Friday, December 25, 2009

Top Talents in Jewish Music Donate New Song for RCCS!

“I Believe in Miracles”; A Song to Help Cancer Patients

Avrohom Fried, Yossi Green, Yisroel Lamm, and other stars in the world of Jewish music have combined their unique talents to produce a theme song to benefit the many hundreds of cancer patients being assisted by RCCS, the Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society.

The theme, “I Believe in Miracles”, came as a result of so many former cancer patients expressing themselves as recipients of a miracle, funded and facilitated by RCCS. The recurrent theme of the song is a song of hope and a song of strength.

In fact, many of the great Rishonim have written how one’s acts of kindness can result in the creation of a “miracle”. We are taught time and time again never to give up hope, even if a “sharp sword is resting upon one’s throat”. And that is the story of the song, and that is the story of RCCS.

Yossi Green, one of the leading composers in contemporary Jewish music was inspired to compose the song as a result of his first-hand knowledge of the accomplishments of RCCS. When Avrohom Fried (arguably the leading singer in the Chassidic music field, today) heard the song, he readily agreed to take part in this Chessed undertaking. And for those who know Yisroel Lamm, it is easy to guess that he immediately agreed to arrange and conduct the music.

The result is obvious to anyone with a discerning ear. According to Yossi Green, this song may go down as one of the greatest in Avrohom Fried’s longstanding history of great hits.

To download this song by donating a minimum of $1.80 to RCCS, please go to:

www.rccsmiracles.org

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

News!

There's been a lot going on and each point here probably deserves its own blog post but like I said, too much going on and not too much free time.

Here are the highlights:

Invisible Me went into a SECOND PRINTING! That's awesome considering it's out less than a month! So thanks to everyone to bought a copy and made it shoot up the bestseller list.

I will be speaking in Montreal IY"H- changed my mind in the end. January 24 I'll be there at the Ezras Cholim party so if you're a blog reader from that side of the border make sure to come say hi!

Targum and I are still waiting for your reviews! Nothing professional- just a few sentences telling us what you thought (without giving away plot details of course!). We've resigned ourself to hearing all about readers who were up till 4am to finish- so go ahead, tell us about your sleepless night with Invisible Me!

And now that Invisible Me sold out we KNOW there are lots of you out there reading it so we'll be waiting to hear from you! Email your review to me at twinklebrite AT yahoo.com.

What else? I'd like to be writing another book but I'm kind of stuck with some writer's block so most of my days are split between playing around with a blank Word document and toilet training my son.

If there's anything else I'll be back to post! Right now my blank document is still waiting...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

London!

I'm back from my first speaking arrangement abroad!

Well I was back two days ago really, but you know how it is with jet lag....

Actually, there wasn't any time for jet lag. I left here just after Shabbos, got there Sunday lunchtime, spoke Sunday night, left early Monday morning and got back here Monday afternoon and went right from the airport to my nephew's wedding.

I've never done anything like this and it was a great experience even though I hope I never again have to do something like that in just a day.

I can't believe so many people really read and liked Miracle Ride enough to fly me across the Atlantic...

Had to back out of a trip to LA this weekend though. There's only so much traveling a young mother of two kids who are up all night can take in one week!

I still can't believe I did it!

I think there's so much more I wanted to say about it, but I can't remember what. I'll post again if my mind ever gets back from Great Britain.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Cutest Contest Entry So Far

Waiting to hear from readers out there! Click HERE for contest details.

Check out this "review"!

Dear Tzipi Caton,

I am so mad at you. My mother keeps ignoring me. She is reading this book and not paying any attention to me. So not fair! So don't write any more books, unless they are children's books. My mother says I am not old enough to read this one yet, maybe when I am bigger. Even though I am seven years old and I read on a fourth grade level. So you could write one for like fifth graders, that would be good. And when my mother finally came down to the kitchen, she still wasn't listening to me, so I said "I can tell, you're THINKING about INVISIBLE ME!" And then we both started laughing cuz she said I was right!

