Month: May 2015

Note to self: Be grateful. Be more grateful.

I like to think I am a grateful person, but perhaps I am not as grateful for things as much as I would like to be. As Jack Dawson said: “I got air in my lungs, and a few blank sheets of paper” (still one of my favorite quotes from Titanic).

I am healthy, I have a job, I get to find time time to enjoy my hobbies, I have David by my side. I have my wacky family by my side (for the most part). I live in the best country on Earth (‘Merica!) and I have food on the table. Above all, I get to write stories. I should be so grateful. So darn grateful. But I am not. I constantly want more. I want to sell more books, lose weight, travel more, upgrade my kitchen (it is so tiny!) etc.

So today, I acknowledge my blessings and I will strive my best to be better at stopping and counting them more. I am lucky. So lucky. How grateful are you for what you have?

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Russia didn’t win the Eurovision. Phew!

First off, as an American I had no idea what Eurovision was until I did my study abroad in France (which – just throwing that out there- inspired my book “Six months of Croissants, Cafe cremes, Parties and Love available on Amazon :))

At first sight, Eurovision meant glitter, pop fever and everyone dressing up like they were about to go to a space convention. It was a bizarre sight, but I’ve been watching it for almost seven years now and I enjoy it. I love to love or hate the songs being performed and I gasp and shout at the TV when countries award points.

This year, it was about as political as usual; countries were awarding highest scores to their neighbors or their economic alliances. Okay, fine. We are used to it at this point. But this year I was completely and utterly against Russia winning. Why? I didn’t care much for the song but mostly it felt wrong if they won. With Ireland overwhelmingly voting for same-sex marriage on the same say and celebrating, I couldn’t help but think how they treat gays in Russia.

Russia is a very closed-minded/intolerant country. As I saw Conchita Wurst sitting next to the Russian representative Polina Gagarina who was leading in the half time, I could not help but think how unaccepted Conchita would be in Russia. How they would treat her being who she is. How they treat LGBT community. So this year, specially, I cheered for the Enrique Iglesias/model runway looking Swedish Mans Zelmerlow who not only had amazing graphics to support his act but had an uplifting song and a message that will continue the open-minded legacy of Conchita Wurst and not pull it back. Because…. as much as it should be about music, it is about something more to, and in this case it was about “building bridges” and not burning them.

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Changing car tires like a pro (women, unite!)

I am not much of a feminist, really… as much as I am an egalitarian. In that spirit, I finally learned what any woman should learn: how to change a tire!

First of, it was not out of necessity. I was not stranded on a highway waving all sexy-like to guys so they would stop and heroically help me change the flat.

No, I learned because I wanted to. My friend Susan’s car was in desperate need of tire rotation and as usual, she was going to make her husband do it. But then I stopped her: “You know what, Susan, I’ll do it. We will do it together!”

And so, with a little help from internet DIY videos, we got our hands all gross dirty. I was sweating like any mechanic would and I think I even cursed a few times. The only thing Susan’s garage needed was a calendar with sexy, chizzled guys.

Today, I proudly type this with blisters decorating the palms of my hands. I am proud I did it. It was quite a no-brainer once I rotated the first tire.

If women want equality, they should not expect of men to do “men tasks.” The only time we should, PERHAPS, intentionally ask men for help (due to their strength) is when lifting really, really heavy things. Women can be very strong, but man are just stronger. Even David, my chubby little man who never lifts things, can lift heavier things than I do (despite my lifting at the gym). So, ladies, no more excuses. When will you learn how to change a tire?

Share your comments/ thoughts with me! Comment below! 🙂

P.S: Thank you, beautiful reader, who bought my book on Amazon! It made my day! Leave a review, love it or hate it!

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Don’t let numbers define you.

Too often I find myself chained to numbers in my life. I rely on them and let them determine who I am. They tell me whether I am loser or a winner, a good person or a bad person, or if I am a failure in life.

How much money do I make? Why am I not making more? How many pounds do I weigh? How expensive was the holiday I went on? Was it expensive enough to impress other people? Does this dress look like an expensive dress? How many hours did I sleep? Why don’t I have a two car garage? How old am I? (and the inevitable- when did I get this old?)

It’s a scary thing, relying on numbers. They put me in a bad mood because there is always a goal that has to be reached. Sales numbers, performance reviews, even damn dieting is not successful unless the scale budges and shows less!

What would happen in my life if I started to ignore numbers? What if I became happy with what I am making? What if I realized I don’t need a two door garage and that the world won’t end because I do not drink 8 glasses a day like I was supposed to according to every health magazine? What if I was happy with the fact I only sold one book so far on Amazon– someone bought my book, isn’t that something?

