Saturday, September 22, 2012

5773 - In With a Bang

This past Sunday evening was the beginning of Rosh HaShanah - the Jewish New Year.  I had high hopes for the New Year.

Unfortunately, Sunday afternoon we received a call from David's friend Vinny.  His mom had been in the hospital & passed away that morning after surgery the previous day.  Mrs. S. had made arrangements a long time ago to be buried down here with Vinny's dad so he was heading down here.  Both David & I were saddened to learn that none of his family offered him a place to stay for the duration.  Needless to say, we told Vinny our home was open to him.
Erin & I never made it to services on Monday as our home needed to be cleaned up for our company.  David, Erin & I busted tush to get the house in order.  (I must say it's looking good now.)  We were exhausted after a full day project!
Tuesday we went to H0ly Cr0ss H0spital so David could have an arthrogram (xray of a joint) on his shoulder.  We've been worried that he has another necrotic lesion in his left shoulder.  The orthopaedic dr believes it is a bone spur but we need to be sure.  Talk about a disaster! If it could go wrong, it did.  First the staff decided he was there for an MRI - something he can't have due to his spinal cord stimulator implant.  Then after the CT scan, the attending doc disappeared! We left & hope to have results this coming week.  By the time we got home, we all needed a nap!
Vinny arrived late Wednesday evening.  He was in pretty good shape all things considered.  I guess that even though his mom passed, it hadn't really hit him.  Or perhaps he didn't want to grieve in front of Erin - who was thrilled that Mr. Vinny was here for a visit.
We said goodbye to Mrs. S yesterday.  Vinny held up pretty well all things considered.  I had to go back to work, & David needed to come home.  Vinny went to lunch with his cousins so they could have some time together.
This afternoon Vinny left to go back home to his wife.  Mary wasn't able to come down with him because they have no one who could watch their 2 fur babies.  I know that the 2 of them will take their time grieving & getting use to life without Mrs. S in it.
Mrs. S, wherever you may be, please know that your Vinny will always be a part of our family.  And when you look down upon us, as I know you will, you will see that your son is loved - by his wife, his few cousins & us.  We'll do our best to keep him smiling.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Back at the end of June I joined WW.  Again.  I was tired of always feeling tired & being uncomfortable breathing.  So far, so good.  I've managed to lose 16/17 lbs.  It isn't much, but I'm doing this slowly on purpose.  Whenever I lose weight quickly, I end up going back to my old habits.

It's now been 2.5 months & I like the changes in me.  I'm looking forward to more changes.  Some of what I'm seeing is:

  • I eat breakfast now - something I never used to do.  My new fave breakfast?  Something I call Sandra's Yummy Yogurt.  I am hoping she shares more recipes!
  • I'm limiting my soda intake.  Down to 1 per day.  Face it - a 12 oz can is 4 points & for now it's okay to use them on a soda.  By the end of October, I hope to limit  drinking so much Coke & switch to seltzer.  (I have to have my fizz.)
  • My body talks to me, & I've started to listen.  When it tells me that enough is enough, I listen rather than forcing myself to finish something just because it tastes good. 
  • I don't clean my plate anymore.  It's okay.  I don't have to.  I've told Erin that she doesn't have to clean her plate so why do I have to?  I don't.  That is SO liberating.
  • When I do eat out, I'm more careful with my choices.  I also started to ask for a box immediately so I can pack up half my meal.  I'm finding that I still manage to leave some on my plate.  Again.  Very liberating.
What has happened as a result of just these few things? 
  • My clothing fits better & in fact some is already too big.
  • Erin sees me eating healthier which means better choices for her also.  (For example, when I asked her to try some different veggies this past week she did.  She didn't like them, but the point is that she actually tried them.
  • I'm starting to feel better bit by bit.
I'm not expecting to, nor do I want to, ever go back to what I weighed in high school.  I just want to be healthier.  I'd say that's a pretty good goal for me.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Rockin' 10!! Bowling Party

Super excited to celebrate with her friends

Entering the double digits

Goody bags

Yummy food
Birthday Presents
Erin & Mama
Erin & Daddy

Birthday Cake Yumminess

Erin turned 10 on July 30th.  It's an awesome thing to remember that sweet little 10 month old that was gifted to us.  Recently I am seeing visions of the teen she will become.  G-d help us! I pray we make it through the teens because she is one social party animal!

