OyChicago blog

An interview with former NFL QB Jay Fiedler

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03/02/2015

An interview with former NFL QB Jay Fiedler photo

Since Sid Luckman, the NFL has not seen its share of great Jewish players. Julian Edelman, Taylor Mays and a slew of offensive linemen have recently sparked our interest, but not too long ago, there was a man under center who was all the craze. His name was Jay Fiedler.

Fiedler revived the Miami Dolphins franchise, which showed signs of life for the first time in the years following Dan Marino. We recently got in touch with Fiedler, who not only has a great football story, but is an overall great guy.

1. What got you involved in football?

I grew up on sports. From the time I was 5 years old, I played every sport possible. At age 6, I began playing football, mainly because my older brother was playing in the town’s youth league. I started as a running back my first couple years playing, then became a quarterback at age 8 and stayed at that position ever since. I played all sports, but football became my favorite because of the intense physical and mental challenges it offers as well as the many team focused aspects that the game teaches so well. 

2. What was your experience playing in the Ivy League?

I went to Dartmouth College because of many reasons. First and foremost was to get a great education. Athletically, I wanted a place where I could participate in both football and track and field and Dartmouth not only allowed, but encouraged many of their athletes to play multiple sports. My experience on the football field at Dartmouth was great. The Ivy League, despite the perception, is an incredibly competitive brand of football with very talented players. Of course, winning league titles during my time made the experience extra special.   

3. Was it a tough transition to the NFL?

The NFL game is played so much faster than at any level of college football. For me, I was always able to process information very quickly, so I was able to transition my game on the field quick. The hardest thing for me was getting my opportunity to perform and climb the ranks. It took a long time and lots of persistence, but I finally got an opportunity to compete for a starting job six years after graduating college and made the most of it when I took over the starting job in Miami in 2000.

4. You took off with the Dolphins; why did you find so much success in Miami?

I had learned so much from many coaches and teammates I played with prior to joining the Dolphins and when I finally got my opportunity to prove myself with Miami, I felt I was extremely prepared to take advantage of that opportunity. Coach Wannstedt believed in me as his starter and I quickly earned the respect of my teammates in the locker room and on the field. 

5. What have you been doing since your NFL days?

I became involved in a few entrepreneurial pursuits, including owning and operating a minor league basketball team, before finally settling into my family’s business of running summer and sports camps along with my older brother Scott.

6. Tell us about Camp Brookwood.

The Sports Academy at Brookwood Camps is a summer sleep-away camp which combines the best of a traditional camp with the best features of a sports camp. We are bringing in world-class instructors no other traditional camp can attract to teach our campers in a number of different sports and activities while also offering the camaraderie and fun activities a traditional camp offers. Campers can learn football from former professional players, baseball from Leo Mazzone (former Atlanta Braves pitching coach), soccer from instructors who work with Manchester United’s Youth Development Program, basketball from two former Division I college coaches, and many more amazing instructors in tennis, dance, sports broadcasting and more. The best way to find out about our camp is to watch our videos on our website at www.brookwoodcamps.com/video

7. What was your Jewish involvement as a child?

I was raised as a Reform Jew and received bar mitzvah at Temple Avodah in Oceanside, NY. I remain very proud of my Jewish heritage today.

8. What is your favorite Jewish tradition?

My favorite tradition is spending Yom Kippur with family. While the fast can be a bit difficult, I enjoy spending time with family and feasting on a wonderful spread at sundown.

9. Who is the greatest defensive player you played against? Why?

The best defensive player I played against was Ray Lewis. He had all the physical tools to make every play on the field, whether blitz the QB, stuffing the run, or dropping into coverage. He also was incredibly instinctual and smart on the field which gave him the ability to get to the ball faster than any other linebacker I ever played against.

10. Manning or Brady? Why?

So hard to choose. Both are so smart and in command of the game. If I had to choose, I would pick Brady based on the overall battles we had in Miami against him. Throughout his career he has shown an ability to keep his offense at an elite level despite the fact that so many of his offensive teammates have changed over the years.

11. Anything else you'd like to add?

In addition to running The Sports Academy at Brookwood Camps during the summer time, I also really enjoy working with and coaching football players throughout the fall, winter and spring at the many passing clinics and training session I run through my Prime Time Sports Camp brand (www.primetimecamps.com). I am currently coaching up a few college players trying to make the jump to the pro level as well as many youth and high school players in my weekly clinics. Coaching these guys and watching them go on to success on and off the field has given me some great pleasures.  

