Goodbye 40’s my old friend ♫

Well…. this decade was a roller coaster, for sure! Tomorrow at 11:11 p.m. I hit FANTABULOUS FIFTY! I’m super excited about this milestone.

My 40’s were crazy. Love, loss, travel (lots and lots), delivering babies on every continent except Antarctica, 3 of those years living in the Middle East and another whole year living in China.

Dukan weight loss, learned to run, 5Ks, new friends, renewed friendships, ended friendships. Grandbabies!!! 6 of them born in my 40’s!!!

I had a fabulous party on Saturday night. I am so blessed with amazing family and friends in my life…

Cynda and Me

Cynda and Me


Teri and Natalie

Teri and Natalie

Me, Nick and my Mom

Me, Nick and my Mom

Mom, Me, Hope and Tiffany

Mom, Me, Hope and Tiffany

Jenny, Eric and Aydan

Jenny, Eric and Aydan

Mom, Me and Lisa... My mom is a hoot!

Mom, Me and Lisa… My mom is a hoot!

Denny serenading us!

Denny serenading us!

The gang!

The gang!

Me and My 3 and the littlest grandbaby, Steele.

Me and My 3 and the littlest grandbaby, Steele.

I’m truly blessed and can’t wait to see what the next decade has in store for me.

Bring it on, 50!!!


Radio Show Tonight

I have the opportunity to be a guest on the Maternally Yours radio show tonight. I am super excited. I am a guest with two of my heroes, Robin Lim (who won the CNN Hero of the Year award in 2011) and Robbie Davis-Floyd, who’s research and writings has led to an awakening among many people… midwives, doctors, women. Her work is important. I feel humbled to be invited to be on a show with them.

I invite you to listen in… it took me 3 days to decide to share this post, because to be honest, I’m nervous as ALL GET OUT about being on the radio. But I am prepared 🙂

Here’s the link:  The directions for hearing the show are listed there. The show begins at 6:00 p.m. EST.

Here I am… rockin’ my inner Ghandi… Praying for peace and wisdom… Hope to see you there!



Self Love Exercises – Part 8

From the Feel Good Tribe
8. Don’t be afraid to change direction if you realize something isn’t working out for you anymore.

Wow… this is a hard one for many of us. Often times we stay where we are because it’s just easier, or we feel committed, or we have kids, or or or.

I had to do this last year when I was MISERABLE in Al Ain working for a crazy person. I SO, SO, SO wanted to stay in the UAE and Abu Dhabi and I hung in there as long as I possibly could and I ate away my misery and put on 25 pounds in 6 months on my already obese frame. It was awful… comfort eating KFC chicken AND McD’s french fries EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. Food I actually rarely ate in the first place!

But sometimes you need to bite the bullet and make a change for the positive. There were a few midwives that I worked with in Abu Dhabi who were so miserable that no one wanted to be around them… they complained about work and their home life constantly (this was at my first job there, the one that I really loved). I said to one of them one day, “if you are so miserable, why do you stay?”… she is still there… going on 8 miserable years, away from her family and home country… odd.

I am making a HUGE change… going home after living abroad for 4 years AND changing vocations… from midwife to health and fitness focus. It’s a big step. A scary step, but I’m doing it unafraid, because I know I can accomplish anything I set my mind to!


A quote from a post a couple of years ago (warning, grab the tissues if you read the post!). The quote is from my dad, who came to me in a dream my first night walking the Camino de Santiago in 2010:
“Sandi, sometimes going right isn´t always the right way to go”. ~ Thomas Sandelier, II

Here’s a pic from that day:

Camino, Camino de Santiago, The Way

I would love to see how much easier it would be to do this walk without that extra 100 pounds!!! 🙂

Letting Go

More wise words from Marc and Angel.

The past can steal your present if you let it. – You can spend hours, days, weeks, months, or even years sitting alone in a dark room, over-analyzing a situation from the past, trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve or should’ve happened.  Or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and walk out the front door into the sunlight to get some fresh air.

Wise words, but OH SO HARD to do. There are many, many things that I have easily let go of… toxic friends, toxic work relationships, toxic people in general, but the one thing I am still having a hard time letting go of is the resentment I have from leaving Abu Dhabi last year due to working with a sociopath. Beating myself up for quitting a perfectly good job at a wonderful hospital (and turning down a promotion!) to try something different, start a maternity unit that was going to offer water birth for the first time in the Middle East. I ended up working with someone who was truly sociopathic in her behavior. Scary at times, to be honest. Many of the upper level management, like myself, have left the job because of her.

