Tag Archives: Family

My Mother; The Blogging “Expert”

Acquiring blog readers is hard.  Simple as that.  At times, the vast technological universe that many of us partake in can make it difficult to attract those that are the target audience you are searching for.  However, that involves you actively trying to attract an audience.  When I started this blog back in January of 2011 it was for me to share experiences that were taking place at work, at home and within my day-to-day structure.  I’ve blogged about my divorce, my job changes, working with other managers, fashion, sewing, dating, dancing, running and living with Fibromyalgia just to name a few of the most popular topics.

I started the blog as a way for me to get things off my chest that I wasn’t able to openly talk about until people started mentioning my blog.  Placing links to my blog on my personal Facebook was a way for me to share with my friends and family what I was going though.  During my marriage I lost touch with many people and have been trying to rebuild those relationships ever since.  I thought that maybe if people had an opportunity to see all the pandemonium that was going on in my brain they would understand what had been going on when we lost touch.

Outside of my circle of friends it never occurred to me that there might be others out there that are interested in hearing about my sewing projects or management techniques.  Who knew that my stories of being a 21st Century Gal would be that interesting to others?  Oh yes, that’s right…my mother!  Even at 29 it is still hard to admit that my mother is almost always right.  See what I did there with the “almost” part?  I’m sure there is something out there she might not be right about; such as biomechanical engineering or space travel.

It was my mother who started blogging before me and has shared her tips and tricks, so I guess I haven’t acquired these readers all on my own.  I might make management sound amusing, but you should see what my mom can do with the topic of cancer.  Never thought I could be laughing about cancer, but that’s how things work under her roof.  Anything and everything has the potential of being funny.  I’ll tell you what, it is rough knowing that as a teenager but quite amusing when you finally grow up and realize your parents aren’t as uncool as you once thought.

Thanks mom for sharing yet another life lesson with me.  Check out her blog, The World According to Alexandra, if you’re looking for a good laugh.  She even makes bodily functions funny instead of shamefully disgusting.  Thank you to my readers who stop back regularly.  For those of you who are just lurkers I invite you to subscribe to my blog and stick around for a bit.  There are some big changes on the horizon and I can be you won’t want to miss out on them.

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Filed under Blogging, Culture, Dance, Dating, Fashion, Female Management Skills, Friends, Parenting, Sewing, Taking Charge of One's Health

Threading The Needle of Family Traditions

Family traditions can be hard to continue on as so many things change from generation to generation.  From as far back as I can remember my grandmother has been stockpiling fabric for her amazing sewing projects.  When I was young I used to watch my mom and grandma work together on creating me a new wardrobe for school or dance wear for all of my classes.  It was always fun to go to the fabric store and get to pick out what kind of Lycra I wanted my leotard’s made out of for that year.  Little did I know at the time that many years later I would still have some of those dance wear pieces since they were made with such attention to detail.

As a child I took sewing lessons at the fabric store and then continued to learn more by working on projects at home with mom and grandma.  Earlier this year I was passed down my very own sewing machine for the first time.  It didn’t take me more than a few weeks to decide to tackle my first project.  It’s been more than a decade since I had sewn anything, but you just don’t forget the basics.  It’s a bit like riding a bike.  I took on a very easy project as a start to get my feet wet again.

I LOVE the look of those infinity (multi-way) dresses, but I don’t like the fact that they cost between $65.00 – $85.00 before tax to get them from most retail stores.  I found a few on Etsy that I had thought about considering, but they were just barely cheaper than the retail price.  After a little online research, my mom and I had a loose set of directions to wing it by.  Without a pattern I took on my first dress with none of the proper tools of the trade and managed to pull it together.  Without pins, weights, a pattern or even a cutting board I managed to turn a pile of fabric into my new favorite dress for only $16.00.