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A Host of Oscar Advice

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02/26/2015

A Host of Oscar Advice photo

I have watched the Oscars since I was a kid, with my mother as a guide. She was the one who taught me how a movie wins because other nominees split the vote, and explained why certain people win or not regardless of how well they acted in a particular movie (e.g. this man is very old and this is his last chance; people thought this woman should have won many times so this is a make-good award, etc.).

And I have seen many hosts — Billy Crystal being the best, of course. Well, having Neil Patrick Harris disrobe in front of billions just to get a laugh made me think the Oscars jumped the proverbial shark this year. Harris already did the Tonys and had to step it up for the Oscars, but what’s left for the Grammys or Emmys? So here are my humble suggestions for next year and beyond, regarding future hosts.

The Duo Oscars
Most Oscars are presented by a man and a woman who have nothing to do with each other. Well, in these Oscars, presenters would be duos — male/female, male/male or female/female— who have acted in at least three movies together. Tribute could be paid to bygone onscreen couples or duos. And for the “In Memoriam” section, the presenters would be those like Dan Aykroyd and Jerry Lewis who have survived their long-time showbiz partners. Musical numbers would be performed by well-established duo acts like Hall & Oates or Simon & Garfunkel.

The Family Oscars
Taking further the idea that presenters should be somehow connected, in this version, the presenters would be actually related! They would be parent-child pairs, like Kirk and Michael Douglas, or siblings, like Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal … or husband-wife couples, like Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. The musical numbers would be performed by family acts like Heart or Van Halen.

The “Stop Confusing Us” Oscars
Certain performers are confused by the general public. Well, here’s Hollywood’s chance to set us straight. One presenter pair would be Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton. Another could be Emma Watson and Emma Stone, or Ellen Burstyn and Ellen Barkin. And not just those whose names are confused, but look-alikes, or act-alike pairs like Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnon. Music would be performed by other confuse-ables, like a duet with Jeff Daniels and Jeff Bridges.

The Stupid Star Tricks Oscars
Remember the Stupid Pet Tricks shtick on David Letterman? So for the Oscars, have the presenters come out and show us some non-acting-related stunt they can do, like juggle or yodel. When Jack Palance did one-armed push-ups, it made Oscar history. Also, the Golden Globes have been stealing the Oscar spotlight with their irreverence, so this could be Oscar’s way to corner the viral-video market for a week instead. So many actors have side bands, it would be easy to find five to do the musical numbers.

The Star Trek Oscars
William Shatner and Patrick Stewart, of course, would co-host. The casts of all five series would serve as presenters. And, despite what Shatner said on Saturday Night Live — “It’s just a TV show!”— Star Trek is also one of the longest-running film franchises ever. So those who have been in any of the 12 Star Trek films, going back to 1979, could also present. (I suppose a Star Wars Oscars would also be possible, if they could find enough women in those casts to present).

The Kevin Oscars
The hosts should be Kevin Kline and Kevin Spacey, since they can both sing and the opener requires that. Presenters should include: Kevin Costner, Kevin Pollack, Kevin Bacon, Kevin Nealon, Kevin “Hercules” Sorbo … with Kevin McHale being one of the musical performers (he’s Artie from Glee). Every time a Kevin comes out to present, Spacey and Kline should interrupt him with warm greetings of “Kevin!” and walk over to for a round of introductions: “Hi! I’m Kevin.” “Kevin, this is Kevin.” “Nice to meet you, Kevin; have you met Kevin?”

The Eddie Murphy Oscars
Murphy was supposed to host in 2012 but stepped down because of something impolite a friend of his, who was supposed to produce the show, said. But Eddie should be asked again. There was nothing he did, personally, to disqualify him, and he should not be punished for sticking with a friend. Oscar should ask him to host again.

Other solid hosts could be: Jay Leno (let loose, he can be biting), Jim Carrey, Sandra Bernhard, Jimmy Fallon, Tiny Fey, Seth Meyers, Amy Schumer, Patton Oswalt, Kristen Wiig, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell … or Mel Brooks, why not. Hey, he’s only 88!                      

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The Ugly Side of Competitiveness

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02/27/2015

The Ugly Side of Competitiveness photo

By nature, I’ve never been a competitive person. In fact, people who are competitive make me nervous. Whenever the tense aura of competition seeps its way in, I’m usually the first in the group to silently retreat.

