Writing Goals Set and Met

The end of November and beginning of December have found me meeting some of my writing goals. Some were posted here long ago and others not. Here’s a list of my accomplishments so far:

  1. Bought my domain name.
  2. Applied & accepted a position with a media company.
  3. Applied & accepted a blogging job blending my mental health experience and writing. (So excited!)
  4. Established a better sleep routine, which allows me to get up early to write.

One last major thing for me to do this month is to set up hosting for my domain name and get my websites transferred over. It was the last hurdle for me to really declare myself a writer. Besides writing (and thinking about writing) all of the time, I still struggled with just buying my domain name. Seriously, it was all in my head. My hope is to have everything done on my new website (which will remain nameless for now) by the end of the first quarter of 2013. If I could do this, I can do anything. lol

Happy Tuesday!

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Black Friday – Not for Me

As the Black Friday commercials stream on my television, radio and computer, I’m still confounded as to the point of this weird-to-me tradition. Yes, I find it strange that people would get up in the middle of the night to go shopping just to save some money.  Especially since the last few years of Black Friday literally became Black Friday when people began dying due to stampedes at the door.

I only heard about Black Friday for the first time in 2007 from a friendly co-worker at the time. She asked me how early I’d be up shopping for Black Friday. I, a native New Yorker, had NEVER heard of it.  She was nice enough to tell me what it was about sharing some of her Black Friday tips. As soon as she told me that she got up at 2am to go shopping, I knew that Black Friday was out for me. I wouldn’t get up that early except to get on a plane for vacation.

This year, I decided to do some research on this so-called holiday. Doing a Google search for “where did black friday come from?’ brought me the usual Wikipedia page, but led me to others.  In the Mental Floss archives, the start date  of the actual day is unclear, though it has roots in the early 19th Century. Wow, day-after Thanksgiving holiday madness way back then? That’s crazy to me.

And it also seems that pr companies were hard at work in the eighties to put a positive spin on Black Friday by pushing around the new meaning of the day writing “getting in the black” as a way for retailers to recoup sales lost on Thanksgiving (when people traditionally did NOT do any shopping). Back then, people let themselves be knocked into tryptophan food comas.

On News Blaze, I found a list of various “Black Fridays” full of tragic stories and events from stock market crashes to battles to natural disasters to the assassination of John F. Kennedy (d. 1963). After reading that list, I feel okay with NOT being comfortable with Black Friday as a positive shopping holiday.

Once again, the madness is here and even madder than before as stores are opening Thanksgiving night. Black Friday is not even here yet and already I’m over it. Please be safe out there and remember that Thanksgiving isn’t about holiday sales, but about spending time with family. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Feel free to share your thoughts about Black Friday in the comments.

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Enter the Ice Hockey Mom

So this past weekend was my official coming out as an ice hockey mom. And I failed….badly.
My sleep-deprived brain needed coffee, so I went to Dunkin where I parked myself with my breakfast. And here I thought, “Kiddo’s on time and on the ice. I’m good.” NOT!
By the time I went back to the ice to cheer from the sidelines (more like raise my coffee as a salute), the kid was dehydrated after two water breaks. He was SO upset with me and I was SO upset with myself for failing my kid on the first day.
I was relieved though. After he drank some of his Gatorade, he smiled and went back to practice. Seems like I’m forgiven….until my next screw-up!

Signed,

Ice Hockey Rookie

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Thoughts on Stupid Sandy

Yes, this hurricane is stupid. Hurricane Sandy has wreaked havoc on the Eastern Seaboard causing death, homelessness and hardship for so many. I’m very fortunate that I’m not one of them. I’m very grateful to be in  my little section of the Bronx spending the week with my son while I wait for his school to open again.

In the meantime, I’ve been watching news reports (nauseated by them) and following updates on Twitter. So many things have come up in the wake of Hurricane Sandy so I wanted to share brief thoughts on the following:

Hoaxes – Seriously people have nothing better to do than to add to the anxiety, fear and suffering for those affected by the hurricane. Note: There are no sharks in the waters or 3 feet of water in the NY Stock exchange (that guy lost his job) or people posing as Con Ed workers to loot from people.

Tasteless Sales – Brands like American Apparel, Gap, etc coming out with “Sandy” sales. Hello brands, how about putting sales that will benefit the people affected by the disaster? Like, donating shipping fees to the Red Cross or Salvation Army? Just a suggestion.  (Note: Other brands have stepped up to provide free showers, food, charging stations, etc. THANK YOU!!!)

