Wednesday, September 15, 2010

39 Years Old

My senior year in high school we purchased memory books; a place to document our high school facts and aspirations. My book contained photos and dreams of a young and naïve girl. A future goals page had me married at 22, looking like Christy Brinkley wearing Calvin Klein jeans and sporting very large hair. Thankfully, my life did not turn out as I envisioned it in 1989.

My dreams in high school did not occur how I planned and today, at 39 years old, I am grateful. The life planned at 17, guaranteed gifts of jewelry, luxurious vacations, a perfect marriage and a Volvo station wagon in the garage. Life at 39 is much different.

Today, we re-enrolled my 14 year old daughter in a school we withdrew her from 8 months ago. Humbled and embarrassed by our lack of parental wisdom, Bryan and I came to terms with our pride and did the right thing for our child. This morning, Grace and I entered her prior school and a Posey of Freshman jumped and screamed, saturating her with hugs. Tears swelled in my eyes; she was home.

Arriving home from work, I was greeted by my own Posey; the Strader Clan. My children had cards than needed opening, and a large present lay wrapped with a red bow. Wednesdays are busy in our home. Clay has soccer practice and I am usually fixed to the computer editing my paper for my Thursday class. Although today was my birthday, the tasks remained the same.

We had a quick family dinner at Skyline and rushed home to open my gift before Clay was off to soccer. There was no jewelry this year. I received rubber car mats for my mini-van wrapped beautifully in paper bag stapled on each end. The card from Bryan was sweet and I probably wouldn’t have noticed it was an anniversary card, except Bryan crossed out anniversary and wrote birthday above it. Then Clay attempted to give me $10.00 from his wallet for my birthday gift, because he forgot to buy me one.

As I write this, my husband, who thoughtfully crossed out anniversary and wrote in birthday, is reading to my son as he does every night. My daughter is picking out her outfit for tomorrow and is beaming for the first time in months. I am 39 years old, with crow’s feet and new age spots that show up daily. We cancelled our luxurious vacation to send Grace back to private school, and I do not own one pair of designer jeans. However, there is a Volvo and a mini-van (with new car mats) in my garage. I’m 39 and couldn’t ask for more.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Who Are The Naked Karate Girls?

Who Are The Naked Karate Girls?
In 2008, the three most Googled words were: naked, karate and girls. Four men, putting together a band, thought they would experiment with the most Googled words as a means to advertise their new adventure; thus, the Naked Karate Girls were born. Do not be intimidated by their name; the four members are locals of Cincinnati with children and families, who stay under the social radar until the show lights turn on.

The Naked Karate Girls will be performing at the Mason Schools Foundation 3rd Annual Gala as the entertainment for the fund raising event October 9th 2010. This show must not be missed.

The 4-man ensemble is difficult to describe. Dressed in costumes and bearing the stage names Teepee, Ponch, Lt. Woo and The Duke; the Naked Karate Girls do not disappoint. The pop/dance cover band mixes music from various decades, throws in theatrics, and has the entire audience up and moving.

I recently previewed the band and within thirty seconds found myself not smiling, but laughing out loud. Honestly, the Naked Karate Girls are the most entertaining band I have come across. To say more would ruin the show. You must see it to believe it.

The chance to get dressed up, enjoy an excellent meal, dance to your favorite music, all within 5 miles of your home is an opportunity too good to pass up. Add the opportunity to have an impact on your communities’ schools and it becomes a priority.

Save the date, hire a sitter, buy a dress, and get ready to dance

Friday, June 11, 2010

How Long Should One Stay Mad at Their Spouse?

What is the appropriate length of time to stay angry at your spouse? 24 hours, 48, 2?

Yesterday I started receiving emails and phone calls congratulating me on winning the Florence Nightingale award. I thought it was a bit strange because I was awarded the honor in April. One of the messages mentioned that there was an article written about me in The Christ Hospital news letter. Remembering that I was interviewed in May, this made complete sense and was anxious to read what was written. People received the letter on Tuesday and I went on a search for Tuesdays mail; no evidence of an important article of mail was found. This is not an uncommon event in my home. I live with a very organized and clean man. Most of the time it is a huge positive to have a husband that picks things up and sanitizes the kitchen on a daily basis, however, if you are expecting something of worth in the mail you better beat him to the mailbox. 90% of our mail is thrown into the recycling bin immediately after its rescue from the mailbox. Realizing this was probably the case, I searched the bin and to my dismay realized the trash had been picked up that morning. Rang Bryan on the phone and he swore that he did not throw anything away (this happens daily) and that we must not of received it yet. No big deal, he was probably right and I put it out of my mind.

