Thursday, August 13, 2009

My ridiculous last 24 hours with Jo

Any time I'm in a sad mood I have to remember the following occurences of the last 24 hours 1. blind taste testing with sriracha and raw garlic/ 2. Maids being less paperwork than monkeys
3. The lunch jo and I just had at PF Changs. silly silly us. Told the waiter he toyed with our fate, got a basket of fortune cookies and free chocolate dome cake.

More details soon - going to run!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Clarice Starling

YAY no more boredom! I started w/my new kiddo (20 hours/week) and I'm in love. Of course that means that I'm driving all over the place to see my different clients so I picked up some books on tape, including Silence of the Lambs. It's good so far. I never saw the movie. It's weird because I strongly dislike scary movies but I love them as novels, and I strongly dislike chic-lit but I enjoy chic-flicks. I just finished Firefly Lane, which was really stupid at first, and then the last few chapters got suddenly sad and serious and good, and I am sitting in a nail salon in Boston with my mom, balling my eyes out!

Let's see, what else is going on. I started running again and am in a Women's Running group. I did 4 miles total today, but not at the same time - 2 w/Joanna, and 2 w/Pam and Ryann. I LOVE it. I am doing a 5k on August 30th for Leukemia and Lymphoma, a Mud Run for the Marine Corps September 19th, and a 5k for autism speaks on October 10th. So excited! My goal is to do a 10k by March, and a half marathon by next fall.

I was in Boston this weekend w/mom and the Sharon/Perrin family. It was amazing. It is crazy how comfortable I instantly feel w/Jackie and the rest of the family. Andre took us on his boat with Brit, Judit, and Jackie. It was such a fun day. Brit and I went tubing, which was weirdly more of a workout than it seems. The water was freezing! We also went to a really nice dinner at one point w/Jeremy and his family (from mom's school, he moved back to Boston). Mom and I shared parsnips as a side dish and they are officially my new favorite thing. We saw a store on Newberry street called LiLo or something like that, and it's an Israeli Jewelry/knick knack designer. Mom bought me a chamsa and a cute little elephant keychain, and a bracelet for herself, and I bought myself a huge open heart necklace (to add to my ridiculous heart necklace collection), and a little fish charm for Jo cuz she watched Odgey over the weekend. Speaking of Odgey he got shaved and they cut his top knot off w/o my permission and I am legitimately pissed. I told them to keep it long!

The weekend before Boston we went to Atlanta to move Adva into med school. I love Atlanta. It's so southern but diverse and metropolitan, as oxymoronic as that sounds. Emory is great and a perfect fit for her. Mom and I went to Craft, which is owned by Tom Collicchio (he has a chain of them). Adva lives in a house that is owned by a professor and rents out rooms. It's a really unique situation but actually is pretty awesome. Her roommates are one girl in her class who is my age, and one boy who is a year older than her who is starting Law School. They don't have Harris Teeter there but they have Publix which I went into and is fabulous. We also went to the International Farmers market and it was like a candy store.

I had a GREAT birthday. I was house-sitting for the Kramers in their palace. So many of my friends came, it was so nice, I don't think I've had such a lovely birthday since I was young and my mom would plan amazing games and make the best cakes ever. Now I don't remember how they tasted, but she had this book about creative cake designs, and she would make Barbie dress cakes, cakes shaped like farms with animals, pools, beaches, and my fav (besides Barbie) is a carousel one. Anyway, so many friends came, and we grilled awesome food, had a bit to drink, and just had a blast. Nobody was too wild, people just enjoyed the food etc. I actually have friends this year that brought me presents and cards. Not that I enjoy getting presents because I always feel a bit uncomfortable, but the fact that friends came with cards and balloons, cakes, and actual gifts, and not just alcohol, meant to me that I have friends that have the same values as me. Don't get me wrong, many brought wine and we enjoyed plenty of it, (and the Kramers enjoyed what I left for them!).

Okay I'm exhausted and have to be in Durham at 8 am tomorrow and traffic is NOT fun. Laila Tov.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Page Turners

Summer's here, and I don't have school! I am trying to keep myself busy with private clients as well as clients from Let's Talk Speech and Language Services' clinic, but I still have a lot of mornings free. Trying to be productive, work on my online courses, exercise, etc, but thanks to my dear friend Ryann Warlick, I have instead been spending most of my time reading the Twilight series. I am SO sad for when i finish it (in a couple days). These books are like 500-600 pages long, and I read them in a couple days because I get so caught up! I'm such a nerd. I should go hang out at high schools to talk to people about them. Well middle schools. I do need some page turner suggestions for when they're all done.