Looting and fighting at the pumps – I’ve mixed feelings about this. But as a mental health professional, my view is that people are desperate and scared. It does not excuse this behavior, but may explain it. Scared about where they will sleep, when they will eat and when life will get back to normal. Which leads me to the ING Marathon.

NYC ING Marathon – I’ve got VERY mixed feelings about the race going on. It is supposed to thread through some of the most devastated parts of NYC especially in Staten Island and Manhattan. Manpower and supplies are allocated to work the marathon route while people go without food and power. On the flipside, the marathon is televised widely, which can bring more attention to the disaster efforts and bring more help by way of donation. As a therapist, I can understand why Bloomberg wants this to happen – a sense of normalcy does help the healing process. However, I understand the need to focus on disaster relief efforts. People are scared and in need – what will this race do to help? I’m still unsure of how I feel. (Note: As of 5:18pm, the ING Marathon has been CANCELLED as announced by ABC News at 5pm).

Last thoughts, Sandy has brought out some of the worst in people, but it also brings out the best in people. Stories of heroism, sacrifice and neighbors helping neighbors. As a New Yorker, I feel proud to be here and know that we’re made of tough stuff, but we also can’t do it without the help and generosity of others.

I’m praying for everyone on the Eastern Seaboard affected by Hurricane Sandy. Please help. Give your money, supplies or time to help those affected by Sandy.

For more information please visit:

Red Cross

NYC Volunteer Sign-up

New Jersey Office of Emergency Management

NJ Hurricane Sandy Information Center

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Hurricane Sandy, birthday thoughts and other tidbits

First off, I’d like to thank the first responders and emergency staff who braved dangerously high winds to help others. I’d also like to thank Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo for keeping their cool during this difficult time.

Hurricane Sandy hit us here last night. And I’m very happy to say that in my neck of the South Bronx, I had no damage or power loss. However, other New Yorkers (residents from New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut) weren’t so lucky. My family is in different places around the city, but thank goodness everyone is okay.

I’ve been a bit stir-crazy sitting at home with kiddo, but since there’s power, I’ve been hanging out with kiddo. It’s been months since I’ve had any real time off since starting my job in May. So, I’m trying hard to make the best of it. And eating tons of leftovers from my early birthday party celebration on Saturday (my birthday was yesterday).

So here are my survival tips on how to stay sane during a hurricane:

Get organized and put all exposed objects away. Kiddo and I put away anything that could have hurt us. We also got the candles ready in case we lost power.

Get the board games out. Kiddo and I love board games like Sorry, Guess Who and Scrabble so we took them out. We played a few rounds of games. (I didn’t time this well. We were bored right away). Extra Tip: Keep the television or video games going until the power goes out (if it does).

Charge cell phones and computers. I don’t have a landline so I needed a way to keep in touch.  My phone and computer were both charged and ready to go.

Make sure there’s enough food and water. Since I had a party on Saturday, I had this covered, but I made sure to fill up the bathtub in case I lost water pressure.

Think positive thoughts. Whether or not you believe in a higher power, positive thinking helps reduce anxiety and stress.  I was very anxious being alone with kiddo for such a big storm. I needed a place to put this nervous energy so I kept thinking good thoughts and prayed. (I also limited the amount of news I watched because it increased my worrying.)

Be sure to plan what your next steps might be after the storm passes. After making sure that kiddo and I were okay, I decided to check on my neighbors after going to the local store. Thank goodness everyone was okay. (My neighbors looked at me funny – not a NY thing; my neighbors are funny that way. lol)

Overall, I can count many blessings that we’re okay. I can’t say the same for others as the news reports have shown. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy. All I know is that we’ll all be okay.

Blessings!

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All up in a Knot

One of the coolest (and aggravating) things about being a single mom to a boy (ahem a pre-teen at that) is that I get thrown out of my comfort zone often.

This morning found me searching for a You Tube video (thank Gawd for You Tube – I’d like to kiss the person who invented it!) on ‘how to tie a tie.’ It was a very quick search and we saw the first video in the listings.

The man’s voice was clear, instructions simple and the video was brief. We watched it once before I attempted to tie the tie. Ok, so I had to watch it a couple more times to get my sleep-deprived brain acclimated to doing something that men usually do with their boys.

After I mastered it (yes, I learned first because I wanted to know how to do it if kiddo forgot), kiddo took his turn. And another and another. And he did it! He was so excited that he willingly posed for a picture and asked me to share it with everyone! Yup, I’m a badass! (I mean he’s great, too! But, I’m a badass!)

