Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) are around the corner. My mother was very difficult to buy gifts for. She found it challenging to articulate what she wanted or needed. Some of the time, she received a lot of hugs and breakfast in bed! Other times, I tried to buy gifts that I thought she would like, and ended up not succeeding in the way that I had hoped. My father was very specific. His request was always “a few kind words, kid.” Most times I was able to accommodate that.
In a recent search, I found a number of different articles that captured the top ten things mom’s want for Mother’s Day, like this one. I was tickled to see that most of these requests actually are things you can buy simply by purchasing the GIFT OF TIME! From Call Sheilah!
These articles all include things like: run errands, assist with downsize and declutter, relief from standard operating “mom” routines (whatever that is!); someone to do the grocery shopping; and numerous others.
If you want to ensure that your Mother receives something she can use, that will not only be a great gift for her to open, but will be the gift that gives a few times, Call Sheilah! today to find out how to get your personalized gift card in time for Mother’s Day. (Available for Father’s Day and parents of all genders too!)
Think Spring, please!
p.s. Call Sheilah! is available to partner with you and your family on the delicate home transition that many seniors are facing today. If you (and/or you and your family) have decided to make changes to an existing home, to create a space that reduces the challenges to aging at home, Call Sheilah! can help declutter and downsize as you prepare for other safety and manageability concerns. If you have decided to move to an assisted living or independent living facility, Call Sheilah! Manages Safe Senior Moves. Check out the webpage for more information.
I have the distinct honor and pleasure to provide support and organizational expertise to families whose aging parent or loved one have made the difficult decision to downsize and move to an independent or assisted living facility. Moving from the consideration process to taking action (or not) can be made easier by realizing a few things about this process. This is not just a physical process; it is one of those times in life, where a holistic approach is the most important approach, because of the many emotions and processes that arise. There is a not so short- list of details that will need attention, while you and your family and parent or loved one are focused on managing and caring for emotions and spiritual well-being.
The list can be overwhelming, especially if you are looking at it from the perspective of someone who just made this decision. Eleven years ago this week, my dearly departed parents had just landed in the Capital District and my sister and I had the honor and privilege of helping guide them from their warm and sunny home in FLA to a local assisted living facility. (It was actually snowing and 15 degrees. You remember when Winter was actually Winter and not Spring!). It was a profound experience and from that, in part, Call Sheilah! developed the expertise and ability to maintain the thirty thousand foot view. We work to organize, pack, sell, donate, discard, unpack, set up, procure, finalize and practice kindness and compassion (and comedy when appropriate!) all the while.
If you want a trained, skilled, thorough, kind, expert (with a great sense of humor) to manage the move for your family, please Call Sheilah! Not only do we have professional expertise, we have personal experience; Call Sheilah! has managed this the move personally as well as for several satisfied clients in the Capital District and Columbia County. Don’t hesitate! Call Sheilah! can help.
If you are choosing to manage inernally, there are some really thoughtful and extensive resources on-line, detail by detail, about how to manage this within your family. Please reach out to me for suggestions or check out the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) for some of those great resources on how to manage the move internally.
A friend of mine in Schenectady just texted me about her mother’s relocation. She and her siblings are managing this on their own. When I asked if there was anything I could do, she responded by asking me if I had any Moonshine stashed away. Call Sheilah! clients are not in need of Moonshine during this process. They are relaxed and well cared for, leaving every detail to us, so the family can concentrate on the delicate transition.
We all know life's many tasks can be overwhelming no matter what the project or reason. At Call Sheilah! we believe that suffering because of them is truly optional. Let us help manage transition in your life. Call Sheilah! and ask for help with any errands, projects, tasks especially ones that involve caring for your loved ones.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
If anyone has ever had the pleasure of having some grand title while working for a non-profit, you understand that while the title may be meaningful to you (and your mom!), ultimately it means that you have done everything from stuffing envelopes to overseeing 1000 person events, to working on video production, fundraising campaigns, education curriculum, budgets, spreadsheets, putting together furniture, installing cubicle walls, packing and unpacking, representing your institution and “working the room.”
Twenty Five Years of Expertise
Did you know that Call Sheilah! brings more than 25 years of experience in non-profit staffing, operations and management and was one of the leaders in the successful and historic marriage equality campaign in New York State.