As soon as I made it I immediately decided I knew a good friend of mine that deserved a dress equally as awesome for herself.  After another trip to the fabric store and a few borrowed tools from mom I began her dress perfect for her measurements.  I found myself holding my breath while cutting as I knew this dress was actually going to someone else.  It was one thing to experiment on a dress that I knew was meant for me, but a whole other story for me to be making something for someone else.

The first dress for myself was made out of a casual summer material and the dress for my friend is as well.  A big online fabric sale prompted me to buy material that can pass the “little black dress” test.  I have enough for one whole black dress and another that will be black and kelly green.  I have an event to go to in July so the plan is to crank out both of these dresses soon so that I can wear one of them that evening and revel in the fact that I’ll be the only one there with an original dress, that I made with my own hands and spent less than $20.00 on.  While everyone else if flaunting their fancy designer labels I’ll be enjoying how my hard work will allow me to be comfortable and creatively stylish all at the same time.

Sewing is a family tradition that I’m so very happy that my grandmother and mother passed along to me.  I know that one day I’ll pass the craft along to future generations, but in the meanwhile I’ve got some more outfits to dream up.  What family traditions did you learn from earlier generations?  Do you think they will stand the test of time with future generations?

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Filed under Culture, Fashion, Friends, Sewing

It’s Not As Easy As A Flip Of A Coin

Everyone who aspires to one day be a parent strives to bring a healthy child into the world. No one that I’ve encountered hopes to have a child that will be born with a challenge they will face for the rest of their life. At 29 years old it’s become pretty obvious to me, especially if you log onto my Facebook and look at anyone on my news feed, that most of my friends and family in a similar age bracket are going through their childbearing years. Everyone is wishing them their congratulations and hopes of their child being healthy and happy.

What if you knew that the chances were strong that you were a carrier of a rare genetic disease that could potentially affect your child’s vision. Would you immediately rush out for genetic testing to confirm that you are or are not a carrier of the disease? Would you roll the dice and take your chances that you’re not a carrier of the disease? If you find out you are a carrier would it affect your decision to have children if you know you will either give birth to another carrier or a child that is directly affected by the disease?


Somewhere in the midst of all these questions is where I stand. My grandmother was a carrier for congenital X-linked retinoschisis. She gave birth to three talented boys who all are affected by the disease and have varying levels of blindness. The flip side of the coin is that their visual impairment has not stopped any of them from being very successful within their respective professions. When I see how all three boys have adapted and pushed forward it’s almost enough to stop questioning anything on the subject. Until I come back to reality and realize that there’s a good chance I’m carrying the disease and my decisions affect how it continues on in the family.

Now 2 of grandma’s boys each had a daughter, obviously I’m one of them, and grandma’s other son had two boys. Luckily my male cousins have won the genetic lottery as a characteristic of the inheritance is that it cannot be passed to sons. However, my female cousin and I run the high and likely risk of not being so lucky. If either or both of us possess the genetic pattern then all it takes is one altered copy of the gene in each cell to cause the condition in any male children we would produce.

Just recently I learned that I can now be genetically tested to see if I am a carrier of the disease and that’s caused me to start asking some tough questions. Since I have trouble with the topic that you can now genetically chose the sex of your child, I am facing the fact that if I am a carrier for this disease then deciding to have children will continue the cycle. What would you do if you were faced with such a serious decision?

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Filed under Parenting, Taking Charge of One's Health

The Mother’s Day Flower & Garden Tradition Continues

Back during my days at the “mouse house” I started a tradition with my mom for Mother’s Day.  Each year we would go to the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival to catch up, see the flowers, and enjoy lunch together.  This tradition continued every year until last year.  Right around Mother’s Day last year I found out that I would be changing jobs and desperately needed a full work attire over haul.  For the first time ever we broke our streak and spend Mother’s Day of 2011 being true girls and shopping for dresses, suit jackets, new heels and all kinds of accessories.  Now in 2012 the Flower & Garden tradition continued with a few alterations.

