Posts Tagged ‘family’

1000 aaah’s. #2 Fire & Blessings

We had an electrical fire last week that swept through our house like a great storm. An unexpected blizzard pummeled the Northeast, taking down power lines and trees. It was 2am when it made it’s way overhead, snapping an old elm which crashed onto our roof, taking the power lines with it. We awoke to a bang, then a buzzing and snapping. All the lights in the house began to flash like a scene from “Poltergeist”. An oily smoke filled our bedroom. We thought that the insulation in our attic had caught fire.

Our reaction was primal. Check on the baby. Call 911. Turn off the power. Grab the fire extinguisher and look for the source on the smoke. Throw on shoes, a coat, layers for the baby. Run downstairs.

We were getting ready to run to the street when we realized that we could not leave the house! There was a live electrical wire outside. We could hear it snapping and hissing as it hit the snow, like a snake spitting sparks. I was terrified. I held on to our baby as if he was still attached to me.

The Fire Department arrived swiftly. The house was dark and shrouded in smoke. It smelled like melted plastic. The firemen searched with my husband and found the culprit. Two surge protectors had caught fire after being zapped by the force of the current from outside. They were blackened and disfigured, with melted wires torn from the casing.

Thank G-d the Bear had shut off the power, because the firemen said the curtains and the bed would have gone up in flames had he not acted quickly. I was speechless. Evacuate. They said. No heat, no power. We complied.

We stayed with family for a week. We finally got back in last night. All the damage was inside the walls, except for a charred oval branded into the wood floor under our bed and a stink of sour metal. We lost our computer, our circuits upstairs, our washing machine, but we are safe and unscarred and our old house is still standing.

I stand in gratitude for family. For the primal instinct that flows through us. For the love we are lucky to have.

We didn’t NEED a fire to realize how much we have and how easily it can be taken away. But moments like this make you count your blessings. Something I truly needed.

One thousand aaah’s : #1- second chances

Forgive me.

It’s been ages since I have written.
So very much has happened.

Jacob is now every bit a toddler. He’s charming and mischievous and full of love. The Bear has gone back to school to pursue a career in nursing. Our “new” old house finally feels like a homestead. It’s rough around the edges, dusty and cluttered, but warm and welcoming. No pictures on the walls yet. Maybe next year….

I left my job in February to begin my own design strategy consultancy. It was a hard decision, but I remain steadfast and open to what the future holds. I want a fresh start, a new page turning.

I have read that good things sometimes rise from ashes. In the forest, dense new growth often appears after a great fire. Sometimes it is sudden, sometimes it takes years, but the seedlings that spring forth seem intent on taking hold.

I feel that way right now. When I look out, I see promise where there was once was dark, dense undergrowth. I see blank space. Green, wet soil fortified by ash. What is to grow in this new open space?

It’s important for me to sit in gratitude. When I feel my most frightened or alone, I need to sit in my power and remember what I DO have.

I have decided to use this blog to make note of things worth cherishing. Perhaps it will hold meaning for YOU TOO. If you have a comment or something to add, I welcome your thoughts.

I’d like to get to ONE THOUSAND AHA’S. It starts with one:

1. SECOND CHANCES: The promise of unlocking one’s potential and living with mindfulness, passion and intent.

No day like today.


This one is for Betsy, who urged me to write again. Love you, sister.

What’s on Your Hat?

A man lost his way while hiking in Joshua Tree National Park and was rescued six days later. He kept himself alive by staying still and writing his last wishes on his hat. He wrote love notes to his family and children, in the event that he perished.

What would be scribed on your hat if you wanted to leave behind something for your loved ones? What would you wish for ? How would you ask your friends and family to celebrate the life that you have lived?

Where the Heart Resides

I am sitting at South Station in Boston, waiting for the commuter rail. I’ve never blogged in public before. It feels kinda naughty. I’m still groggy (It’s 6:55am) and recovering from a mad Easter dinner.

