it’s that time of the year

24 Apr

I love birthdays. Almost too much. Ever since I was a little girl my mom always made me feel like I was on top of the world on April 23rd. One of the drawbacks of celebrating an unforgettable birthday each year is that it gets extremely difficult to top the awesomeness of the last one.

Then, I met N.

N. doesn’t share my passion for birthdays. You see, he was born 2 years and 2 days apart from his brother and they always celebrated their birthdays on the day between the two days. Mid September (=beginning of school). I rest my case.

I tried to convert him into a birthday lover but I have not quite managed to do so. He makes a serious (yet not convincing) attempt to show enthusiasm once I start the mental countdown in my head in the beginning of spring each year but I can see right through him.

Due to my limited mobility this year I had no expectations of feeling spectacular whatsoever. N. had to resume his working parent duties and I was at home with my two precious ones. How lucky was I! (when does school start again??).

My mom came to my rescue just before noon and I decided that it would be best for everyone involved if we managed to leave the house for a while. And so we did. It was tiring and totally against my doc’s advice but it felt damn good. I managed to get a few things done and treated the kids with some frozen yogurt. Happy kids, no mommy meltdown. WIN WIN for everyone.

Upon our return home two surprises were waiting for me.

Surprise no 1:

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as N. is allergic to flowers, I have accepted the no flower gifts from him. This year he had the perfect idea. My favorite flower in a pot to be planted in the garden

Surprise no 2:

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my best friend P. surprised me with the perfect birthday cake

Deeply touched and blissfully happy I felt immense gratitude. For my family. For my friends. And for my strawberry tart.

Until next time

love

tatu

 

 

Video

Spare 4 minutes of your time and watch this!

19 Apr

BOSTON (CBS5) -

More than two million people saw a job posting by a Boston agency for a ‘director of operations’ position, but just 24 applied. The requirements were brutal and there was no compensation.

The website rehtom.net posted the job and paid for ads. Here’s the entire list of requirements:

Operations Management: Director of Operations

Area of Talent: Managers/Directors/Administrators

Position Type: Full-Time

Location: Rehtom Inc.

Shift: Full-time, 24/7 on call

Salary: Pro bono/unpaid

Position Summary:

Rehtom Inc. is seeking a Director of Operations for its long-term development department. The primary responsibilities of the director are to provide day-to-day management, leadership and support to up-and-coming development associates.

Essential Duties & Job Responsibilities:

Oversee the overall day-to-day success and development of all associates. They are fully dependent on you.
Provide appropriate solutions to satisfy all associate needs, including but not limited to comfort, security, support, growth, knowledge, well-being, structure, consistency, discipline, acknowledgment, preparedness, safety, mobility, capability, facility and tranquillity.
Track daily, weekly and monthly associate development against assigned goals and expectations.
Process high volumes of incoming and outgoing projects, deliveries, requests, complaints, feedback and special orders from associates and corresponding outside vendors.
Provide operational leadership to multiple associates at once.
Requirements:

Must be able to work 135+ hours a week
Ability to work overnight, associate needs pending
Willingness to forgo any breaks
Work mostly standing up and/or bending down
Must be able to lift up to 75 lbs. on a regular basis
Ph.D. in psychology or real-life equivalent
Crisis management skills a must
Ability to manage a minimum of 10-15 projects at one time
Ability to communicate at all levels (basic to advanced)
Ability to improvise
Proficient in handling sticky situations (literally and figuratively)
Ability to coordinate multiple, often conflicting, schedules
Ability to make independent decisions on behalf of others
Ability to work with associates with minimal ability
Ability to work in a chaotic environment
Frequent travel; minivan driving experience a plus
Excellent interpersonal skills and a collaborative approach
Flexible when it comes to surprise requests
Demonstrated knowledge and experience in negotiating, counseling and culinary arts
Unlimited patience
Understanding of social media, mobile devices and video games
Understanding of finance
Understanding of medicine
Selflessly driven
Valid drivers license, CPR certification and Red Cross membership
Ability to wear several hats, professional and domestic
Positive disposition at all times
Benefits:

While no health or dental insurance, no pension and no paid holidays are offered, this job provides infinite opportunities for personal growth and rewards. Emotional fulfillment and extraordinary impact on associate success provides a lifetime of purpose and meaningful connection.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

an ode to my friend: Vesna

8 Apr

‘Would you like to go to the movies sometime?’ Vesna asked me while I was booking one of her flights to go back home.