Returning home that evening Bryan sheepishly said "Found the article, its on the kitchen counter." Great, I find the article wet, scrunched, ripped, with a piece of chewed gum on top. I was not happy. Reading the article reminded me of the interview question asked "Who is the biggest influence in your life?" With out hesitation I said Bryan, and went on to praise him for everything under the moon. They wrote a kind article on Bryan and I and my irritation grew with every word. Yes, Bryan is wonderful, except for he throws away important information and documents.

Bryan said, "Maybe we can get a new copy." "I'm sure we can, did you read what I wrote said about you?" Bryan's face dropped and it was apparent he had not even read the article. Okay, I was done; dog house time! So back to my original question, what is a good length of time to stay angry? Its been about 18 hours since the incident and I am miserable, irritated with myself and writing a blog instead of doing something worth while. The door bell just rang and my overly clean husband sent me beautiful roses. No apology note, but a note simply stating "I love you." I am blessed, loved and stupid. The Christ Hospital sent me a PDF of the article along with a several hard copies. The right amount of time to be mad was probably 5 minutes. Nothing important was lost that couldn't be recovered, except 18 hours.

Love you Bryan even though you are freakishly clean!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Motherhood, Tonsils and Condi!

Returning to school and debating current issues is something I have thoroughly enjoyed. Rediscovering your brain and realizing it still has the ability to work after having children is liberating. I've daydreamed about writing a book, running for public office, something, anything that could change our world for the better.

Bryan was recently recruited to join the Bethesda Foundation. The Foundation's primary goal is to raise money that will benefit the hospital and Hospice of Cincinnati. Bryan has always been financially savvy and the opportunity for him to help raise money for others is wonderful. The Bethesda Foundation had their annual fund raising dinner last evening and their guest speaker was Condaleza Rice. Due to Bryan's new "foundation" status we were given VIP tickets and a chance to meet Dr. Rice.

Regardless of your Bush Era feelings, Condi was and is an amazing woman. She spoke of her Grandfather John Wesley Rice who knew that he needed an education and he pushed his family to pursue education at any cost.

As I listened to Dr. Rice speak I was inspired and envied the ease at which she presented issues such as the state of America, immigration, education and the private sector. Meeting her, shaking her hand, I thought "she's normal, no different than me." Then it hit me, Condi has no children which equals... no distractions. She can be focused on the task at hand, not pulled by one child's emotions and then pulled again by the other child's distress.

Recently one of my children had an assignment that I felt was unreasonable and I wanted to talk with the teacher about it. I sent off an emotional email that was sincere yet strong. Much to my dismay I realized that I sent it to the wrong teacher. I quickly emailed a lengthily apology and sent the email to the correct teacher who I assumed was a female by titling her Ms. only to find out it was indeed a Mister and again the wrong teacher. Talk about humbling. Bryan saved me by picking up the phone and calling the correct person. The teacher was gracious and we worked the situation out. I don't think Condi would of made that mistake.

This morning my little guy had his first medical procedure; an adenoidectomy and tonsillectomy. I arranged for the best nurses and doctors to take care of him and we were treated and cared for like royalty. After watching my son fall asleep from the anesthesia we were escorted to the waiting room. A fellow colleague saw me in the hall and said "Are you being a Mom today?" I smiled and said yes.

Regardless of the situation I am always a mother and so blessed. Meeting people like Dr. Rice and admiring all her wisdom, power and high fashion is wonderful, but not as wonderful as caring for and making a fool out of myself on children's behalf. I may never be Madam Secretary but I will always be Grace and Clay's Mom... that is enough.

Happy Mothers Day!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A day in the life of...

The past month has been filled with a lot of "Firsts" and the busiest that I can remember. There was an event almost every week and the last week there was one every night. However, I survived and grew from each experience. A short summary followed by photos will tell the story better.

On Wednesday I was awarded the Florence Nightingale award for 2010, Saturday I presented my first professional presentation at a medical conference and Saturday evening I pulled off my first Corporate Party. Sunday morning I flew off for my first all girls tennis trip to Cincinnati. April was quite the month. Enjoy!

Friday, April 9, 2010


Bryan and I have an aversion to chain restaurants. We will go out of our way to find eateries that are unique. Meaning,that they serve real food not frozen. While driving through Alabama, on our way to Florida we passed several McDonald's, Subways and Whataburgers and stopped at Nellie's. Bryan inquired at a local shop about where to get good food and the answer was Miss Nellie's a mile down the road. Nellie's was incredible. Run by southern women; we enjoyed BBQ, fried chicken, Lima beans and homemade cornbread. I put my diet aside to enjoy the rare treats.