Mom and Dad just flew to Israel - so jealous! I am very content not really traveling this summer (Atlanta to take sis to med school, and boston w/mom for a weekend, but that doesn't really count). I won't go home until fall, but then I'll go twice, and then for winter again.

Moved into the new place w/Erica in N.Raleigh - we both love it! Our pool is so much fun and we just love this neighborhood. Also, I have a crush :-) We'll see what happens w/that. Haven't had a real crush in a while, and I'm not being cynical at all, which is when I know I actually like a guy, because that's how it was w/Grant. Usually guys sort of annoy me and I'm just cynical and want more independence than they give me, but this is exciting, so yay!

HG since you and my mom are prob the only ones reading this, call me woman, I miss you!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


One of my best friends, Diana Good Smith, passed away, and she is no longer in pain and suffering. If you are reading this and you feel at all compelled, I would love it if you can have a thought or prayer or cheers or whatever at her wonderful life, even if you did not know her. She was a survivor, above all else, and I will always love her and remember her as one of my very best friends Deenie. I love you.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Mi Ra?

"Mi Ra?" means "who is bad?" in Hebrew. Passover is coming up so I am teaching them that Pharaoh was bad. They know "tov" means good, so I said "ra lo tov." "Mi Ra?" And one of my first graders raises her hands and starts talking about her housekeeper! I about died laughing in my head. The answer was Pharaoh....hahahaha.

Snapped out of my blah mood - just staying active and still working out. I ran a new running goal w/o stopping the other day which felt amazing. I'm also trying to come up with some set summer plans. Right now I'd really like to work at Meredith's autism lab, maybe even do some research for them. I'd also love to do some nannying for some of my students - parents have contacted me and I didn't know what I'd do w/o my kiddos all summer so that solves that! They seriously put me in the best mood ever. Last week Nechama baked me chocolate peanut butter rice krispie treats for no reason. My first graders and Kindergarten give me hugs every single day, and I love my 4th graders (especially when they behave!). 

I'm going home next week for 10 days - I can't wait to cook. We want to make leg of lamb, and not sure what else. Seafood meatballs for sure - so delicious! Mom and I are going to drive to Utah too and I am so excited to see everyone!

I have to go plot an April Fool's trick.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Lot's to write and lot's to catch up on.

The last few days I've been feeling blah. Don't know why. Not sad for any reason at all, just feeling blah for no reason. I hate it.

I'm just pushing through, staying active, and I know time will make this go away, but it's just irritating. I'm sure later tonight I'll already feel better and I'll write updates for the last month, etc.

Off to school now! I know my kids always put a smile on my face!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

school projects, currently reading, and mom's in town!

We just celebrated Tu B'shvat at school. Tu B'svhat is the birthday of the trees - an Israeli arbor day. Israel has always been more environmentally conscious. You plant trees, sing songs, etc. I had my kindergarten class make "flowerpots" out of egg crates and popsicle sticks - totally stole the idea from a fine motor skill in one of my programs. They had to pick out 6 colors and cut out flowers out of construction paper, write the name of the color in Hebrew, glue it to the popsicle stick, and then "plant" it in the egg crage half! I'll post pictures when I upload them from my camera.

Mom came into town last Friday morning (ugh it's already Tuesday...time w/her flies!). She will be here until Saturday afternoon. We've been really productive but also just had fun and cooked (of course) and hung out w/Adva. Yesterday we went to Duke for several hours, and Mom watched Adva's Flamenco class while I read at the coffee shop. Adva is a second semester senior, so her course load is much lighter, and one of her courses is flamenco. The instructor has her own dance company, and takes the dancing portion really seriously! Adva is one of the only non-dancers, but she's taking it on! Very courageous (not to say I wouldn't do it, as we all know I would, but still, she's putting herself out there which is great!).

I started reading Twilight last night for book club (and fun). I'm trying to figure out how to "budget" my time since I have to take the gre's and these courses for the grad program. I'm hoping that I just whip through Twilight as everyone says you do. It's good so far!

I'm waiting to hear back from the Friday Center which is a part of UNC, and offers self paced correspondence courses. I registered on Friday, and I have to wait for approval (which I don't really get because since the courses are self paced and correspondence, how can they fill up?). I sent in a letter of appeal to try to take all my courses at once instead of having to wait 12 weeks to finish two and then start two more. They are self-paced, but have a minimum time requirement of 12 weeks. Counterintuitive? I think so. I mean I guess they have their reasons, but I need to take these before the application is due! Erin Barrow, the WONDERFUL advisor for the program, told me that as long as I'm registered for the last two before the deadline, and they are completed before Aug 2nd, that I can apply with pending status, but I just want it to be done! Wish me luck please.

