Life – Happy Birthday, Baby

My baby turns 27 today… 27! How is that possible? I’m only 48! She is, and always will be, called “The Baby”. And she is the most amazing adult a mom could ask for!

Tiffany was born on September 11, 1985 by planned cesarean section. Early in my pregnancy I was diagnosed with a Class IV pap smear which back then was considered cancer of the cervix in situ (meaning just there). It was recommended at the time that I terminate the pregnancy and receive treatment. I didn’t give that a second thought. I knew in my heart that she was sent to me for a reason. So on with the pregnancy we went.

I was hospitalized several times during the pregnancy, but loved every minute of it. Tiff was due on Friday the 13th and I wouldn’t have minded having her that day, as 13 is my favorite number… but Dr. Holder said he didn’t want me to risk giving birth normally and scheduled me for the 11th. In addition to having Tiffany delivered by c/section I also had a hysterectomy, as that was the only treatment option available at the time. It was a rough recovery period and I am ever so grateful to my mom and to my ex-mother-in-law Pat for their help while I recovered. Pat came to Florida from West Virginia for a couple of weeks and stayed with us… my mom lived next door!

Tiffany has grown into an amazing woman. She’s been married for 8 years and has blessed me with 4 gorgeous grandchildren!

halloween kids

Sydnie (8), Jose (2), Shane (6) and Sofia (4)… this was halloween a couple years ago.

All 4 of her babies were born at home and into my hands. I feel so fortunate that she trusted me with that.

She is now pregnant with surrogate twins. She is amazingly selfless. She works hard assisting teenagers with disabilities and raising her brood. I’m so lucky to be her mom!

Happy Birthday, Baby… I love you and can’t wait to see you in 9 days!

Tiffany and Jenni 1992 West Virginia

Tiff and me after Sofia’s birth.

Tiffany and Sydnie with Sofia who is 1 day old.

Me with Tiffany… 2009, pregnant with Jose

water birth, waterbirth

2009 the moment Jose was born.






Dukan – Celebration Sunday & Mountain Hike

Sunday was Consolidation Day 114 of 500.
Today’s Weight: 145
Goal Weight: 155

Sunday is my Celebration Sunday day on Dukan. When you enter the third phase of Dukan, the Consolidation Phase, you get one celebration meal a week. You can eat whatever you want. This is in the first half of Consolidation (mine is 500 days long and the rule applies until I hit day 250). In the second half you can have 2 celebration meals a week.

I’ve chosen to remain wheat, gluten and sugar free, so my celebration meals usually include something like french fries (i’m not eating white potatoes) or lots of fruit! That was the case today.

I started the morning out with a 2 egg omelet with onion, asparagus and garlic. I then went on a 5.59 km mountain hike with my friend Tatiana. This is the trail that I try to hike every Sunday morning when I’m in Hangzhou. I have to say that during yesterday’s hike up I realized that I was really going to miss this part of living in China. Moving back to Florida (which I love more than any place in the world) won’t include mountain hiking!

runkeeper, mountain hike

Burned off breakfast and then some!

runkeeper, mountain hike, hangzhou, china

286 meter = 938 feet… not a bad climb 🙂

mountain hike, hangzhou, china

mountain hike, hangzhou, china


mountain hike, west lake, hangzhou, china

And I wore shorts… in public. You can see West Lake in the background. It’s a beautiful view from the top of this mountain!

And this was my reward… a fruit salad for lunch, along with a iced cafe latte with Splenda and a TON of water… like 2 liters.

fruit salad, hangzhou, china

I shared this delicious fruit platter with Tatiana. So fresh and cool after a long hike in the heat.

My driver Jerry met us at the restaurant and took us to the wet market. I’m going to have to go back and get pictures… I’m always so busy picking out my stuff that I don’t pull out the iPhone and take pics! The wet market has the freshest veggies, fruits, meats and live poultry and fish to choose from. I get my veggies, pork and beef there. The stands that I purchase my pork and beef from both have range free farms. The meat is butchered the day before and I can pick my cuts. Tatiana picked out a 1/2 kilo of live jumbo shrimp to make us a late afternoon snack.