After much debating, Erin decided she wanted a few of her close friends to help her celebrate by having a bowling party.  No girly girl for us.  She had to have a Lego cake topped by her fave Star Wars Lego minifigures.  Thanks to my dear friend Jolene from Ladybug Cake Creations, Erin had her dream cake.  Yummo!!

Bowling with her friends.  Dancing around the bowling alley.  Going to the game room.  Smiles & laughter.  It was all good.  But I think that the best part for Erin was having her daddy make sure he was there to celebrate.  I loved having David with me to share in the joy.  He has eyes only for Erin (& me as well of course) & in her eyes, he is the ultimate super hero.

Happy 10th Birthday Erin!!!
We love you always & forever no matter what!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hey! That's MY Country Mama!

From the moment Erin was placed in my arms, she wanted nothing to do with anything Chinese - the people, the language, the culture.  You can imagine how concerned David & I were.  Having been born in a land of beauty with an extremely old culture, we want her to be proud of her heritage.

When Erin was finally granted American citizenship, she told us that she was no longer Chinese but only American.  Seriously? Have you looked in a mirror?  We explained that she will always be American, but she will also always be Chinese.

When she was in 2nd grade, I put my foot down & decided she needed to get with it & realize that she was a daughter of China thereby making China show herself in a good light.  I sent in the usual treats for Chinese New Year - lucky money envelopes, chocolate coins & clementines, & let her hand them out.  In 3rd grade, she decided she wanted to do the same thing but this time she wanted me to come in & talk about China.  She wore her Chinese dress, handed out treats & sat with her classmates while I gave a lesson.  This past year in 3rd grade 2nd time around, she asked to wear her Chinese dress all day long at school.  We insisted that she not wear the dress since it is silk.  During this Chinese New Year school celebration, she answered a few simple questions & even helped me with the presentation. 

Lately, she has decided that maybe being from China isn't such a bad thing.  It's taken quite a few talks, but we believe she is finally seeing that being Chinese is as awesome as being Jewish and as awesome as being American.

This morning our family watched our DVRd program of the 2012 London Olympics Opening ceremonies.  Can you say "WOW!!"?  London truly rose to the occasion.  I laughed.  I cried.  We talked about the things she was seeing.  David explained some parts while I explained others.  I told her that it has been a lifelong dream of mine to visit the United Kingdom.  In fact, her name Erin is Irish while her middle name Chelsie is English.  (Boy, I hope I got that right!)

Then the different countries entered.  I pointed out Argentina, where Miss Vivian is from having lived there a good portion of her life.  That brought a comment of surprise.  I pointed out Brazil, where Miss Minouche & Mr. Delfim are from.  She saw the flag of Canada & yelled out "Kerri is there!"  And we watched.  Then the Chinese delegates marched out on the field.  And it happened.  "Mama! That's MY country!"  And her smile?  Huge!  She asked if the Olympians were from where she is from.  She was so proud to see the people of China marching in with pride & joy on their faces.  She even shushed us!

Thanks to the 2012 Olympics, Erin may finally decide that China is a place of beauty.  I sure hope so.

Friday, July 13, 2012

So You Call Yourself a Friend

Really?  Do you understand what being a friend means?  No?

Well, in my opinion a friend:
  • Is there to listen without judging
  • Cries right alongside you when things go wrong
  • Cries right alongside you when things go right
  • Laughs with you as opposed to at you
  • Understands when you can't afford to go out & do things so sometimes just hanging is okay
  • Sometimes a friend takes you out just so you can have some time away from the family because it's really needed
  • Comes running when you call & sometimes before you call

I know my true friends.  They have made their stance clear to me.  Crystal clear.  Now I also know that some people think that an acquaintance is as good as a friend, but that just isn't the case.  I would do anything for my friends. And they know it.  My friends would do anything for me.  And I know it.  My friends are as loyal to me as I am to them. 