So why can’t I get past it… almost a year later? I did some work with my friend Julia Murchison, the most amazing massage therapist in the world. She was doing myofascial massage and we were chatting away. While we were chatting away she began working on an area of my abdomen. I suddenly burst into tears. I was quite confused about all of the emotions that I was having at the moment, for no apparent reason (at least to me). She asked me what I was thinking about right at that moment and I was thinking about how much I missed working in Abu Dhabi… the place she was working on represents resentment and that is exactly how I was feeling at the time.

I don’t know how long I’ll hold on to this anger about leaving. I really loved it there. I loved the culture, the people, the life style and my friends. I learned SO much from the midwives that I worked with at the Corniche Hospital… I was the only American… my mates were from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, India, the Philippines, Pakistan and more. It was rich with culture, religion and birthing differently than I was use to. I miss it and I miss my friends that became like family.

I am going home, to Florida, in September. I am excited about it. I can’t wait to be back with my family and friends, but I will always have this little side of me that says, “What if”, about Abu Dhabi… my home away from home. I guess Julia has a LOT of work to do on me! 😀

I’m off to put on my “big girl panties” and get on with my day. I don’t regret leaving the pieces on the floor and walking away from the job I switched to. I am working towards being appreciative of the time that I did have there and the 1 year opportunity I’ve had working and living in China.

What do you have a hard time letting go of? If you’ve been successful at letting go, what is your secret?

Off to finish my work day!


Dukan – Emotional Eating


Emotional eating… Something most of us do at some point in our lives, but can easily get out of control. I emotional ate just now, for the first time since last August. It’s been an emotional few days. The 20th anniversary of my dads death, watching the first 11 episodes of Season 5 Grey’s Anatomy, topped off by my first headache in 11 months (I’m sure caused from crying… over both of the aforementioned things) and the cream on the cupcake? Hearing George Michael over the mall Muzak. Memories of my first birthday in Abu Dhabi flooded my memory. Oy!
So, I bought headache medicine (Bayer in the blue box), chased it with a double shot cafe latte and headed to the movie theater on the top floor and purchased a small container of popcorn. To make it even worse… It’s kettle corn! So sweet popcorn, yay!
It was good. I ain’t lying! And I feel better! Headache gone 🙂


Will I comfort feed again? Probably. Will I do it regularly? Nope. I love how I look and feel.

I will continue to eat good food, run 5 times a week and do yoga. I ran in Hong King yesterday morning, until a storm brought lightning! I love running in the rain, but not rain with lightning 🙂 Slow run since the ground was slick and I was being as careful as possible!


Want to end on a sweet note. My little baby from last week came in for a visit today…


Isn’t he a cutie?


Dukan – Day 236 Epic Fail day

Wednesday started out as a PP day.

Daily weight GAIN: 0.7 lb/0.3 kg
Total weight loss: 85.8 lb/39.91 kg

Oh, where to start… I’m probably being WAY harder on myself than I should!

Breakfast in my room: 2 boiled eggs
Lunch: A beautiful bowl of chicken and veggies, lovely presentation, but maybe 1 ounce of thinly sliced chicken, which being a PP day meant all I could have…


Those slivery, garlic looking things are from the lotus plant. I only ate the chicken.

I then taught a 90 minute child birth Ed class and a 60 minute staff development class. This pic is from the staff development class. The little old bitty with the word ‘LOVE’ over her head wouldn’t shut her pie hole , errr, wouldn’t let me get a word in edge wise when talking about water birth… I asked her, “exactly how many water births have YOU conducted” she said, “none and I will never”. I said, “that’s, OK because the patients prefer midwives to do their deliveries”… She didn’t speak another word 😀
I can always tell by body language who is there to learn… The midwives took pics of every slide and 2 of them recorded it. They asked questions for nearly 40 minutes afterwards!


I want to give a shout out to my amazing daughter, Tiffany LeAnn and her hubby, Joey. I use their very intimate pictures from Jose’s birth (with their permission) in my presentations. The 2nd PowerPoint I use is just pics from their birth with the song “I Can Only Imagine” playing. They may not know the words, but the music does its wonder and brings tears to most people’s eyes. Joey and Tiffany… You are contributing tremendously in educating the women and midwives of China in normal birth and water birth… Thank you SO much for allowing me to teach through your experience!

