Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Michael Bolton Is Back

I recently had the pleasure of seeing Michael Bolton in concert in Indianapolis. I would not have thought twice about getting tickets to this execpt for the fact that it took place at the fairly new and accoustially sound Palladium Center For the Performing Arts. It's a very small and very intimate indoor venue with beautiful architecture. Needless to say I was stunned when we had seats right up in front of the stage (we could literally almost touch him!) and was simply amazed with the show. I have always been a fan, but never seen his live shows. Not only did he sing his great classics, but he also did some wonderful jazz renditions and big-band-era tunes. How versatile he is! What separates him from other popular artists is that he welcomed photos and videos as well as audience interaction. Between each song he talked to us and explained the significance of what he was about to sing. It was almost like one of those VH1 Unplugged sessions, only he was totally plugged in. Who knew that he wrote songs behind the scenes for greats such as Cher, Joe Cocker, Peabo Bryson, KISS, Barbra Streisand, Kenny G and more. He has also collaborated with the likes of the great Diane Warren, Babyface, Mutt Lange, Lady Ga Ga and Ne-Yo. I also loved that he gave tremendous recognition throughout the show to his very young band members and vocalists -- who were equally as talented. I am glad to see that Michael is successfully touring the world and a top class act.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Nuptials With a View in Malibu

Who would not like Malibu, California? And, maybe going to school in Malibu? Just think. Being able to breathe in the sea air every day as you walk to classes on the lush, green campus filled with beautiful sweetly fragrant flowers, sprawling trees and tropical-looking plants.
Even better, how about getting married in Malibu on the Pepperdine University campus? I hear it's reserved only for alumni, and I can certainly see why. The entire world may try to have a wedding here if they saw the panoramic Pacific Ocean view and heard the waves crashing in the distance. I had the privilege of attending the wedding of a couple's daughter in beautiful Pepperdine paradise overlooking the Pacific Ocean in all its roaring glory. What a spectacular view for new nuptials -- high atop the waves in the horseshoe-shaped chapel.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Grieving the Comings and Goings

The more time I spend with my mom at her facility, the more I get to know the other 14 residents on her unit. In an odd way, we have all become family over the months. We eat together. We watch cooking demonstrations together. We do our nails together. We bowl together. We sing together. We dance together. And we grieve together when one of them passes. It's not like some elderly stranger you read about who dies. These are people we see and interact with day in and day out. We get to know their kids, caregivers and family members. They are my mom's "people". Every day. The past 3 weeks have been sprinkled with much sadness as two of the ladies we've spent much time with died. One lady had dinner, went to bed and never woke up. The other fell, broke her hip, had surgery then died. It hits incredibly close to home for the other family members, because mortality has whispered in our ears. One day we are eating lunch or dinner with these people; the next day they are gone. We walk by their rooms, and they are empty -- waiting for the next person to come. As you enter my mom's unit there is a small living room area with a sconce vase hanging on the wall. When you walk by you hope not to see a flower out of the corner of your eye displayed in the vase. If you do, it means someone has passed. Below the flower, is a photo of the deceased. I remember seeing that flower after my dad died. It was surreal. It took my breath away. And for the two ladies who recently passed, it was no different. It put a lump in my throat both times because we know that tomorrow, it could be our loved one.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Best Pin-Up Ever

There is such a glut of social media tools that it's hard to keep everything straight. And, it's hard to make time just for the important "must-haves" necessary for everyday business.

I recently discovered Pinterest, and I must say: I am completely hooked! If you're not familiar, the only way I can describe this is that it's a site where you can "pin up" great ideas, categorize them and tuck them away in "the cloud" for safekeeping.

Whether it's fashion, decorating, do-it-yourself projects, handy tips, great places to visit or food and drink recipes, Pinterest has it all. And, you can follow others who "pin up" their ideas and use them for yourself.

I have used Pinterest for all my cooking recipes for the last 3 weeks. The ideas have been great and many innovative.

Ask a friend who belongs to Pinterest (it's free) to send you an invitation.

Happy pinning!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why and How Come?

It's amazing when you get into the caregiver role of an elderly family member. You come to the realization that person has reverted back into the distant tunnel of their childhood days.

While I do not have children of my own, I have recently gotten a taste of what it might feel like. Trying to explain things yet help my family member maintain her dignity while she battles dementia is sometimes mighty challenging and dicey.

