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Category Archives: Work Life Balance

Believe in Magic: Whose Saree Now

Yes! It exists! Here’s the true story.

Earlier today I got a babysitter for the girls so I could do some work and take a walk. In the back of my mind and quickly scooting to the front of my mind, was the event I have tonight… my girls’ school auction with an Indian/Bollywood theme. I had planned on putting on a pretty dress and boots to attend and then got word that some moms were renting saris and really going all out.

On my walk I thought, “Hmm. I could go to the thrift store and see if they have anything – but that will take time and I just don’t know if I want to spend my time searching for a needle in a haystack”. As I continued my walk I saw a garage sale sign. I then said to myself, “Deb. Don’t go. You don’t need anymore stuff… you are challenged as it is, getting your stuff organized. There is nothing you need… except… a sari. What are the chances?'” I continued walking toward the sale, now picking up the pace a little bit, wondering about the magic that might be waiting for me.

DidiPop in a saree that's not actually a saree but a three piece Indian pant-suit that she called a saree. Electric blue!

DidiPop in a saree that’s not actually a saree but a three piece Indian pant-suit that she called a saree. Electric blue!

I walked up the driveway to a beautiful two-story mc-Mansion and peeked a the clothes. instead of searching, I asked the woman( and mom) there if she had anything Indian. She thought for a minute and then said, “Well, I do have a sari, upstairs”. I looked at her – about 2 inches shorter than me and about a size smaller. “Really?” I said. And she replied, “Yes, but it’s more expensive. I could go try and find it for you?”. I said, “How much do you think you want for it? I have a school event and I thought I’d try and dress for the occasion”. She said, “How’s $10?”. My eyes popped in excitement on the inside (on the outside I played it cool) “That would be alright”, I said as she went in the house to fetch it. She came back 3 minutes later with a white box. She unwrapped it and pulled out a 3 piece, beaded, electric blue pant-suit saree. I mean this thing is GORGEOUS.

I went inside to her bathroom and tried it on. A teeny bit tight n the waist- a teensy bit short in the the legs. But it all pretty much fit, and with the pants, the beaded tunic and the matching beaded scarf around my neck ~ I was completely transformed.

I picked up these shoes on sale at Nordstroms. They are silver beaded and actually comfy! Bangles on my wrists and dangling earrings

I picked up these shoes on sale at Nordstroms. They are silver beaded and actually comfy! Bangles on my wrists and dangling earrings

My husband really liked my new look as did my daughters. I felt regal and refined - like an Indian Rani.

My husband really liked my new look as did my daughters. I felt regal and refined – like an Indian Rani.

Wait ’til my husband sees me as a regal Indian woman! Next I will dash off to our local Indian restaurant to buy a bindi for my forehead. Later I’ll pull back my hair and study this Indian eye make-up video on youtube. How FUN! Any Dream Is Possible. DP

 

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Snot Fun: 9 home treatments that might prevent and treat colds

I’ve recently stumbled upon a great body and soul magazine called “Whole Living”. In the December issue there was a smart article about treating colds. I have been sequestered at home with my 6 year old Hannah, who has missed 4 days of school now, and the snottiest cold I’ve ever seen. Yep, just her, me and the COLD. While her cold isn’t a “scary” illness (I am familiar with those), it has used up 6 boxes of super soft Kleenex and has torn up her nose. The first remedy is one I just learned from my friend Maggie Storm, whose mother used chapstick on her blown-out and chapped nose. It seems to work and is fun for Hannah also. She loves that twisty dispenser thingy.  The middle 7 remedies are the ones  recommended by the magazine. The last one?  Well, duh…(tho it’s one I often forget as a multi-tasking mom)