Okay off to do drop Odge off to get his ears cleaned and get himself groomed, then therapy w/one of my kiddos, picking him up, school, and then spa appointment w/Mom! (Wow I'm spoiled). By the way, Odge woke us up at 4 AM Sat morning (fri night?), with a double ear infection that I really thought was bleeding, but was actually black pus stuff - so gross. Poor thing was crying all night and panting out of pain. He's better now, but I felt so bad for my poor baby.

Last thing - I went to a sports bar (Hi5) for the Duke-Unc game last Wed (we lost), and it was so much fun! I really am trying to go out more but I have no interest in going at midnight every weekend and coming home at 3 am. I wish there were more "chill" options at bars or trivia nights for a more mature atmosphere. I'm sure there is just need to convince my friends to do it! (friends - let's do it!).

Okay off to get going on the day.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Food adjectives

Have you ever noticed that fancy adjectives make foods sound so much more gourmet?
When I cooked dinner for all of my sister's friends last fall, she started telling them the menu and one of them interjected and said "sorry, we need more adjectives." Green beans turned into "sauteed almonds and green beans with lemon and paprika." Chicken turned into "roasted chicken stuffed with fresh herbs, garlic, and lemons." Last night I went out to Mexican with SRR and one of my new neighbors Zak, and we passed a restaurant on Hillsborough which looked fabulous! On the menu, I just had to laugh because one of the items was served over "melted leeks." What does that even mean? Melted? I've heard of sweating, sauteing, etc. Do restaurants just make stuff up to sound fancy? Why does "fresh summer corn" sound so much cooler than "corn"? Think about it. Sauteed, baby, fresh, served with blank, with a blank reduction. It's all basic cooking techniques that just sound so much more fancy than they really are!

I went out last night for times two in a week (well year haha). It was fun but I was just too exhausted and took a taxi home by myself. Today I went to a training for Let's Talk, which was awesome. I am looking at what classes to take for my prerequisites for my masters, which I am hoping to start this fall! I am super excited.
I don't feel like going out tonight so I may just go bowling or something super lame w/my new neighbors. SRR and HG are babysitting, Erica and Lauren are working, and LK is at home, boo. Friends don't leave me!

I am off to eat some adjective filled dinner and then bowling!

Monday, February 02, 2009

oh...and currently reading - woops!

Wow I don't write in a few weeks and now 3 posts in a row! Helen Grace is probably drooling over the reading material for her.

Currently reading The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Actually I finished it and am discussing it tonight during book club.

Next I'm reading Twilight, and also some fluff book if I find one I can read quickly.

Okay going to make the salad for book club. Ta-ta.

Erica Strother is Determined to Have a Fabulous Week

Gotta love fb statuses...stati? Not sure what the plural is lol!

So, I am upset, yes, BUT I know I'll get past this quickly and I am going to take these few extra hours in a week and see if I can take any classes. Maybe now I can go to the GYM every day! Again, I just keep going back to the fact that I feel like my baby was taken away from me (my baby being the program I created). Everything is usually a blessing in disguise, as hard as it is to see. For example, Fiona Davis. Fiona is the lady from temple who has been battling cancer, and who has two children, the younger of which has autism. She is going through so much right now, but ya know what? If she wasn't going through it, I probably wouldn't be in their lives, and I know they're pleased that I am, so there's their happy ending. Mine is this - I am going to work out every day now. I am going to be more social. I am going to take classes towards my masters. I will also learn to speak up EARLIER in a program, and not just let 7 months go by being frustrated.

Back to Erica's fb status:
Erica Strother (and Avigail Eisenberg) is... "determined to have a fabulous week"!!! Oh yeah :-)
I'll keep updates on how fabulous it is.
Let's start with the fact that I woke up at 6 and Sara and I walked the lake. That's pretty fabulous.
Going to go run some errands for real now, expect more on my fabulous week later!

... and finally over stomach virus

SO much has happened since I last wrote. First off, I had a stomach virus for about a week. Definitely NOT fun, as I was throwing up at all hours of the day and night, but I did lose some weight out of it. Would much rather not have to go through that again though the next time I'm trying to kickstart a diet!

