The Avalanche

This morning, I woke up to an avalanche in my bathroom.

I opened up the medicine cabinet to grab my toothbrush when suddenly, I was showered with prescriptions, face creams, and eye drops. Everything fell loudly into the sink, likely waking everyone in the house.

Why are medicine cabinets so small? They are poorly designed, with space for not much more than trial-size tubes of toothpaste, hand sanitizer, and shaving cream. It blows my mind that my cabinet is intended to hold these things and more for both me and my husband.

And now, I’m having an ah-ha moment. Maybe they call it a medicine cabinet because it is not intended for anything beyond our meds. If it was called a toiletry cabinet, wouldn’t it be so much more user-friendly? The shelves would be at least twice as deep to accommodate everything we put in there. Now I know why toiletry bags are so popular.

Anyway, my other thought as I was cleaning up the mess was — why do I have so many different kinds of eye drops? Were they on sale? Did my optometrist come over and fill up my cabinet with free samples while I was sleeping? I counted six varieties: red eyes, itchy eyes, and dry eyes, along with contact lens rewetting drops, steroid drops, and an expired antibiotic. If that wasn’t enough, I also have a cleaning solution for my contacts and a separate lens cleaner for my glasses. Thanks, Doc!

In hindsight, I should have invested my money in Bausch & Lomb. Just like Barnes & Noble, I’m certainly doing my part to keep them in business.

What do you have too much of in your medicine cabinet? Inquiring minds want to know. 


Celebrating Self-Care Awareness Day

Life is crazy busy, and we often put ourselves last on the priority list. It’s not our fault. A third of our days could be spent on work or taking care of our families, while another third we are sleeping. And I couldn’t even tell you what I did during the third slice of that 24-hour pie. Cooking? Cleaning? Showering? Reading? Sky-Diving?

Okay, maybe not sky-diving. I’d remember that.

So, after running errands yesterday, I had a decision to make — go home and do laundry or stop at Rita’s Water Ice for a treat. As if deciding for me, the car sped past the turnoff to my house and headed straight toward the nearest Rita’s. I had the mango gelati with vanilla custard. Delicious. Sometimes, it is the little things that make a big difference.

Yesterday was International Self-Care Day. It is purposely set on the 24th day of July (the seventh month of the year) to remind us to practice self-care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. According to this website, self-care is meant to “protect one’s happiness and well-being, especially during times of stress.” This year’s theme is “Resilience, Adaptability, and Thriving in Adversity.” That is quite a tall order, but not impossible. When I posted a question about practicing self-care on my Facebook page today, here are some of the ways my friends do it.

  • Stop checking their email
  • Turning off their phone
  • Meeting up with a friend for a meal (or a gelati)
  • Enjoying a nature walk
  • Spending some time in therapy
  • Immersing oneself in an activity they love, such as gardening, tennis, journaling, or krav maga.
  • Saying no and setting boundaries

Practicing self-care is nothing to feel guilty about. We should embrace it and make sure it is an integral part of our lives. It helps us relieve stress, avoid burnout, and feel better. Some days, it’s about treating ourselves to a mango gelati. Other times, it can be a mani/pedi, some retail therapy, or a mental health day. The important thing is to give yourself permission to put yourself first — before doing the laundry.

What would you add to this list? Put your answer in the comments, and then do it. 🙂 





“Writing to me is like thinking through my fingers.”

– Isaac Asimov

Nine years ago, I walked into a local writers’ workshop, and I’ve never looked back. I remember being anxious about it at first. I was a former obit writer/beat reporter who hadn’t composed anything creative in years. What if I didn’t fit in? Or worse, what if I wasn’t good enough? That first night, I wrote a short story and a type of poem called a villanelle. Oy! I thought I was way out of my league, but I left feeling like I found my long-lost family of writers.

One of the first pieces I wrote was about picking up Jenna from her Jewish overnight camp and learning she was now a vegetarian. I wondered on the page how that happened and wrongly assumed this was a phase she would quickly grow out of at the sight of her first hot dog. (She was a vegetarian for three years!)

I was encouraged to submit that story somewhere, and ultimately it was picked up by (Here is that story.) Not only was I now a blogger with a byline, but I became a regular at the writing workshop. I am a better writer because of the support I’ve received from Rachel, my writing coach, and my peers. The positive feedback and constructive criticism gifted to me with each piece I submit allow me to discover something new about my craft. And the opportunity to reciprocate by supporting and helping other writers is a privilege I never take for granted.

Becoming a good literary citizen is an essential part of this training.

Since that first workshop, I’ve learned how to use em dashes and how not to rely on cliches. I know the importance of choosing strong verbs and including sensory details in a story. At the moment, my biggest challenge is remembering to put more of myself into what I write instead of just relaying what happened. This is becoming a problem because if I want to write a memoir or publish a collection of personal essays, being able to write about myself is a must.

Using all these tools, I’m building up my writing muscles to offer stories that pack a punch.

I’ve also discovered the self-care side of writing, like being kinder to myself, overcoming writer’s block, and fighting off imposter syndrome. I’ve established a routine and identified mornings as my best time for writing. I blog just about every day now but allow myself a break to avoid burnout. I feed my creative soul with excellent books, motivational quotes, good music, and long walks.

Permitting myself to indulge in self-care may be the most important part of my training.

So, even if I publish my book and sell many copies (G-d willing!), I’ll always be a writer-in-training. There is so much more for me to learn, many writers to continue supporting, and so many stories to tell. And I am here for all of it.

What have you learned about writing? Please share in the comments.




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