And then my epic fail… OK, epic is an exaggeration… LOL, but it felt epic! We went for Arabic food. Just being in the restaurant made me miss Abu Dhabi… I swear sometimes I miss Abu Dhabi more than home in the States! I’m actually tearing up as I write this… Anyway, the place is run by 2 Arabs a Lebanese guy and a Syrian guy and it was DAMN GOOD ARABIC FOOD!!! My intent was to only eat the Mixed Grill and extra Chicken Shish Taouk, but also had the Lamb Kofta smothered in a sesame sauce and fattoush and hummus. Too much food, but no wheat or sugar… BUT, the Tabbouleh was to DIE FOR… Seems innocuous, but their is bulgur in Tabbouleh. And Bulgur is a wheat product and wheat is like friggin’ HEROIN to me. Not to mention it makes my tummy bloat and hurt and causes lower GI stuff!
Here’s a pic of the dinner… It was glorious, alhamdilallah! Notice the star of the show is the heroin Tabbouleh.


So, I’m feeling groovy, happy, speaking Arabic with Mohammed our waiter, getting winks from the Syrian co-owner who sends over a heavenly tea pot of yummy mint tea, when it happens… He sends over THE DESSERT PLATE… Nope, not gonna do it, not gonna rmrmrmmaamrm… Sigh, sorry, had chocolate in my mouth… What was I saying?!? EPIC FAIL… And MOONDAY Continue reading

Thailand & Dukan Days 84 & 85

Ugh! I typed this yesterday and it didn’t save it…
Saturday weight loss: 0.4 lb/0.2 kg
Sunday weight loss: none
Total weight loss: 41.7 lb/19.0 kg

So, I’m going to summarize with pictures… But first, this is what I’m looking at this instant… It’s 648 am on Monday in Kuraburi, Thailand having coffee on the veranda off my room at the resort in the rain forest… Take a look:


🙂 Nice, huh?

We went on A two day community stay. So often we go on holiday (vacation) and hang on the beach, go to bars and see the “touristy” stuff, but we don’t see the real stuff. Well we did. We made soap with the Ladies cooperative, formed after the tsunami devastated their village, taking more than 60 lives, including 16 children who were in school at the time.


We went to the monkey reserve just behind our home stay house, where they rehab monkeys that were taken as pets, back into the rainforest.


We made thatched roof sections with the ladies co-op and had amazing, authentic food, some of which we helped prepare…it was an amazing 2 days!

Our sleeping accommodation.


Birds used for singing competitions.

We’re now back at the resort having early morning coffee. In a couple of hours we’ll be swept off to Elephant Hills Resort…. LIFE IS GOOD AND I AM GRATEFUL. More tomorrow if there is Internet!




What do you mean there are no addresses?

Argh! I’m on a war path this morning. Having a difficult morning at work and ordered food to be delivered from Chili’s at the Al Jimi Mall (yes, the same Chili’s that is in malls all over the U.S…. the orderly country I’m really missing this morning!). Anyway, we have NO ADDRESSES in this country. Yup… I know, I know… you’re saying, “What do you mean there are no addresses in your country”… but they really don’t have them.

All of your mail goes through a PO Box number that is assigned to your EMPLOYER.

So this is how the conversation went with Chili’s….
Me: Hi, I’d like to order food for delivery.
Them: OK, Mum (this is what the Filipinos call women), what would you like?
Me: A grilled chicken salad, dressing on side, no cheese.
Them: Great, Mum… what is your address.
Me: LAUGHING MY ASS OFF, SNORT, SNORT… breathe…. we don’t have addresses.
Them: Yeah, I know, Mum, I meant what is your location?
Me: Ah yes, my location… Cromwell Hospital, I am behind the Adnoc (gas station here), next to the Iranian mosque (there are hundreds, literally), just behind your  mall, about 3 blocks behind you.
Them: OK, Mum, I got it. Phone number? … I give it to them.

45 minutes later they call me, where you at? I tell them again, hold on, let me get someone who understands you, mum. OK… next guy, same thing, 3rd guy, what is your address? I LMAO once again… I say, somewhat sarcastically, how long have you lived here, you know we don’t have addresses! I give him explicit instructions, once again. Then… then… he says… WHAT IS YOUR PHONE NUMBER? What is my phone number??!?!?!?!? You CALLED ME! Argh !(*&$#(#(#&!!!

Anyway, food just came while writing this and of course, the Chicken Salad minus dairy products is wrong, so now I await the delivery and dream of a day that this 3rd world country with more money than they know what to do with, comes up with street addresses, so people could actually find you.