Last evening after arriving in Sandestin we attempted the same plan. We drove up and down the strip for miles searching for anything that seemed unique. No luck, until we turned off the main drag and ended up at a steak and seafood restaurant that appeared to be local. The menu was primarily seafood and I became suspicious when the waitress explained that the entire right side of the menu was half off? Who does that. I asked why and she said "that's just what we do." Then she said there drink specials were raspberry daiquiris? Who drinks those? Flipping to the wine list I found 1 wine listed only. Hhmmm? I am very suspicious. Regardless I order one of the seafood specials that was "normally" very pricey, but what the heck it is half off.

Granted the food was not inedible, but my platter consisted of 2 shrimp, 2 scallops and a crab cake soaked in butter. The prices weren't reduced, they were set for what you got. It was a gimmick. Leaving the restaurant we decided for the remainder of of short trip to forget it and give in to the chains. Appleebees here we come!

Did I mention we are in Florida? About 2 weeks ago I realized Bryan had the later half of the kids spring break off. We had spring fever and desperately tried to find a place for a couple days on the beach. Bryan and I called about a several condos we found on line with no luck. They were already booked or would not allow anyone staying under 7 days. We were about to give up when low and behold a women called us back and offered her "private" condo. She explained this was her personal condo, it was directly on the beach. A spacious 1 bedroom with a king size bed and loft area with a full bed. There was also a pull out couch if needed. Plenty of room for a small family of 4. The pictures on-line were deceivingly lovely. The price was better than right so we booked.

Bryan went in early on Wednesday to round on patients; road trip started around 3:30pm. Grace awoke yestereday morning complaining of a severe headache and nausea. Stopping at Walgreens, Bryan ran in to get Grace some Meclizine. He was too late, Grace hurled outside the van door and I held her hair. Good Times!!!

Bryan appears frazzled and explains that the 80 year old lady in front of him was trying to use her CVS coupon at Walgreens. She kept saying, "I know it says CVS, but can't I use it her?" "Are you saying I have to go to CVS?" Bryan finally tapped her and said "You need to go to CVS, its down the road". After slowly leaving, Bryan attempts to talk to the pharmacy tech about some medicine. The Russian/Slovaik tech says is a thick Russian accent, "I don't know what you mean, what is Dramamine?" Bryan is about ready to loose it as the 80 year old CVS coupon lady returns looking for her keys. He finally got Grace some drugs but after the expelling of emesis.

Arriving at Sandestin I was pleased. Friends had confimed to me that is was a nice place to stay. We found our condo and I quickly changed my mind. The spacious 1 bedroom consisted of a walk-in closet with a full size bed smashed inside. No room for anything else, just a bed. Perhaps this was the loft? There is a lovely Laverene and Shirley style pull out of the wall King sized bed. Seriously? Its in the the living room. The bathroom was the clincher. 3 inches of mold around the edges and shower curtain liner. Tears entered my eyes as I walked around. I was tired and grumpy and the mold put me over the edge. I quickly called my friend in Cincy for a pep talk. She did just that. Its 3 days, the weather is lovely, and I will try to handle the mold. I don't like being deceived and the condo lady was deceiving.

After our butter dinner Bryan appeased me by making a family run to Target. I had forgotten Clays underware and toothbrush, my blow dryer and exercise videos. $200.00later we had boxers, toothbrushes, blow dryers, popcorn, almonds and Billy Blanks Tae Bo; the simple pleasures in life! As I sit with my Starbucks, computer, and a lovely sunny morning I am chastising myself for the tears; I am a lucky lady. Although I still haven't stepped foot into the molded tub!!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


“Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better.”

Florence Nightingale

Lately, my life has been very chaotic. Taking care of my family, going to graduate school, work, life in general has been overwhelming. However, God has consistently provided the energy and endurance needed to pursue my goals. I have discovered the need for knowledge and change never ceases.

On Tuesday I was informed that I received the honor of The Florence Nightingale award which is a huge honor in the field of nursing. I am humbled and grateful to be recognized by my peers and patients. Above is a favorite quote of mine by Flo. Florence was the ultimate example of the relentless need for patient advocacy. To receive an award bearing her name is amazing.

My dear nurse colleagues honored me in a way they knew would drive me crazy. Arriving at the hospital today I was greeted with the flyer above. It was plastered everywhere. On the surgeons office doors, the OR, the office. They got me good. I've never been a gracious receiver. In other words, I get easily embarrassed and don't like a lot of attention. So, my friends did their best to bring me both grief and honor. This blog is for all the nurses who work tirelessly to pursue greatness for the sake of better patient care and have fun in the midst of the chaos.

I love you all!!