We got home, I separated out all the meat and spent time reading for a while. Around 4 Tatiana simmered the shrimp with fresh ginger, sea salt and pepper corns. I made a wasabi & tamari mix and we had some yummy shrimp!!!

Didn’t have dinner, as I was stuffed. I had a couple of bites of cheese and a handful of almonds to round out my evening.

What did you do on Sunday? Were you active?





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!


Results ARE typical – Dukan Diet

Dukan Diet – Consolidation Phase – Day 49

Today’s Weight: 148 lbs/67.27 kg
Goal Weight: 155 lbs/70.5 kg
Weight loss Total: Well… the starting weight was 255 lb/115 kg!

This morning, it’s Friday morning here in Hangzhou, China, I woke up to an email from the Dukan Diet web site. They had posted my success story on their web page. I am honored!  Here’s the link Sandi B. Success Story.

I want people to know that with the Dukan Diet RESULTS ARE TYPICAL. They really are. If you follow the principles outlined by Dr. Dukan in his book you WILL lose weight, meet your goals AND keep it off. I bought my book in Abu Dhabi at the urging of my friend Lucy, thank you Lucy! You can buy the book here iTunes or here Amazon. If you are thinking of following the Dukan Diet I strongly recommend that you read the book from cover to cover. I met Dr. Dukan’s True Weight 3 days after he told me I would… In other words, 8 months after putting my data into the Dukan site, I hit my TW 3 days after he said I would. Dr. Dukan knows what he is talking about!

The other thing that made me successful on this diet were following the blogs of Charlotte and Moonday and Mel and many others who share their ups and downs and their over and outs… LOL. There are many, many other blogs that I follow now (which reminds me I need to update that blog roll!). Constance at Becoming She Hulk has also lost more than 100 pounds and is keeping it off… great advise at her blog about Dukan, body building and more. She has been a true inspiration to me!

So go on over and read my success story… I’m so excited about it! I’ll blog later about the meals I’ve been eating in Consolidation and I promise I’ll get back to daily blogging about Dukan and running. I woke up this morning FINALLY feeling non-jet lagged! 🙂

If this is your first visit to my blog… welcome. Take a seat and stay awhile. For those of you that have been on this ride with me for a while… thank you 🙂

And the proof is in the pictures….


With mom in Dubai. Jan 2011

August 2011… 2 weeks before I started Dukan.

August 2011

I think you get the picture!


Hiking in April… almost there!

Teaching Emergency Birth skills class – June 2012

With Bernadette – June 2012

And finally… dinner out with great friends a few weeks ago…

Awesome friends 🙂

RESULTS.ARE.TYPICAL… they really can be!



DAY 3 – 60 Day Photo Challenge

Day 03 – A picture of the cast from your favorite show.


I loved this show. Hell, I’m emotional writing this and the show ended 7 years ago! I loved Andy Sipowitz, played by Dennis Franz. I can’t tell you how many tears of joy and sadness I shed over the course of 12 years.

Ironically, I was here in China on March 1, 2005, when the final episode aired. I was doing a private home birth in Hong Kong. A friend of mine recorded it on her VCR for me. I still have the tape! Actually I have the entire series on DVD 😀

Great show, wonderful cast… I miss Andy!

Weekly Photo Challenge – Hands

This photo was taken in Pennapiedimonte, Italy. The hands on the clock are the same ones that were there when my great-grandfather, Antonio Santoleri married his bride Sofia DiPlacido in this church in 1898. The face of the clock was changed in 1963, the year I was born. The clock gongs every 15 minutes, so wherever you are in the village, you know what time it is without looking at a watch. The priest at the church showed my son Nick and I the church record of their marriage, along with the births of many of their children. we also stayed in their home with a cousin from the DiPlacido side of the family, Domenico. The family resemblance was stunning!