Travel – Local Wedding

I was invited by my Emirati friend, Rana, to a family wedding here in Abu Dhabi. I’ve heard so much about local weddings and I was very excited to be invited to one.

I’ve just come off 3 night shifts, so I woke up a little behind schedule today (apparently the snooze button only works a certain number of times on my iPhone!). So I didn’t get to have my make up and hair done professionally. But that’s OK… I’m lovely just the way I am 🙂

It took me about 30 minutes to decide which dress I was going to wear and ended up with a black & gray dress with my black leather boots and a black pashmina. I threw on a bit of mascara and lipstick and called for the local car service to come and pick me up. The parking situation here doesn’t allow you the luxury of taking your own car out when you are going to be back past 10 pm.

I arrived at Rana’s and the photo shoot was already in full swing. I was invited to have pictures done with Rana and with my baby Abdul Aziz… aka Azooza!

Around 8 pm we left for the Intercontinental Hotel for the “wedding”. Now, a wedding ceremony as we know it doesn’t occur. It has already happened. So, even though they call it a wedding, it’s really equivalent to our reception. The ballroom was GORGEOUS! Beautiful centerpieces with orchids and roses and really cool little take home gifts at each place setting. Once the ladies where in the ballroom, the abayas and sheilas come off and it’s time to dance and eat and visit and listen to LOUD music!

The dresses the women were wearing were unbelievable. Every color of the rainbow with tons of Swarovski crystals and other adornments. The hair was as big as the ladies in Hairspray and the makeup was beautiful, very vibrant and alive. There was loud Arabic music and the younger women and kids got up on the catwalk and danced to the music. It was a joy to see these women let loose and enjoy themselves. The kids really liked it. The food servers were constantly bringing out more finger food: stuffed grape leaves, kibbeh, hummous, arabic bread, chocolates.

At around 1130 pm it was time for the bride to make her appearance. She was gorgeous. Her white dress over the top! While she slowly walked the cat walk up to her throne, dinner was being served. Biriani rice (my favorite!), lamp chops (I’ve eaten more lamb in the 17 months I’ve been here than in the whole rest of my life!), pasta, shrimp curry and other yummy food. Poor bride didn’t eat, she was busy getting pictures taken with everyone.

Around 1230 there was a big rush to put on the abayas and sheilas because the men were coming! All the women covered their gorgeous dresses with their black abayas (adorned of course with bling) and covered their beautiful hairdos with their sheilas.

Then the men came in accompanying the groom. The bride covered in a white sheila and abaya, even covering her face while the grooms male family members were there. Again, lots of music and pictures and after about 1/2 hour the men left and only the groom stayed. Some of the women took off their abayas because the groom is a relative. Throughout this time various family members would throw money out to the crowd… the kids loved it!

We had yummy cake and arabic coffee and then the night was over. I had a great time. It was so wonderful to be invited into this family event and have the honor of experiencing a local wedding.

Here’s the one pic I got… it’s of Rana and me. Her husband Mohammad took the picture… Rana’s the one that got up early enough for hair and makeup! LOL

Dentistry and other stuff

Well, I had my 2nd visit at the dentist today. I can’t get my crown done until the ROOT CANAL that was supposedly done in Florida is redone. After having another xray done today, the dentist here found that there was “something” in my tooth canal, but it wasn’t what it was suppose to be.

So, she prodded and found COTTON PACKING! And a pocket of decay due to an infection that I’ve had at some point since the unfinished root canal, presumably from the cotton packing.

She has now referred me to the endodontist for completion of the root canal that wasn’t done properly in Port Salerno, then I’ll go back to her for my crown. I am not, needless to say, a happy camper. Thank GOD I have dental insurance here in the 3rd world, middle eastern country that I live in, that will pay 80% of the tab.

On a happier note… my 1300 calorie a day diet is going well. Health Factory is delivering 3 meals and 2 snacks each evening at around 7 pm. The food is gluten free (per my request) and organic! A bit pricey, but I don’t have to think, and that works well for me! Today’s menu:

Gluten free Bagel w/ Cream cheese, raw veggies and jasmine green tea.

Morning Snack:
Strawberries and Pineapple chunks

Coleslaw Salad and Seafood Pasta (gluten free)… it had shrimp, calamari and fish in it… YUM

Afternoon Snack:
Fresh Fruit Melody

Soba noodle salad dinner w/ peanut sauce

I am satisfied and not hungry. I also went on a 6.5 km walk this morning and did some weight training.

Countdown to Camino de Santiago… 10 weeks and 1 day!

I hope everyone is having a FABULOUS week!