I have been spreading myself a little thin lately trying to be that loyal friend that everyone can count on.  I'm going to stop running myself around doing everything for everyone.  I'm going to take my life back & be with the people I want to be with. 

My mother used to tell me that not everyone is a friend.  I thought she was nuts.  Darn! Moms are always right.  Now I have to teach Erin this most basic of lessons.  Hopefully she won't get hurt the way I have.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Celebrating With a Crash

Yesterday my father, Erin's zaydie, turned 72.  I told my cousins that I'd need to call him to wish him a happy birthday.  What with work & all, the day got away from us.  Before I knew it, it was 4:00 & time to leave for the day.  Normally I hang a few minutes, clean up & chit chat, but I had plans to go out with some friends to see a movie.

So there I am sitting in the left turn lane waiting to make a turn so I could get on the S expressway.  In front of me was this huge truck.  As I'm sitting there, I am watching this putz start to back up so I laid on my horn.  Anyone who has heard a T0y0ta horn knows it is the most annoying horn.  Ever.  Nope.  It didn't stop him.  I got pushed back, & then he stopped.  I had the hood of my car all crunched up.  Then he started to back up again.  With my laying on my horn so hard I don't know why it wasn't heard round the 50 states!

When he stopped & got out of the truck from he!!, I got out & quite vocally asked him what he thought he was doing backing up & didn't he hear my horn.  BUT NO!!! He starts talking to me in Spanish claiming he doesn't speak English.  I got back in my car because I was ticked off & needed to stay away.  First thing I called 9!! to report the accident.  Then I called Cheryle at the office, & she sent Stacy to me.

Not too much after Stacy showed up, the service aide pulled up.  He came over to take the report from my point of view & then explained that I should call my insurance company & Triple A.  When he came to me, he told me that the other driver claimed I rammed him from behind.  Mind you, my car was the one with ALL the damage & on the diagonal.  (Had I hit him, my car would have not been pointed the direction it was in.  Just MHO of course.)

In the midst of this the driver from Triple A shows up & is the sweetest guy ever!! I hope they call me with a survey because Thurman will get top marks.  Rather than have to speak with my insurance company, Stacy handled the call & then Thurman spoke with the rep to find a repair place that would be convenient for me.

I went over to the service aide assisting me & asked if he knew if the aide behind him was Fa!th.  He wasn't sure so I walked over.  When she looked up & saw me, she got out of her truck with a white face.  Gotta love friends like her.  She didn't need to stay with me but did until I was almost done.

Thurman drove me & my poor T0y0ta to the repair shop which is around the corner from my house.  The people there seem to be great.  In fact, they are so nice the owner drove me home.

My neighbor L had picked Erin up from camp & kept her at her house for dinner so I could settle in.  When Erin came home, she brought her friends Matthew & Sophie with her.  They all wanted to make sure I was alright. 

When I finally got in touch with my dad, I told him that I'd found a great way to celebrate his birthday.  With a crash, bang, boom!  He asked me to celebrate  his day in a calmer way.  I'll try that next year.  Promise.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

What I've Discovered

I am sick & tired of feeling the way I do.  I have had a weight problem for most of my life. 

When we were paperchasing for Erin, I started WW.  I was very successful & lost about 30 lbs.  While that isn't near what I needed to lose, I felt healthy & was also learning how to become a mommy to a 10 month old.  I looked at life & decided what my priorities were.  Mommyhood needed to come first.  It took me a long time to put the weight back on - almost as long as Erin has been with us.  Not bad considering that most people put back lost weight within a year or so.