I really am trying to focus on my social life more, and not as much on work. I went to a wine tasting w/Lauren K. the other day and realized that I was a lot more shy and reserved than I normally am, because it was hard for me at first to come up with topics to talk about non work related. As the evening went on I got better and was more myself, just enjoying the time, but I need to work on it more.

I have book club tonight and I invited a whole bunch of girl friends to happy hour at Zely and Ritz on Thursday, so that should be a lot of fun and provide some regular good old 20 something times. I'm also excited about all the DG alumni stuff - I really think it's going to be a great season for the group and that membership will increase and become more active.

Sara has been going through a lot lately w/her job etc, but she won the battle (the two of us had  a mini freaking out session lol), and she's just had a great attitude about it all. She's been in touch w/her mom and it's made her (and as a result me) so happy. I really am so proud of her and happy for her.

Now that I said I wouldn't talk about work, I will do so, because of a sudden turn of events. Whatever - this is my blog, not social hour! I am no longer working for one of my clients, which is a sudden change and definitely a shock to me, but I feel okay about it. I am mostly upset because I really do feel like I set up the entire program, and that the client's success should be greatly contributed to my efforts, and that their reasoning is going to hurt their child's progress - let me explain. They told me it was a really hard decision to make because they know how much I care for their child, but that their child was plateau-ing (I'm sorry - what kid doesn't reach plateaus?), and that there were too many philosophical differences between me and the consultant. Dang right there were! I have basically run this program on my own, and they don't see that, because they've never had experience with this, and I have. I've worked with consultants before, and I was not getting what I needed from this consulting - they weren't providing services that we all needed for me to run the program as the therapist.  I have come up with programs, set up targets, trials, and really done most of it on my own. I finally reached a breaking point and brought this up to the family and expressed my frustrations, because since the client had advanced so much, the programs were getting more complicated and detailed, and I just couldn't wing it anymore, without the direction of the consultant, and it was not my job to take extra time (which I was doing frequently!), to work on the program at home. The ironic thing is that I spoke to the consultant about it all, and I really felt like we had a breakthrough and that it would be starting to get better. We had set up team meetings (yeah, there were none of these before...what??), etc., and I thought it would improve. I am really hoping that the family sees quickly that it was not me as the therapist that directly corresponded to their child's plateau. That is one of the most aggravating parts of it actually - I am the one who NOTICED the plateau, and the consultant just said it was expected, while I was like, NO let's fight this! Let's come up with distinct targets etc to work on, let's break it down, we'll get through this! Oh well, I'm sure they'll soon realize and hopefully they will be able to work it out because this client means so much to me and I really want them to progress and be mainstream schooled. All in all, I am more upset for the progress of the child than for my career, because I know I can find other families (with better set-up programs where I don't have to do the work). I really hope that it all works out for them because I do care about the whole family a lot.

Okay well I'm going to read a bit and then run some errands before going to school. At least I have a touch of free time now!

Monday, January 19, 2009

lauren kennedy is my remedy

Went to hang out w/LK for a bit after the play w/Adva yesterday. Just wanted to mention how much fun I always have w/her and that I wish I had her drive! Lauren - how do you do what you do? Lauren is one of the most on top of it, put together, superwoman people I know! We went grocery shopping and had an early dinner and just had a blast catching up. Move to Raleigh your senior year of Dental School so that we can play more often.

I slept for ELEVEN hours last night (10-9). It felt so wonderful. I really need to be running my goal (its really low right now) every day even when i'm super busy, so I'm about to go do it, even though I REALLY don't want to. I feel like I have so much to get done (paperwork aaaah) and laundry. I hate doing laundry. 

It might snow tonight!! Hurray! Maybe school will be cancelled and I can do more stuff around the house. I just feel like I have all this stuff to do and I spend all this time thinking of everything I have to do instead of just getting it done! I mean I do get things done, but I just need to have a more organized running list and just do things!!! I guess that means I better stop writing and go running!

Making a big vat of chili later...but only if I get .....TWO more things done first.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

currently reading...

Julie and Julia, by Julie Powell.

Decided to read a fluff book - fun so far! I also decided I'm going to "assign" non-autism related reading to my clients' parents that are agreeable to this idea so that they can get a short escape. I will assign this book when I'm done reading it.

Going to Durham later to see a play with Adva. Haven't seen her in a while. It's a shame we don't see each other more but she's got her super strict schedule and it's hard for her to veer away from it, and as we all know I've been ridiculously busy, so it's hard. My mom gets super happy when we do figure out a time to see each other though. I just hope we can do it a few more times before she graduates and we don't live within 30 minutes of each other.