My work with various institutions in the Capital Region and in the State have afforded me the opportunity to hone skills that include operations, programming, administrative projects, communications, social media coordination and all aspects of strategic grassroots advocacy, programming, logistics, public speaking and planning, as well as decluttering, organizing and aid with small tasks and errands.
Short Term Project Oversight – Call Sheilah!
If your business or organization needs short term, project based operational help and/or staff support so your full time paid staff can focus on the work they are paid to do, please Call Sheilah! Give us a chance to support your project and achieve goals and deliverables so your staff can do their jobs without distraction.
The list of areas of expertise includes, but is certainly not limited to:
Call Sheilah! to find out more about what I’ve done and how I can bring that expertise to help manage and execute projects in your business and professional life.
We all know life's many tasks can get overwhelming no matter how big or small, personal or professional. At Call Sheilah! we believe that suffering because of them is truly optional. Let us help bring balance to your workplace and your life.
Did you take your Christmas decorations down yet? Yesterday Call Sheilah! had the pleasure of working with a meticulously organized professional who just needed an extra set of hands to help remove Holiday Decorations from almost every room in her beautiful home. It was fun and tiring but we got the job done in four hours. She was pleased and so were we. And then this very smart woman put us on retainer for a few hours a month. We will help coordinate certain aspects of her incredibly full work week. If you are thinking about how Call Sheilah! can help in your life, retainer is very smart way to go. As a matter of fact, the last several weeks, I’ve had a number of very interesting questions:
We want to hear from you! BUT first, if you have seven minutes, check out Tune into Wellness Today, Schenectady County Cable Access afte, to see my interview (which starts at around 11 minutes) with Lisamarie Tersigni of Inspiring Wellness Solutions. We talked about all the services featured on my website, and specifically how Call Sheilah! delivers services to loved ones and helps with those who require compassion and care (in addition to practical needs: transportation; assistance with excursions, tasks and shopping needs), for the long or short term.
Good morning friends:
How much time does stress steal from you in one day? What other things are robbing valuable time from you? Are you able to get to a pilates class? Crossfit? Do you rush through bed time stories with your children? Have the dogs been reduced from two walks to one or none? Is it getting harder to remember which pile of mail has the cable bill? Do you lose track of your keys all the time?
Call Sheilah! can help bring manageability back into your life, by helping with errands, projects and tasks of any size, and you can help yourself by following a few suggestions for your morning practice.
You may already know, our first moments have an impact on our day. They are the bridge between sleep and fully functional. If you are like most people, it probably takes a few minutes to really feel present and in your body. This is the perfect time to connect with your body, mind and spirit. Rather than jarring yourself with outside noise: cell phone, email, ipad, #morningjoe or #wamcroundtable -- be tender and go inside first!. Do five things that awaken you from the inside out.
Here are 5 suggestions that may help you begin your day with tenderness. I hope you will give yourself a break and include them in your daily practice:
1. Use a gentle alarm
If you need to set an alarm, make sure it’s soft and sweet. There’s nothing worse for your adrenals than the blaring sound of an obnoxious alarm. Tonight, download a gentle alarm sound, from the App Store or the Playstore. There are literally hundreds.
2. Drink a juice or smoothie before the coffee
I always feel better when I put something healthy in my stomach before my tea or coffee. Mango (Hannaford Frozen Mango is excellent), oatmeal, kale smoothie is the current fave and don’t forget to drink a big glass of water. Your organs will thank you.
I am fortunate to know many spiritual advisors. The most consistent suggestion I receive from them is to write, journal, or keep a diary (TJMaxx has inexpensive diaries in their housewares department). Talk to yourself on the page. Ask questions and listen for the answers. If you have nothing to say, write something that reflects that (Seriously, write "I have nothing to say" -- see what happens when you do this consistently).
4. Go inside
Sitting in silence is a great way to give yourself (and others in your home) a break -- by giving yourself the gift of meditation. If you’re new to this practice, just sit in a comfortable position for a few minutes and focus on your breath. When a thought comes (and it will), acknowledge it by saying something like “thinking” to yourself and then try to let it go (that may not be possible right away—don’t worry if that’s the case). You can also use counting or a mantra to anchor your attention. Try counting from 1-10. Again, if a thought comes, pause, say “thinking” and resume where you left off. (Find yourself a guided meditation on youtube, itunes or on favorite podcast player).