‘Sure, that sounds great’ I fired right back at her.

It was back in 2002, while I was working at my dad’s travel agency and she was working at the Swiss Consulate, a block away. We had only spoken on the phone a few times and seen each other once or twice but we immediately hit it off.

A few nights later we bought our big buckets of pop corn and our diet cokes and enjoyed My big fat Greek Wedding at an open air cinema. After the movie was over, we stood outside the cinema and talked for 2 hours straight.

That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Cheesy, but true.

For the next couple of years we had our weekly girls night out which included indulging in junk food (yes, she is a foodie as well, couldn’t have it any other way) and watching a movie.  It was perfect. When her contract ended and she moved away we managed to keep in touch by writing each other long drama induced emails.

A couple of years later she decided to give Athens another try and she returned. Circumstances had changed, our lives were completely different as I had become a desperate housewife and stay at home mom but things between us had stayed the same. This is when I realized that strong friendships can endure change.

Unfortunately things didn’t work out for her here and she decided to return home. Its been almost three years now and although we live in different countries she manages to visit us once or twice (if we are lucky) a year and when she does its like nothing has changed.

Today is her birthday and she is here with me (spending her last day of her short trip she decided to take and pay us a visit).

Vesna, happy birthday! It was great having you here. Take care and see you soon! Next time we ll be +1

love

t

 

 

 

 

 

it is his fault

28 Mar

One of the glorious aspects of being pregnant (again) is that I can literally blame EVERYTHING on the little guy inside.

LAME? Sure. But, tell me you have not used the pregnancy card yourself and I will call you a liar well respected human being.

Let me give you some examples.

  • I am cranky, irritated and cry for no reason whatsoever? Blame it on the hormones.
  • I am obsessed with food 24/7.Blame it on my ‘pregnancy cravings’. OK, OK you are right. I have always been obsessed with food. I just don’t need to hide it anymore.

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  • I get easily frustrated with the speed my bump is growing and feel genuinely hurt when I see other people’s shocked expression the moment I tell them that I still have three months to go.  Even Yiannis had a similar expression on his face when he came to me the other morning and looked at my belly. I still can’t get the brief conversation we had after that out of my mind.

Me: Look honey, your brother is growing fast.

Yiannis: Yes, I see that.

Me: In a few months time I will have a belly in the size of a watermelon.

Yiannis: But you already do.

OUCH….

Even little miss sunshine gave her little brother a kiss last night, looked at me and said: Mom, will your belly explode??

POINT TAKEN.

The thing what scares me is not the actual size of the belly now but HOW something SO oversized will grow back into anything remotely NORMAL once the little guy is out. I know, I know. I will need to exercise. But if you know me, you know how much I hate exercising. Don’t get me wrong. I like exercising but in its disguised form. Like playing tennis, swimming or cycling. I absolutely HATE the gym.  PERIOD.

  • I wear yoga pants the whole time (except for once or twice a month when I do get out of my house to have my blood tests done and doctors appointments). Which brings me to the next point…
  • The need to buy new clothes. This is quite an imaginary one though. As I am still considered high risk, I have not been given more freedom to move around and do something crazy, like drive. So no new fashionable maternity clothes for this pregnant mom. But thanks to my dear friend Iro who was kind enough to bring me her maternity clothes, I can squeeze my watermelon into something that actually fits.

I have missed out on quite a few events of the past three months in my family’s life. And I will miss some more. But that’s OK. After all I have the PERFECT excuse.