I've finally decided that I need to take the bull by the horns.  What changed?  Well, let's see:

  • My health is starting to suffer.  I'm having a hard time walking without my asthma kicking in &/or my back going out. 
  • Erin is in need of a better nutrition role model.
  • I hate the way my arms feel with all the extra flab.  Gosh! I despise that word but that is exactly what I have.  :-)
  • It's been years since I have been able to wear a button down shirt.  I stopped even trying to find them.  How pathetic is that!?
  • Bras.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a bra in my size!? Nope.  Didn't think so.  (I know.  TMI.)
I now have some major inspiration on my side.
  • I want Erin to see a healthier way to eat.
  • I want Erin to see a healthier me.
  • My friend Sandra.  She has lost a lot of weight, changed her attitude about life.  In fact, Sandra now runs marathons! I am so proud of her.
  •  Unfortunately, I also need to be able to take care of David.  Although he is trying to keep a positive attitude, we both know his health is not great.  I need to be able to help him & can't do that if I feel this way.
It's been a week & a half since I started WW.  My first weigh in I found that I'd lost 4 pounds.  Not bad! Then I admitted to myself that I know the first few weeks are about losing water.  I've made some changes - no more than 1 can of coke a day & drinking plenty of water.  I noticed this past week that most days I'm not even indulging in my coc@ co!a addiction.  Not bad! I'm still drinking coffee with regular creamer but limiting how much I use. 

I weigh myself every morning.  David says I'm going to let myself down.  I believe quite the opposite.  Weighing myself each morning lets me know if the previous day's food was good for me or not.  For example, we eat a lot of Chinese food.  I have to watch which foods or I can gain up to 2 pounds.  Sushi on the other is something I can enjoy with no problem.  I had wings for lunch on Friday.  Not worth it! Grilled turkey sausage links?  Very yummy.  Great treat. 

This morning I ate apple slices.  Most fruit & most veggies are freebies.  I ate the equivalent of 5 apples.  Mindless eating.  Lesson learned?  When I buy prepackaged fruit &/or veggies, I need to portion them out so I eat only 1 portion at a time.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Independence Day!!

Tonight we'll be celebrating Independence Day which has come to be known as July 4th.  I sometimes think that we Americans have forgotten what this day really means.  I remember all of the lessons that my teachers taught.  Nothing really stood out at that time.  Now as an adult (Ha!) & a parent I get it.  My friend Lisa's son Joe joined the US Air Force.  My friend Angel's son Blake joined the Marine Corps.  These 2 young men are just 2 of many.  But they have decided to dedicate their life to serving & protecting.  It's because of people like these young men that we can continue to celebrate our independence as Americans. 

When I was growing up I remember my family having or attending backyard BBQs with friends &/or family.  The dads BBQd because "back in the day" women didn't do things like handle the grilling.  The moms prepared all of the foods that were going to be served throughout the day.  Night fell & the fireworks came out.  The young children had sparklers & thought they were awesome.  The teens were the ones who lit the fireworks - cherry bombs, rockets, you name it.  There was fun in the pool, tons of food & desserts to eat & just a general good ole time.

These days fireworks displays are set off in every city.  Because of the danger that we now know can be involved with fireworks, parents are more careful with what they allow their children to handle but the dads remember setting them off as teens & feel compelled to continue doing so. 

We live in a community that used to keep to itself except for a few isolated friendships here & there.  Ever since Hurricane Wilma it seems that more & more of our neighbors are friendly.  Or maybe it's just that now we have children &/or grandchildren.  Tonight David will set off some fireworks like he does every year.  I can't imagine our neighbors Joni & Dom G won't have their grandchildren here for the festivities.  Erin's friends Matthew, Sophie, Emma, Josh & Ethan will probably all be outside having fun.  I'll sit back with the parents & enjoy a wine cooler or 2.

Last year I baked some cupcakes for the kids.  This year I have a new treat in mind.  I may be an older teen (insert another "Ha!" here.) but I'm really looking forward to it.  Now I have to go charge my camera batteries.  It wouldn't be The 4th without me taking tons of pics!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Catching Up With Erin

Since I haven't blogged too much this year, I want to talk about some things that have gone on with Erin.  It was a big year for her & well, since this blog is for her - down the line, I really should let her know what happened this year.