So to make me feel better, she said I could tell you how I am feeling...she said you might have more time to listen than she does right now.

Sincerely,
Chaya

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Tell Me About It!

My book is on the shelves!!!! I saw it today!!! I even took a picture, hehe.

Now I want everyone to get their hands on a copy and read it, and I'll even offer you a good incentive to do so.

Targum and I are putting up a contest.

We're looking for the best review on Invisible Me.

We need readers to write up what they think about the book, why or why not they'd recommend it to others, what age group they think its appropriate for, what they enjoyed most, and of course, anything else they'd like to share about Invisible Me.

The only things you can't include are spoilers about the book. Please don't mention any specific incidents and of course, don't give away the ending!

All entries will be published on Targum's website, and together, my editors and I will choose our favorite one.

The contest is open from December 1, 2009 until January 31, 2010. Please send your entries to my email address, TwinkleBrite AT yahoo.com and don't forget to put REVIEW in the subject line.

Give us a name you'd like your review to be listed under and we'd like your age as well. (If you prefer your name and age not be mentioned, just say so and we'll keep it private, but you'll still need to send it in to be eligible to win.)

Now for the most important part, the PRIZE! Targum has generously offered to give our winner a 30% discount at Targum.com. Depending on how many reviews are submitted and how many excellent ones we'll need to choose from, we might consider runner ups, but for now, this is what you'll be competing for.

Check out Bas~Melech's review of my book to get an idea of what we are looking for. Thank you Bas~Melech for the great regards!

So dear fans- get reading cos I'll be waiting for your reviews!

-Tzipi

Monday, November 23, 2009

Economics Lesson

Gave my husband a lesson in economics.

He went to the grocery store and I told him I needed Motrin, but only the Extra Strength.

He told me the Extra Strength usually cost more and shouldn't he rather get the lower dose?

So I explained carefully that if he bought the lower dosage and I'd have to take four pills instead of the two Extra Strength I normally need, I'd finish twice as fast and then replacing that bottle would cost a lot more than just having the Extra Strengths to begin with.

I thought he understood but then he came home with four travel packs of Motrin each containing two low dose pills. Each travel pack cost a whopping 75 cents! He spent three dollars on what is essentially to me two doses, or about eight hours of toothache relief.

He said the store was all out of bottles and this was the only thing they had left.

When I lost my head about spending three dollars on two doses of Motrin when an entire bottle of 250 pills cost about $5, he calmly replied that if he'd come home without anything and saved the money he'd be up all night hearing me kvetch about my toothache.

So, he concluded, he didn't actually spend the $3 on meds for me. He spent three dollars on a guaranteed good night's sleep.

Economics indeed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Invisible Me

For all the nosey little fans out there already asking questions, here's some background on the new book.

One night, while I was in the middle of writing another novel (that I hope to get back to writing now IY"H,)I was in the mood of a challenge.

Writing was going too easily for me. It was just so simple to put the story to paper and I was bored.

So I came up with a concept. Not to write about mental illness, (as some people think is the point of this book), but to tell a story from inside the head of a girl who couldn't speak for herself.

I wondered if I could do it. If I could make a story happen, in first person narrative, from the perspective of a girl who could hear and feel but not add to a conversation. I wondered if I could tell her story and make things right for her and help her prove her worth even without her voice.

So Dini is a girl with Selective Mutism. The book though, is not about her disability. It isn't meant to be. The book is about relationships. Its about struggling to be heard and loved through the haze of things you say to fill empty spaces.

I wanted to see if I could have conversations without talking. And what it would look like if you only got to see one side; the side in Dini's head.

Targum Press did an excellent job with the book- they put different fonts for every time Dini writes a note and other fonts for the people in her life who write back. It's a fun book to read and also challenging.

Aside from the fun I had playing around with the literary side of it, it's emotional too. I wouldn't call it cheesy, because I don't go for the mushy stuff. (Unless we're talking chocolate cake in which case, bring it on!)