Andy learned to tie a tie and I helped!

 

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Happy 10th in Heaven Mami

If you’ve visited me within the last two weeks (thanks btw), you’ve probably seen that I’ve fallen off the writing bandwagon. I’ve not been so busy that I couldn’t write. I’ve chosen not to.

Mami in her heyday.

See this picture – she’s the reason why I’ve been offline. It’s been ten years since I’ve not hugged her or heard her voice. Some days the memories are so clear that it’s like she’s sitting next to me. And other days – it’s so hard to remember how she did the things she did.

I look at my son and see how much he’s grown. It is in looking at him that I’m reminded of the passage of ten years. He was just a year and a half when she died. And she loved him SO much! I just wanted to share that Mami was the strongest woman I’ve ever met and there will NEVER be another mom like her. My mom, my role model, my pain in the ass. I love you Mami. Until we meet again.

Frances Reyes (1942 – 2002)

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9/11 – Reflections

It’s once again Tuesday, September 11. 11 years have gone by and I STILL have a clear picture of what happened that day.

A few weeks ago, I spent part of a Sunday afternoon with my pal Danielle and her beautiful family. They were coming in from Connecticut into the city and wanted me to join them. One of our stops was the 9/11 Memorial.

Ever since it opened, I had not thought about going there. In fact, I wondered if it would become yet another tourist trap like all of the other places in NYC. And so, I avoided it. I didn’t need to see it (so I thought) because I was here that day. I walked home on 9/11. I thought my mother died on 9/11. And I wept on 9/11 when I finally arrived home that night and watched video of that horrible day.

Yet, when my pal invited me, I went. Having support really does make a difference.  Here I am reflecting. Danielle (Elwood) took this picture of me looking out over the pool. It was so quiet and peaceful. As if nothing had truly happened.

But, it did. We then went to the gift shop, which also had items of that tragic day.  And that’s when I fell apart. I saw a powder covered fireman’s helmet and burst into tears. I instantly remembered my mom’s powdered sneakers (which were black originally) and thought about that Tuesday, 11 years ago.

I thought that I was okay, but I realized that for me 9/11 will NEVER be okay. It’ll be a part of me always.

9/11 Memorial in NYC

Reflecting over the reflecting pool. (Danielle Elwood)

In loving memory of all those who lost their lives that day, those first responders who’ve lost their lives since then and for the rest of us left behind. “We will never forget” 9/11/01

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Wear Teal 2012 for Ovarian Cancer Awareness & My Mom

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. And September 7th is Teal Day 2012. This is a bittersweet month for me because I lost my mom, Francisca Reyes to Ovarian Cancer ten years ago on 9/29/02. I was 24 years old and my son was a year and a half.  Even though he has no memories of her, he does have many stories about her in his heart. Stories of funny things she did to me, things I did to her and things she did with him as a baby.

So I’m wearing teal on September 7th to celebrate everyone fighting this disease, the survivors and those who have lost their battle like the wonderful woman who raised me, loved me and drove me crazy – my mom. I love you Mami!

Francisca Reyes

Francisca Reyes (1942 – 2002)

For more information about Ovarian Cancer and to show your support, please check out the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

Be sure to check out the Mommy’s Links and their Blogger Network for their pov on Wear Teal Day 2012.

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A Big Boy’s Room

 I’m the mom of an 11-year-old, about-to-start-6th-grader who was ready to break out of the little kid’s room. So, this past weekend, kiddo got his “big kid” room.

Kiddo’s original room had a captain’s bed and a small drawer chest lovingly provided by my father (he’s too good to me). It also had his toddler table and four chairs (a gift from my sister) and a rocking chair & ottoman (also from my father).

It was bittersweet for me cleaning out his room and moving the rocking chair, ottoman and toddler table into my spare room. I didn’t think he’d outgrow that. Now I totally get it when my father tells me that he doesn’t see Heiddi the grown woman with a kid and career. He says that he sees a six-year-old gap-toothed, pig-tailed little girl.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready for kiddo to grow up. But, it’s happening anyway.

Kiddo couldn’t wait until Wednesday (he’s at his father’s til them) to see his new bedroom set. My heart was racing when he walked in because I didn’t know if he’d like it (the set we picked was discontinued and I picked a new one). Squealing, kiddo raced up the ladder to lay on it and get a feel for the new mattress. And he had to test out his freethrow after all.

All I wanted to do was cry happy and sad tears. Happy tears for being able to provide him with his ‘big boy’ room and sad because my Cocohead is growing up. Onto the next mommy adventure.

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