  • Right before school started, Erin quit karate.  She got her red belt & decided she was done.  David & I are very upset about this because she really is a natural.  Sifu H tried so hard to get Erin to come back.  Her hero Brittany tried to get her to come back.  One of the other teens that she admires, Bobby, also tried.  Nope.  Not happening.  I get it.  The required uniform is very hot - especially when you need to wear a shirt under it because it's too big.  She was also going 4-5 days a week which I offered to make no more than 3 days.  Still not happening.
  • Her pediatrician is still very concerned about Erin's size.  Yes, Erin is healthy.  In fact, Erin hasn't really gotten sick for the last 2 years.  (Yay!)  At just about 10 years old, she isn't even 55 lbs.  Good things come in small packages.  And she is the bestest.  :-)
  • Last summer we had Erin's vision tested.  All is good there.  No signs of dyslexia.
  • Last summer I took the bull by the horns & brought Erin to her audiologist to get a confirmation on my suspected diagnosis of Auditory Processing Disorder (a/k/a APD).  Dr. Randall had been our go-to audiologist since Erin was 2 years old because her ears have some scarring inside.  I love it when I find out I'm right.  This is one of those times that I wish I weren't right.  Erin does have APD on the output organization level.
  • This year in school I pushed to have an IEP put in place so Erin could get the necessary help.  I had to wait & have conferences & get pushy.  I went so far as to go to the principal Mrs. A & inform her that Erin would not be taking the FCAT without an IEP in place.  The IEP was put into place 1 month before the FCAT.
  • This year Erin decided that being Chinese is a good thing.  She can be an American girl but still be proud of her Chinese heritage.  In fact, she had a few projects to do in school, & she found ways to bring her heritage into them.  (A story on animals?  She chose horses because she was born in the year of the horse.  A report on endangered animals?  She wrote about the FL blue butterfly because she loves butterflies & they are from where she now lives.  Her other endangered animal was the Chinese Great Panda because they are from her birth country.)
  • FCATs in FL were much harder this year than previously.  Erin passed both the math & reading FCATs.  She did great! We are so darn proud of her.
  • For the first time ever, Erin made the A/B honor roll for the 3rd quarter.  She worked so hard, & we had no clue about it until she called me from school to tell me.
  • Last year there was no money for camp so Erin stayed home with David & me.  That really didn't work for any of us.  For the most part, the only happy ones in the house were the animals.  This year David & I pushed ourselves to get Erin back into camp.  It is very expensive but she is having a blast.  Very worth it to do this for her.  The smile on her face tells me that we did the right thing.
There are more things that have gone on this past year but these seem to be the highlights for now.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Graduation - Mine!

Every once in a while I decide to try blogging again.  It's time to give it a shot.

June 4th I graduated from Atlantic Technical Center with an Applied Diploma in Medical Coding & Billing.  Talk about a long 10 months!! I was actually selected to be student speaker for graduation.  My teacher waited until the last hour before the event to tell me there would be "a few hundred" people in attendance.  Yow!! I am terrified of speaking publicly.  Betcha didn't know that.

Here's my speech:

Everyone has a story.  My story actually began when I was a child.  My parents, like many others, wanted a better life for their children.  My mother taught elementary school children who had fallen through the cracks.  After a career in computers, my father also decided to become a teacher but he wanted to teach high school students.  He ended up teaching data entry & programming at what was, at that time, called a vocational school.  It was a common thing to see me at the school on my days out of school.  These students were the ones who probably were never going to make it to a college for one reason or another.  I loved seeing students learn how to do things that would help them in real life.  I was so very proud of what my father did.  To this day he is in touch with some of his previous students.

I graduated from high school & went off to college, got my degree & then stepped in to the real world.  I wasn’t prepared.  Not at all.  After trying to find a job in my chosen career of secondary education, I was able to find a job teaching adult education.  I found that it wasn’t what I wanted.  I did eventually find, not a job, but rather a career.  I was in the banking industry for 23 years until I lost my job in 2010.  I was devastated – felt as if the rug had been taken right out from under my feet.  My family & friends were amazingly supportive throughout this time.

By the time I was prepared to go back in to the job market, my husband of 22 years got sick.  In December 2010 he had surgery that was supposed to help him get back on his feet.  And when he went back, he was told he no longer had a job.  But that is a whole other story.  Throughout this time, our daughter was learning that the world we lived in could be a very hard place.   When she came into our lives, my husband & I promised ourselves that she would want for nothing.  Isn’t that what every parent wants - to give their child the world?  Now instead of the world being laid at her feet she no longer was able to do the things she used to do.   Not that she got every single thing that was out there but the simple things were getting hard to give her. 