It's emotional just because it's frustrating living inside the mind of a bright, talented, otherwise normal girl, while being treated like a retard. My aim was to help the reader feel just as trapped as Dini is and feel along with her and see the story from her side.

The story is pure fiction. Like I said, it was just a dream on my part to challenge myself and see if I could do it. I'm bored of all the regular linear books out there. The plots are okay, but they all kind of mush together after a while. I wanted mine to stand out. Not so much because of the plot, but because you have to work to read it and so I hope it'll stay with readers a lot longer.

No, it's not another Miracle Ride. Nothing will ever be. But it's still worth reading. Not just because I wrote it, but because I really think it's good. *pats self on back*

So if you pick up a copy, let me know what you think!

NEW BOOK!!!

It's HERE!!!

I just got my Author's copy and if I do say so myself, it looks good!!!

Check it out here!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Vampires Suck

Edward Cullen- come and get me.

I went to donate blood today and no one wanted it!

I did everything; played nice, pleaded, begged, groveled, threatened to prick my own arm until they had to restrain me, but no cigar.

Parents lie to you to make you feel better, you know? When I was a kid and I was the only one covered head to toe with mosquito bites, my mother used to tell me I had "sweet blood" and that they all loved it.

But it can't be true. Because no one but those darned mosquitoes want it!

I think the Twilight franchise would go down the tubes if I offered the vampires my blood. They'd all be so horrified by it that they'd be turned off their love of blood like I was turned off sesame chicken on chemo and never look back.

The Jewish private blood drives never took my blood claiming they didn't want it after I'd had transfusions. Even though those transfusions were back in '03.

The place I went to today was horrified to hear that. They said it was illegal to turn down someone if it was more than a year since their last transfusion. They claimed that they needed blood donors badly enough that to turn away someone when the NY requirements said I was fine, was almost criminal. I was told by a regional director (named Carlos) that if anyone ever turned me down for that again, they could lose their license or something equally satisfying to me.

So don't ever say it to me again, you hear, because I got Carlos on my side.

But today it wasn't the transfusions stopping me.

I am a small person. I was built this way. There's nothing I can do to change the fact that I will probably never weigh enough to give a pint of blood to someone who needs it as badly as I once did.

I lied and said I was just a pound under the limit. I begged and said it was more like two pounds but could I please? I pleaded and said I was once a cancer patient and wanted to give back. I bargained and asked if I could just give red blood cells.

They put me on the scale. At a full eleven pounds under the limit, they gave me the free cookies out of pity but asked me to leave.

As a girl all I wanted was to be like my mother. The woman who helped build my father's business, raised nine kids by day, scrapbooked their pictures at night. Cooked one supper for us as a family and another every Sunday for Chai Lifeline. Ran with me to the hospital and then came home to PTA. Gave blood in the morning and then went rollerblading at night with us girls.

She's the goal I set all my life and I'm trying, even though I'll never match up. See, we have different blood types.

She's A- and I'm A+. So if it came down to it at the medical level- she won't ever want my blood either.

I'm feeling rejected.

Any vampires out there who like A+? My blood is looking for a good cause. If it can't be cancer kids, I don't mind Edward Cullen paying a visit...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Bro Scores, Yanks Win!

Who flipping cares?

Don't get me wrong, I like the outdoors, I love playing games, I know all the rules. But rooting for some idiot who makes three million a year to hit a ball? C'mon. I don't even know the guy! And does he even care if I root for him or not? No! Cos he don't know me from beans either.

But still at my brother's wedding, there were all the guys, (and many of the gals I must add), on their blackberry's watching the game live on Fox.

As my brother was on stage swaying and praying, his friends in the audience were jumping with nerves as they watched the innings go down.

Every so often you had some kid, or half the assembled, pump a fist in the air and holler "Go YANKS! Whoooooooop whooooop!"

We're talking during the chuppah.

I would like to say I didn't see my brother's eyes flick up once or twice, inquiring about the score, but I can't be sure.

(Just kidding! My brother isn't into sports at all.)

