Monday, August 30, 2010

What Would You Cook Today, If You Could?

Chorizo slices, hot and caramelized, with sherry
Fava beans with pasta and cream fraiche and lemon
Lentils with ham
Potato Soup
Pizza with eggplant slices
Egyptian Tomato Soup
Arroz a la Cubana
Veal Saltimbocca
Lavender shortbread cookies
Peach ice cream
Chocolate mousse
Fresh bread

And I would also like spinach salad with red onion, big handfuls of juicy red grapes, avocado slices with oil and salt, macadamia nuts, dried sweet cherries, coffee with hot foamed milk, some tempranillo, syrah, cabernet franc....

Can you tell that I'm on a diet? 5 pounds already gone.....

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Check Out

I really enjoy these great articles about juggling everything that goes into everyday life with work and family, and the concept of life as a mosaic is lovely. Sign up at


The e-newsletter for the woman who does it all

Issue #58


Me time

Periodically, I am struck by the number of clients that come into my office wanting to discuss the same issue. This past month there has definitely been a repeating theme. And the issue? “Me time.”

Here’s what I have been hearing:

1. You want “me time” – but you feel guilty when you take it.

2. You want “me time” – but t you often spend it with your kids instead.

3. Your spouse wants “me time” – and takes it! And you resent him/her for doing that since you don’t get any “me time” – even though you aren’t taking “me time” anyway. (See items #1 and 2 above!)

Let’s address each of these in turn, but in reverse order. If you are not taking time for yourself but your spouse is taking time for himself, can you begin to see it is an example of your spouse taking care of himself? Rather than creating resentment, it could perhaps engender a wish to emulate him.

Now let’s look at the second point: choosing to spend your free time with your kids. It may be that, if you spend your time wisely – and enjoyably – with your kids, it can be a kind of “me” time. If the time with your kids nurtures you, and is fulfilling, that can be “me” time. For me, the hours spent caring for kids, making them snacks, and picking up after them do not feel like anything but chores. But the hours spent going to the pool with them, or going for a bike ride, or going blueberry-picking are enjoyable for me. So sometimes that family time is actually “me time.” Allow yourself to have fun with your family when you are choosing to spend time together: spend an afternoon not correcting anyone, or reminding your child to say please and thank you, or that there is a better way to accomplish a task. Just go and enjoy yourself and your kids.

But there is an underlying issue in this topic that is worth exploring. It’s important to ask yourself why you are spending that “me” time on the kids (either with them, or on your own but still doing errands for them). Is it because you really want to, or because you feel you should be – in order to be a “good” parent? This is where the “guilt” comes in that I mentioned at the top of the list. Most of the recent data on time use that I have seen shows that we spend more time with our children than previous generations of parents did with theirs, not less, despite the advent of more women working outside the home. In fact, the New York Times reported that “married and single parents spent more time teaching, playing with and caring for their children than parents did 40 years ago.” Maybe it’s time to redefine your idea of what is required to be a good parent.

Were your parents good parents? Did they spend only quality time with you, and lots of it? Or did they let you experience life with kids your own age and encourage you to be able to enjoy yourself with or without them? Instead of striving to be the perfect parent, maybe it would be better to be a “perfectly good” parent. Does being a good parent mean never spending time on you? Do you feel that the only legitimate use of your time is to do something for others?

Perhaps we have become so accustomed to the role of caregiver, to addressing the needs of our family, that we don’t even know what to do with that “me” time. Focusing on yourself might initially feel uncomfortable if you have lost touch with what you like to do for yourself. You might be tempted to fall back into your more accustomed routine of spending the time with – or for – someone else. But that “me” time is important. If it weren’t, I wouldn’t be hearing so many people struggling with it.

What will you do with some time to yourself, once you have let go of the guilt and the resentment that have built up around taking that time? I bet you have a long list. If you don’t, then read “What’s in it for you?” to get you started. If you need some help taking some time for yourself, then give me a call at 301-523-8882 or send me an email at so we can figure that out together.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Nothing New Under the Sun

I was going to write a little about how cold we feel right now, in the middle of summer, in San Francisco. It is foggy, damp, windy, and grey. In the car, I have to use both the windshield wipers and the heater, and we have our heavy jackets out for wearing everyday.

And then, all of this started to sound familiar to me, and lo and behold, I said the exact same thing last summer in the first week of August!

Just goes to show you that there's nothing new under the sun, or lack of sun, for that matter. Back to the lavender oatmeal.