Have yourself a merry little Chris-manukkah-kwanzaa


Merry Christmas Eve. Happy last night of Hanukkah. Sorry to say I have no idea when kwanzaa is/was.

I grew up in a Jewish family with our own holiday traditions: latkes, brisket, movies on Christmas day, and going out for Chinese food on Christmas eve. Perhaps even watching “The Grinch who Stole Christmas” or “A Christmas Story” on TV. A few presents, nothing lavish. No real decorations. It was easy.

Then I got married.

Luckily (the second time around), I met an amazing man with an awesome family. A Christian family. With a Christmas tree and going to church and their own traditions. I’m sure they did not expect a Jewish daughter-in-law and Jewish granddaughter. But they do everything to be welcoming and loving and to bring us into their traditions while respecting ours. Wouldn’t it be nice if more people could behave that way?

Yes, I have my daughter dress up and go to church on Christmas eve. The first year she felt very uncomfortable and told me she didn’t feel like she should be there because she was Jewish. I pointed to a statue of Jesus at the front of the church and reminded her that he had been Jewish, too. We sang along to the hymns, enjoyed the service, and went home. I explained that life is too short and we will miss way too many good things and good people if we don’t embrace other experiences. This year, she already had her dress packed for church before I even reminded her. She also lit the menorah candles and recited the blessings over the flames.

Being a parent is tough, but some days it seems like I learn more by teaching her than I ever would have figured out on my own. Traditions are important to pass down and share. Life is meant to be celebrated in many ways.

Right now, she is 13 years old and doesn’t know what she believes in. I encourage her to explore and figure it out; there is no one right belief system. We talk about being a good person, behaving kindly to others, and doing the right thing. Culturally, she embraces the Jewish traditions but isn’t sure if she believes in God. That’s ok with me. I would rather she explore and decide this on her own and be comortable in her own skin instead of being forced into a blind faith. Questioning life, the universe, and our place in it is a lifelong path. Luckily, there are presents, joy, family, and celebrations throughout the years to enjoy.

A little sweaty


I’m trying to find my inner “Om”. So far, I attended a yoga class that used aromatherapy and meditation. My favorite take away from that class? “If you’re not connected to your breath, you aren’t doing yoga. You’re just exercising.”

A friend took time from his day to work with me on chi gong. I found myself doing some of it in the kitchen this morning. My body just wanted that quiet reflection.

I met up with a bookkeeper (one of the wonderful ladies that encouraged me to start the newborn screening business way back when), and she was wearing her Om shirt – she too is a yoga teacher. She’s going to do my books for this crazy journey of private practice and in doing so took so much stress off my shoulders that I cried. Happy crying. Relieved crying.

Movement has to happen inside and out. It is necessary for the brain, the creative thought process, and peace. It doesn’t have to make you a lot sweaty, but it needs to get you in touch with your body. Open the body, open the mind. Namaste.

Taking Inventory

I’m taking inventory of what is adding to my life and what things are taking away from it. Some decisions are easy while others….let’s just agree that facebook can be addictive.

The number one thing I complain about is time. Not having enough of it to get things done, running out of it, time moving too slowly (yes, I agree those contadict each other). The current plan:
1. Facebook is a huge time suck. I’m limiting myself to 10 minutes in the morning while I drink my coffee and then it goes bye bye until the next day.
2. TV. There are a few shows I watch, but I have an elliptical machine upstairs getting dusty. The new rule: I have to work out for an entire netflix show (which I can watch on the ipad, propped on the elliptical) before I am allowed to sit my ass on the couch to watch mindlessly. That ensures at least 30 minutes of moving.

This has been a major life stressor for me, so much that we are looking at moving closer to my new office. Living 45 minutes away from work, family, hairdresser, dentist, doctor, etc….it adds up to a lot of driving. Which adds up to a lot of gas money, lost time, and anxiety.

In addition to moving, my practice is my own business. Yes, a huge dream come true. In that spirit, I’m going to play with hours of operation – opening after rush hour in the morning and having some later evening appointments or Saturday hours.

Leaving a hospital job was a leap of faith in my abilites. I gave up a steady paycheck and good benefits but decided I could not thrive in that environment or provide the patient experience I envision is necessary. That job was so full of stress it took me weeks to get back into a mentally healthy place. Flash forward and I’m seeing patients, relying on the kindness of friends in the field and other professionals that are allowing me use of their space while my office is being built. Good people who share the same vision starting popping up in my life once I lifted myself from the situation I was in.

The bad part (to me) of business ownership is figuring out the freaking taxes and money stuff. I just want to see patients. Sigh, but I need money to keep the doors open and don’t want to screw up anything with taxes. I don’t know how much I don’t really know so I am meeting with an accountant to turn that part of the puzzle over to someone who knows what the heck they are doing. It’s worth it – I sat down and figured out how much time I spent doing that paperwork, researching to see if it was correct, time spent avoiding the paperwork and stressing, and came to the conclusion that the hourly fee was a worthy expense.

This is a big one for me. I struggle daily and have multiple shelves of healthy cook books, food philosophy, etc. I spent about $3000 on integrative health coaching classes hoping to find the answer. Spoiler alert: everyone is different. Now you don’t need to take those classes. I’ve tried weight watchers, diet pills, paleo, vegan, gluten free, psychotherapy, hypnosis – this list is getting embarrassing. So for right now, I’m telling my body that it is ok just the way it is. I’m looking for ways to incorporate the best nutrition and figure out what I’m lacking, why I’m craving, and how to build a better relationship with my outer half. I may or may not blog about it. It depends on what feels right, but I will continue to share recipes.

