Monday, December 29, 2008

Obama's Irish Roots

The embedding was disabled on YouTube so you'll have to click on this link to discover where Barack is really from. It doesn't get much better than watching a cartoon Barack do Riverdance. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Let's eat!

I've been saving up two important recommendations for you all, at least all you who live in DuPage County.

First, we have Honey in Glen Ellyn. My friend Jillian and I go at least once a month for cupcakes and pressed tea. Such a wonderful after work treat! I thought I'd died and gone to heaven after eating a tiramisu cupcake! They have "bar" seating by the window so we can people watch while we chat. We're also able to stay near these treats:
Venture back into the rest of the restaurant for a sit down meal. I've been there for breakfast and dinner and have been very impressed. Try the Chicken Caprese sandwich or the Breakfast Burrito, depending on the time of day you go. The house potatoes and fries have this amazing rosemary rub! The ingredients are fresh so don't be surprised if they've run out of what you want by the end of the day. They also have take-home food at the front (near the cupcakes) in case you don't feel like cooking after work. The staff are always friendly and ready with a recommendation of their own. I feel very strongly about supporting our local establishments so I hope Honey will be with us for quite some time. Hint, hint.

Secondly, my high praise goes to Jason's Deli in Naperville. (There are various franchises across the country so you might luck out here!) I am obsessed with the Turkey Muffaletta sandwich and confess that I often have cravings if I go for too long without eating one. They have a great Quarter Muff Manager Special where you add a cup of soup for a grand total of $6.99. There's a great soup and sandwich selection, although I have not ventured far from the muffalettas. Like Honey, Jason's Deli strives to serve healthier food- they're free of artificial trans fats, MSG, and high fructose corn syrup. A nice JD perk is free soft-serve ice cream for all customers.
Happy eating!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Job security

I enjoyed all the family Christmas celebrations the last 2 days. It's wonderful to reconnect with everyone and hear the latest updates. I hadn't seen my dad's side of the family in some time, as we spent Thanksgiving with my mom's side of the family. I was shocked to learn that my uncle Scott has been reduced to 20 hours a week and my aunt's hours have been dramatically reduced and there's an underlying concern that the store might go under if business doesn't pick up. Scott is trying to remain positive and find the silver lining to his situation; he noted that he will be interested to see if Obama's proposed stimulus package helps out his company or not. Another aunt picked up a part-time job in addition to her full-time job just to afford Christmas presents. On my mom's side of the family, there are similar concerns. Two cousins were laid off from their jobs (they're in the construction business) a few weeks ago. They're getting unemployment for now but since they're union guys, they're more limited in what they can do. Adam's wife works so that helps but Jon's wife has been staying at home raising their daughter so things are tighter for them. Despite all these financial concerns, we were able to enjoy the true spirit behind Christmas, enjoying each other's company and expressing gratitude for Christ's birth. I was struck that despite my discontent at work, I don't truly have financial worries. Yes, I'm trying to figure out if I can afford to buy a house in this area. But I don't have foreclosure hanging over my head or bills I can't pay. I am truly blessed and grateful for what my job affords me to do. I pray that I will keep this in mind the next time I want to rant about the injustices of my job. And I pray that my family's fortunes will soon improve.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bookmarks

"A bookmark is a limit: This is how far you've come. But a bookmark is also a horizon: I wonder what's coming next? A bookmark, then, is both anvil and kite. It saves your place, keeping you tethered right where you are, but at the same time, it keeps tugging at you too. It keeps urging you to rise up and keep going. One more page. One more chapter. A bookmark, then, is like a sliver of hope. It's all about where you are right now, and where you might be tomorrow." - Julia Keller

Keller's piece in today's Tribune resonated with me, not just because I am an incessant reader and can relate to the wonders of the random bookmark. (Business cards are a favorite place-marker for me.) I love the idea of something as small as a bookmarker being a sign of hope and accomplishment. We can all use a dose of that from day to day.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Goodbye President Bush

As excited as I am to see Obama in office, I am very heartened to read some of Bush's exit interviews. His candidness and honesty comes better late than never and I suppose will enable me to look back at his presidency in a new light. I wish him and Laura well as they transition to life outside the White House.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Burnout Seminar

I attended a fabulous seminar hosted by Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital this morning entitled "Your Calling Has Been Disconnected: Chronic Stress, Burnout, and Compassion Fatigue for the Professional." Since I've been burned out for quite some time, I figured this would be right up my alley and I was not disappointed. If you ever get a chance to see Serena Wadhwa speak, I would highly recommend it! I walked away from the seminar feeling a little more relaxed and a little more aware of all that has contributed to my "burned-outness." Plus I have some new tools for my patients! One point I especially appreciated was the Value of Value Clarification, which I'll outline below. I think you'll find it equally insightful if you take the time.

-List 5 things you are currently procrastinating about. This can be professionally, personally, or both.
-Take a sheet of paper and rip or cut it into 10 pieces. (You could try to just write on a piece of paper but the next steps won't be as easy to complete.)
-Ready? Pick your 10 top values from the list below and write one word per piece of paper. This should be a quick process- go with your gut instinct. This is a partial list so if a top value is not included, add it!

Acceptance
Trust
Honesty
Honor
Status
Intelligence
Integrity
Action
Sincerity
God
Simplicity
Commitment
Joy
Compassion
Hard Work
Loyalty
Family
Friends
Independence
Freedom
Power
Kindness
Generosity
Self-care
Health
Openness
Fairness
Justice
Curiosity
Security
Love
Peace
Money
Work
Solitude
Diversity
Humor
Education
Spirituality
Play
Order
Helping others
Experience
Creativity
Relationships
Perfectionism
Forgiveness
Control
Appearance
Personal Growth
Good food

-Got your 10 values? OK, take away 3 of them. This does not mean that these values aren't important to you. You just need to have the 7 most important.
-Take a look at these 7 values. Then take away 2 more.
It's not easy is it?
-Finally, rank your 5 remaining values in order of importance to you.
-Now look at your list of procrastinations. Compare it to your values. Our procrastinations usually have nothing to do with our values. After all, we prioritize the things that are important to us. Instead, you need to figure out how to make the procrastination fit with your values...a new way to motivate yourself.
For instance, I've been procrastinating on setting up my dental appointment, as well as my eye doctor and dermatologist. I often procrastinate on setting up any appointment. But my relationship with God is my number one value and he has commanded that I view my body as a temple, something I need to take care of. Suddenly setting up an MD appointment can be viewed as obedience to God. Love was another top value so I could see taking care of these appointments as a way of loving myself.
Serena recommended that you recheck your values every 3 to 6 months or once a year, depending on what you want, since our values are affected by circumstances, life stages, etc. She also upped the ante: choose your top 3 values. When we're not doing something on a daily basis that is connected to our values, we feel disconnected. Try focusing on your values for a couple of days and see if you notice a difference. I'd be interested in hearing about the results or any insights this exercise gave you...