5. Awaken your body
Biking, running, walking, swimming. Get up early, be active for 30-45 minutes including a formal stretch practice (Did you know that TWC has a channel devoted to fitness and many of the shows is devoted to stretching?). Starting the day with movement, usually makes for a less stressful day.
We all know life's many tasks can get overwhelming no matter what the season or the reason. At Call Sheilah! we believe that suffering because of them is truly optional. Let us help bring balance to your life. Give yourself two breaks. Don't jar yourself out of bed with your cell phone. And please, Call Sheilah! and ask for help with those errands, projects, tasks and that are stealing your time.I look forward to hearing from you soon. Consider giving the Gift of Time, with a gift certificate from Call Sheilah! We are customizing gift certificates for this holiday season to reflect your name, logo, business and more.
We spent a good part of the week baking pies, and a few hours prepping to help downsize the contents of a home for a client’s aging parent. They are getting ready to move into a smaller space and we are showing up to provide the support, and to manage not only the massive task, but the emotional baggage that can often times be a block to progress.
The pies were a good distraction too: bourbon chocolate pecan, sweet potato, and others. It smelled great all weekend and the quality control staff is sure that it will taste great too.
But thinking about downsizing meant that a good part of the weekend was spent thinking about our own parents move and how fraught these types of projects can be, because of familial baggage. Help with this daunting task today is simple. Bring in the people who have no baggage and who can get things done simply and efficiently. Call Sheilah!
We understand because of our own experience, that when an adult child is asked to step in to help parents prepare for a move like this, there is always emotional baggage and often times we don’t know it’s there. It is painful and can bring production to a halt. So many people are afraid they will lose the memory if they lose an item, but the adult children are often the ones left worrying about how to house and store those memories – the ones disguised as useless stuff that take up too much room and cause all the stress. Call Sheilah! has no baggage with your aging parents or their stuff or memories.
Additionally, we have gone through it ourselves over ten years ago personally, and we are ready, willing and able to help you with this daunting task. We can simplify and figure out what to donate, what to keep, and what your parents should bring with them into assisted living. Most of all, we here at Call Sheilah! understand which items simply need ten minutes of show and tell, and are prepared to create that space and listen to the actual story about those items. We will ask questions about the items and how they came to be so special. We will listen to your parent to talk about what the attachment actually is. If we pay homage to that memory, the item might just makes its own way into the donation bin, which makes the downsizing that much simpler.
There are hundreds of tips and pointers to be found on the internet about how to help your aging parents in this regard. If you want to give yourself a gift AND actually be able to show up emotionally for your family without getting blindsided by baggage you didn’t know you had. Call Sheilah! will handle the fondling, reminiscing, massaging, sorting, deciding, packing and unpacking and you can spend time being kind and supportive to yourself and your parents during a challenging time.
We all know life's many tasks can get overwhelming no matter what the season or the reason. At Call Sheilah! we believe that suffering because of them is truly optional. Let us help bring balance to your life.
We look forward to hearing from you soon. Consider giving the Gift of Time, with a gift certificate from Call Sheilah! We can customize them to reflect your name, logo, business and more.
The information below is culled and cut from various other articles. There are so many now that the holiday is two weeks away, and I'm a big believer in not reinventing the wheel. That philosophy is why Call Sheilah! is able to help provide services to so many people: resources at our fingertips, and a willingness to use those resources. So, if you are planning to participate in the Thanksgiving festivities, and you are planning to host a familyl/friend gathering, here are my two cents. And remember, if there are things on this list that you want to delegate, we at Call Sheilah! are waiting to hear from you. We've taken the liberty of adding [Call Sheilah!] in the body of the text to indicate those things where we would be happy to help.
More than A week BEFORE THANKSGIVING
Plan your menu: If you don’t have any tried-and-true recipes, now’s the time to test Thanksgiving recipes from Pinterest, or go with something more reliable like the NY Times Essential Thanksgiving interactive recipe guide.
