NaBloPoMo January 2013- Day 2: Which daily tasks take up the most of your energy?

Every day there is a lot to do.  Getting the kids up and out, commuting to work, working, commuting home, making dinner, supervising homework, showers, stories and bedtime.

Now I am fortunate that my husband shares in a bunch of the work with me, so I am not in charge of everything, but there is still a lot to be done.

The commute each day is pretty draining because I get sick of driving, but the most draining part of the day is the evening tasks.  Supervising my daughter’s bath and dealing with stories and bedtime is the biggest energy suck.  This is probably because it is the end of the day, and I want to go to bed myself, but I know that bedtime is still an hour or two away.

However, I know as my daughter gets older she will need less supervision at bedtime and I will get more relaxing time in the evening.

For those of you wondering what’s entailed here is a nice little video.

NaBloPoMo January 2013- Day 1: From Where Do You Draw Your Energy

Happy New Year Everyone!  I hope that 2013 is wonderful to you and that it does not take you too long to rememebr to write the correct year on your checks.  Of course if you are like me, and have almost everything on auto bill pay where you are at the point of writing maybe two checks a month, three if its a banner month, than it might take you even longer.

Trying to blog everyday for an entire month should be interesting, as I have never done it before.  After reviewing my WordPress Blogging Report for 2012 I realized that I need to blog more if I am to have a blog people read.  One of the biggest impediments to blogging can be the lack of ideas, so  having a month worth of daily prompts seems to be a great way to start.

The 1st Prompt is: From Where Do You Draw Your Energy?

I am lucking that I am normally pretty high energy.  I was one of those horrible children that gave up naps very early (and was rewarded with similar children) and I always seemed to just run and run.

How energetic am I?  I remember being in the OB’s office during my second trimester of pregnancy with my son Alex.  I remember sitting there with Dave bitterly complaining that I did not have the rebound of energy I was expecting in the second trimester.  Where was all this energy I was supposed to be having?  My lovely OB gave me a look and asked my husband about my activity level.  He then proceeded to describe my 40+ hour a week job with travel two weeks out of the month, full-time grad school schedule, and 3x a week workout.

My OB raised an eyebrow, laughed at me and explained that there was obviously nothing wrong with my energy level.

Now that I have two kids, several years of not sleeping through the night and I am a little older, I find that my energy level is not what it used to be. Now I need sleep, and after a really hard workout, that hour nap on the weekend is important.  Also, I find that cutting way back on the white carbs helps.  As much as I LOVE pasta or pizza, I have to admit that after a dinner of either that I am ready for a nap.

I’m not a big fan of caffeine, as I find it makes me feel all wired, but at times when I am under the weather, or just need a boost a Coke Zero will help, but since it makes me jumpy I really try not to indulge.  Consider it my gift to you all.

super tired

2012 in review

I did not know WordPress did this and it is fabulous.  My blog has been in existence for less than a year, and with a blog-o-versary coming up and the end of the year, it is time to reflect.  Upon reflection it seems I need to blog more and get better about sharing the blog so people actually see it.

I am taking advantage of a quiet New Year’s Eve at home to get ahead on writing and scheduling some posts, including more recipes.  I figure I can post the recipes now, and then after I make the food, take some pictures and insert and then post.

I am also going to participate in the BlogHer NaBloPoMo prompts for January.  The theme is energy.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

So, Happy New Year to my family and friends old and new.  I hope that 2013 finds you full of joy and peace.

The Administravia of Adulthood

heard the word administravia on a job interview, and I am sure that this has been a popular term for years and I am hopelessly behind.  For those of you just as behind the times as me, administravia refers to annoying paperwork and forms that are a necessary evil as part of your work.

When I was in College, I did not have a lot of administravia, with the exception of homework. Twice a year I would fill out some paperwork, once a year do some taxes and fill out a financial aid form and occasionally attempt to balance my checkbook.  (Confession-I almost never did-Thankfully I kept enough track of things to almost never bounce a check.

Then Dave and I got married and we shared the paperwork responsibilities.  This was before the debit card and online banking was big so we wrote lots and lots of checks for everyday use and paying bills.

Now of course, if I write more than 3 checks in a month its a banner month, since not only can I set up for the bank to electronically pay the majority of my bills, I can set up Quicken to automatically record the payments.  In reality, with the exception of tax time, and open enrollment, we should really have a minimum of administravia in our lives.