I decided that it was time to make a change.  If I wanted to be able to find a job then it was time to find a new career.  I had long been interested in medical billing.  In fact, back in 1998 one of my friends & I thought about leaving banking to start a business together.  We looked at medical billing because we knew someone who was doing it.  It was a nice dream but never happened.  We were comfortable where we were. 

That was the end of medical billing until Spring 2011 when I was sitting at a friend’s house enjoying a cup of coffee.   We were talking & I mentioned that I was considering going back to school for medical billing.  I decided then & there that it was time to take that step.  I told everyone but did nothing about it because I was scared.  This would be yet another change for my family.  Were we up to it?  I wasn’t sure so I left it alone.

As we got closer to the end of the 2011 school year, that same friend asked me if I’d finally done something about signing up for school.  She was also making a change in her life & wanted me along for the ride.  I had looked up medical billing & found that the career was actually medical coding & billing! There were so many options for where to go.  I could take classes online at home or go to one of the post-secondary colleges.  And then I remembered Broward County had a technical school system much like the system that my father had taught in when I was growing up.  Over the years, I’d taken various classes at the different campuses so I knew this was a good option for me.  I wanted to register for the medical coding/billing program that started in August 2011.  I was afraid so my friend Lisa started the process for me.  She wouldn’t let me sit back & be afraid. And so my ride began!

Going back to school at 48 years old was hard.  Definitely not the easy way out of my problems! I wasn’t used to having to lug around textbooks, study for hours on end.  Raise my hand to speak?  I thought that was over long ago.  Wear a uniform?  Were they kidding?  Apparently not because I’ve been wearing navy blue slack & white shirts since September.  My husband & daughter have put up with having a messy house, laundry piles everywhere, household chores that kept getting put off & meals that were so far from nutritionally balanced it was scary.  The take out places think they’re on speed dial & even know what we usually order!

I vividly remember my first morning in the medical coding/billing class.  Our teacher spoke with us about all of the requirements and the expectations.  I wasn’t sure about this and even took a few days off to think over what I was getting myself into.  I am so happy that I decided to stick it out!

At Atlantic Technical Center I found so much! The teachers here have actually worked in the fields they were teaching us about.  They know what we can expect once we leave the cocoon of school.  They are preparing students each and every day for life in the real world.

Atlantic Technical Center is also a magnet high school.  On any given day you can see high school students out in the common area.  They’re laughing & studying & doing what they’re supposed to be doing.  You can also see people who are in the post-secondary programs out there – laughing & studying & doing what they too are supposed to be doing.  In fact, in many of the post-secondary programs, there are high school students learning right alongside the adults who have come to Atlantic Technical.  It’s great to see people from all different walks of life learning together.

There are a variety of programs offered at Atlantic Technical.  In the culinary arts program, the students prepare each of the meals that are served in the cafeteria.  I have seen teachers right alongside students teaching everything from how to ensure the cafeteria is clean and neat to food preparation to proper serving techniques.  Business administration offers students the opportunity to learn court reporting, how to become an accounting assistant, an administrative assistant or even a medical administrative specialist.  Information Technology is here to stay, & Atlantic Technical is up to the challenge of preparing their students in this program to become programmers, multimedia designers or even network support specialists.  Toyota Motor Sales has selected Atlantic Technical Center to be part of their technician training & education program. 

And, of course, I can’t forget the wonderful programs we have in the health sciences department!  Dental assisting, hemodialysis, pharmacy technician, and practical nursing are just a few.  Each of these programs is taught by dedicated people who are here to guide us in our journey.  These teachers are here every day before students get to campus & leave after students are long gone.  They are dedicated to ensuring that students learn all that can be learned.  They are dedicated to ensuring that when students go out into their externships and then the real world, the students are prepared.