  1. Thar She Blows –  After each nose blow, apply chapstick under and around the nose. It’s not goopy like Aquafor or vaseline, and it creates a nice barrier and keeps the skin from getting thrashed (and heals the skin if it’s already thrashed).
  2. Echinacea –  At first sign of a cold begin taking it. Hopefully it will cut the time the body needs to heal.
  3. Zinc – Try lozenges every one or two hours after onset, it might shorten the duration of the cold.
  4. Probiotics – Eat yogurt or try supplements. It boosts gut strength and strengthens immune systems.
  5. Meditate – Regularly do so and stress levels come down, again strengthening immune systems.
  6. Exercise – Do cardio 5 days a week when healthy.  Even light exercise during a cold might make people feel better and lift spirits.
  7. Honey – Take a spoonful before bed as a cough medicine. It soothes the throat too. (Not for kids under 1)
  8. Vitamin C – Take it at the beginning of a cold – 1000-3000 mg for grown-ups.
  9. REST! Lie down a lot. Bodies need to rest so that they can recharge and recuperate.

Take with optimism, stay healthy and please let me know your favorite remedies for colds.

p.s. I am not a doctor, so please check with yours about these remedies.

 

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4 Holiday Baking Tips for Healthy Moms

Gluten -Free German Chocolate Cake

Gluten -Free German Chocolate Cake

Holiday baking! What a lot of thoughts and images it conjures up for me: time with my mom, fun, family, sharing, sugar!, chocolate, red and green sparkles and cookie cutters, science and cool nesting measuring spoons, nifty gadgets like sifters and beaters and things that plug in, aluminum foil, square shaped pans and cookie racks, tummy aches, angst, worry, over eating, eating secretly while no one is looking, getting fat, feeling gross. What a loaded activity holiday baking is! Or is it just me?

I’ve been meditating on this for a few weeks and I have some thoughts. I have just finished a 12-week transformational health course and have learned a great deal about the importance of what I put into my body (and what I put into my children’s bodies). It’s good that we, as women and mothers, understand the complexities and importance of today’s food situation.

4 Tips Healthy For Holiday Baking

1. Bake and Give

Yes! Bake away with your kids and let them add salt, pour in nuts and beat. Are they old enough to stir the chocolate while it melts in the pot? Go for it. Make a batch or two of your favorite treats and keep ¼ of what you made for your family. You (mom) have some! Have 3 or 4 bites. Enough to taste and get a little kick – but not too much so that you get a tummy ache. Then divide up the rest, wrap in cellophane and a ribbon and hand out to your mail deliverer, your neighbors and your favorite barista at your local coffee place. Share the love (and the calories) and don’t miss out on the fun of baking!

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2. Explore with Healthy Ingredients

Start from scratch (from “nothing”) and don’t be afraid of agave, almond flour, and dark chocolate and organic oatmeal! Ok, maybe your cake just like  Duncan Hines – but do you KNOW what actually goes into that stuff???

Duncan Hines Classic Cake Mix: ­­Sugar, Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Oil Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Propylene Glycol Mono- and Diesters Of Fats, Mono and Diglycerides), Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate). Contains 2% Or Less Of: Wheat Starch, Salt, Dextrose, Poly

glycerol Esters Of Fatty Acids, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Cellulose Gum, Artificial Flavors, Xanthan Gum, Maltodextrin, Modified Cornstarch, Colored with (Yellow 5 Lake, Red 40 Lake).

 I don’t think I need to explain why you might not want to put this stuff into your body. And I don’t know what some of those things are! Just reme

mber this lovely phrase I heard on NRP recently:

“If it’s made by a plant, eat it. If it’s made in a plant, DON’T eat it.” — Anonymous

fozen bananas

Everyday we teach our children. Pretend they’ve never had a chocolate chip cookie and the first one they try is called a “Healthalicious Holiday Cookies” (recipe coming). It has dark chocolate (improves cholesterol and sugar levels), dried cherries (which reduce muscle soreness, help with sleep and are loaded with antioxidants) almond flour (gluten-free, low in carbohydrates, high in fiber and a high source of protein) and grass fed cow butter (It’s got more carotene because it comes from cows that eat fresh vegetation rich in the stuff. It comes from pasture to ruminant to digestive tract to butterfat to butter to you). I think their head might explode in delight!  Let’s reform our baking traditions by stirring up health!

