Watch me work!

#watchmework! That’s what my niece always writes on her Facebook page. It makes me think of empowerment, like I’m not going to stop. Watch me keep pushing forward and reaching out for my dreams and life’s goals. I love that thought. I love the motivation it inspires.

It’s what first came to mind when my Kickstarter failed yesterday. Of course, I didn’t pay out money to all those e-mailers who said they could drive people to my campaign. They could, they couldn’t, I can’t really know for sure. I just didn’t have the money to gamble. There are no guarantees either way. But ‘one monkey don’t stop no show!’ I won’t give up on anything. We’ve only just begun. I am reaching out for every opportunity. This is only February. 2015 still has 10 more months to make this year greater than the last.

So FedEx is having a contest to win small business grants. Periodically, Intuit does the same. We are all over that right now. We still need to see some profit from my husband’s business (MICHAEL IJI Custom Design & Tailoring Studio, Cary NC). It’s been six months and we’re at the halfway point of Profit or Bust. Six more months and we won’t be able to keep pouring loans and household income into it. It’s either going to swim or cause us to sink. I want it to be successful mostly so that I can get back to raising my kids instead of leaving it to a babysitter every day.

My 3 yr. old son said to me one morning, “Babysitter agaaaaain!?’ I felt so bad as I left for work, I nearly cried all the way there. What choice do I have? We’ve already tried homelessness and penniless-ness for a couple of years. We didn’t like it so much…despite its character building properties.

I don’t want to be famous. I don’t want to be super-rich. I just want to provide for my family and be available to my kids when they need me. I don’t want “Not now, I’m busy” to replace my name as Mommy. My daughter will start school this fall. I’ve already lost the last two years with her and my son. I don’t want to lose anymore. I cannot NOT be employed. I also can’t sacrifice my children for the job. Where is my happy medium? Keep pursuing the dream? Watch me work!


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Just read the old saying:

“One man’s trash is another man’s masterpiece.” So true. Also have heard it as: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Whichever the case may be, whether trash, treasure or masterpiece, I recognize for myself that nothing I write will ever be liked by Everyone. It will never be perfect. There are bound to be mistakes…that I find later, even after I edited and thought it was great, but still published anyway.

But from every experience and every written word comes an added benefit beyond seeing my name in print. I learn. I grow. I improve.

But what I can NEVER do is stop. I am a writer. I was born to write.

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Work in progress: SAVOR THE FLAVOR

It’s not finished yet, but I’m editing every day. A lot of work ahead, but I’m so ready to get this started!!

I hope your life is filled with momentous and joyful times in 2015!

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2014 in review

A lot went on in 2014.  Great to have this avenue to look back at it, see what needs to be changed, improved, updated, revamped, restored, renewed, discarded…

The reason for starting this blog was to write about the transition from Italy to North America.  This transition included revising all the hopes, dreams and plans that I had for spending the rest of my life in the country hills of Italy, writing novels and poetry, and watching my (then future-) children grow up in the simplicity and quality of a less materialistic life.

Back in the U.S., I came back with all of this foreign vocabulary and customs and habits and ideals and recipes and styles of living that didn’t fit in the locations that I found myself.  Now, having risen up from joblessness, homelessness, lack of income, postpartum depression, new marriage / new mommy stress, homesickness (for Italy), and being almost 45 without having fulfilled lifelong dreams, I am ready for a different me.  I’m getting my backbone back.  I’m no longer afraid to put my words out there.  I think time has allowed me to develop a bit of a style that I did not have when I was younger.  I want to come out of the gate these first few months of 2015 refining that style.  I hope that before mid-year, there will be positive results from my efforts.

It’s time to wake up, to come alive, to get motivated, to get to getting on with life and stop waiting for life to happen – that future day when everything is right so that you can finally start enjoying living.  It’s time to start enjoying living now, even when the circumstances are not ideal.  This is my life.  It may not change.  It may not get better.  I may not attain my heart’s desire.  What I have now may be all that’s coming to me.  Do I appreciate the now?  Right now, I have my husband, my kids, my sisters, my mom, my grandmother, my nieces and nephews, my gloriously supportive friends, my patio and balcony vegetable gardens, my elliptical glider, my blog, my collection of poetry, my endless manuscripts, a beautiful ray of sunshine coming through my window shining on my dining room table, where memories of yesterday’s impromptu dinner with friends took place.  I made my new pork chop recipe – browned in a skillet then transferred to my prized Italian cookware where the chops were covered and slow cooked on a bed of three bacon strips, covered in seasoned, diced tomatoes, diced onions, mushrooms, garlic, salt & black pepper to taste, a few drips of olive oil and a tablespoon of coconut oil (great for weight loss!) and a cup of water – reduced and prepared over penne pasta and a caesar salad on the side.  Of course, there was wine, Italian bread and a righteous mix of butter pecan and chocolate peanut butter ice cream for dessert.