When I lived in Argentina during the past several months, one thing that surprised me was the relations between Argentine women. The women I would see ordering wine at a restaurant or waiting around for the bus seemed confident and self-assured, lounging comfortably in matching 5-inch platform heels and generously giving each other kisses on the cheek. They seemed to lack a competitive streak that often characterizes female relations in the States.

For instance, at Centro Hebreo Iona, a Jewish primary school in Buenos Aires where I was teaching, the girls in fifth grade were no older than 10, but every time I’d walk into the classroom, they’d huddle excitedly around, telling me not about themselves, but instead about each other.

“Go ahead, Cami!” little Romina would insist, nodding persistently at her friend. “Show Jessica your cartwheels!”

Camila would blush at first and politely decline, but within minutes she’d be doing gymnastics around the room at the insistence of her friends.

As proud as I was of the fifth graders for their maturity, it also made me realize what I lack in the interactions with my own friends. I may not be madly competitive, but I’m still plagued with the standard vices of jealousy or pride. How often do I praise their accomplishments? When do I encourage them to show off what they’re really good at?

Sure, competitiveness has its benefits, but when competition turns ugly, it often makes one do ugly things.

A couple years ago, public relations executive Justine Sacco was relaxing at JFK Airport, killing time before her flight to South Africa. Bored, she scrolled through her Twitter feed and decided to post: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS! Just kidding, I’m white!”

She thought it was clever. The rest of the world thought it racist.

By the time her plane landed 24 hours later, Justine was not only disgraced and fired from her job, but also publicly sneered at on an international scale. Her Tweet had gone viral, and she had transformed from a relatively obscure New Yorker to the global epitome of white privilege and ignorance.

One question that comes to mind is: Who circulated this Tweet? Justine had fewer than 200 followers, barely a touch in the vast world of social media. How did her Tweet, tucked into the discrete shadows of Twitter, suddenly burst into the spotlight?

It was a writer for Gawker Media, one of her followers, who was delighted to catch a PR pro in this awful fumble. He not only reposted her tweet to his 15,000 followers, but also continued to bully her for months after the incident. Was he just a bystander, eager to fight against racism online? Or was he simply an opportunist, grasping at the chance to topple a professionally successful woman in a similar field?

What about the hordes of Twitter followers, who felt the need to vilify Justine so publicly? Wouldn’t it achieve their purposes better to simply message her privately, and explain their outrage to her that way? Or did these Twitter mobs attack Justine just to show off how unlike her they themselves were?

In a similar move, when Patricia Arquette received an Oscar for Supporting Actress in Boyhood last weekend, she launched into a speech calling for wage equality for women. Backstage, she further expanded on her comments, and made several unfortunate remarks, including a plea for “gay people and all the people of color that we've all fought for to fight for us now.”

There are several options of how to respond at play here. One would be to deride Arquette as a detractor of intersectional feminism; another is to acknowledge that while she misspoke afterward, she also made several important points during her speech, and then point out that if there is any confusion about whom “feminism” encapsulates, then here it is: it’s all women.

Correcting Arquette is helpful and necessary — viciously attacking her is not. Yet many articles did exactly that. Does making a public mockery of others actually help anybody? Wouldn’t it be more helpful to teach others (privately) why they are mistaken, or how they misspoke? Isn’t this public mockery just … self-serving?

In Judaism, pride is regarded as a very serious vice. In fact, the Talmud goes as far as to claim that “God and the proud man cannot reside together in the same world.” Understanding that there is a larger plan, outside of yourself and your own world, is key to being humble. Making a public mockery of someone else’s misstep isn’t making progress — it’s simply a way to enhance your own pride in knowing that it wasn’t you who made the offensive comment.

In the case of Patricia Arquette, several feminists turned on her, decrying her as the epitome of what she was trying to fight against. Instead of correcting Patricia, her critics simply blasted her and placed themselves on a higher pedestal.

Did this sort of competitiveness among women help feminism? I shouldn’t think so. If the girls at Iona are any sort of example, it’s working together and encouraging one another that leads to progress. The other, the sort of prideful behavior of angry Twitter mobs, helps nobody, least of all the causes we’re all supposedly fighting for.

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The Write Goal

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02/25/2015

The Write Goal photo

Resolutions come and go, but at the start of 2015, I side-stepped my traditional resolutions for a straight-up GOAL – an enormous yet startlingly simple goal to guide my way through 2015; something to hang my hat on whilst wading through my 28th year. Mixed metaphors aside, I promised myself 2015 would be the year dedicated to “Writing More.”