 Ms. Sandra Ervin along with Ms. JoAnn Smith are the medical coder/biller teachers at Atlantic Technical Center.  Ms. Ervin terrified me in the beginning.  I’m grateful that she knew to tell us what life is like in the real world.  She made sure that we were prepared for the time when Ms. Smith would come in to teach.   Ms. Smith has quite the reputation!  She is strict but caring.  She is honest.  She kept us in line.  She demanded professionalism.  And when we went on field trips, I understood.  She wasn’t just there to teach.  She cares about the profession and wants to teach us how to be the best medical coder/billers we can be.  She expected, but she gave. 

My story is just starting.  Again.  But now my story is about teaching my daughter and her friends how to be the best that they can be.  I want the children of tomorrow to know that there are options out there for them.  Atlantic Technical Center is a great option.  Open your eyes.  Read the story of your life. Allow others to know your story.

As I walked down from the podium one of the teachers told me it was the best speech she had heard in many years.  Some of my fellow graduates congratulated me & told me that my speech was inspiring.  As I crossed the stage to get my diploma, each & every person standing in the line congratulated me & told me they were impressed with my speech.  Considering that I was shaking while I was speaking, it felt really good to hear all the compliments.

Erin, I want you to know that life is filled with challenges.  G-d willing your dad & I are raising you in a way that lets you know you will always be able to exceed them.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Celebrating Chinese New Year FCC-SFL Style!!

Yesterday our local FCC chapter held their Chinese New Year party.  Instead of going down to a restaurant in Miami like we've done in years past, we changed it up a bit.  Well, quite a bit to be honest.  We had a picnic for our members complete with a bounce house, catered food, balloon artistry, &, of course, the infamous lion dancers.

This past week the weather was awful.  It rained so badly at one point, that I could have sworn ole Noah waved as he passed me by!! (The parking lots at school flooded.)  All day Friday, I kept hoping that the rain would disappear in time for our party.  Apparently, Lori was praying for it also because it worked! 

So instead of having rain & worrying about keeping everyone happy but dry, we had a day straight from the northern states.  It was so cold that people were shaking!  Living in S FL, we don't really know how to handle the cold weather.  Sun?  Rain?  No problem.  Temps below 70?  We want to hibernate.  When I left my house in the morning, it was a breezy 65.  Not bad.  Unless, like me, you were wearing shorts.

But we are a persistent bunch of folks.  We weren't letting a little thing like a cold snap get in our way.  Oh no! Jackets were brought out.  By those of us smart enough to have them in our cars.  (Normally, I keep a spare hoodie in my car for both Erin & myself.  She "helped" clean out my car in the early morning & put my hoodie in the house.  Interesting how she left hers in the car though.)

Normally, I'd have my pics up, but Blogger seems to be arguing with me again.  ARGH!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Year of the Dragon

Gung Hay Fat Choy!!
Xin Nian Kai Le!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Coming to Terms With It

Diagnosed in 2004 with diabetes, David has fought this disease every step of the way.  Being honest about it, he is not great with his diet, but I'm on his case all the time. 

Something I never blogged about was December of 2010.  I don't know why.  It was awful, but it should definitely be marked down as a landmark time in our lives.  So much changed. 

December 2, 2010 David had his first surgery - a trial for a spinal cord stimulator in his back.  We needed to do something about the escalating pain from the diabetic neuropathy.  After some tweaking, he decided it was a go. 

December 22, 2010 David went in for a simple outpatient surgery to have a permanent spinal cord stimulator implanted.  He ended up in ICU, & they couldn't get him extubated until the afternoon of the 24th.  What I had found out was that they were keeping him hyped up on meds & trying to extubate him without me there.  When I finally got there, I made them let me handle David.  It took quite a while, but by the mid-afternoon, when they tried again, they were finally successful. 

The pain levels were astounding.  Why?  Well, no one paid attention to me when I said his dosages weren't being administered properly.  It took a lot of threats to get them to contact the doctor managing his pain throughout this event.  Let me tell you, the doctor was not happy at all.  He had left orders that he was to be contacted if there was a problem.    Needless to say, his pain meds dosages were finally adjusted.  When the surgeon came in, I asked about bringing David home.  I was up front about our experience in the hospital & that David would recover faster at home.  Thankfully, the surgeon agreed & David finally came home.  Oh! And, the surgeon will never go to that hospital again.  He has privileges there, but hasn't gone there in years.  He did it as a favor to us since it was convenient for us.