Our move had lots of administravia with turning utilities on and off, and address changes and dealing with changing the cars over, but it was in a burst of work and we hopefully won’t have to go through it for a few years.

But we have children.  The administravia starts small, with some papers to get a birth certificate and a social security card.  Then if they go to daycare, there is some paperwork you fill out once a year to keep your information updated.

Then you have a second child, and they both hit school age.  Now it feels like we are constantly dealing with dittos, permission slips, multiple school registration forms, health forms, pick up and drop off forms.  There are fundraisers and school newsletters, school menus and other bits of paperwork that floats in and out of our house.

One year I saved all the catalogs I got between November 1st and Christmas.  It was 250.  I wonder if I saved every piece of paper sent home from school for a two month period, how much there would be.

What really amazes me is that with the internet and the prevalence of email, that I can’t receive all of this information electronically.  Why I can’t get a log on and password and fill out all of the paperwork online instead of trying to cram information into teeny tiny spaces.

However, since I have a few years before Dave and I have to deal with SAT sign ups and financial aid paperwork and college applications, I should probably enjoy the small administravia that I deal with now.

What about you?  Are you amazed by the amount of paperwork that you deal with?  Do you find that most of it is child and school related.  Does anyone have handwriting tiny and neat enough to fit in the little spots on the forms?



I always said that I never got upset over two things:  Things I could control; and Things I could not control.  Obviously things I could control were things I could do something about, and with things I could not control, that meant of course I would not get upset about the things I could not control, because that was pointless, since I could not control it.

However those who know me know that I end up spending a lot of time trying to get things I can not control and change them into things I can control.  This means that the serenity prayer is wasted on me.

Then Sandy came.  I watched on TV as the storm raged, and spoke to my mom as she and my stepfather fled to the second floor of the house to escape the water.

I grew up in Oceanside, and that area seemed to be rather hard hit.

I saw the footage of destroyed homes and people sobbing amongst the ruins of what was once their lives.  I tried to explain to the kids what was happening.  And most of all, I wanted to DO SOMETHING.  ANYTHING.  I donated money to the Red Cross and LI Cares, but I desperately wanted to fill the minivan with supplies and drive up.

However, the threat of being grounded, (and the gas shortage) stopped me, and instead I bagged up items around the house, including my prodigious collection of sample sized toiletries and sent them to a local bar that was taking donations.  But still I feel helpless and impotent, as I am sure many of my friends who grew up in Oceanside and moved away did.

The news media does not seem to be covering the aftermath of the storm as much now that Presidential Elections and Petraeus’ extracurricular use of his penis seems to dominate the news.  But thanks to Facebook, I can see that my hometown still has large portions of its residents without heat and power.

The storm is bringing out the best in people.  I see the Facebook Pages devoted to donating, and stories of electric workers from across the country and average citizens digging deep and coming in with supplies and money.  I see Long Island, now Strong Island gathering together to rebuild.

Then I see the worst.  I see people criticizing celebrities who gave for not giving enough.  I hear stories of mismanagement at LIPA that curl your toes.  And even though Chris Christie is not my favorite person, I hate seeing him ridiculed and thrown under the bus for putting the people of the state that he was elected to govern above party politics.   When part of your state has been destroyed, some things no longer matter.

I also hear about scams happening with people offering to help people make claims or arrange for repair work, but just take what is left of the money these people have and run.

I also still try to control things.  I keep on reminding my family that they are welcome to come here at any time, as if they would forget.  I keep on asking them if they need anything.  Heck, I still try to plan Thanksgiving, December Birthdays and Christmas, because Thanksgiving is next week and I tend to go on autopilot this year.

Yet even though I start working on my Christmas list, Sandy is not far from my mind.  I think about the children of the hard hit areas and wonder what their Christmas will be like, and wonder what can be done.

I then also think of the other disasters.  Past hurricanes, the Tornado in Joplin, and think that I simply donated some money to the Red Cross and went about my day, never giving those people a second thought.

But now, its on my mind.  And even when I don’t want to have the hurricane on my mind, its still there, brought to the forefront by my inquisitive daughter.  Her questions, “Why did the hurricane happen?  What happened to peoples pets?  How did the water get in the house?  Could it happen to our house?  Could it happen again?  Did Grandma Fran lose all her shoes?”  brings it back.  However, I am eternally grateful that I get the easy questions that can be answered in generalities and do not have to answer the tougher questions that my NY & NJ peers have to answer.

So the best I can do, the best any of us can do is to donate what we can, and help out where we can.