Until next time

love

tatu

if you ever take one advice from me, let it be this

21 Mar

ALWAYS TRUST YOUR (MOTHER) INSTINCT.

Call it intuition, call it sixth sense. Call it what you like. If you have doubts about a certain situation, trust your instincts. Unless you are a hypochondriac or suffer from any kind of anxiety disorder or … you get the picture.

Throughout the last 6+ years of parenting this point has been proven to me more than once. I was very reluctant in the beginning but as the years passed by, I got more experienced and listening to my instinct almost always turned out to be the right thing to do in the first place.

Iliana had been snoring since she was 2. After a few frightening sleep apnea episodes we decided to do something about it.  I asked the advice of my pediatrician and he suggested I should see an ear-nose-throat specialist. So we went and saw a couple. Both said the same thing. She needs to have surgery.  It didn’t take much to convince me as Yiannis had his adenoids removed when he was 3 1/2 and all health related problems ceased to exist a week after his operation.

So we decided to go through with it and I took Iliana to the surgeon my pediatrician had advised me to consult. Although she had enlarged tonsils he didn’t want to take them out. He tried to convince me that they are there for a reason and we should only take her adenoids out as they seem to obstruct her breathing. I was reluctant. I saw it coming. I had doubts. I shared my doubts both with him and my pediatrician. I don’t want to put her through another operation next year. If you feel that we might end up here again for her tonsils, I would rather take them out now. Why put her through ANOTHER operation? ANOTHER full anaesthesia? 

Don’t worry. We ll take the adenoids out and the problem will be fixed, her surgeon reassured me.

Well, guess what.

Her problem was never fixed. She kept on snoring, she still had apnea episodes, she kept on being a poor eater and she never gained the proper weight she needed to thrive. All in all, her operation was a complete failure.

Which brings us back to today. Its been four days since she took her tonsils out (with another surgeon and without consulting my pediatrician first). I am mad at the doctors who exploit our children in order to make more money. I am mad, Iliana had to have two surgeries to fix her problem, instead of just one. I am mad I had to sign a sheet of paper agreeing that the full anaesthesia might have complications as severe as leaving her brain-dead. AGAIN.

Let’s look at the big picture now.

I am glad I didn’t dwell on what happened last year (well not too much, that is) and I trusted my instinct and searched for a different surgeon who was both competent and kind and respectful.

I am glad this is over and she is OK now.

I am glad I have two healthy children and another one on the way.

Until next time

love

tatu

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thank you Woody for yet another reality check

12 Mar

I have a tendency to moan. I wish I were more like my mom who can find the beauty in virtually anything, but I am not. I am grateful for the reality checks I do get every now and then which make me appreciate my life more but usually this kind of life-is-beautiful-euphoria doesn’t last. At least not to the extent I would like it to last.

As I was watching another episode of  ‘True Detective’ last night, one phrase of Woody Harrelson’s character stuck with me. Pardon my rephrasing I don’t quite recall the exact dialogue. Here it is: What if years pass and shit happens and you realize that you have already lived the good years? That the actual good years happened back then when your kids were still young and you had your whole life ahead of you. That these WERE the GOOD YEARS.

Let it sink in for a moment.

Am I living the life I was aiming for? YES. Am I happy? YES. Is it perfect? No.

Life is not perfect. It will never be. Maybe that is why the good moments are so precious because we can’t take them for granted. Would we appreciate life if it was only good? Wouldn’t it get boring? Tiring to some extent?

Life is unpredictable. Life is moody. Life is full of incredibly happy moments and excruciatingly painful ones. It’s up to you what you make of it. Are you happy? Awesome! Are you miserable? Do something to change it. Don’t settle. Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t sit around and wait for life to become better. Pick up your broken pieces and start over. 