The Bear and I have been together for two years. During our second week of dating, I was invited to join him and his family for Easter. Being  Jewish, the ritual of Easter was somewhat foreign to me. I remember calling all of my Christian girlfriends and asking them to email me a copy of “Grace’ so I could be prepared if a prayer was said. They told me there were many forms of Grace, which left me bewildered.Then I asked if I truly needed a bonnet (as I had seen so often growing up in the South, and then in the area of Brooklyn where I lived after college). No bonnet. Ahhhh, okay. Well, what kind of food should I expect? My girlfriend mentioned something about a meat jello thing, I think it was a mint aspic. Another one said something about yams and mini marshamallows.I remember really wanting to impress the Bear and not be out of sorts when meeting his family. It sounded like I just had to smile and go for it.

That first Easter was truly lovely. His family was very welcoming. I realized that Italians were very much like Jews in their focus on family and ritual. We had Chinese food for Easter lunch, which completely put me at ease.

Yesterday marked my third Easter with my Italian side of the family. It’s so interesting to be welcomed into your partners’ life so fully. His sister is like my second sister. His Auntie spares no inappropriate comment because I am the newcomer. (She swooned at my protruding belly and said I was so big, I looked like I was having twins. TWINS!!!!!!) The kids run around and put flowers in my hair and draw funny pictures of us.

We realize with tender anticipation (and hope) that there will be another one to spoil with chocolate eggs next year.


A string duet has just begun to play in the lobby of the train station. They are in formal attire, and the sounds of Rogers and Hammerstein are amplified by the acoustics of the grand atrium. I love this city. Boston truly is my home. If I look down from the sky, I would see a little light on, atop a historic hill. That’s where my heart resides. So happy.

A letter to our family- week 10

Dear Family,

We are now in the middle of week 10 on the baby-creation front. Baby Beluga is now the size of a quarter from head to rump. He has eyelids and ears and all of his organs vital are developing quickly. If he’s a boy, he’s already developing testosterone. (Go mojo!)


We had the opportunity to see Baby Beluga on the ultrasound again yesterday. He looks very strong, with a big fluttering heart!


Mommy-to-be is still very tired, and experiencing much stomach upset. Luckily the nausea is subsiding and she has begun pre-natal yoga with some girlfriends in Boston. This weeks craving: milk and hot fudge sundaes! Last week- tomatoes! The week before- grilled cheese sandwiches! While mother-to-be is still eating VERY HEALTHY and has only gained a pound in the last 2 weeks, her midsection looks as if she’s wearing a tire around her belt! She is now at the “is she FAT or is she PREGNANT??” stage, and is sure everyone at work is wondering what’s up.


Luckily, Target and Ann Taylor Loft have some really cute and cheap maternity clothes and she has taken to wearing these on her BIG days. Mother-to-be is discouraged that her skinny friends, who are due the same month, don’t look as “robust” at this point! Maybe they don’t have as much gas in their bellies?


Father-to-be is working hard, and beginning his classes this Sunday. He takes good care of the family.


To view Baby Beluga’s progress, please check out the following link:

 (Note: Contains ultrasound photos)

Much love,


A letter to our parents

It’s awkward to post this on the blog, particularly because I have “house rules” on trying to separate my personal relationships from  this site, but I think it sums up how I am feeling. Very hopeful. Actually ready to exhale, thanks to some sage advice from a friend. Plus the morning sickness is starting to pass and I am beginning to feel like a hot momma again. I didn’t realize how YUCKY I was feeling, until it started to go away. Our families are all over the country, so we decided to drop them a line so they can participate and experience our pregnancy with us…

Hello family!

“The Bear” and I are 9.5 weeks pregnant today. I just wanted to drop a line because I am so happy, and hoping we make it through the first trimester with good results. All is well in our household. We are eating very healthy and taking all the vitamins we have been prescribed. “The Bear” been a great coach, and is very excited about our good fortune thus far. I have been a little more pragmatic about it, holding my breath till week 12!


Our little lightning bug is about the size of a nice sized olive right now. This week his/her organs are developing and it’s a big time for him! No wonder mother-to-be is tired all the time!


Thank you for all of your support and your SOUP which has really come in handy during my days of morning sickness. We love having such a wonderful and caring family to help support us through this.


