Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mom MD

I don't know about you, but whenever my husband or my kids get sick, I become everyone's nursemaid.  This week, as the weather continues to go from cold to spring-like to cold again, everyone came down with something.  My son out of nowhere spiked a raging fever - of course, after hours so we had to take him to a medical clinic to check him out and then my daughter came down with an awful cold and cough and kept taking her temperature every 10 minutes hoping her illness would warrant a doctor visit too.
Then there's my husband, who usually goes for about two weeks at a time before something starts bugging him.  This week he probably has a head cold but he's thinking it's something way more serious - he always does.  I know I shouldn't just dismiss it as if he's delusional, but unfortunately, my mother-in-law is a fanatic when it comes to getting sick - she's literally at the doctor's office at least once a week.  In fact, I think it rivals her appointments at the beauty parlor. 
And somehow, amidst all the germs, the coughing, the wheezing, the sneezing and the 102 temperature, I've managed to build up some crazy resistance to whatever they throw at me.  Since I went out on my own, I have not caught a cold, which is amazing since I used to catch at least 3-4 colds per season.  I guess there are perks to working out of a freezing cold basement home office.  But let's get back to the patients.
This entire week I've been giving my kids cold medicine and children's motrin, bouncing into walls looking for a washcloth so I could put a cold compress on my son's head, preparing tea with honey for my daughter and finding the perfect girl scout cookie to go along with it, and telling my husband if he feels sick, then make an appointment with the doctor.  You see, I am not only Florence Nightengale, I'm also a therapist.  
The funny thing is that while my son was the one who was the sickest this week, he hardly complained (gotta love him), but my DH and daughter could rival each other on who felt sicker.  I know I may sound harsh and I may one day regret my constant feeling that people in my house overreact to their illnesses but sometimes it would be nice to just accept a cold for what it is.  A cold.  And realize that if you have a headache, it's just a headache.  Sure, there's always the chance it could be more serious, but my theory is simple on that subject.  If you're not coughing up or pooping out blood, passing out or having chest palpitations, then you are as healthy as a horse.    
And that's my free diagnosis of the day.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Short Order Cook

There is no such thing as the traditional family dinner at my home.  Sure, when we go to restaurants, we all eat together and select our favorite meals - me a salad, my hubby, a burger, and the kids - one gets chicken fingers and the other prefers pasta with butter.   At a restaurant, it's perfectly fine to choose different dishes, but when the tables are turned, I wind up juggling orders just like our favorite waitress at the diner.
No matter the meal, my kids constantly select different dishes and then, if I make something and it's not to their liking, they even send it back!  Last night, it was pasta for my daughter and a hamburger and fries for my son.  This morning, it was cocoa puffs and orange juice and my son called out to me "Mommy, I don't like orange juice, take it back!"  So instead, I switched his juice for a chocolate milk at no charge.
Back when I was a kid, my mom cooked a meal and we ate it - no complaints.  Cornish hens on Sunday, turkey meatloaf on Monday, chicken thrown in a few days later and baked ziti if we were really lucky.  But nowadays, since I don't spend much time in the kitchen (except when I'm juggling my kids' orders), the family dinner is now served restaurant style - you pick what you want and I attempt to make it.  And, if I burn it or it tastes funny, you send it back and demand a new dish.
I think it's time I take a page out of my mom's playbook - I mean today is Easter Sunday and although we're Jewish, maybe I'll hit the supermarket before it closes and cook up a tasty cornish hen.  Then again, maybe we'll hit a diner that's open and I'll force everyone to order the same thing!  

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hillary According to the New York Times...the Party is Over

To the editors at the New York Times:
Can you please stop blatantly endorsing Barack Obama in nearly every article you publish?  It's getting a bit obvious.  I mean, I even voted for the guy but the effusive praise it's getting a bit tired.  I do believe he definitely bounced back when he gave that eloquent speech this week that attempted to put out the flames on all the negative press swirling around his pastor who had made derogatory comments about rich white men and even endorsed a well known anti-semite, but now after all has been forgiven, I'm starting to feel really bad for Hillary Clinton.
Today's NY Times goes on and on and on about New Mexico's Governor Richardson's endorsement of Obama.  The same man who spent Superbowl Sunday with Bill Clinton, who was given numerous positions in the Clinton cabinet, turned his back on his old friend, didn't return his calls and drank the Obama Kool Aid.  "Yes we can!" Gulp!
Hillary, as much as I'd hate to admit it, if it were up to the NY Times, Obama is going to get that nomination.  Plus, that Times article about your involvement in the peace process in Northern Ireland isn't helping your cause either.  Sure as a First Lady, you probably made lots of phone calls and had tons of teas with all the leaders in Ireland but when it came time to sign any treaties, you were banished to the tea room and let the men take over to sign on the dotted line.  Let's face it.  You're not going to win the presidency this time around.   That doesn't mean you won't be president one day - but right now, things are not looking to good for you.  But if I were you, I wouldn't let the media praise of Obama and all that negativity get you down.
Take the high road like Al Gore.  Produce a movie, win an Academy Award and an Emmy and realize that there are better things out there than being President.  And judging from the sex scandals among all these politicians, who needs politics anyway - they're all a bunch of pompous power mongers who can't really relate to what the rest of the nation is going through anyway.   
And as for Obama - I'm thoroughly impressed by your words, your intelligence and your charisma - I just hope that once you and John McCain get into the ring that it won't turn into a boxing match.  You've already got the gray lady in your corner and the reliably conservative NY Post - maybe you should quit while you're ahead and just become the Governor of NY.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