3. No Excuses

I see articles called something like, “How to Not Gain 10 Pounds over the Holidays”. Ok – so here is my latest thinking. It’s a cop out. I know this might sound harsh, but the holidays become an excuse for people to binge and pig out. It’s the holidays – so what! Light the menorah, bring clothes to the homeless, play music, and write cards to friends. That’s “the holidays” too and those things don’t make us put on weight and turn away from our SEVLES and our HEALTH. Let’s focus on this: Here we are! We are lucky to be here now, to have another Christmas, to be healthy and to be around our families, TO BE ALIVE! Let’s celebrate with light and health – not saturated, genetically modified corn oil.

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You may be thinking, how can I avoid it? There are treats everywhere I go! To that I say:  How do you get thru Valentine’s Day? Easter? Halloween? Thanksgiving? 4th of July? Taking the kids for ice cream? There are doughnuts to be had on every other street corner and caramelized, frothy, whip creamed, double cappuccinos on EVERY corner (with artificial flavoring that some people think keeps you thin! HA! – more on that later).Just have ONE bite, or walk away and drink some water… take a breathe and wish yourself love for giving yourself the greatest gift – health and a body that feels great!

And that leads me to my last tip for holiday baking and not binging…

4. How to Eat Holiday Treats in a Healthy Way

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Ok. We are human. I have a weakness for fudge and sometimes it has been hard for me

to stop at one piece.  I admit it. I find that a substitution plan works nicely for me. I think of any white grains (white rice, wheat pasta, white bread, bagels) and even potatoes as straight sugar. I don’t eat the white stuff anymore. Even the brown rice grain turns to sugar eventually.  So let’s say I have a piece of fudge. I tell myself… “yum that was delicious! And tonight, even though I might be making pasta for my family, I will have chicken and veggies – no grains. That will help balance out my carb/sugar intake and will also give me a sense of control around my body and my health. Good plan Deb. Now go drink a glass of water.”

I hope you have a wonderful time baking and creating sweet treats with your little sugarplums. Oh, and when they are not looking, sneak in some pureed beats or spinach – it’s fun to see them devour brownies that you know are loaded with veggies!!! Ha Ha – my children WILL eat well!!!

Now go preheat your oven!

 

Mother Yourself Up!

I am a busy mom (2 girls, 6 and 8), an artist and a teacher. My never-ending goal is to live life in a rich, thoughtful, loving and creative way. I overflow with love for my girls … and I need to make art (sing, write, play music, create smart videos…). My hope for my new two-fold site is to provide you with ideas to help you be a happier, more content mom (and woman) and also share thoughts that might inspire you in the parenting arena. And to provide fun, smart music for kids and families

I work at balance everyday… to balance the energy I give to my husband, family, friends, and to MYSELF…not to mention the house, the cooking, the bills, the pets and our school. I want to share what I learn, as I learn, about being happy and feeing that I am doing my dharma: living my life inline with that which I am actually destined to be doing.

I am  only child and realize that the connection between the child and the mother is magical, powerful, intense, scary, gigantic and mind-bending. My girls pick up on my moods and feelings – they are little psychic sponges. I felt my mom’s feelings DIRECTLY and still do. I believe that to be conscious of these connections as we are mothering will help us be better parents and help us to raise children who can individuate and thrive. The beauty of this philosophy is that, the better we take care of OURSELVES, the more connected and aware mothers we become to our CHILDREN.  Just like on the airplane, fasten your grown-up oxygen masks first, so that you can more effectively help your child.

I know I can live the rich, full life I have always dreamt of…. being an artist, a mother and a teacher. I know you can do it too! Really being who I want to be will support my kids in a positive way. By sharing my journey, I hope to inspire you and your kids. Living in tune with ourselves sets an example by showing, by doing. Actively honoring dreams, the inner world, the delicate balance of love, art and family AND sharing it here is the plan. Oh yeah! Mother yourself up baby!!