Life is wonderfully challenging. ENJOY THE RIDE

Until next time

love

tatu

Image

HUGE

7 Mar

‘Are you sure you are only carrying 1 baby in there??’ My dear friend E. fired at me while trying to grasp the hugeness of what has become of my once normal sized belly. Even her husband came and said ‘oh look, she has a small belly‘. Once I uncovered the ‘small’ belly from my over-sized scarf he immediately corrected himself OH, NO, YOUR BELLY IS HUGE!.

It is.

Evidence pic no.1:

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Evidence pic no.2:

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Even N. stared at the weight scale this morning and commented: ‘Have you only gained 4 kilos? How did you do that with THAT HUGE BELLY? 

I get it.

It looks kind of alien-ish. And funny. And completely and utterly out of proportion.

Truth of the matter is I don’t really care about it now. But I do wonder HOW this will transform into anything remotely NORMAL once the baby has actually left the premises. Oh well. I ll get over it. I always do.

Enough about THE BELLY now. I have some good news I wanted to share with you.

PEOPLE, I FEEL GOOD.

After 21 weeks it has finally kicked in. The anticipation. The joy. The awe of yet another miracle of life. Yes, I am still freaking out about the not so great things of adjusting your life to the needs of a newborn, but I am actually happy.

I can’t wait to meet him.

I am sure this had something to do with it:

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me: honey come and look I have a pic of your brother. This is the nose, the lips, his hands and part of his tummy
Yiannis: he kinda looks like a monster

I hope you are doing all well

Until next time

love

tatu

be careful what you wish for

24 Feb

‘I wish I had some time for myself’ I kept on telling N. Although I cherished the time I have had with Iliana for the last four years, I was convinced that the piece of the puzzle which was missing was some time for myself.

For the last couple of months, all I have is alone time. What do I do with it?

Nothing.

I vegetate. In front of my laptop or my phone. I occasionally eat (lets not forget the love affair I have with food). On good days, I semi force myself to knit, while watching one more episode of Suits, or Fringe, or the Blacklist or any other TV Series I am currently hooked on.

At least that is how I spend my mornings. I lose the luxury of vegetating once my kids arrive home. One would think that all this alone time should recharge my batteries. I should be calm and sweet and caring and the perfect mom to my children at least for the 4 hours I do spend with them until bedtime, right? HELL YEAH, but sadly this is not the case. 

I have good intentions and am happy that they are back but one teeny tiny little misbehaving sets me on fire. WHY?

I am an extrovert. I thrive on meeting up with the people I hold close to my heart. Living in the suburbs doesn’t always make it easy so I used to spend Mondays to Wednesdays usually running errands (grocery store/bookstore/pharmacy/local fresh produce market/IKEA). On Thursdays, we would pick Yianni up from school and head to my sister’s place. We spent frantic afternoons trying to coordinate the needs of 5 children but when they were all tucked in bed, we spent some serious quality sister time (snacks and dvd). 

On the weekends we usually had one quiet day (for my social introverted hubby N. to recharge his own batteries) and one day that I would cook for friends to come over and spend the day. There was a balance.

There is no balance now. Ever since my bed (ar)rest I stopped doing all of the above and instead of valuing the much anticipate alone time, I choose to vegetate. I postpone the few things I am able to do for the days to come. I tried explaining it to my sis and she said: hon, that’s what one might call depression.

But I am not depressed. I am not unhappy. I haven’t regretted the choice I made to keep this baby. Am I super excited about it? Not yet. I have been there twice already, I know what having a baby entails. I know the true meaning of ‘sleeping like a baby’ contrary to what it might mean to the ignorant (excuse my choice of words) non parents out there. 

Life is good. It is sometimes just plain frustrating.

Until next time

love

tatu

Image

husband vs son

10 Feb

HUSBAND

‘What’s wrong?’ asked N. in a semi-bored semi-overworked kind of tone while we were getting ready to call it a night and wander off to dreamland.

‘I feel ugly’ I replied while staring at the wall.

‘Well, you shouldn’t’, he responded in a now 100%-bored-and-way-too-tired-to-get-into-that-conversation tone.