Erin had been staying with Jolene & her family throughout this week.  A few hours after I got David settled, Jolene brought Erin back home & left us with a care package since she knew we weren't going to be thinking of food.  She did this for us on her holiday - Christmas Day.  Let's just say that in David's eyes, Jolene is a hero.

He went back to work on February 1, 2011.  Within the hour, he was let go from his job.  His boss decided that rather than accomodate David & his needs, they no longer had a job for him.  And the fight was on.  We won! July 2011 David was reinstated as a disabled retired employee.  We also won disability from S*cial Secur!ty.

In the end, it was for the best.

David can't work anymore.  His pain meds keep him up till all hours of the night, & then he crashes from the exhaustion.  He has no ability to concentrate. 

In the last year, I have encouraged David to continue with his hobbies - astronomy, model building, saltwater fish tanks.  We've made changes to how he deals with his hobbies & the limitations his neuropathy has put in his path.  I insist he keep up with all of it to the best of his ability.  He's really doing well with it.  It takes longer to build a model.  I bought him a motorized cart for his telescope so he can move it easier.  Things like that.

Today we came to terms with the fact that he can't keep up with our fish tank.  It's a saltwater tank & beautiful.  He just can't do the water changes & other maintenance.  I've been waiting for him to make the decision & voice it.  He was waiting for me to voice my decision.  Now we have to find out how to sell everything.  And if there is anyone who even wants to buy it all.

And we're coming to terms with it all.

Unhappily but realistically.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Bribery? You Bet Your sweet Bippy!

It is official. 
We have joined you. 
The many.  The desperate. 
Yup.  We gave in.


Ah! Now that is a good question.

We did it because we felt we had no choice.

Oh! You want to know what we did!?  That's easy.

We have decided to bribe Erin.  She HATES to read.  (And if you know me, you know that we don't encourage the use of the word "hate.")  At her age, she should be reading with good comprehension & fluidity (Is that even a word?).  Erin will do anything to avoid reading.  She has really improved since last year, but it is still a major struggle to get her to read. 

After emailing with her teacher today, I found out that Erin didn't do as well as we had hoped on some of her standardized testing.  Mrs. W wants Erin to read everyday.  For fun.  Ha! That is just so darn funny!  Mrs. W knows Erin really well so I'm sure she felt she had to put that in writing even knowing that Erin hates reading.

Consequences?  They mean nothing to her because she refuses to read.  David, my oh so wise, guy came up with a plan.  Instead of taking away privileges, we are now going to bribe Erin.  With her allowance.

We started giving Erin an allowance each week.  It wasn't tied to anything - no chores, nothing.  Now we're bribing her.  She gets $1 a day.  As long as she reads for at least a half hour.  Smart kid asked what she would get if she read for a longer period of time.  I told her she would get the satisfaction of knowing she'd found a book that she enjoyed.  (Yes.  She rolled her eyes.  And, no, I didn't get upset.)

And what happens when she doesn't read? 

No allowance.

That simple. 

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Made In China

Tonight Erin was building the model she received for Chanukah from David & me.  Out of the blue she made the comment "Why is everything made in China?"  in a very negative tone.

I explained that many things are made in China because the cost of labor is cheaper.  I told her that people want to buy things made in America because that way we can keep people employed here.  Not everything made in China is poor quality.  Not everything made in the U.S. is good quality.

This topic came up before but she wasn't ready for the conversation - even at the most basic level.  This time I felt that she deserved an answer.

Why did "made in China" come up?  Because all around us, people don't think about what they're saying..  They don't realize the effect their words will have on those around them.

This is the perception Erin has of things that are made in China.

By the way, Erin was made in China.  So was her godsister.  So were many of her friends. 

The next time you are thinking of making a negative comment about things made in China?  Don't.