This year the part grew from 2 to 4 as Matt and his mother joined us.  We had a lovely Mother’s Day brunch before getting to the park, so it was totally appropriate to kick off the in-park festivities with a Mother’s Day margarita!

Now that is some Mother – Daughter bonding at it’s finest!  We decided before getting to the park that day that in order to truly be good kids we needed to introduce our Mom’s to Mexico’s tequila bar so it was our first stop of the afternoon.

I would say that the Mom’s approved.  We sipped our beverages, enjoyed the cool air conditioning and laughed it up before heading out to see the rest that the festival had to offer for the day.

It was a cloudy day, but the rain held off and the weather provided us plenty of shade so no one got burnt.  Luckily it wasn’t as crowded as it was in past year’s.  We still got to go into the expo and it was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Bonsai trees before Matt’s mom got her very first one for an anniversary gift.  The Bonsai club gave her all kinds of thorough information to help her in her selection of the perfect one a few days later.

Being there earlier in the day gave me an opportunity to finally get Matt to see one of the Voice of Liberty shows.  He’s only had the pleasure of seeing them during the holidays when they participate in other shows, so it was cool to take him to the American Adventure so that he could see them in their normal daily action.

It was a terrific way to bring the tradition back and I’m glad that we all had such a good time together.  Not sure how you beat Mother’s Day margaritas, but Father’s Day is just around the corner so we better start brainstorming.

 

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R U Kidding Me?

It’s hard to believe that educational standards can change so much over time.  When I was in school computers were added to the curriculum in slight ways so we would at least be familiar with what they can do.  I did learn to type on a typewriter however, my cousins who went to school about 10 years behind me have expressed their heavy involvement with computers over their academic career.  I always thought that besides budgetary constraints the only other area that would change educational standards would be technology.  Yet I still find myself shocked to learn that cursive is being eliminated from most schools across the United States.

I’ll admit that in elementary school my cursive was atrocious and it took many years of practice at making it look a bit more legible for it to improve.  However, it was character building and for the most part it can tell a lot about a person.  I used to see crime dramas that brought in handwriting experts and now they show IT experts who analyze the way text messages were written.  Is script becoming a distant memory of the past?

In a post on iVillage, Sally Farahat Kassab points out the reasons that many of us feel cursive writing should still be taught such as:

“the personality that shows through in one’s handwriting, like how you curl your Qs; the value of realizing that it’s worth it to take time to complete something you’ve handwritten; the discipline and fine motor control that comes with penmanship; the need to sign a check or official document; the ability to read historic documents in their original form or heck, your grandparents’ love letters.”

I was frightened enough when I once saw a letter to my grandma written as if it was a text message.  She felt like she needed a decoder ring to be able to figure out what the heck it said.  As someone who is technically savvy I can understand this move, but as someone who likes tradition it’s a bit hard to stomach.  At least I’ll be able to read historic documentation of my family tree.  Will your kids be lucky enough to do the same?

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Filed under Culture, Parenting

Visions Of Sugarplums And Bleeding Toes Still Dance In My Head

The music of the holiday season always puts me in such a cheerful mood with so many of the songs bringing back joyous memories of my life as a performer.  Listening to Pandora while at my desk generally strikes an urge to want to jump up and dance, but I’ve done my best this holiday season to not let myself jump up and bust a move.  Those at my current job know me as a dedicated professional and not one who used to wear ball gowns or pointe shoes.  However, all it takes are a few notes of The Nutcracker to make me want to waltz and leap down the aisle of cubicles with all I can muster up from inside.

I’ve only had the pleasure of performing in the Nutcracker twice in my life.  Once as a dancer who was just starting her journey and then later as one who was lucky enough to be featured.  Both occasions left such a lasting impact and deeply etched memories into my mind.  As other dancers know, each year you often have a yearly performance or recital and there are many of those that I have no memories of so it is a good thing my mom purchased the VHS.  However, I’m sure that both Nutcracker experiences will remain with me for many years to come.