Stupid sick people.

Well the Yanks won and the wedding was great and the couple is cute and my gown was nice and I had a miserable time with my cranky kids who are NEVER coming to a wedding with me again, so all is well, but reality check anyone?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Got a call from the mother of a really depressed little girl losing her hair. We needed to find a way to cheer her up.

I sent her a clown sheitel with this poem:

So you wake up one morning and your hair starts to go
its all over your pillow and blanket and clothes

its itchy and depressing and feels so bad,
but it doesn't have to make you sad.

Yes, this may be the part where chemo takes over,
but its a great excuse for a make-over!

Have very straight hair and want to give curls a turn?
Get a sheitel with a nice frizzy perm

Or are you tired of breaking brushes in your curly messes?
Time for a straight look with easy smooth tresses

Like long and short, but cant decide which one?
Get two sets of hair and switch around for fun!

Go to school every day and make your friends guess
What way you decide to wear your hair next.

What about color? Would you look good as a blonde?
You never know, go try one on!

Black or brown might suit your head,
Go try some one, or what about red?

Or orange or purple with highlights green or blue.
What do you think? It's up to you!

I know your real hair is hard to part with,
but here's some new hair just to start with.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Truth

It's been on my mind a while, but I never said anything because I don't know what to do about it really.

I'm not "Me" anymore.

The reason I decided to actually post about this is because tonight I've been skimming through some old emails and found one written by a fellow blogger (Though I doubt she still reads my post after that email she sent me) telling me that since my book came out I've become different. She said I used to be funny and spunky and now I was some big headed speaker and writer who enjoyed being full of myself.

So she's not wrong. I like being full of myself. But serisously, I know what she means and I know why it happened.

When this blog began I was a kid. It was read by only my friends and those that weren't my friends had no idea who I was. I kvetched about chemo and talked miserably about those annoying chessed doers and said funny things to Santa Claus when he tried to give me X-mas gifts. And I was allowed to say all that, because who was I? I was just some anonymous stinker writing a blog.

Suddenly, I'm not anonymous anymore. And there's this pressure. This need to conform and this fear of saying all that stuff I used to, of being the pain in the neck teen I used to be.

But in real life I'm not this way, so it irks me.

Because in the life I really lead these crazy things are still happening to me and I'm still sassing back and enjoying every minute of it.

But I can't quite post on the blog how my son sings "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" every time I mention my mother-in-law, can I?

And I'm sure my husband would find it weird if I told you he knocked himself out by opening the car door while he was texting and hit himself on the head and needed me to drive his dizzy bleeding self to get stitches.

I could tell you how my sukkah blew away two weeks ago but not about the snooty conversation I had with the con-ed guy.

Cos now my blog is more real. And I'm afraid of hurting people and afraid of hurting myself.

It was very hard after Miracle Ride was published and people began judging me, the real me, for all the things I said there. I found this last year and a half I was busy defending myself to annoying readers who thought they had a right to judge me and my story. There were lots of compliments too, don't worry, but I'm sick of trying to be a nice normal girl for all the people who feel they have to comment all the time.

I miss the days where I could just rant to the world about my insane life. Cos my life is funny. Always good for a laugh. But now that you guys all know me, it's different.

But now I started finding my posts kind of boring. Like each one had to have a lesson, like I'm some sort of rebbetzin. In fact, someone so close to me started calling me "Rebbetzin" and it bothers me, because our friendship isn't the same as it was.

I want to be able to post funny stuff again, randomly, for no reason. Think you'd still read my blog if I did? Or would you call me a hypocrite or wishy washy or any of those other names people have called me in this last year and a half?

I'm afraid of being Me again. People think that I'm something I'm not and for the last year plus I've been trying to live to that standard but I can see it just aint working.

So I want to rewind. Go back to being that crazy person who never gets it right. My blog used to tell this story of my weird and funny life. Maybe I can do it again?

I sure wanna try, but I'm still not sure how to do it. Lots of what happens in my life involves real people and real emotions and I'm afraid of hurting them.