 

Coffee Cycles, Java Jive and Guarding my Romance with the Bean

I love coffee
And sometimes I hate it 
Sometimes it scares me
And sometimes I crave it


It’s a complicated relationship and in the end, my love for those little organic brown beans, home-ground in my grinder, poured into my french press to steep for 4 minutes, then mixed with agave and soy milk, wins. The love you take, is equal to the coffee you make.

As a mom who is health conscious about her own health and the health of her family, I am always questioning, redefining and rediscovering new ideas about whether things are good for us. And things change. Soy, dairy, butter, wine. My Chinese acupuncturist just told me that butter can help lower your cholesterol? Theories on health and food seem to change everyday so sometimes you’ve got to trust your instincts and come up with unique and individualized methods for living your life.


Coffee Memories


1. Surprising my dad when I was 5 or 6 by making him Folgers Instant coffee in a cup. It seemed like magical astronaut food, the way it sparkled then dissolved,  and when I tasted it, I thought it was totally disgusting. He drank it black, and like, 10 cups a day. Pisces.


2. Coffee hard candy –  when I was a kid, there were a few random instances where I ate wrapped candies that were filed with a chocolaty inside – a kind of fudgy center that I thought was DIVINE. That was my first magical experience with the flavor of coffee, and perhaps caffeine, though I didn’t know about the effects of caffeine back then.


3. Cutting class in high school (Pali High) and hanging out at Mort’s with my girl friends, getting refills and adding non-fat milk and sweet ‘n low, which sounds absolutely dreadful to me now. Independence.


4. Cafe Roma. It was THE place to have coffee when I was going to U.C. Berkeley. It was near the music department (Morrison) and I would go to Roma, order a cappuccino while classical music played and I read Machiavelli and Virginia Wolfe. Oh how cosmopolitan I felt, so smart, so free and cultured. And here, for the first time, the coffee was GOOD.


5. Europe – The Cafe Culture Continues. To sit on a Greek island, drinking a frappe, having a handsome Greek man whip it up for me. To sketch in my book and sip an espresso in Central Italy, having an attractive Italian lawyer approach and offer me a cigarette. To devour the Prado in Madrid and then to fervently discuss Picasso’s work over a Café con leche. Coffee is art, romance, intellectualism language, travel, the world.


6. Waiting tables. Ugh – delivering coffee is the cardio of any breakfast joint restaurant waitperson. So many re-fills. When I was waiting tables at First National in the Palisades, oh how the customers kept me on my toes with their never-ending demands for refills. I even wrote a song about it… one of my earliest which I will have to record sometime soon. From “Waitress”:


I don’t want to me your waitress
You may think that I am rather bold
Don’t you know I couldn’t really careless
If your cups of coffee’s gettin’ cold*
  
7. And then there is that kind of horrid coffee you get at the auto body shop, the kind that’s been sitting in a put 1/4 full for 7 hours. People come in and add some powdered white mixture and a few sugar packets. This is almost a non-coffee coffee. It’s like some kind of anti-matter that keeps people in motion with none of the ceremony and glamour of the cafe culture.


And here I am about to turn 48 and evaluating my life and my health on a daily basis. So many conflicting reports. Coffee (and caffeine) does it cause cancer? Save you from cancer? It’s dehydrating AND has anti-oxidants. It’s good for the brain, yet can wire you too. According to Slate:

Caffeine at doses of 65 mg or more can help relieve headaches, but habitual caffeine use can spur chronic headaches, too. Coffee makes you more alert, but it can also provoke insomnia, anxiety, and even tremors at high doses. Regular drinkers seem to have a decreased risk of developing diabetes, but for anyone who already has the disease, a hefty cup of coffee can make things worse. Up to three cups of coffee per day may slightly lower the risk of heart attack, but drinking a large dose might also trigger a heart attack if you’re already at risk.”