Here are 10 child-like questions I commonly get asked:

* "How come I need to wear a coat?" (Because it's 29 degrees and windy outside.)
* "How come I can't drive?" (Because you sold your car 2 years ago.)
* "Why is dad not here to take me home?" (Because he passed away last year.)
* "How come I am in the hospital?" (Because you had some little strokes.)
* "Why can't I remember anything?" (Because you had some little strokes.)
* "Why don't you ever come to see me?" (I was here yesterday.)
* "Why do I have to eat my vegetables?" (Because it will make you strong; then you can have your dessert!)
* "Why do I move so slowly?" (Beacuse you are 80-years-old!)
* "Why are we at the hearing aid doctor?" (Because your hearing test shows that you are almost deaf! These will improve your quality of life.)
* "What are we celebrating? Is today my birthday?" (No, it's my birthday...)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Great Fitness Videos

As I get older, my tolerance for attending group fitness classes at the gym is lower and lower. For one thing, I have become less of a "rah rah" person. I used to be really great at it! Now, I like peace and quiet during my down time because I have so little of it. For another, I don't want onlookers to criticize me when I go for the coffee cup instead of the water bottle during breaks.

I therefore have been spending less time at the gym and more time in front of my TV with DVDs.

I swore I'd never like Yoga, but now I am crazy about it. It's really changed my body and my outlook. And, it does make you stronger.

Some of the best fitness DVDs I have been using recently for yoga include, Patricia Moreno's Cardio Burn Yoga -- one short and one long workout. You will sweat! Another is Trudie Styler's Weight Loss Yoga. I can actually follow along and do most of the poses.

The other is CRUNCH's Fat Burning Yoga. I love the poses and feel exhausted and exhilarated at the same time.

As a Spinning fitness instructor, I am pretty picky. If you're interested in dipping your toe into a Yoga workout, these DVDs are for you.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Perfect Crime


The afternoon before Super Bowl, I was driving my mom around, and we decided to stop at Dunkin Donut's drive-through to get some coffee. I pulled up, and after waiting for about 7 minutes, no one came through on the loud speaker. I thought that was odd. So, I dialed them on my phone.

When the woman answered and I asked if their drive-through was not functioning, she said the store was closed because they had run out of product. Well I thought, Super Bowl traffic had done them in. But, this was very strange. Why would she not get on the speaker and tell me that rather than making us wait?

I thought nothing of this until I was driving home after visiting with my mom. Then it occurred to me: what if the store was being robbed and that is why no one came on the drive-through speaker to take my order? What if there were hostages? What if, what if? My mind was racing.

I pulled over and dialed them again. The same woman answered. I asked her, "are you open or closed today"? She repeated the same thing to me as before. I quietly asked her if she was ok. She sounded odd and said, "yes why do you ask"? I asked her if the store was being robbed and if she or her employees were in trouble.

She then laughed loudly and told me they were fine. She went on to explain that a large crowd had come in this particular day, and that they had nothing left. She thanked me very much for calling back and caring.

Ok, I think I watch too much CSI New York, Revenge and the like. To me, this would have been the perfect crime at the perfect time. I felt a bit silly but am glad I called just in case.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Don Draper and Eileen Worcester


What I am loving about having had the Super Bowl in town is that everyone was seeing celebrities. Starbucks next door to my office is all a-buzz over the "sightings". One of the rappers was in there last week. I saw him but did not realize who he was. One customer who was in yesterday said she and her daughter ran into Adam Sandler at a hole-in-the-wall downtown restaurant. He was very friendly and gracious to them.

One of the best stories came from a high school friend who is also my media rep at a local radio station, Eileen Worcester. She called and told me that she ran into and had her photo taken with "Don Draper" -- you know Dreamy Don from Mad Men.

What are the odds?

Eileen said not only was he a nice guy, he let her take a photo with him!

Super Bowl Halftime: What Was MIA Thinking?


Super Indy. Super Giants. Super Madonna. Super commercials. What a fantastic Super Bowl week!

So, what happened to MIA with her halftime "bird"? Is she so insecure that she had to pull a stupid, selfish stunt in front of millions of people to draw attention to herself? How sad. If I were the NFL, I would not pay her for her performance -- because of that on-purpose "wardrobe malfunction". Give me a break!