Bas-Melech, in a comment to my last post, congratulated me on rejoining the masses. Now I want to do so for real.

But I don't know how. And I need your advice. Please be kind.

And that's the truth.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Dressing Down

People think that just because I was sick and got over it that nothing small in my life ever gets to me. That unless it's something hugely monumental happening, it has no effect.

Let me assure you, that is not the case.

People email me all the time and preface by saying, "you probably think I'm crazy or overreacting, compared to all you went through," and sometimes, yeah, you might be overreacting, but hey, sometimes I hyperventilate too.

And it doesn't make me a shallow person. It makes me normal.

Yes, five years ago I was fighting for my life, but now I'm living my life. And part of life are the frustrating little bits that can bring me to tears a lot faster than chemo did.

For example, (and if anyone dares to laugh at my misery, I will ban you from reading this blog,) take Sunday.

I was up Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights with my baby who is teething (yet again). Motzai Shabbos we were at an all time record where I was up six times between one and four in the morning and then up at six for the day.

At three thirty I ran out with my mother and sister, leaving the husband with both kids so that I could go to my last gown fitting before the brother's wedding.

Guess what. The gown don't fit.

I don't know if it was just made wrong, taken in wrong, or I'm built wrong, but that thing didn't look right no matter what we did.

I am not a picky person when it comes to these things, and spent the next two hours trying on 25 other dresses. Nothing doing.

Everything was too big or too fluffy or too nightgowny-looking, and almost all of them made me look thirteen. In fact, when my mother saw some girl trying on a stunning gown that she thought I'd look nice in, the girl was thirteen.

When after two hours, at closing time,I still had no gown, I threw a temper tantrum in the gown place.

I know, real mature.

I was sobbing all over some huge fluffy dress at how I was up since some unholy hour and now I was going to look ugly at my brother's wedding and no one cared and I just wasn't going to come, and I hated looking like I was still in high school...you get the picture.

So in a last-minute-no-choice-in-the-matter decision, we ran to another bridal shop that rents for DOUBLE the amount I was spending before (and it was NOT cheap to begin with, mind you!) and within fifteen minutes rented another gown.

I still came home and cried all night.

What? I'm entitled to want to feel pretty at the wedding! I never got to wear a gown before! I missed most of my sister's wedding to give birth to JB and I was really looking forward to being pretty next week.

One of the things I learned when I was sick was that no one has it easy. It doesn't matter that I had Hodgkins' and that my friend had a brain tumor, we were both suffering. Who's to say that one of us suffered more? How would you know?

Sure, crying about dresses might have seemed petty to me when I was bald and attached to an IV pole all the time, but hey, I would have given anything to be so innocent. I'd have loved for the most devastating thing in my life to be about a dress.

So I'm going to take this whole gown fiasco as an excuse to be grateful. I'm so happy that I'm at a time in my life where I can cry over a silly gown. I'm healthy, I have two cutie kids, a wonderful husband (who made my daughter a bottle with RICE instead of FORMULA)and in the end, a great gown to dance in at that wedding.

I used to feel awkward around those "shallow" people in my life, but for once, I can appreciate being one of them.

(what JB is wearing to the wedding. Couldn't resist.)



Thursday, October 01, 2009

New Article Out!

Check out my short story/article in the Mishpacha's Teen Pages this week. It's called The FBI.

Lemme know what y'all think!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Just as Holy

I spent Erev Yom Kippur in tears.

It was just nerves, I think. I always get this way before a fast. There's this anticipation of what it will turn out like, all these questions and worries in my mind. Will I fast okay? Will the kids behave? Will I manage them on my own? Will I get to daven? All that stuff and just general nerves of getting everything right.

This year nothing went right.

The day before was just a disaster, with my son kvetchy and bratty since the wee hours of the morning (he's still getting over a flu he had last week). I had to entertain him, plus do a mountain of laundry, (my daughter has some reflux and she vomits indiscriminately,) plus take care of baths for everyone and the meals and telling all the neighbor girls that no, it was not a good time for them to take a guided tour of my home.