I want to like exercise but it cuts into my ass on the couch time. However, I found a yoga class that is a bit different and I can do the movements. There is a focus on breath and meditation, getting in touch with the body. This is a good start for me right now. Plus the elliptical for my TV time :)

I did ask for square dancing lessons for Hanukkah….the husband is not amused but said he would look into it. If not, I may take myself to another type of dance lesson. I want activity to be fun.

This is probably why I spend/spent so much time on facebook. Being part of a community and feeling like an “in” kid. I’m moving towards more genuine face to face friendships – it involves pushing out of my shell, but that will bring much better things to my life.

That’s the inventory for now.

A Vacation Tale



Vacations are expensive and exhausting so we tend to take them infrequently. The past few times, my husband has picked the venues. Las Vegas and now Colorado/Utah. Next month we are taking the 10 hour drive to NJ and back to see his parents. Let me say that I am enjoying spending time visiting and getting to know my SIL better. I think Vail is a beautiful place and the scenery is gorgeous. However, I hate Utah. I hate the desert. And for everyone who has said, “but it’s a dry heat” about the weather – screw you. If it’s 102 degrees and sunny, it’s too damn hot. It’s especially too damn hot to go traipsing up some hiking trail to look at rocks – even if they are red rocks and in an arch pattern. Let’s put it this way: my people wandered the desert for 40 years; had I been one of those people I would have told Moses to stuff it and my family would now be idol worshipers.

The arch I took I the picture of above? 10 steps away from an air-conditioned car. That’s the only way to do the desert.

Meanwhile, the beautiful evergreens and river are in Vail. There are lakes so very blue it seems as though they are not real. There are colorful flowers everywhere; along the streets, in windowboxes, growing wild…the Vail Village appears to be a sweet European town (with prices that make you look twice to be sure you are seeing the decimal point in the correct spot- yikes!). Vail is also at a higher elevation than we are used to, so despite drinking copious amounts of water and eating ibuprofen like pez, I have had a headache since the plane landed on Saturday (if you are counting – and I am – that is 4 days). That’s what happens when there is 15% less oxygen in the air to breathe.

For the cost of this vacation – half of which sucked – we could have gone to somewhere tropical with a beach. My dream vacation. The one I have been wanting to take for years. The one I never get. The one where the water is clear, there is a slight breeze coming off the ocean, and there is no plan for the days. The one I come back with a slight tan and am rested from. Is it wrong to want a vacation where I don’t have to eat at fast food restaurants and pee in dirty gas station bathrooms because we’re driving and need to make good time?

So, what have I learned from this experience that I can share to make it worth your while to have read this far?
1. Subway makes a decent salad if you have to eat fast food.
2. Pack plenty of ibuprofen and drink a lot of water at high elevations. It
won’t help your headache, but that is about all you can do.
3. If someone asks if you want to visit Arches National Park, just say NO.
4. It is the heat – dry or humid doesn’t matter. It just sucks when it is hot out.
5. I will not let my husband plan the next vacation. Or maybe we will take
separate ones.

Being a Before


We’re on vacation and this is the only picture I’m happy with. Despite working out more regularly and training for my first triathlon, every picture with me in it has been a disappointment. I see the excess weight and am not happy with how I look.

Reframing some of these as my “before” pictures and continuing to exercise and eat carefully. Time, patience, and consistency. Next vacation I plan on being in a lot of photos as an “after”.

Jumping Without a Parachute

One week ago, I walked into my place of employment, quit, and walked out. It was something I knew would happen eventually. While I was initially happy there, a lot of changes took place that made it a soul-sucking, panic-attack-inducing, mean-girls club.

Since that moment, I’ve spoken to other women who are in jobs like this. They may be satisfied with the type of work they do, the hours, or the pay – but they are miserable because the people they work with are backstabbing, gossipy women and men who share personality types typical of middle school mentality despite being adults.

Why do some adults never leave middle school behind?

So, I quit and have thrown my energy into my own business. I’m writing, marketing, blogging, and planning – busier now than I was before but happy. My stress is decreased despite having more at stake. I’m finding my inner voice and joyful self again.

The moment I knew this was the best choice for me? I was sincerely grateful the people/management I worked with were so horrible because without them I never would have found my wings to soar.

Gluten-free “Spanikopita style” Crepes

Makes 8-10 savory crepes

1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour Mix*
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Cooking spray for pan

Preheat a 7 inch skillet/crepe pan over medium heat.
Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix well.
Spray pan with cooking spray. Pour batter (about 3 tablespoons) onto heated skillet with one hand; with the other hand, tilt the skillet so the batter completely coats the bottom (pour any extra batter back into the blender so the crepes are not too thick). Cook about 1 minute, until the underside is very light golden brown. Loosen the edges of the crepe with a spatula and turn it over in the skillet. Cook the other side about 30 seconds, until it is a spotty light golden brown. Slide crepe onto a plate and cover with foil.
Repeat Step 3 with remaining batter (be sure to brush skillet with more butter before you make each crepe).

The flour mix I use can be found here

This is where you can get creative! I sauteed a chopped onion and 10 ounces of fresh spinach until tender and then mixed with farmer’s cheese and feta cheese. You could use cottage cheese or ricotta, kale, Swiss chard – whatever beautiful greens and protein are available.

I fold the filling into each crepe and brown the package on a pan and then serve them with a side of fresh seasonal fruit.