Woo woo!!  What future life am I waiting for in this crazy world?  I’ve got to show more appreciation for the one that I have!  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a change in income or a change of career or to treat my body better and be healthier.  But I am not look for a metamorphosis into a different person.  I want to still be me and still have all the wonderful elements in my present life with a bit of improvement infused.  Does that make sense?

Well, let’s close 2014 and keep breaking out in 2015!!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 250 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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2015 – Ok. So let’s do this!

Here it comes. Another year, another rush of ‘I’m going to do this or that better than last’ list of plans. How long will it take before you start slacking off, having doubts, giving in, giving up? February? April? June?

It always starts off so well. You have the best of intentions. You feel that typical rush of determination. You are all fired up, your mindset is on point and no one can sway your focus. Right? What changes?

I, like millions of others, have a need to lose some weight. My ex-roommate in Italy, Oriana, will be married in June. When I heard the news, I said to myself that I want to look the same as I did six years ago, when I left Italy and returned to the U.S. I said to myself, ‘You need to lose at least 50 pounds!’

So here we are on the edge of January – six months before the target date. Am I filled with high hopes of looking fabulous in Italy in June? Am I setting up my motivation to keep me on track through these next months? I left Italy in my fifth month of pregnancy. With the active lifestyle and Mediterranean food, I was still able to wear my champagne colored two-piece wedding gown as evening wear to my brother’s wedding. The goal in the back of my mind has always been to get back into that dress. Since September 5, 2009, I have never tried it on again. I will wait until around April, I think.


Over-exposed on the brightest day of that month!


March 2009 – It rained all the week before, but shined on our wedding day and honeymoon. When we returned to our home near Bologna, it began raining again throughout the whole month!!!


But, is it realistic to think that I will suddenly lose – in six months – all of the weight I’ve been putting on since 2012? In order for that to become reality, some of the things that I have been doing these last few years have to change. If my life is still on over-drive and I have had no time to myself except the wee hours of the night for the last several years, how is 2015 going to be any different? How will the onset of January 1 suddenly spark this new awakening in me – or any other person for that matter – to make this coming year better than the last? How will I spontaneously be ignited to become a better me? And is the ‘me’ that I already am so bad? When does the change really start? Where does it start?

On June 6, as I stand down the row from the best roommate EVER, can I really hope to be fifty pounds lighter? I think it is attainable. I think I will reach my goal and truly shine on Ori’s wedding day! Do you believe me? Do you have faith that I can do it?

What makes this year different and what puts my goal within realistic reach? I got the news about Ori’s wedding back in October. I started immediately feeling like I wanted to make a change this year. I started immediately getting on the scale each morning or each week and monitoring my weight? I started immediately paying attention to my sleep habits and stress levels.

The first step in the right direction happened in August when I started a new job. It’s my dream job, really. Interesting new work, better hours, better pay, closer proximity to home and more involvement but less physical stress all contributed to me dropping ten pounds that month – without even trying.

So, I had already begun making the changes necessary, not waiting for some unrealistically over-rated future day to get mobilized, active and regain the self-love that I lost after being an exhausted over-worked, badly nourished, body-aching mom of toddlers in my mid-forties with PPD. I have anemia, asthma, arthritis in my left ankle, carpal tunnel in both wrists, continuous shoulder and neck pain following two major car accidents in three years. (I wasn’t driving in either, thank you very much.) And (TMI, I know, but…) three years post pregnancy, I still suffer pelvic pain. So jumping on the new year resolution bandwagon needed to start a bit earlier for me. Today, I’ve lost nearly twenty pounds. So, I figure a doable five pounds per month can get me where I want to be by June without much more change or exertion of energy in my already over-booked life.

When other people are ‘ringing in 2015,’ I hope to be checking off another five pounds and being midway to my goal, not just at the starting point. And speaking of being mid-way…

Yesterday, I met a lovely lady who happens to be an illustrator and cartoonist. Just the missing element I need for my children’s book, greeting card line and poetry collection that have been halted at the mid-way point since September 2012 – when I started working full-time again. The thing about being mid-way toward goals is that reaching them is not an uphill battle anymore. The hard part is getting to know my characters again and taking them to completion with the same confidence and understanding that I had when I started. I figure at this point, it’s got to be all downhill from here. But in a good way!

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Advertising for MICHAEL IJI

michael iji advert

We have a few good prospects for January on my husband’s custom design business. I am being hopeful and focused that a change is going to come. We’ve been through a lot of struggle in 2014, trying to keep our heads above water. It’s time for my daughter to start school and I’d like to be around to participate in her day or do homeschooling. I have very mixed emotions about sending her out to public school, entrusting her into the hands of strangers – hoping they keep her safe and return her to me every afternoon. That concept is such a hard pill to swallow. I don’t trust anyone to protect her the way that I would. This is not ‘Frozen’. I can’t ‘let it go’…

Meanwhile, just to let you know, I am working on a chapbook project and a line of greeting cards. I hope to have things in focus by early January. More to come…

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One more go…

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