I was hoping to be able to see a staging of The Nutcracker this year while I was traveling in Washington D.C. for work, but there just wasn’t enough time around my conference schedule.  Being in Florida has limited the Christmas shows that are on my “must see” list.  When I lived in New York during my younger years my mom would take me to see the New York City Ballet’s staging of The Nutcracker or The Radio City Christmas Spectacular so that I could see my favorite high kicking ladies.  It’s funny how even as a child I greatly appreciated clean choreography and precision.  I guess in the back of my mind my future calling was there all along.

During one of my first holiday season’s back in Florida my mom and step-dad took me all the way to Miami so that I could see the Miami City Ballet present their version of The Nutcracker.  Compared to the NYCB staging that I treasured as a child, Miami sure knows how to infuse the production with color and flair!  I think this is a tradition I might need to put back on my calendar during the 2012 holiday season as I have slowly spent the last 2 years returning to the things that mean the most to me.

It’s almost time to write those New Year’s resolutions, so start brainstorming now.  I’ve done quite well with my resolutions from 2011, so I think I’ll continue my trend of attainable and motivating resolutions for 2012.  Time to strap on my running shoes and get in a few last half marathon training sessions before the holiday festivities take over.  I’ve got a mere two weeks left until our 5K run and then the half marathon will be hot on my heels a handful of weeks later.  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season filled with glorious music, sumptuous sweets, and those that they love the most!

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Filed under Dance

Is That Puppy A Toddler?

If you haven’t frequented a theme park, mall or other prime people watching location recently then I strongly suggest you do.  It’s amazing what you can watch while you sit back, relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or a small frozen yogurt.  My favorites are the “nothing fights” that you hear couples having.  I heard a great one during March when I was at Disney.  It was between a young couple who obviously forgot they were in the happiest place on earth.

Working in hospitality, I get to do my fair share of people watching, but I still enjoy kicking back on a day off and just observing the world around me.  Today I had the opportunity to witness a family with 3 young girls and 2 strollers.  Normally that would not strike me as odd until I noticed that the youngest was appropriately 2 in one stroller, but the other stroller was being filled by the middle child who was clearly 8-9 years of age.  That raises the question, “When are kids too old to need a stroller?”  A coworker and close friend of mine likes to debate this with me off and on throughout the year.  Generally we both agree that most of the children we see in strollers are well past the age where a stroller is needed and appropriate.

When I grew up I remember having to walk places.  I know if I was too tired to keep up then it was time to go home for a nap unless I wanted to suck it up and walk faster.  My coworker remembers his childhood in about the same manner.  He’s even commented on how he feels like he got to partake in more bonding time with his dad by riding on his shoulders.  What happened to these traditions?  I see fewer kids on shoulders in the park and many more strollers being rented for families to push around two or three kids who are between the ages of 8 and 13.  Did a study come out that said it is hazardous to the health to carry your child on your shoulders and create a memorable experience?  I just don’t understand when this change came about in society.

The other phenomenon that I see to be very popular is people walking their children on leashes like they are puppies.  Yes, the leash is attached to an adorable plush animal that is strapped to their child’s back, however you’re still walking your child like an animal.  I understand for those with young multiples that this is an absolute necessity at times in a very crowded setting.  To those parents I salute you for doing the best you can with the number of hands that you have versus the number of children that you need to hang onto.  The families with two parents and four grandparents who still need to leash the one child they have with them is what I concerns me.

In my childhood years I vaguely remember having that pins and needles feeling in my hand when I was out with my mom.  I remember it being because I was so small and everyone around me was well over six feet tall.  It wasn’t because my mother was unsure how to control me and felt the best thing to do was to train me as she did our cocker spaniels.  On the flip side I see other families making the most out of their time together and making memories on their vacation.  Those families make me smile and remind me of my childhood memories.  I am not sure when these families became the minority, but I appreciate that some families are still trying to keep these old traditions and values going.

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