The Cinderella Syndrome

In my new book, Peeing in Peace (yes, shameless plug), we talk about the Cinderella Syndrome - how a mom transforms into Cinderella when she leaves the house and heads into the office. But now that I've been off on my own these last six months, I've begun to realize that the Cinderella Syndrome takes on a whole new meaning when you're launching a new business and have to start all over again.
Suddenly, escaping your kids so you can put on a trendy suit is not the vision of Cinderella that's conjured up in this truly uncomfortable scenario.  This time you are Cinderella, hard at work in your bunny slippers, mopping floors, sweeping up after everybody and constantly being passed over by the people who you thought were your friends when you had a swanky office, a big title next to your name and an expense account.
When you go off on your own, you quickly realize who your friends are and who has no use for you whatsoever.  While many of my former contacts still take my calls and respond to my emails, I can now count on one hand the number of times many of them have come through for me. 
The funny thing is, the contacts that I've made since leaving behind that big stable job have actually opened the doors to new opportunities and I've found there are people just like me in the same exact boat who have left corporate jobs and are willing to lend advice and support me as I grow my fledgling business.    
Other times, I've met people who believe that my former association with a major TV network could potentially help them get ahead.  I quickly realized that if I can't help myself get into the Prince's Ball, I sure as hell can't help someone else break in either.   
While I've actually become pretty comfortable with my PR business, the worst part about being on my own have been the times that I've had to be my own publicist.  I've officially decided - I hate pitching myself - so when I finally got a publicist to pitch our new book, I thought things would be easier.  I thought my contacts would be impressed that we went from being self published to getting a real publisher behind us and would instantly put us on their shows.  But I thought wrong.  Now, instead of being rejected directly by one of my contacts, I'm being shot down indirectly.   And hence, that's why I feel like Cinderella before the ball.  I keep hoping one day my time will come, but every time I come close, someone slams the door shut and sends me back home to sweep the floors.   Or worse, I wind up getting my own clients booked on things but then when it's time for me, I don't make the grade.
Rejection is one of the toughest things any business owner or aspiring artist faces when putting themselves out on a limb or out on display.  And I'm determined that one day, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next month, but sometime in the not too distant future, my own fairy godmother will pop in, grab my hand, pick me up off the floor and say, hey - you belong on Oprah!  But until that day arrives, I'll just be here biding my time with my mop and broom. 

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Seat of My Pants

I don't know why, but these last few weeks I've felt as if I've been flying by the seat of my pants at home, at work, on the phone and with friends.  No matter where I turn, I have been doing things last minute and my husband is pretty much losing patience with my antics.  Last weekend, when my daughter had her usual Hebrew school, gymnastics and ice skating class - all in one day, we got sidetracked by a Purim party and the rest of our day got all screwed up.  We raced to get to ice skating - got there too late, missed the lesson and my daughter was thoroughly depressed that she couldn't twirl around to her new recital song - which I had failed to download onto a CD because I couldn't figure out how to work my new Macbook.
While my husband glared at me at the ice rink and demanded we invest in a dayplanner, I agreed that I have been a bit flighty these last few weeks.  I'm busy juggling two businesses at once, attempting to help my daughter with her family tree school project, procrastinating writing a new book proposal and constantly getting sidetracked with new opportunities, setbacks, triumphs and sad moments in my life.
You see, while I've attempted to go for the brass ring and achieve everything I think I want to be when I grow up, some of my closest friends have confronted things I've never imagined we'd have to face before we even turned 40.  Through it all, what I've come to realize is that success on the career front is nothing if you don't have your health.  I won't go into specifics but all I will say is I feel fortunate knowing that when the chips are down, my high school girlfriends have rallied around to make sure our friends who are facing hard times are not alone. While my life may be harried, insane, and pretty much going way too fast, I've come to realize that nothing else really matters except for my family and lifelong friends.  