Speaking of being super busy, I may be giving Odge to the Secan family to keep for me for several days at a time, so that he can get a bit more attention than I'm able to provide him. Sara Rose thinks I'm silly and says she doesn't mind doing what she's been doing (she takes him out every day, and so does Lauren - my roommate), but I just feel bad because he shouldn't be their responsibility. The Secans are excited at this possibility because they have been wanting to socialize their own dog, and they say that their dog likes little dogs. Odge - you better be a good friend! I'll miss you though, we'll see if I can sleep at night w/o ya.

One of the most rewarding things of my life right now is my job. Everyone is worried that I'm not socializing enough, but I really feel fine. I still hang out w/Sara and Erica all the time, and I have movie nights, dinner nights, book club, DG alumni stuff - so just because I'm not going out to the bars doesn't mean I'm not socializing. I could do it a bit more and work a bit less, but I'm really happy with it.  I really try to send my students' parents reinforcing e-mails, because I feel like usually teachers will only do that when they have to give a report, or will only contact the parents for negative things. Last week one of my students whose reading level in Hebrew was relatively low came back from break reading SO fluidly. I sent her mom an email and she responded telling me that her daughter looks forward to the once a week class, and thanking me for being such a good teacher. Several weeks ago I wrote an email to some moms of my clients (they know each other), telling them how good i was to work with such wonderful families, and I got a response telling me that they can sleep better at night knowing that I care so much about their kids. To me, this is the most rewarding thing that I've ever done, and hearing these comments just makes me want to work more!

Yesterday I went to the Davis' with Sara. They are a family from temple with two kids - Rebecca (2nd grade, brilliant, i've sub-taught her), and David (almost 4, has autism, verbal, SUPER sweet). Fiona (mom) is bravely battling cancer and had another round of chemo on Thursday, so I went over to help with the kids to give her some free time to rest. Sara Rose came with me. We played in the house a bit (Rebecca sold more girl scout cookies to Sara - I already purchased 3 boxes from her - thin mints and tagalongs of course). We played chase with David and had a lot of fun. Then we loaded car seats in my car and took them to McDonalds for some happy meals and playplace time! Rebecca is an instant leader and rounded up a bunch of girls to be on "safety patrol" it was so cute! She also went up to a family sitting next to us and blurts out "my brother has autism!" she was so proud of it! The dad just had no idea what to say - so funny!  She had to make a "bio" for school and on it put 3 important facts about her, and that was the number 1 fact - that he has autism, number 2 and 3 had to do with favorite things and dancing I believe. I am glad we went yesterday and hope we do it again soon.

I want to write about Sara Rose and how proud I am of her. She's really gotten her life together despite what she's going through (a major break up and quitting her job). Wubby - I couldn't be more proud of you. I know since you don't have a mommy to tell you these things that it gets hard, and I know that whenever I make an accomplishment I love sharing it with my mom, so please know that I am here publicly sending you infinite positive reinforcement. I love you!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Dinner Tonight with Recipes!

Curried Brocci-flour souffle:
-one frozen bag of cauliflour
-frozen broc (i had leftovers from a restaurant so i used that)
-cream cheese
-1 egg and 2 egg whites
-curry powder
-salt and white pepper
1. parboil the vegetables and drain
2. food process with salt, white pepper, curry powder, and garlic powder if you want
3. add in one egg while processing
4. add in cream cheese so its at a creamy consistency
5. meanwhile, whip 2 egg whites so they form soft peaks
6. fold into vegetable puree and spread in a greased casserole dish
7. bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes (mine was ready at about 16-17)

Item number two: Braised cabbage bologni and creamy swiss sandwich
-take a piece of whole wheat bread and spread laughing cow reduced fat swiss cheese. 
-spoon my grandma's recipe of braised cabbage (recipe follows)
-top off w/a piece of turkey bologni. eat open faced

Braised cabbage:
-about 1/4 cup chopped white onion
-one bag of shredded green cabbage
-brown sugar
-2 small cans of tomato paste
-red wine
1. saute the onion and cabbage in oil/margarine/whatever floats your boat, so the onions sweat and the cabbage gets wet all around
2. add a heaping wooden spoon of tightly packed brown sugar
3. add cans of tomato paste and double amount of water
4. add in about 1/4 cup red wine
5. mix all in and let it braise for a few minutes
6. add in the raisins and let the liquid reduce so it's like a relish
serve hot or cold!