 My 3 Part Coffee System

I have come up with a system that keeps the allure and romance in my coffee. I notice that I have three kinds of coffee in my life. “Recreational Coffee” is the coffee I have on a rainy sunday morning with the New York Times Crossword. It’s the coffee I drink while taking a break from ice skating in San Fransisco’s Union Square or the coffee my friend Tom and I drink at Maxwell’s in Venice when we are catching up and enjoying some intense coffee talk.

Then there is “Working Coffee”. That the coffee I press when I am setting out to pay bills, animate a video or mix a song. It’s a thinking helper, a friend while I am working and a tool to keep me focused and alert.

And finally there’s “Rocket Fuel” coffee. That’s the extra cup I really don’t need, the one that wires, that propels me too far, the one that dries me out and the one I drink instead of eating some string cheese and an apple when I need some energy.

The trick is to learn just how far I want to propell myself and to identify which kind of coffee I am having. Labeling things and being present with what I am ingesting, feeling and/or doing is the key for me to stay healthy and grounded.

Like other things in life  (for me… chocolate and ice cream) coffee is great and yummy when I start, and the trick is knowing when to stop. There’s the rub. For me, drinking too much coffee strips away the magic qualities of coffee and then it’s a downhill crash.

So here’s my plan. I take breaks from coffee! I use it in cycles, monitor it, appreciate it and acknowledge when the “Recreational Coffee” has become “Working Coffee” and when the “Working Coffee” has turned into “Rocket Fuel”.

And perhaps coffee is different for women than for men. Women roll in cycles, cycles of the moon, hormonal cycles. Maybe that’s the best way for us to use and enjoy coffee in a lovely and healthy way. As a mom, I can over-extend like crazy and coffee can seem to me like a bad drug, pushing me beyond my limits. So, herb tea, green tea, hot apple cider, hot water with lemon and honey, coconut water, WATER…I drink them all and by drinking them all, I save a special place in my heart and protect my very romantic and magical relationship with COFFEE.


“In order to grow old, you have to experience everything, but in moderation.”
Cuban Musician –  Compay Segundo (lived to 97 years old)

*Poppinksongs ©1986

 

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Work, life, parenthood and dreams bubble up in a blog

Hello out there. Here, I finally launch my blog. I used to write in my journal every morning. I have many, many, many black sketch books filled with ideas, poems, sketches, dreams and rants. Since my children were born, I haven’t had a place (or the time) to get my thoughts out on to paper. Now that paper is scarce and I have gone green, a blog seems the perfect place for me to share.

Also, becoming a mother has been the biggest love, challenge, adventure of my life. I have been lost and found so many times. Luckily I have a wonderful support system and ways of getting over and through the hurdles of raising children and balancing that with being true to myself as an artist. It is part of my make-up to work through obstacles, find tools to help me get over humps and then to teach others how I did it. I hope this will be a place where I can have fun letting my mind be free to bubble up and where others (moms perhaps) will learn something and find truth in what I might be saying. I hope so!

 

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The Cool Alphabet Song Lyrics

hooray! now you can sing along…

AA play today      BBB beside me with      CC celebrate      DD do you like me

EE eat an egg     FF flip and fry it      GG gee that’s great      HH Honey I like it

I spy blue    Jays above you       K come kiss me     LL let me love you

MM your my best friend your    NN never naughty    OO oh let’s go

PP in the potty – potty   Come now    Oh how

Q cute cute you are you    R so really right my    SS Spinning star for all

T-I-M-E tic-toc time   UUU you   VV very good with that vacuum

W know what to do with that wooden broom – you got   X-tra energy

Y anyone can see – I gotta catch some    Z’s (cuz you’re busy busy)

You’re busy as a bee I’m getting dizzy dizzy – I gotta catch some Z’s Cuz you’re a busy busy busy busy  busy bee

 

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