What if I, instead, focused on helping others, or making someone’s day by actually having a conversation with them? Or baby-sitting someone’s kids so they can finally go on a romantic date after sleepless nights and dirty diapers?  What if I invited that chatty old neighbor for dinner after five years of knowing her?

The world becomes so much easier when the burden of number disappears- suddenly, the focus is on others, and not on you.

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Reclining seats in crammed spaces

Whoever thought a reclining seat was a good thing to have in a can of sardines type environment must have been a complete halfwit- or a true optimist in regard to human spirit and selflessness.

There are many annoying things when taking a flight somewhere, but reclining seats on an airplane/bus should be banned. Forever forbidden! Never to be given to humans as an option ever again!

Most people travel in economy class which means one gets a tiny little square of space to sit on through the next X amount of hours. Seating by the window tends to be a little better, but if a seat is reclined in your face the anger is equal to that of a isle seat or the middle seat.

Jerks who recline seats in crammed spaces truly show the type of people they are. It goes without saying they are self-centered and selfish. But what is worse are the problems they cause for the person sitting behind them. Because not only do they make one feel like their presence is not worthy of any respect at all, but they put one in a bad spot.

Now, the even more uncomfortable individual must:

1) Talk to the person who reclined their seat OR

2) Recline the seat themselves

3) Justify and apologize to the person behind them who is now unsatisfied with the new seating situation

It becomes like a domino effect. First jerks reclines the seat, and then everyone else has to do it in order to feel like they are not crammed as a packed commuter train in Tokyo. Now, a third person is mad at the second person because of something the first person did. I know, many times life works this way, but come on, let’s end this madness when we are all suffering in a tiny seat.

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Is life without bread worth living?

I have been trying to eat no carbs (well, let’s be honest- LESS carbs) and I truly am struggling.

In the mornings I find myself confused, puzzled and almost sad because I used to always start my day with bread. Grilled cheese sandwich, PBJ sandwich, omlette with toasted bread, toasted bread with butter and honey, garlic bread with cream cheese, baked ham and cheese rollups…. I mean the list goes on, people!

Now, I stare at the fridge and I can not possibly think of things to eat in the morning without bread! I consulted a few recipe websites, and boy oh boy, no bread breakfast requires cooking. I hate cooking! And I hate cauliflower! I do not want to eat cauliflower hash! And who in their right mind eats vegetable miso soup with chickpeas for breakfast? Have people lost their minds?

The suffering continues through lunch. Like my Grandma, I always dip my bread in soup and wipe the plate with it. Now I can’t do that anymore. And how can I turn down endless bread sticks at Olive Garden? Am I supposed to wait for other food to come out and not indulge myself in warm bread sticks? How?

As the night falls, my bread-less life proves to be a challenge. Pass on the sausage bread, Leah! Forget about the pita bread pizza, Leah! Don’t touch the pretzels, Leah! Agh, end the misery!

I love the simplicity of bread, its practicality and its deliciousness. And as I (try) to live my life without it, I ponder…. Is life without bread worth living?

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Modern Hoarders

She was frantically pacing around the room. “I don’t know why you have to throw anything out! Don’t touch those books, someone gave them to me as a gift!” She looked livid. “Then why are they in the drawer?”

We’ve been looking for a battery charger all over the house for more than an hour, and still no sight of it. “This house has so much shit it in,” she grunted. “Finally!” I thought to myself. She was finally displeased with the piles of useless material items around the house. Maybe this is the opportunity to throw out some of it and clear out the dressers, the closets and the hallway.

Ten minutes into it, she got really mad. At me. For messing with her things, for trying to get rid of things. “You are ruining the order! You are making a mess! I can’t find anything anymore.” Her face was red from screaming at me and I haven’t seen her this upset in a while. I threw all the stuff back to where I found it and left.

I got home and Googled hoarders definition. I’ve seen the shows- Hoarders, buried alive! But my Mom’s place doesn’t look like that! She doesn’t have cockroaches laying around! She can still walk around the house without stepping on things. It did not match. She’s not a hoarder by definition. But what is she then? Why would a sane person get so upset over a pile of things she did not even know they were there?

I called David to discuss what I witnessed with him. His Mom is similar to my Mom- she has expired food in the fridge but she won’t throw it out. She still has the box from David’s first PC purchase. The blender box. Clothing from 1970’s. What is going on here? If they are not hoarders by definition but have separation anxiety, what are they?

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