‘That’s it? Seriously? one step closer to switching on the fountain of unlimited tears I seem to have in storage for the last 18 weeks.

‘Well you are not and I am tired’.

Oh honey but you are beautiful. You glow. Your skin looks radiant. You are full of life. You are creating a miracle, was more like what I needed to hear but no, I got the WELL, YOU SHOULDN’T response.

SON

Yiannis loves to take pictures and whenever he sees a window of opportunity he puts on the loving, caring and compassionate (=I can do whatever I want with you mommy) face and asks me if he can use my phone to take a couple of pictures.

Then, when he manages to take 3 zillion in less than 5 minutes, we go through them (one by one) and start the keep it or lose it process. Most of them are blurry so we both agree on losing them, some are boring nice which I pretend to keep and lose later on when he’s not looking (yes, mother of the year award-again) and some are really good (like 5 out of the 3 zillion).

He usually takes pictures of his toys, his room, his books, occasionally of his sister who is really eager to pose her bunny teeth in front of any camera and occasionally of mom. When we got to the one picture he took of me the conversation went like this:

‘Oh honey, lose this one’.

‘But why mom? It’s not blurry’.

‘I know hon. But I look ugly.’

‘No, mom. You NEVER look ugly. You are ALWAYS beautiful.

I rest my case

Until next time

love

tatu

p.s. I knew there was a reason I had kids in the first place.

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one of the 3 zillion

wan sepona time

1 Feb

Ever since the incident, I have been calling my gynecologist every couple of days to give him a full report on my progress. If you know me, you know I hate calling doctors on their cell phones. Why??? Because they are pretty much overdosed on the whole receiving freaked out-totally-unjustified-24/7-patient phone calls.

But he insisted and truth be told my situation needed to be monitored. So…I waited for the perfect timing (sometime around noon) and dialed the dreaded number every couple of days. As time passed and things started to look a bit more hopeful, I limited the calls to once a week.

Last Friday I called and begged asked him if I were allowed to drive.

‘What?? from the sound of his voice I knew I had just irritated him.

‘Well….I am off my meds, last time you saw me you were happy with how everything was going, so…I didn’t even get to finish my argument.

‘That is why I don’t want to give you ANY freedom at all. I know you. The minute I give you the OK to drive, you ll start doing things around the house, driving around the neighborhood, running all sorts of errands. So, NO. No driving, no walking up and down the stairs, no NOTHING. LAY IN BED. Or on THE COUCH. Do we understand each other???

BAM!

Feeling like I have just been told off by my primary school teacher, Mrs Katy (bless her very strict soul wherever she is), I sobbed silently and agreed to continue laying it low.

The thing is, N. needed to leave on a business trip for a few days which meant that the remaining members of the family needed to find another place to crash. Since, I, once a proud mother and caretaker of all, was somehow incapable of taking care of the family from THE SOFA, we opted for the next best thing: 5 1/2 kids, 2 dogs, 3 adults: My sister’s house.

To cut the story short, come Sunday, the kids and I were picked up by my father who then drove us off to Alex.  Johnny (the canarian) and Benny (the dog) had already been transferred safely to my mom’s house the day before. An hour later we were greeted by my 3 nieces and sister with excitement and joy which helped me recover from the stressful ride as a co-driver to my dad. You see, my dad, drives a car like he drives his motorcycle. YES. At the tender age of 73, he STILL rides his motorcycle. EVERY DAY. Unless it is pouring which in Greece is rarely the case.

Five, very full days passed filled with lots of children’s giggles, sleepless nights (Iliana got sick and Yiannis was so excited to be with his cousins that he wanted to start his day at 05:00 am), homework with the girls (I will get back to that), cuddles with the dogs, movie nights with the sis and the non stop-chatting-while-trying-to-watch-the-movie-dad.

The highlight of all was definitely the moment my middle niece asked me to correct the fairy tale she had just typed up for her English class.

‘Wan sepona time…

Until next time

love

tatu

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