stuff in it.

More on my other favorites bags will be catalog starts February 1!

I live in the Philly area. Born and bred. I am a Philadelphia Eagles fan. My dad used to have season tickets when the Eagles played in Veterans Stadium. We have made it to the playoffs and even the super bowl a few times, but we haven’t won yet. Not once. Sigh. This past season was disappointing in a lot of ways. Our head coach was fired before the last game of the regular season. We weren’t going to the playoffs so it didn’t matter. However, we did win that last game. This week our new head coach was introduced. He’s a former player and former assistant coach. There is much speculation on how he will fare as head coach.i am optimistic. I don’t have much of a choice. More to come on that as well in the future.
eagles logo.jpg

So these are the three things that get me excited and I love talking about. Of course since this is a election year, the candidates get me fired up too. of course it isn’t always because i support them. it is more of a reaction to what they say and the attitudes they project. there will be more, lots more, on them as well.

I look forward to hearing what you think about these things as well too.