Well, if her goal was to draw attention to herself, it worked, however, she was not to outshine the rest of the festivities. And, she certainly did not outshine Madonna. I grew up listening to her music, and she never ceases to surprise. I thought the theme and the costuming were unbelievable (and tasteful). And, if Madonna fell backwards like people are saying? I am sure it was the tall, tall spiky boots -- not her age.

I am so proud to live and work in Indianapolis. The organizing committee and volunteers just did an amazing job! I worked for both the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and was on staff two years for the 1987 Pan American Game here in Indy. These events did not hold a candle to the excitement that was generated this week.

Friday, February 3, 2012

TGIF 46!

Super Bowl 46 (I am not good with Roman numerals!). Wow Indianapolis, fantastic job! I am so proud to live here in this great city. I am also super proud of Alison Melangton and her dedicated staff and army of Super Bowl volunteers.

What a great ride this week has been. We ventured downtown Monday night for dinner at the Hyatt Regency Eagles' Nest, which was totally refurbished in time for the Big Game. What an incredibly beautiful, starry night! As the restaurant twirled around 2 times while we dined and sipped our drinks, we had magnificent views of NFL Super Bowl Headquarters at the newly constructed JW Marriott, Lucas Oil Stadium and the crowds below listening to bands and milling around to soak it all in.

Above is the view from dinner of the beautifully lit JW Marriott with it's Super Bowl Roman numerals and the Lombardi trophy adorning its glass windows. Breathtaking!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Inside" With George Clooney

I love James Lipton.

Being a graduate of PACE University in New York, I am especially fond of his show, "Inside the Actor's Studio" -- since it's part of PACE. I am an avid fan and never miss an episode that airs. I love to learn about actors, actresses and what makes them tick when they entertain us on the big screen. As PACE students, we always got the chance for tickets to the shows' tapings, but I missed it every time I was in NYC. Bummer!

As I sat by my fireplace last night surfing for something to watch on the tube, I noticed a 2-hour episode for this show. I was elated, and even more so when George Clooney appeared on my screen. I like his movies. He's a very talented actor. And, yes, he is gorgeous to look at. But, that's where it ended. I never understood why everyone continuously "oohed and awed" over him.

Now I get it. In addition to his acting capabilities, what really surprised me was his depth of talent for directing and producing. Quite impressive! I am more wowed by these accomplishments by than his looks (or his home in Lake Como).

Monday, January 30, 2012

Serendipity?

I have had many serendipitous moments in my adult life, a few of which have changed my life paths both personally and professionally.

As an ongoing weekend chore, I have been cleaning out boxes of family items left from my dad before his death and from my mom, since she lives in a nursing home. Some of these boxes contained items that I have donated to Goodwill, while others are a treasure trove of wonderful family history.

One of the most fascinating family items I have come across relate to my great, great Aunt Rebecca. Interestingly, she was the first female medical doctor to graduate in Indiana -- from the Medical College of Indiana (now the IU School of Medicine). She was also the first female physician to practice in the Philipines. She actually became a missionary doctor and started the Mary Johnston Hospital in Tonda Manila in the early 1900s.

Fast forward to a few years ago. Mary Johnston Hospital celebrated their centennial anniversary, and commissioned a postal stamp with both my Aunt Rebecca's photo and a photo of the hospital. The Philipine postal service approved it as an official postal stamp. I was stunned to come across this!

I often wonder if the love of my work in healthcare is serendipity, a special thread that has been woven through our family genes or a little bit of both.

Monday, January 23, 2012

2011 Better Late Than Never

I cannot believe I have been so remiss in posting to my blog. I hope to not do this again, however, I don't do New Year's Resolutions because I find that I break them.

2011 was just a very crazy year. It was a year filled with great beginnings as well as one filled with sad memories.

My happiest moment was walking into NYC's Lincoln Center in a cap and gown for my Master's graduation from PACE University -- with my closest friends sitting in the wings. Finally, after 3 1/2 years, I actually did it!

My saddest moment came to light when I realized that my dad was not alive to share this with me, and my mom was not well enough to make the trip. But, that is ok.

Life has thrown me some incredible curve balls in the last two years. It seems that every time I would catch one, another was thrown. And so it continues. I guess you just keep on "catching" as they come.

I hope that with the knowledge I have gained from my parent's illnesses that I can somehow pay it forward. I am surrounded by a small niche of incredible friends and some awesome physicians who have helped me navigate the very uncertain waters of parental caregiving.