May 12, 2010

A Rainy Day in May

Posted in Weather, Work tagged , , , at 7:49 am by Liliana

A Rainy Day in May

A Rainy Day in May

I woke up this morning to a cold, windy and rainy day. After a hot shower, I make a cup of coffee and prepare my favorite breakfast: a bowl of yogurt with strawberries and blackberries. Neither Sam, nor Nicole, has to go to school early, so we didn’t have our usual morning rush. It is nice to linger over the National Geographic magazine for a few minutes.

Mike (my oldest son) and his girlfriend Karen are leaving for a trip to the East Coast today, so I give them hugs and wish them a good trip. Mike has to decide where he wants to study law in the fall, so they are going to visit, meet people, make decisions and hopefully find an apartment. In August, Jeff and I will be helping them with the move.

I drive to work through torrents of rain. Along the way, I stop at a supermarket and buy a coffee cake and fresh fruit for our weekly departmental meeting. By the time I get back into the car, my hair is soaking wet.

I am usually at work before 8 am, and being a morning person, this is my favorite time of day. I am one of the earlier employees to arrive, and after refilling my coffee cup, I sit at my computer and do the most exacting tasks of the day. I can get more done at that quiet, early hour, than later, when things get busy and disrupted by many meetings.

At our department meeting, we go over the accomplishments of the past week, the goals for the next week, and discuss solutions for a list of projects.

At noon, I go to lunch with my friend Josh. Things have been very busy at RepairClinic lately, so we haven’t had a chance to catch up on happenings in our lives for a long time. We run to the car, and are again surprised by the coldness of the rain and fierceness of the wind. It seems like a good day for something hot and comforting. We go to a Middle Eastern restaurant and I order a cup of lentil soup, a hummus sandwich and a cup of tea. Josh orders a thin crust vegetarian pizza. And we talk. Josh tells me about his little girl, Esme; her love of reading, piano playing, her friendships and adventures. I tell him about my kids and their summer plans.

The afternoon is long, but I surprise myself by finishing a difficult and elaborate project. The rain doesn’t stop (or even slow down) so I cannot take my customary walk around our building. I love that walk at 2 pm. It rejuvenates my mind and refreshes my body for the rest of the day. But not today.  I pour another cup of tea and do the best I can.

When I leave my office building at 4:30 pm, the rain is coming down in torrents. It seems like time has not advanced at all since this morning, like the day has collapsed upon itself.  It has been a shivery, blustery, bleak, stormy day from beginning to end.

I very much hope for better weather tomorrow.

May 5, 2010

RepairClinic.com Raising Money for Cancer Research

Posted in appliance parts, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Good people, Health, Money, Organization, RepairClinic.com, Work tagged , , , at 9:13 am by Liliana

RepairClinic.com Outreach Committee

RepairClinic.com Outreach Committee

RepairClinic’s Health and Wellness committee held a fundraiser luncheon for all our employees yesterday. They were helping our Outreach committee raise money for Relay For Life®.

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life® is a fund-raising event that gives people around the world a chance to celebrate the lives of cancer survivors and people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. Relay For Life® raises much-needed funds and awareness to help the American Cancer Society save lives from cancer.

At RepairClinic.com, our Outreach team has been collecting money for Relay For Life® for a number of months now. We held three fund-raising luncheons. RepairClinic donated a large number of items for a popular employee bargain sale (we raised $896 there). Different individuals in our group have been doing their part to inform their families and friends and raise money that way. Our goal is $2000. We are slowly getting there.

For yesterday’s luncheon, we had a healthy spread – a lovely salad bar with lots of toppings. This was on the menu:

  • Fresh, crisp lettuce
  • Baby spinach
  • Several kinds of rolls
  • Meats: turkey, ham, salami
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Vegetables: onions, cucumbers, tomatoes
  • Beans: garbanzo, black and sunflowers seeds

For dessert we had brownies, lemon bars, a number of delicious cookies.

Our lunch was a success and we raised over $345.00 towards our goal.

Relay for Life is taking place Saturday, May 15th and Sunday May 16th. Our team will be there the entire weekend. Please help us with your donation!

April 25, 2010

Anti-Cancer Challenge

Posted in Cancer, Career, Children, Family, Food, Garden, Health, Home, Women, Work tagged , , , , , at 7:01 am by Liliana

Conner

Conner

Conner is an American woman who lives with her family in south-western France. She works as a nutritionist, cooking instructor and health writer.

