Thanksgiving Thoughts: I’m thankful for warm water

Smiling plumberOne  week ago, our water heater broke. Not in the “buy a new one, get it replaced the same day” way. It broke in the “have to order parts, will fix it in 5 days way.” Let’s just say that there’s nothing fun about cold showers or having to heat up water to do dishes.

Hot water is just one of many things I took for granted. Until this week, I also didn’t give much thought to my lovely furnace that works tirelessly to keep my family warm. Or the really nice furnace repair people, who spend their lives in cold basements and hot attics so the rest of  can live comfortably.

I especially took for granted my hot showers and my ability to wash dishes in warm water. (I also remembered why I hate camping!)

Yesterday, once the furnace was repaired, I was truly thankful for hot water. And for my beautiful house that keeps me warm on these frigid winter nights.

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States. Today, write about something that you’re thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Systems for Success

Assorted mobile phone chargers and adaptersI have been traveling a lot recently. Mostly I love to travel, even if it’s just to visit family or to attend conferences. Unfortunately there are two parts of traveling that stress me out:

1. Driving off of Long Island (which requires either a ferry ride or a trip through the outskirts of New York City).

2. Packing.

At this point, there’s not a lot I can do about my location or making New York City roads less crowded. So I’ll focus on my issues with packing.

In the years before I had kids, travel was pretty easy. All I needed was my clothing and something to read. This was followed by two decades of traveling with children and pets, during which I counted my blessings if I remembered my clothing and, if I brought a book, had time to glance at it.

Now I’m once again traveling solo and keep waiting for it to get easy again. Except it’s not. Because now I have to pack electronics (phone, camera, laptop, kindle, GPS) and all of their associated chargers. Plus I now take daily medications. And, because I’m no longer a fresh-faced 20-year-old, cosmetics are also required.

Because I’m on a gluten-free diet (due to celiac disease), I must also pack food. This is particularly necessary when I go to conferences, where there are pastries for breakfast (not gluten-free) and wraps for lunch (also not gluten-free). So I end up bringing cheese, nuts and protein bars so that I don’t starve during the day. If I have a hotel room with a fridge, I travel with a toaster for my gluten-free bread (which I also bring with me) and a mini-blender for my morning protein shakes. (Yes, I travel with shake mix too.) Nobody can accuse me of traveling light!

Yesterday, I was talking to a friend and admitted how much I hate packing. She also travels frequently and shared her secret. She uses an app called Simple Grocery List and keeps her packing lists on her phone. Rather than creating a new list before every trip, she has a system that includes separate packing lists for business and pleasure trips. She even has a list for items she needs to bring when she boards her dogs! It’s easy! She pulls out her phone, clicks on the appropriate items, and knows that she’s leaving the house without forgetting anything.

This is the kind of system that makes our lives (and our businesses) run well. I installed the app and added items to the list as I was packing. Knowing that I have a system in place that will make future trips a whole lot less stressful.

Today, blog about a system that makes your business (or life) easier.


The Words We Choose

Sorrowful boy on the railwaySadly, a friend-of-a-friend recently experienced the tragic loss of her son. This young man, who was still in his late teens, died by suicide. I can’t imagine the heartbreak of his family following such an awful event.

When I heard the news, I went into research mode to learn more about suicide. This is the third teen I’ve known whose chosen to end their life. I also experienced the loss of a dear family friend in the same manner.

I was surprised to learn that the term “committed suicide” can be very hurtful. Committed means “to carry out or perpetrate (a mistake, crime, or immoral act).” Although one could argue that suicide does fall within this definition, it is an emotionally loaded word.

Many organizations, including, recommend that you use the words “died by suicide.”

After my reading, I looked at the news reports following Robin Williams’ suicide. Many of the headlines included the words “committed suicide.” Clearly this message of word choice has not reached mainstream media.

Today, think about the words you choose.