Deep-clean your kitchen: For some reason, company always gathers in the kitchen. I always try to move them along, but they never listen. So, give your kitchen a truly deep clean now to create the perfect zen atmosphere for creating, roasting, mashing, chopping, whipping, stirring, shaking and basting. It won't stay spotless until Thanksgiving, but it's always good to get this room to the point where you just need to touch up before the company comes.
Delegate dishes: Ask people to bring oven-ready contributions. No one wants other cooks in their kitchen on Thanksgiving. I definitely don't, and neither does my sister, by the way. Make sure you coordinate those dishes, though, because no one wants three pans of green bean casserole either. One obligatory pan of that is delicious and plenty.
Make two grocery lists: Write out an aisle-by-aisle grocery list of perishable items (potatoes, Brussels sprouts, etc.) and another for non-perishables (spices, canned goods, etc.). Shop for the non-perishables now before they’re in short supply. If you’re buying a frozen turkey also get it now while the size selection is still good. Keep it in the freezer until it’s time to defrost and/or brine it. You have to thaw a frozen bird at about four days before the big meal. Nothing worse than a frozen turkey the day before Thanksgiving.
Make your guest rooms and/or restrooms ready for guests: Clean, prep linens and towels, and reset clocks, reboot cable boxes (sometimes they need a good reboot if no one is watching TV in there on a regular basis). Make hotel reservations for guests who prefer to stay off site.
Plan your cookware and gadgets: With your menu in hand, plan what you’ll use to cook each item on the menu. Do you have enough of everything: gravy boat, serving utensils, platters? Likewise, it’s a good idea to make sure you have the gadgets you’ll need: potato masher, turkey baster. Are your knives sharp? [Call Sheilah!]
Less than a week BEFORE THANKSGIVING
Plan your table linens: Get out your holiday tablecloth and cloth napkins and inspect them for stains. Remember the stains from last year that you said you would deal with after the holidays? That didn't happen, did it? Is it time to replace your linens?
Plan your centerpiece: Order flowers or make your own. Not into flowers? You know, Martha Stewart or DIY can tell you how to make a centerpiece if your so inclined. Or maybe you need to, um, [Call Sheilah!]
Clean the rest of your house well: Give the rest of your house a thorough weekly cleaning to deal with cobwebs, dusty baseboards, etc. (You can find weekly printable cleaning checklists for every room here.)
Buy long-lasting perishables now: Things like heavy cream, potatoes, eggs, onions and butter tend to be hard to find the closer we get to the day, and the less time spent in supermarkets the day or two before Thanksgiving, the better. Buy them now and you’ll know you’re covered. Even some vegetables (celery, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes) will stay fresh in the crisper. [Call Sheilah!]
Giving back: Do you want to purchase any extra Thanksgiving meal items for those who need an extra lift? You can do this when you are doing your own shopping. Donations of Turkey's, non perishable items, paper goods, and gift cards can be made to homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, half way houses, rehabilitation centers and other facilities that need our support and kindness. This holiday and the holiday season can be particularly trying if food scarcity, resources and shelter are a major challenge. [Call Sheilah!]
Decorate: If you’ll be decorating beyond the table, do it now and ask your family for help? They can't read your mind and if you ask, everyone will get in the holiday mood.
Make and freeze what you can: Cornbread for stuffing can be made ahead of time and frozen. It's actually better, because it dries out when baked in advance! You can make and freeze: pie crusts (and congratulations if you are making your own!), undecorated cookies, cranberry sauce/relish, and dinner rolls.
Make your game plan: Grab a notepad, and a pen or an iPad or tablet, and calculate the timing of the big day. Count back from the time you’ll be serving dinner to figure out when your turkey should go into the oven. Keep in mind the turkey must rest after it’s cooked. Your side dishes go into the oven while the turkey rests. If you have a 3-tier oven rack you don’t have to worry about running out of room. And if you don't, then you have some juggling to do. When you start thinking about this step, plan into this step, advanced forgiveness. Some things will just not be as coordinated and perfect as you would like, given space restrictions and timing.
Add two hours to this planning: You will need a buffer, so you can stop, check emails, texts, procrastinate, have a cup of coffee with your college kids and adult children who seem to have nothing to. See below for ideas about how your family can help.