The bigger questions of preventing more damage caused by extreme weather looms, but it’s not my question to answer, because I cannot wrap my head around the enormity of this storm and its causes.

So my Long Island friends, stay strong, and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.







Thanksgiving Prep Part I


Thanksgiving is four weeks away, which means that if you are hosting Thanksgiving, it is the perfect time to start getting into the planning.

Thanksgiving does not have to be a stressful holiday, you just need to plan ahead.   I am hosting Thanksgiving this year for the 1st time in years.  It’s not a big gathering, I am thinking about 6-8 people.   And while there will be appetizers, the main course and dessert, it won’t be as elaborate as my mom’s Thanksgiving.    A Thanksgiving dinner at my mom’s could have up to 30 people ages 0-80+, which requires a big menu and a LOT of food.  Thanksgiving at my mom’s also included an extra bag of marshmallows since there may or may not have been a small fire during the final prep of the sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping.

I come from a big Italian Family (and after 6 hours of eating the family is even bigger-lol)

For those of you not fortunate enough to go to a hardcore Italian Thanksgiving Dinner, a little taste of the typical day.

12:30  Antipasto Course: This means about 6-8 different kinds of appetizers, cheeses, crackers and a veggie platter.  We never bother with salad during Thanksgiving dinner, since we figure it’s not worth wasting the stomach space on salad when there is so much tastiness around.

2:30 Pasta Course:  Nothing big, just a few pumpkin ravioli with brown butter-sage sauce, and fresh parmesan for everyone.  Really, it’s just a few ravioli, not ravioli dinner quantities of ravioli, and there may or may be some bread to go with the ravioli.

4:00 Dinner:  This is where we have the Turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, rolls and rye bread, stuffing, gravy, broccoli with garlic and lemon, and the green bean casserole with onion soup, which I think is disgusting, but someone eats.

5:30pm Dessert: We usually have several pies (apple, pumpkin, cherry), cookies, cakes and cannoli.

6:00pm Nuts, fennel and liquer: As a digestive to help the other food you’ve eaten digest.

The funny thing is that when we go to NY for Thanksgiving we usually stay at my Aunt’s house.  My aunt also hosts Thanksgiving, but she starts about an hour later, so by the time we get there, people are lingering over dessert.  So even though my Aunt is well aware of the eating marathon we just finished at my mom’s house, she always asks if we would like some dessert.  Thank god that both the kids can usually be counted on to have some more dessert, while the adults are debating if we will ever be able to eat again. (We usually are)

My Thanksgiving will be simpler. I am skipping the pasta course.  I will serve appetizers for lunch, because I am a finger food addict, and since I serve Thanksgiving close to dinner time, I still do need to provide lunch.   I also have a double oven, so I can cook the Turkey and still get stuff done while that Turkey hogs the oven.   Around 4pm I will serve Thanksgiving dinner, and then have a small variety of desserts.   And possibly a pitcher of crantinis which I will start drinking when the appetizer lunch goes out.

I will also not be serving salad.  I am not going to waste stomach room on lettuce when there is bourbon pecan sweet potatoes to eat.

So what am I doing this week?

1. Finalizing the guest list;

2. Planning the menu and writing up the shopping list.

3. Ordering my turkey from a near by farm.

4. Working on an initial schedule for prepping and cooking Thanksgiving Dinner.

If you are cooking Thanksgiving dinner, you NEED a schedule.  Trust me.  There are too many moving pieces, and you don’t want to sit down to dinner and realize you forgot the rolls to sop up the gravy, or the green beans, or you set fire to the marshmallow topping while prepping, set up the smoke alarm and wake the colicky baby who had finally decided to nap.

Since I am having a small Thanksgiving with mostly out-of-town guests, I do not have to think about the following:

1. Figuring out whether or not to use paper plates or rent plates  and silverware from a party place.  (No shame in the paper/plastic plates.  My mom always uses the really good ones and believe me, there are enough dishes to do as it is;

2. Decide who I will be delegating different parts of the meal to.

A word on delegation.  It’s usually a good idea.  There is a lot to Thanksgiving with its multiple sides and the fact that the Turkey can take up all your oven space.  However, you want to think carefully about who you are delegating to.   For example, don’t give the flaky person an important part of the meal to bring.  Also, if there is something that you really, really love, make it or buy it yourself so you know that it comes out exactly the way you want it to.

Come back next Thursday and I will tell you my menu, and what I am doing this week to prep for Thanksgiving.