Here is a really sweet website that shows where baby is this week. You can track her as she/he develops!

 (Note to readers: Ultrasound photos are posted on this link and may be disturbing to others.)

Much love,


Sending LOVE

Hello all you gorgeous women out there.

I just wanted to send you some good energy!!!!

Listen, I spoke with the Bear last night, and we decided that whatever we hear later today regarding (our pregnancy test )will have to be kept between us until after Christmas. As much as I would like to share our results with you sisters, we feel it best to have a face to face with out families first-and we won’t see my side until we fly out for Xmas day. 

Plus my mother, sister and sister in law are following this blog from time to time, and I wouldn’t want them to get their news (good OR bad) through the blog.

Also, I know that things change and the beginning is so fragile. So if the news is good, I’d just like to sit with it for a little while before putting it out on the blogosphere. If it’s not good, I’ll definitely need some processing time!

Deep breath!!!

I will say however that I am thinking of all of you. Everyone who has read this blog or has left a comment, and I have you all in my heart : )

We did the reverse the curse rituals last night and I have to say that it did fill me with a lot of girl power and happiness before the PT. I must say that sleeping on the opposite side of the bed was super fun, and having an “afternoon delight” first thing in the morning really started the day off right! So no matter the outcome I am covered in good luck charms today and feel full of good energy. I highly recommend making your own rituals to get through the Pregnancy test!

Wishing you well!


A View From the Ceiling

Still in Florida. My Uncle is still in a coma. Yesterday, the Doctor in the ICU described his condition as a “catastrophe”. He said Uncle might remain in a “vegetative state” and that he had bleeding on both sides of his brain. He said we had to be prepared, and that they were doing more CAT scans to confirm their assumptions. If we took him off of the ventilator he would not breathe on his own. If we waited, and the tests confirmed there was no brain function, we could keep him alive, attached to machines and feeding tubes for the rest of his existence. “Or“…..I dare not go in to the or as it is a decision I hope no one in the world ever has to make. At least the “Or ” would provide an end to his suffering. That long elusive word, “dignity” hung around his neck like  an invisible rosary. There were more than a few moments when I felt as if I had left my body and was floating above the conversation, hearing everything through a muffled blankets.

I spent half the day floating around the ceiling. I stroked his hair and caressed his arm while I told him stories of my baby niece and my new husband. My dad was grieving in a silent, tormented way. He was telling his brother to wake up or he would sell his new television.

We met with his social worker to understand (and help translate) all that we heard. I was supposed to be in charge of the meeting so my dad could breathe and absorb it all, but I couldn’t hold back my emotions. My Uncle’s case worker told us that if he did not improve, we should decide if my Uncle would wish to stay on life support or pass on. She said no one would rush us to make that decision. Then she told us about a thing called Hospice.

It was difficult to sleep last night. Dad and I tried to take joy in simple things- We spotted a pair of iguanas in an empty lot by the beach. We ate an abundance of Jewish pastries. It brought the term “carbo loading” to a whole new level.

We went back to the hotel to extend our lodging and push out our flights. I spent a few hours trying to get my husband a ticket to join us. I have been married a year and it is still hard for me to accept support from those that love me. The Bear will be a welcome addition to our coterie in the coma ward. He is steady and loving, and he’s studying medicine (a plus in this case). He has a certain distance to the situation, and his unwavering care and concern will help steady me through this.

On the computer in the hotel room, struggling for a signal. Then it’s “ooooooooh, ooooh, eeeeeeeewwwwwwoooohhh” through the walls as a couple started to bump de bump for what seemed like HOURS. Mind you, I am sharing a hotel room with MY FATHER and this woman is SCRRRRREEEEAMING at the top of her lungs.

Talk about awkward.

I wanted to bang on the wall and say “Get a ROOM!” But isn’t that what they did???? Could I blame them?

Impossible to sleep. Worry kept me awake. And then the 2am redoubt of the opera of moaning next door. It sounded like they were killing chickens in there! Dad snoring, lady coming and all I could think of was GET ME OUTTA HERE!!!!!!