A little more than a month ago, she started an interesting experiment.

In Connor’s words, “I am adhering to an anti-cancer lifestyle for a year comprising a super-healthy diet, daily exercise and restorative sleep. I report here on my successes and struggles with the program and hope to show that it’s possible – and even enjoyable – for a busy person to adopt an anti-cancer lifestyle.”

In this week’s post, Conner gives a progress report of her success thus far. As planned, she has been exercising every day for about thirty minutes. Getting enough sleep, though, has been a challenge. She is busy with work; her children have been on spring break; she has a house to take care of. It’s no wonder she has not always succeeded in sleeping seven hours per night.

But with spring vegetables in season, she has been eating well.

“I have been enjoying daily doses of delicious spring vegetables (crisp asparagus, squeaky spring onions, spicy young carrots, tender spinach, pungent garlic shoots) these last two weeks which has felt invigorating and cleansing. I love coming out of winter and eating fresh spring greens; to me, their emergence from the wintry soil symbolizes hope, vigor and resilience.”

Read Connor’s blog and keep up with her progress.

Best wishes to her for a very healthy and successful year!

April 20, 2010

Volcanic Ash

Posted in News, Travel, Weather, Work tagged , , , , , , , , , at 7:13 am by Liliana

Volcanic Ash in Europe

Volcanic Ash Over Europe

Icelandic’s largest volcano first erupted on March 20th, spewing fire fountains of hot magma over 300 feet high, while rivers of molten lava flowed into the valleys. On April 14th, the mountain exploded again, sending a plume of ash higher than 30,000 feet into the atmosphere. Carried on a jet stream and wind currents, the ash spread across most of Europe.

Air travel in Europe came to a stop because of fear that ash would clog up the engines and cause engine failure. Thousands of people were stuck in airports and desperately searched for alternative modes of transportation.

The volcano made disruptions to life as we know it: military bases in Afghanistan couldn’t get their rations while European supermarkets remain empty of fresh meat and produce. Fresh food was rotting in warehouses. Organ transplants were disrupted and organs redistributed to those within driving distance. Concerts and sporting events were canceled and an untold number of ordinary people had their life disrupted in one way or another. Many world leaders canceled attendance at the funeral of the Polish president, the first lady and many of the country’s dignitaries.

The World Health Organization warned that ash could cause breathing problems for those with asthma and respiratory illnesses and advised people to stay indoors. Some said that the tiny particles could reach deep regions of the lungs and cause long term health problems. Other experts said that inhaling the ash was not dangerous.

As of this morning, some of the flights at the smaller airports in Europe are resuming, but most of the big hubs remain closed. The volcano is still spewing ash, although more lava is flowing and experts say that is a good sign.  How long will this last? No one knows. Stranded travelers are hoping not too much longer.

April 19, 2010

What is RepairClinic.com?

Posted in appliance parts, Organization, RepairClinic.com, Work tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:00 am by Liliana

RepairClinic.com Warehouse

RepairClinic.com Warehouse

What is RepairClinic.com and what does it offer you?

  • RepairClinic is an on-line source for home appliance parts.
  • It offers online trouble-shooting, maintenance tips and expert advice.
  • Most parts can be delivered the next day from the huge warehouse inventory.
  • An additional 500,000+ parts can be special ordered, typically adding only a few days to the shipping and handling process.

What products does RepairClinic.com sell?
Parts and accessories for all major household appliances, including:

What brands does RepairClinic.com carry?
RepairClinic.com carries parts and accessories for all major brands.

What makes RepairClinic.com experts in appliance repair?
RepairClinic.com has a staff of experienced appliance repair technicians, who make up the on-line customer advisers.

  • Each individual has more than ten years of experience repairing appliances and have serviced all major appliance brands.

What is RepairClinic.com’s return policy?
RepairClinic.com offers no hassle, customer-friendly returns:

  • Within 30 days of receiving the order, customers may return any item in its original condition for a full refund of the purchase price.
  • If RepairClinic.com makes an error in the shipment, customers will receive a refund for the shipping and handling charges in addition to a credit for the returned part.

Who are RepairClinic.com’s customers?
Any person who needs an appliance part or help in fixing their applainance.

April 15, 2010

RepairClinic.com – Ladies Luncheon

Posted in appliance parts, Children, Family, Food, Friendships, RepairClinic.com, Women, Work tagged , , , , , , , at 7:04 am by Liliana

Sharing food and stories

Sharing food and stories

Once a  month, a number of women from RepairClinic.com go out to lunch together. Every woman in the company is invited, but because of scheduling, availability and other concerns, it is usually about fifteen of us who show up. It is not always the same fifteen, but that makes it part of the fun. One never knows who will come, what course the conversation will take, or what food will be ordered.