“Writing more” means, “Write every day,” “Write something I love,” “Write something different than anything I've attempted before” – the list goes on.

So far I'm making good on this admittedly attainable, yet daunting task. I visit my digital archive of unfinished Google Doc jottings and half-stories with a purposeful frequency. It contains nothing overly significant, but working little by little on fine-tuning whatever skills I keep in my creative writing arsenal. In dedicating myself to this sort of goal, I thought it important to look outward in order to stay motivated and you know, not give up. So, I joined a writing group; I started volunteering at a creative writing non-profit; I continued to read voraciously about writers, writing, how to write, how not to write ... you get where I'm going.

The writing group is new for me and I find it incredibly helpful. I've invested hours in National Novel Writing Month only to come up short, but not without a few thousand words, a beginning of sorts. I asked myself, “What's missing?” Perhaps I'm lazy (likely true). Maybe I'm busy, maybe I lack focus; maybe I'm prone to over-thinking, obsessing over those 50,000 perfect words. Attending this small writing group on the North Side the past few weeks clued me into a couple of ideas quickly. Don't fight it, write it – no one is perfect, so why be so ridiculously arrogant to believe that any 50,000 words I ever churn out will be anything more than a quirky, evolving, imperfect work-in-progress? That, and writing in the company of other like-minded, spirited individuals makes the solitary act of mining one's brain for words, worlds and characters far less lonely of an endeavor.

At the tail end of 2014, I signed up to volunteer at 826CHI, the Chicago satellite of the national youth literacy non-profit/writing and tutoring center/publishing house 826Valencia. Founded by one of my favorite authors, Dave Eggers, I wanted to see what it was all about. This place is the real deal. It's the warmest space, complete with massive bookshelves, student work on display in every corner, even a huge wall you can WRITE ON! (Dry-erase board paint is an incredible invention.) Words do not do 826CHI justice, but I've learned so much about writing from taking time to craft poetry and stories with students of all ages in this Wicker Park oasis. This past weekend, myself and the other volunteers witnessed fourth and fifth graders write poems inspired by a musical piece, choreograph a dance based on the emotions of their writing, and perform for their parents. I am so grateful for the opportunity to play even the smallest part in some of the magic created at this place.

It's not a secret that a better reader makes for a better writer, and I'm hoping what I'm reading lately  helps to write with more pizzazz, truth, sophistication, heart, etc. If you are looking for a great book about why writers write, why writers read, why writers are the way they are, peruse www.brainpickings.org. Maria Popova's curated corner of the Internet is nothing short of stunning. Read any post and find a new book to pick up from the library. It's that simple. Over the seemingly endless expanse of the Internet, there is no shortage of brilliant literary-minded websites, filled to the brim with masterful suggestions, reading lists, commentary – easy access to whatever your little corner of the world might be. I'm currently enjoying Ten Years in the Tub by Nick Hornby, a compendium of 10 years worth of columns featured in The Believer magazine. The monthly column highlights everything he read in any given month, brought to life by his wonderfully accessible commentary. Hornby is a delight. The columns are pithy, hopeful, wonderfully funny and packed with a lifetime's worth of book suggestions.

Here's hoping that a GOAL has more staying power than a resolution ... and to spring being just around the corner.  

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Moroccan Chicken

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02/24/2015

Moroccan Chicken photo 1

Sometimes, people misconstrue the terms healthy cooking or clean eating with “flavorless” and “lackluster.” But it does not have to be this way. And my cooking certainly never is. It is a rare day in my house that we do not eat healthily. Even our late night snacks (plate fulls of lean nitrate free turkey breast and tomato and cuke slices) tend to be quite delicious and healthy.

Let’s be honest, it’s tough to stay healthy and eat clean if your food tastes like overly processed cardboard. So I like to keep things spicy and exciting in our meal plans. Like all moms nowadays I do not have all the time in the world to cook anymore (sad…so very sad.) I do, however, have some pretty great standard recipes that I can always go back to and whip up in no time.

Initially my mother- in-law made this dish. (Try and imagine this with the best Russian accent) “Heere Mila trrry this. It iz new dish I saw on Russian televizion. Verry oold recipe, but very seeemple and delicious. They call it Morooocon chicken.” I tasted it. And smiled. It’s my mother-in-law…I am not upsetting her. I tasted sweetness and stringy chicken and that was it. I so wanted to like it. But it was lackluster. She is an amazing cook, but this for some reason was not hitting the spot. I am thinking it was just a cruddy recipe. It was decent…but it lacked some…SPARKLE. And I…well my dear friends…I have lots of sparkles.