But the sun comes out in sunny florida and today was a different story. Yes, they were still at it at 6am, but we left quickly for more carbo loading and a trip to the ICU. Uncle’s new CAT scan revealed that his brain was doing better than expected, but he was experiencing seizures every time they tried to pull him out of his coma. The Doctor said there was a glimmer of hope. I asked her what she recommended and she said, let’s give him time. “Time is all we have right now,” I replied.

Let’s give him some time.

This is one of the most important times of my life. This is something that changes you and once you pass that doorway and experience something like this, you cannot go back.

It just makes me realize how precious family is. I hope my Uncle knows how much I love him.

That’s enough for tonight….

Sweet dreams and love to you, dear reader. Thank you for listening.


Dear Uncle

I write this from a hotel lobby in sun-bruised Hollywood, F L A. I’m visiting my Uncle who had a terrible stroke. When I say those words, “Uncle in a coma” I always feel like it’s just some weird and horrible joke told by an old Jew with a cigar… The  famous “Uncle in a coma” joke second only to “Who’s on First”. It just seems too awful to be true.

It’s so horrible it can ONLY be a joke. It’s so visceral and raw. I’ve never loved my father more, or been so exhausted.

Every time they try to take him out of his coma he has a seizure. His brain is still very active from the stroke. I want him to have dignity. DIGNITY!!!!!! I was happy today when they brought him a special bed in the ICU.

I brush his hair and tell him how sorry I was for being LATE. How I am here NOW and he will never be without FAMILY again.

Call your mother. Tell someone you love what they mean to you today. REALLY.

And if you are reading this, say a little prayer for Eugene. And for every hurting, lonely soul who needs a bit of kindness. Moments like this make me realize how lucky and blessed I have been. I wish I could give him some of this blessing…

Thank you for reading this…


The Man Who Came to Dinner

Why is my manicure  DRY ENOUGH to type a new post, but not dry enough to post some bills????? Hmmmmmm….

Funny that you have time to do the things you long to do (if available to you) but never enough time to do the things you distaste?

I go back to work tomorrow. I took a few days off to be with my parents. They were visiting from California. Big Brooklyn Jews, with the striking accents and the dramatic hand gestures. My Mother, so warm and funny, seemed to be loved by strangers wherever she’d go…

My dad is still in Florida. His Brother is in a coma and has just had a stroke. They found him on the floor of his apartment. I worry about my Uncle, and about my Father, who was orphaned at 30. His Father died of a stroke so I imagine this weighs very heavily on him. 

My Uncle is one of those difficult, eccentric men that you WANT to love because he is your “family”. He has eyes like my father, and because of this, I tried desperately to love him. Still, he often said or did things that were hurtful or cut deeply, and he was sometimes cruel toward my Mother. My Mother who every stranger in the world seems to love.

I remember he once asked me if I was a lesbian, because I was still single at 29. This, he said, as he took his dentures out and placed them face up on my kitchen table, so he could enjoy a slice of Brooklyn pizza. There’s nothing wrong with being a lesbian, had that been my choice, but to be accused of this by a hairy, toothless man in my single-girl kitchen was just too much!

I want to love him. And part of me does bacause he is my Grandmother’s son, and I know she is my guardian angel. I guess we make some interesting, celestial love triangle. The Grandma I never knew, my Uncle, and me….

It’s complicated….

I was single (by choice) for so long, and I remember that universal fear. Something happens, you slip or are hurt, and because you live alone you think you might not be found for days. And g-d forbid if you have pets! Hungry pets, I won’t go into the details…

I love my Uncle because I know he meant well (most of the time). He just did not know how to “say” it like everyone else. It was as if a streaky window separated him from my family. He was always on the outside of the window. And it was stormy out there…

I am closer by blood to my Uncle than my own husband. My husband who becomes more my soul mate every day. My Uncle, found on the floor of his apartment after suffering a stroke. My Uncle, still in a coma, having a seizure every time they try to pull him out of it. My Uncle, who loved me, paralyzed on his left side.

Why do I feel so angry?