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Obama Problema...I'm Having Second Thoughts

I've been spending the morning watching the Presidential campaign through the eyes of YouTube and the New York Times.  And a funny thing happened as I clicked on video after video.  I learned more about the people who inspired Barack Obama - his mother and his minister.  The profile of his mother was quite inspiring - she seemed to have been a selfless individual who devoted her life to making the world a better place for her children.  Obama's minister on the other hand, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, personally scares me.  
First, a friend of mine told me about his radical views against what he calls "rich, white, men" who control the government.  After reading an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, I even found out that Obama's minister fervently supports Louis Farrakhan and even gave him an award on behalf of his church.  I also decided to check out some of his speeches for myself.  Just do a search on YouTube and you'll find a selection that'll open your eyes and then some.   Sadly, his speeches are eerily reminiscent to Hitler - who blamed rich Jews for all of Germany's failings. As a Jewish woman with family members who escaped Nazi Germany and who also has friends who have lost their lives to terrorist attacks, the last thing I want to see is someone closely aligned with a presidential candidate whose views are incredibly antiquated and divisive.  It is not supposed to be about us and them.  We are all Americans and we are all for pursuing the American Dream.  Barack Obama is proof positive that it is possible to succeed despite prejudice but if he has aligned with a minister whose speeches contain loads of references to hate speak, can we trust that he doesn't secretly feel the exact same way?
On a side note, I was watching some clips from Fox News, and yes, I know that Fox is a right wing channel so I am always suspect of their reports, but they did something that was interesting.  They asked a group of people to name one accomplishment made by Barack Obama and no one could come up with a single thing.  They then asked the same question of a U.S. senator who supported Obama and he was completely stumped too.  The only accomplishments his supporters could name were that his speeches are incredibly inspirational and he's one of the first black U.S. senators.  Both have nothing to do with the accomplishments he's made to affect legislation in this country.
So, not to burst anyone's bubble - I mean I voted for the guy already so it's too late to change my mind (at least for now), I have to admit that these two glaring points about Obama are quite troubling.  Has he ever been involved in high level meetings with foreign leaders or other policy makers to actually help find a solution to the crisis in the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan or Darfur?  Has he been involved at all in drafting foreign policy or does he have any experience whatsoever that would help bail out our country from its financial woes?  He sure can argue with that Ivy League law degree, but is being a master orator enough to solve the terrible mess we've gotten ourselves into with the help of the current administration?  
Will Obama truly bring America together or will he favor those people whom he believes have been forgotten and turn his back on the people who have found success by pursuing the American dream?   Will he look to his mentors like Rev. Jeremiah Wright - for guidance on issues involving race and equality? Will he have the experience to serve and protect our country or will he be in over his head?  Incidentally, in the clip above from MSNBC, Obama recently distanced himself from Wright - saying he was ready for retirement and he is not involved the campaign moving forward.   But could his involvement change if Obama wins the nomination and ultimately the election?
I completely got swept up in the hope and inspiration that Obama's offering.  But will that be enough?  Something tells me, it probably won't.  

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hillary Threw Sand in My Eye!

Is it just me, or is anyone else sick and tired of watching Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama pointing fingers at one another as if they were two tattling kids in a sandbox? While they may not literally be saying things like "Hillary just threw sand in my eye," that's the message I've been getting lately as the two candidates punch, kick,
bite and whine their way to the finish line.
At the beginning of the presidential race, I was interested to hear what plans both candidates had in store for our nation. But in the last two months, the campaign has not only turned ugly, it's become downright childish. An Obama aide calls Hillary a "monster" and gets fired. Geraldine Ferraro says Obama wouldn't be doing so well if it weren't for his race and she gets kicked to the curb. Hillary says she'd love to have Obama as her vice president and Barack says, "No thanks, I'm beating you so why would I want to be your #2?" Na, na, na, na, na, na!
The playground politics have got to stop here and now. I do not want to see two political hopefuls be reduced to bratty kids who whine and tattle at every turn. Thanks, Hillary and Barack, but I get enough of that at home. So please stop acting like children and get back to the task at hand. If not, this Mom just might throw her hands up in disgust and give both of you a time-out.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tivo Tirade

I don't understand why people swear by their Tivo's.  I resisted buying one for a few years and broke down about a year ago and forked over several hundred dollars for the lifetime plan that gets you unlimited recording of your favorite shows.  But here's my beef.  Why is it when I'm watching American Idol, my Tivo decides that I should be watching a show on Nickelodeon and when I look away for a split second, the channel changes and I've just missed David Archuletta's performance.
Come on Tivo.  Stop the insanity!  If I wanted to record Fairly Odd Parents, I'd point the damn clicker and record it.  But I don't want to.  And I don't like your suggestion that I may want to watch Atlantis Square Pantis and you'd like to change the channel in the next minute so that I don't miss a minute of Sponge Bob.  I mean Tivo - you don't even know me.  You want to change channels on me?  Then find me some classics that I will willingly watch - how about Steel Magnolias?  Terms of Endearment?  Sleepless in Seattle?  Anything with Drew Barrymore?  I'm not interested in having you jump from Law and Order to the Wizards of Waverly Place so do me a favor Tivo, lay off and stop trying to read my mind.  