I decided to truly make this a Moroccan style chicken, concentrating on all the fragrant spices of the region. Moroccan food has a great deal of bright flavors and intoxicating spices. I also wanted this to be something that I can whip up on a weeknight when I did not have much time. After a few tries and adjusting the spices and the cooking times I ended up with a dish that I am proud to call Moroccan. It has all the gorgeous colors and flavors to make our tummies rumble and our eyes gleam.

Being the wonderful daughter in law that I am, I brought it over for my MIL to try and she was flattered that I based my recipe on hers (based being the operative word here). She was instantly a fan and asked for the recipe. I told her to check the blog :)

NEWSFLASH: THIS IS VERY FREEZER FRIENDLY!

Moroccan Chicken photo 2

Moroccan Chicken

Ingredients

2 Pounds of Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs or Chicken Breast; Cut into Large Pieces
¾ Cup Dried Apricots, Roughly Sliced
¾ Cup Dried Prunes, Roughly Sliced
1 Spanish Onion, Diced
3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, Roughly Chopped
Juice of One Lime
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 One-Inch Piece of Ginger, Minced
1 Tablespoon Smokey Paprika
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
⅛ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1.5 Tablespoons Turmeric; The turmeric gives this dish its distinct yellow color
½ Teaspoon Sumac (optional)
½ Tablespoon Salt
1 Tsp Pepper
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 450-degrees and oil up a medium sized casserole dish. Feel free to use a foil pan for easier cleanup.

We are going to start out with some chicken breast and boneless chicken thigh pieces cut up into large bite size pieces.

Place those pieces into your casserole pan (don't mind me, I apparently did not mind doing dishes and used a bowl instead.). Add you turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, minced ginger, minced garlic, salt, pepper, lime juice, balsamic vinegar and cilantro.

Toss and combine and let stand for at least 15-20 minutes or even overnight.

In the meantime, slice up some dried prunes and apricots. You do not need to get fancy. Just slice them up so they are similar in size.

Dice up an onion into medium dice.

Place about 1 tbsp of olive oil into a large pan and add in your onions. Go ahead and let the get nice and sweaty for about 3 minutes.

Now add in the sliced dried fruit, salt and pepper and a cup of water. This is going to do two things. 1. it will hydrate the fruit so they get beautiful and plump. And two it will make the sugars come out of the onions, allowing for an easier and faster caramalization. (note: I will be doing a demo soon on how to easily caramelize onions.)

Moroccan Chicken photo 3

Allow this mixture to boil until all the water is boiled out and the water has evaporated completely.

Moroccan Chicken photo 4

Now, add this mixture to your marinading chicken. Toss to combine, careful as the mixture is hot (you can of course cool the mixture, but I don't have that sort of time).

Place into the oven and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is tender.

Garnish with some extra cilantro. I served this up with my favorite lemon infused couscous and it was a hit.

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Three tips for managing and prioritizing your time each day

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02/23/2015

Three tips for managing and prioritizing your time each day photo

When I share with people how much I am doing, they often ask how I get it all done. I am a father and a husband and spend quality time with my family. I stay home from work with my son two days each week, probably my biggest job. I volunteer with several organizations around DC. I grow my own coaching business, 100 Reasons to Win, which includes coaching individuals, preparing presentations for existing clients and having meetings with potential new clients. I run a meeting every week for Weight Watchers. I travel regularly for work and for fun. I blog for Oy!Chicago.

It is a lot to manage, and I would be lying if said that I don’t get behind on a couple of things here or there. However, these three tips have helped me to deliver the most important projects on time, especially when it really mattered. By the way, I purposely chose three because if you are already struggling with time management, you really don’t have time to comb through a list that is much larger than that. Practice these three first because they are easy to implement and will make an immediate impact. After that, you can schedule some time to contact me for more help.

Have a to-do list but really only commit to three things

If you are “To-Do Lister” and love to make yourself long lists for the day, keep doing it. If you never write out a list, start doing it. Find a system that works well for you; keep it on a notebook; keep it on a sticky note; keep it on a whiteboard; write it on your hand; yep- there’s even an app for lists. Everyone will have a different way that works for them. Everyone will also struggle to finish every task, every day.