Last week we had women from all the different departments at RepairClinic.com: Distribution, Call Center, Purchasing, Development, Accounting and Marketing. Few of us work closely for long periods of time, so this luncheon is a good way to keep in touch, to find out what is going on, to talk about new developments.

We met at a restaurant down the street from RepairClinic. I had called ahead, so we had a large table reserved for us. It was a cold, rainy day, so it felt cozy and pleasant sitting in cheerful company. People ordered quickly – appetizers, salads, pastas, hamburgers. I asked for a steaming cup of coffee.

Veronica told us about her new-born grandson, Jonathan. Her daughter had brought Jonathan to meet us when he was just a week old, and we all wanted to hear about his progress. Lisa had just come back from a trip to Las Vegas and she had stories to tell and pictures to show. There was snow in Las Vegas, which seemed too bad, because the week she was there we actually had warm and sunny weather here in Michigan. Lisa didn’t mind, though, for even with the cold weather it was good to get away.

Someone mentioned the big project some of us are working on and the hours we have been spending in long meetings. We update those who are not involved on the progress made. Diana complains that a number of people in her department have a cold. Then Raina mentions her son, Cody, and we move to discussing children. She tells us about Cody’s escapades, his energy and his ability to fix anything he sets  his mind to. Felicia tells us about her little Sebastian and how he placed all the stickers on just one Easter egg. As we eat and talk, the air is full of laughter and children’s stories.

It doesn’t even take an hour and we are back at work. I feel amiable the whole afternoon – glad to have shared a meal, a bit of time and lots of stories.

April 12, 2010

Food for a Busy Life

Posted in Children, Food, Health, Recipes, Work tagged at 8:01 am by Liliana

Yogurt with fruit

Yogurt with fruit

My daughter Nena is a college senior, and this is one of the busiest weeks of her student career. She is working on her senior project and needs to finish it by Friday. We spent last weekend together at our cottage on Lake Michigan and while she worked, I prepared comforting meals for her. But on her own, I knew that she wouldn’t have the time or the energy to go to much trouble in preparing nutritious meals. On the way back to Nena’s college, we went grocery shopping. We bought food that would give her pleasure and energy, as well as keep her healthy and satisfied.

Here are a few things on Nena’s grocery list:

We started with a loaf of freshly baked eight-grain bread. She could make sandwiches or have toast with jam with her tea or coffee. Then we bought a couple of chunks of good cheese – Nena likes goat cheese and brie. We moved to the produce section next and got some fresh, dark green spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, avocado, carrots, bananas, crisp apples, strawberries, and blackberries. Nena will have plenty of vegetables for wonderful salads and fruit for morning parfaits or afternoon snacks.

We bought cans of tuna and navy and garbanzo beans. Tuna sandwiches or quick been salads with fresh vegetables are filling, healthy and easy to make. We got some whole grain pasta and pesto sauce, cereal and ramen noodles. She could have a nice lunch by adding onions, spinach and green beans to ramen for a quick and filling vegetable noodle soup. Then, we stopped at the dairy section. Nena got eggs, cream for her coffee, and yogurt – Greek yogurt and kefir. Any time she is hungry, she could have a cup of yogurt with a banana, apple or berries; add a little granola cereal on top and it’s a meal.

Hopefully, this will be a good week for Nena and her senior project will be a great success. At least I know that she won’t go hungry.

Update: Nena did great on her senior project. She was awarded Honors for her effort!

March 23, 2010

Advice on Good Interviewing Etiquette

Posted in Career, Work tagged , , at 7:12 am by Liliana

Good Interviewing Etiquette

Good Interviewing Etiquette

Unemployment is at a record level, and a lot of people are looking for a job. If you are lucky enough to get an interview, you want to use your opportunity well. Here is a bit of common sense advice on good interview practices:

Timing & Planning

  • Schedule your interview for your best time of day
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Have contact information ready
  • Complete necessary forms in advance

Apparel & Appearance

  • Shine shoes & check fingernails
  • Get a haircut & comb hair neatly
  • Choose suit with shirt and tie or blouse
  • Coordinate accessories