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Why It's Good to Check Your Kid's Homework

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Just Call me Gadget Mom

I don't know how it happened, but somehow around my house, I became the gadget queen.  I'm the only person in the house who knows how to hook up the DVD players in the house and in the car, re-set the Tivo, synchronize iPods, iPhones, nanos, operate the Flip Camera, load up videos to YouTube, fix computers, the list is endless.  Certainly this is not necessarily the job of a woman, but yes, I defy stereotypes.
I have no desire to cook - although I recently went to a fabulous Italian cooking class with my hubby - which I'll blog about later today.  I am into finding quick ways to clean my house so we're a swiffer and clorox wipe family all the way and I hate seeing the inside of supermarkets and have made friends with Frank, my weekly Peapod Delivery guy.  
While I'm still not that proficient at hanging shelves or window treatments, I am the master of gadgetry in our house.  When my son wants to play Will, I'm called in to press the appropriate buttons to start his game. If there's trouble in Webkinz world or Club Penguin, my kids call out for me to bring in reinforcements and fix the problem.  And last night, I even helped figure out my friends son's new PSP game which he almost broke because he put one of the games in the wrong way.  
Since I've become the master of gadgets around my house, all I need to do now is figure out how I can get my hubby into the kitchen and cook up a meal while I'm busy programming the DVR.  Dare to dream, dare to dream.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

You can never go home again

Funny how after you leave a job behind that your office mates pretty much stop calling for a few months until something happens that they know will totally tick you off.  That's exactly what happened to me last week.  While busy taking meetings in Manhattan for my new business, I got an email from a former office confidante who wanted to know where I was and asked that I call her ASAP.  
In a matter of seconds, I was dialing her number and in minutes, I was transported back to that toxic place where everyone is bitter and tired of working there but won't actually do anything to make a change.  But what pissed me off about the news she shared was that my former boss was actually creating the job I wanted but he wouldn't offer to me while I was there.  The reason - I worked in the office three days a week and he wanted someone who would be committed to a five day a week schedule.
But here's my beef:   He assumed that I wouldn't even consider the job because of the work schedule - but he never actually bothered to call and ask if I'd come back five days.  I probably would have said no, but the fact that I wasn't even considered really hurts and makes me painfully aware that you really can't go home again.  Not that I would want to, but it would have been nice to have been asked. 
In the meantime, I will forge ahead and build my business, but sometimes news from your past office life can really get you pissed and make you second guess if you did the right thing by jumping off the corporate ladder and into the entrepreneurial abyss.  I'm sure in a few months or years I'll look back and say leaving that job was the best possible thing I could have done for my career, but when you're in the middle of rolling that boulder up Success Hill, the last thing you want to hear is that you've already been forgotten from the place where you thought you had made your mark.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

My iPod and Me

Now that my commuting routine has changed and I haven't had a chance to hook up with my morning coffee klaatch, I've been reduced to driving into work in my Jetta, switching stations that seem to play the same 10 songs over and over again.  Unless I'm listening to John Tesh - who I absolutely love - I have found other ways to entertain myself while driving into Manhattan.  I sing.  
But I don't just sing.  I sing at the top of my lungs, belting out tunes from my iPhone that pretty much take me back to high school.  I've got at least 200 songs from the eighties on my phone, mixed in with some Hannah Montana, American Idol favorites and the random Cheetah Girls single.  And yes, when I'm all alone and a car passes me by on the road, they might just see me mouthing the words to "Best of Both Worlds," and frankly, I don't really care.
Being alone in my car takes me back to the days when I used to drive into the city from my home in Brooklyn.  Back then I was single, just starting out in my career and had a great looking red sports car that would literally turn heads as I drove by.  Today, in my zippy black Jetta, I don't pay attention if people are staring at me.  I'm too busy finding songs that are in my key that I can sing along too and pretend in my mind that I'm in a recording studio putting the finishing touches on my latest CD.
For me, there is nothing that compares to driving along the West Side Highway with songs from my past filling my brain.  From Chicago, to James Taylor (which my DH pretty much can't stand), to Elton John to 38 Special - yes I am cheesy - I had the best time today singing my heart out on the way to work.  
And then, on the way home, I get to play some more tunes - today it was Michael Buble and Good Morning Baltimore from Hairspray.  As much as I love my train commute,  I have to admit that driving alone into Manhattan definitely has it perks.  Sure I'll never get discovered singing all alone in my volkswagen but who cares - at least there's no one in the car telling me to stop because the music is hurting their ears.

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