My advice for each morning is to choose the three tasks from your list that must be completed that day. Pick the three items, and only three, that you know will result in the most serious consequences, if not completed by day’s end. Anyone can start and finish at least three items on a list. If you get to more than that, awesome, but you always know the most important items will be crossed off the list. If you finish three things each and every day, you’ll have 21 things done each week and 84 tasks brought to completion each month. That’s a productive month that only took a three per day commitment.

Calendar everything

You are staring at the computer, working on an important spreadsheet for a conference presentation later in the week. Carrie chats you and asks, “Can we meet to discuss the Stamper account?” You don’t really love spreadsheets and Carrie is just so much more fun to be around than Excel. This would be a perfect excuse to put that spreadsheet off for later.

Wait a minute- put it off and then what? Find yourself staying up late in your hotel room the night before you present crunching numbers for that blasted spreadsheet. Now you show up for the presentation, tired, groggy and wishing you had started to work on that spreadsheet much earlier. All of this so you could hang out with Carrie!

Or you could take a breath and try this- switch your calendar to fifteen minute increments. Put all of your important tasks right into your calendar. It will remind you to get them done and it will remind you not to overschedule yourself. As for Carrie, how about this instead, so you don’t abandon the time you intentionally set aside to get your work done:

“Actually, I am on a deadline and trying to finish up something else right now. Would tomorrow morning at 10:00 work for you, or can we check in first thing next week when I am back from the conference?”

Be realistic when setting a deadline

It’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver. I know the feeling, though. A request comes in from your boss or customer. They ask you how long before you can get that report updated, that project completed, that presentation ready to go. You feel the pressure to tell them what you think they want to hear. You don’t want to let them down before you even had a chance to get started.

“I’ll get that to you right away,”  

“It should all be ready by C.O.B.,”

“It will be waiting on your desk first thing in the morning,”

Will it? Is it realistic to get all of that done in that amount of time? When a deadline hasn’t been imposed on you by someone else, why not give yourself that extra hour, day or even weekend to put on those finishing touches? Why not pause before blurting out the first offer that comes to mind? You might even consider adding more time to give yourself a buffer if/when something more pressing pops up. Nobody will be mad if you get it done early, but it will be hard for them to forget if you consistently turn things in late.

Here are a few alternative responses that may help set you up for success:

“It will be a challenge to get to that today. Will tomorrow work for you?”

“I can have that to you by Monday. Will that work for you?”

“This week is looking really full right now. If I get it to you next week, will that give you enough time to review it?”

With that, I am crossing this article off my to-do list. In case you are wondering, it was on my calendar and it was on my must do for today. I just have two more to go and plenty of time left to get them done.

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60 and Magnificent

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02/20/2015

60 and Magnificent photo

“Brush your teeth.”

Yes mom.

“Call me when you get there.”

Yes mom.

“Do you think it’s a good idea to go out tonight with a cold?”

Probably not …

Where would we be without our moms? I, for one, would have questionable oral hygiene and still be suffering from a cold. As some of you know, my wonderful father turned the big 6-0 in January. Well, just around the corner, my mom had her 60th birthday in early February.

Her birthday was a blast. We dined at Formento’s, which is a yummy Italian restaurant in the West Loop. (If you go there, get the Timpano Formento. It was delicious!)  At the end of the evening we feasted on a birthday cake that was a replica of a Hermes Birkin bag – very fitting for my mother who’s a fashionista.

Because of this momentous birthday, (and because Dad got his own post) I wanted to highlight what I love about my mom:  

Her endless  support

I’m lucky to have a mother who has stuck by my side through all my questionable and outlandish decisions. Although she hasn’t agreed with all my life decisions, she’s always made it clear through her actions that she’ll love me no matter what. What more could you ask of a mom?

Kindness

I rarely ever hear my mom talk badly about anyone or anything. If a movie receives a 20% on Rotten Tomatoes and is deemed terrible by the rest of society, she’ll still say it was a very good film. I appreciate her positive energy because it’s refreshing. We live in a world that’s filled with negative opinions about everything, so it’s nice to be in company you know will always be kind.

Wisdom and intelligence

My mom is a beautiful woman, but what makes her most spectacular is that she’s extremely smart. Though she watches more reality television shows than her 24-year-old daughter, she knows what’s going on in the world because she watches the news and reads newspapers. I admire that she can balance her interests in popular culture and hard news.

I’m only one of the many who is drawn to my mom for her loving kindness, and she has deserved this month-long 60th birthday celebration. Happy birthday, Mom, and to many more!    

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