Stock your bar: Make sure you have enough glasses for all of your guests. Now double that because people inevitably misplace glasses and will need a new one. If you’re serving adult beverages buy the appropriate liquors, mixers and garnishes today. Easy on the advance drinking. It's hard to stick to a plan if you start imbibing to early. [Call Sheilah!]
Begin defrosting your turkey: While the package says to move it to the fridge three days before Thanksgiving, experience shows that you may need four days. The package doesn't acknoweldge that your fridge is crammed with other holiday food and it will need to be colder and therefore defrosting will take longer. Also, if you’re going to brine the turkey you need the extra day for this. Be sure your bird in a container that will catch drips. The clean up will be easier if you are not battling bacteria in your fridge for weeks.
Plan your seating: Is there a children's table? Do you have guests that need to sit near each other, or away from each other? Do you need to plan around particular personalities in order to ensure that the conversation stays friendly and pleasant. Draw or print place cards so guests will know where to sit. This is a way for you to have a bit of control over the conversation and energy flow, disguised as a lovely and decorative accent to your table.
Get out the holiday dishes: Run the dishes, glasses, platters, and serving utensils through the dishwasher. You never know what has been happening in boxes and cabinets during the last several months.
Shop for perishable items: Make room in your refrigerator and give the shelves a quick wipe down so it’s ready.
Clean your coat closet: This is a good time to clean out your coat closet. Your local dry cleaner may be doing a coat drive for a homeless shelter. See what you have that can be donated, which will create space for the holiday gathering.
Two Days BEFORE THANKSGIVING
Defrost frozen dishes: If you’ve made cornbread or other dishes ahead of time, transfer them to the fridge to defrost.
Confirm with guests: If you’ve delegated dishes to others to cook, take a few minutes to send a text and confirm their plans haven’t changed. Doing this a few days before lets you rearrange your own menu if needed. And helps you deal with the guests who decide that they don't want to make what you actually asked them to make. Infuriating, yes, but if you have advance information, you will be less likely to react in a way that creates a scenario where YOU to have to apologize later on.
One Day BEFORE THANKSGIVING:
Brine your turkey: If you’re going to brine your turkey, now’s the time to do it. Be sure to keep it refrigerated in the brine!
Dry out stuffing ingredients: Cornbread, regular bread, whatever you’re using — most stuffing recipes call for dried-out bread. Set yours on paper towels on a clean counter.
Prep ingredients: Go ahead and chop things like onions, carrots and celery today. You can peel potatoes a day ahead of time and refrigerate them in a bowl of water. (Where are your family members: partner, roommates, children...they make great potato peelers). Make dips and appetizers if you are serving them. Don't go overboard with appetizers. Your focus is the main meal and you want to help your guests stay hungry for maximum enjoyment.
Bake pies: Don’t put the pie off until tomorrow. Make them now, let them cool on the counter, then cover tightly with plastic wrap or foil. [Call Sheilah! -- We are baking a limited menu of pies, and are working with a local genius baker for an assortment of other delicious ones. Call today to inquire: 518 937.7908]
Get your recipes ready: Gather every recipe you’ll be using and set them on your counter so you won’t have to hunt for them tomorrow. My sister tapes them to her cabinets, so she can stare at them throughout the day. She doesn't really need the recipes at this point, but it's a good, strategic, smart move and it's been working for years. It also acts as an excuse to take a deep breath - look up at the recipe as if you are strategically calculating the next delicious move, while you buy yourself a moment to appreciate all you've done to make the day special.
Clean: Since you’ve done thorough cleanings recently, you can get away with a quick dusting of horizontal surfaces followed by a good vacuum/sweep. Give the bathrooms a once-over, too, and make sure you have ample supplies available: toilet paper, soap, disposable bathroom towels.
Get the bar/beverage area ready: Set up a beverage center away from where you’ll be cooking so guests can help themselves. If you’re serving adult beverages, set out the bottles and glasses now. Chop garnishes like lemons and limes and store them in the refrigerator (again, family, roommates, where are they today?).
Trash area: Make sure your garbage cans are empty so you can remove trash from the kitchen as Thanksgiving day progresses. Have plenty of kitchen trash bags on hand. Have plenty of trash can liners for your outdoor cans on hand as well.