Reading & Research

  • Read information on the prospective company
  • Research company web site for latest news & press releases
  • Google people you’ll be meeting for background information
  • Know how to pronounce names of people you will meet
  • If this is a second interview, review notes of past meetings
  • Be acquainted with current news so you sound well informed
  • Create a list of good questions you will ask the interviewer
  • Check e-mails just before leaving for any last-minute rescheduling

Take With You

  • Cell phone (turn off before interview)
  • Portfolio or business case
  • Resume copies (at least two)
  • Business cards
  • Blank paper or notebook and pens

Getting There

  • Plan on being punctual and arrive several minutes early
  • Plan on extra time if weather requires
  • Google map the directions
  • Find out where to park ahead of time
  • Identify the correct building entrance
  • Pay attention to your posture
  • Make appropriate, positive opening comments
  • Your handshake should be strong and firm

Best of luck.

March 16, 2010

Rainy Weekend

Posted in Health, Weather, Women, Work tagged , , at 7:17 am by Liliana

Raindrops

Rainy weekend

I spent most of the weekend lying on the couch in my living room. My throat sore, sinuses congested, eyes watery and nose running, my head feeling as hollow as a pumpkin; had I not been so miserable, I would have laughed at how terrible the common cold can make us feel.

The weather outside perfectly mirrored my inner state – incessant, drizzly spring rain, blustery winds, metallic sky – perfect weather to curl up with a light novel and a cup of tea. That is what I did, and I felt very smug about it. When Nena called, I bragged about being good to myself, listening to my body and allowing myself time to heal.

By Sunday afternoon, I was expecting, no, I was demanding, to feel better. Hadn’t I given myself the entire weekend to recuperate? Well, my body apparently cared nothing about the fact that Mondays are busy days. I had meetings to go to, projects to finish. People were counting on me. I had no more time to give to myself.

I started feeling impatient and cross – with myself and those around me. Jeff and Sam could do nothing right. My sister called to see how I was feeling and whether I would go to work on Monday. Of course, I snapped, I am feeling better. Nena called and I told her the same story. After dinner I took a hot bath and went to read in bed. I was still hopeful.

Jeff has seen me push myself many times before, until I had nothing left to give. He has seen me get walking pneumonia because I refused to stop and heal before I got worse. Walking into our bedroom he asked how I felt. I am better, I tried to pretend. So he reminded me about the two weeks spent in bed last winter, two different orders of antibiotics and numerous doctor visits. He was right. I didn’t want that to happen again.

I emailed my boss and told him that I was still sick. He sent me a nice ‘get better’ message. He was probably relieved that I wasn’t there to infect anyone else. I will try to learn from this experiencing. But, knowing me, I will probably need reminders. Again and again.

March 12, 2010

March Staff Meeting at RepairClinic.com

Posted in appliance parts, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Company Meetings, Food, Organization, RepairClinic.com, Work tagged , at 8:09 am by Liliana

Dave and Adam - ready for lunch!

Dave and Adam - ready for lunch!

RepairClinic staff meeting in March couldn’t have come on a more different day than the last time we met. The February meeting took place on a cold winter day after a huge snowstorm. March 11th was a mild and sunny spring day. I wore my sweater that morning, the first day of the year that I didn’t need my coat.

Raina ordered sandwiches for lunch, and my job was to stop at our local supermarket and pick up a number of salads, potato chips and, of course, the fresh flowers that we always have for our meetings. I had placed the order several days ahead of time, but when I stopped to pick it up, nothing was ready. I had to stand and wait while two young ladies chopped vegetables and made salads  on the spot. I have to admit, I was not pleased. But I tried not to get too stressed, or look too impatient while I walked the aisles for over an hour.

The rest of the day went well. We set up tables, filled vases with flowers, and soon people were lining up for food. The lovely spring day made everyone seem relaxed, less fugitive from the cold winter world. People piled their plates high with sandwiches, salads, chips, and desserts, and laughed and conversed with each other.

RepairClinic has an outreach committee that helps needy people in our community. Right now, we are raising money for the Relay For Life event in Canton, MI, so a young woman from the American Cancer Society came to speak to our employees about it. Relay For Life is a two day fund-raising event that celebrates life and cancer survival, while providing funds for research, education, advocacy and service.  Many RepairClinic employees volunteer and everyone is eager to help out.

We have a number of new and exciting projects going on at RepairClinic and everyone is very busy these days. No one seems to mind, though. People are happy that the company is doing well and that improvements are being made. And everyone is delighted that the harsh winter seems to be giving way to spring.

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