Pets: Do you need a plan for pets? Does your dog jump on guests? Do they need to be on a leash until after the guests arrive? Is the kitty litter box empty and is someone assigned to checking that during the holiday festivities?
Prep table linens and set the table: Does your table linen need to be ironed? (FAMILY? ROOMMATES?)
Follow your game plan: Use those extra two pre-cooking hours you budgeted to have a nice cup of coffee/tea and a moment to meditate before the madness; a moment to assure yourself that the day will be delightful, even if it is not perfect. Something will go wrong, but that doesn't mean that everything IS wrong.
Finish placing towels and linens in guest bedrooms and bathrooms.
More tasks for your family and roommates: Greet guests, coat check, continuous check on bar and beverage area, check on bathrooms as the evening progresses, remove trash from kitchen to garage or trash bins outside, cat box clean up, do the dogs need to be walked or let out?
Wash as you work: Keep a sink of hot, soapy water available for washing things as you use them, or just load the dishwasher as you work. Maybe one of those guests, who consistently and generously asks if they can help, can be assigned to the sink, so they can wash as you go, or can fill the dishwasher so it can run before the meal is over. Running, emptying and refilling the dishwasher repeatedly while cooking is happening, makes clean-up a bit easier!
And finally, enjoy your meal: Remember what it is that you are truly thankful for as you eat and enjoy your friends and family. Sometimes this is the hardest part: go slow, be mindful, practice gratitude, give yourself a break, and enjoy.
One more reminder: Giving so others can enjoy the holiday: Do you want to purchase any extra Thanksgiving meal items for those who need an extra lift? You can do this when you are doing your own shopping or Call Sheilah! to coordinate . Donations of Turkey's, Ham's or non perishable items, paper goods, and gift cards can be made to homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, half way houses, rehabilitation centers and other facilities that need our support and kindness. This holiday and the holiday season can be particularly trying if food scarcity, resources and shelter are a major challenge. [We would be happy to help with this.]
We all know life's many tasks, whatever the season or reason, can be overwhelming. At Call Sheilah! we believe that suffering because of them is truly optional. Let us help bring balance to your life.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Call Sheilah! is super excited to introduce our informational publication, offering you one great idea to keep clutter and chaos to a minimum, one highlight about what we have been doing to assist Capital Region residents manage projects, tasks and errands, and a few examples of how Call Sheilah! can help simplify your personal and professional preparation for the upcoming, typically stressful, holiday season.
One Great Idea to Help You Help Yourself
Call Sheilah! got this idea while managing our own client caseload. It’s helped us keep our projects running smoothly and also ensured that our clients’ operation runs smoothly as well. We use this tip daily and it is super helpful.
Ritualize Your Work Day
Organization is not a one-and-done proposition. It is ongoing, which means keeping up with the influx of documents, files, projects and communications. To stay on track and get a jumpstart on your next day, allot 15 minutes at the end of each work day to update to-do lists, cross items off completed tasks, file completed projects, put in-progress items in their proper place, and add new items that have cropped up during the day. This makes for a clean, fresh, organized start when turning attention to the to-do list the following day.
Consider It Done!
Just recently, Call Sheilah! was asked to help a customer get better service from a vendor. She was paying far more for services than her neighbors and she needed an advocate to call the vendor. Call Sheilah! spent 45 minutes on the phone, helping to customize a package of services that would meet our client’s needs, and fall within her budget. We also coordinated the site visit so that the vendor could come and install the appropriate equipment to ensure the smooth delivery of those services.
The Holidays Are Rights Around the Corner
If you are anything like us here at Call Sheilah! when October rolls around, we start thinking about the holidays, which, of course, start with Halloween and ends with New Year's Eve.
Here are just a few things a personal concierge can do for you to help make your holidays stress-free:
Say Happy Holidays with a Gift Coupon - purchase the Gift of Time for your loved ones from Call Sheilah! It's the perfect gift for anyone and everyone.
We all know life's many tasks can get overwhelming. At Call Sheilah! we believe that suffering because of them is truly optional. Let us help bring balance to your life.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Problem solver, solutionist, mission accomplisher, comfortable shoes aficionado.