(Why is it that they are all so enamored by our little family? There are a million girls on the block that each have great toy rooms and games and yet they all want to play with JB's trucks?!)

I bentched lecht, put the kids to bed, and exhausted, fell asleep with my machzor in my hands.

Upon waking half an hour later I found I was miserable. It's been years since I've missed a Kol Nidrei in shul. And this year I didn't even want to go.

I sat there in front of my lecht and just cried at how Yom Kippur didn't feel the same to me- I was in my robe, wearing a shmattah velour hoodie on top of it, and not even in a sheitel. The white tichel that I wore with so much pride all the years sat in my drawer all yom tov. I didn't put my sheitel on once today.

I spent the entire day on the floor playing with Tonka trucks. My machzor in one hand as I tried to daven, the mini wheels garbage truck in the other, crashing into JB's emergency vehicle, keeping him quiet.

My kids ate junk today and I didn't care. I forgot to turn off the light in my fridge, so all the nutritional stuff I prepared erev YT just stayed there. JB ate potato chips and sandwiches and lots and lots of Twerps, and HB had a bunch of formula bottles and not an ounce of real food except for the Craisins JB generously fed her while I was in the middle of my Al Chaits.

And when my kids both went down for a nap, I did too. My tehillim this year didn't even make it off the shelf.

It just didn't feel like Yom Kippur to me.

Then my mother popped by on the way back to shul after the break between Shacharis and Mussaf and when she asked how my fast was going and I told her how I felt, she said it was okay.

That I had my years in shul as a teen, and I'll have them again when my kids are teens. But now my place is at home.

She's right, I know. It just took a lot of getting used to. I'm still not sure I'm used to the idea and next year won't be any easier not being in shul for Unesaneh Tokef. But the truth is... well, that's the truth.

For me Yom Kippur is the avodah I do with my children all day. Feeding them, playing with them, singing songs and reading playgroup "shailos" thousands of times makes this day just as holy for me as being in shul makes it for everyone else.

So when my mother left and I took my nap and then woke up and took the kids outside to play, I didn't let myself feel bad. I fasted, I davened, and I made two kids happy today.

Other years I prayed for these two kids, this year they're here with me. What more can I want?

So the holiest day of my year smelled like peanut butter and spit up, instead of leather bindings and old machzor pages.

Guess what. G-d gave me a job. And He made me a mom to two very special and wonderful kids. And that makes me heilig. Even when I spent Yom Kippur playing with trucks.

May we all see the kedusha in everything we do this year.

Have a gut gebentched yahr everyone.

Oh, and two updates.

#1 - HB finally got her place in the nosh cabinet. She's not really a jelly ring like we first thought she might be. She's BUBBLES. (Short for BubbleGum) She answers to it and the neighbors call her that, so it's official. JellyBean's sister is Bubbles.

And #2 - Tzipi's next book is due out Chanukah time. It's titled "Invisible Me" and being published by Targum Press IY"H. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Video of HB

I don't have a Video on hand of JB, but here's one I took of HB today. She was playing peek-a-boo with me. It was so random and so cute that I ran to get the camera!
video

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Out of the Woodwork

I don't apologize for my posts or lack of them. This is MY blog and I post when I wanna. So I've been in and out gone almost the entire year; What can I say? It was a big year.

Well now that I'm out of the woodwork, this is exactly what I wanted to blog about.

Two very interesting stories happened to me over the summer.

The first:

My brother was engaged over the summer and while we are all very excited, that has nothing to do with my story except for that it happened the night of the vort.

I needed to be at my parents house to set up early and I had the kids with me so I didn't prepare any supper for my family because we spent the entire day around food.

My husband though, came home from work starving and went out to find himself a slice of pizza. He'd usually go to a local shop a few blocks away from the house but because he needed to do a bank deposit, he drove across town and got into line at a pizza store there.

As he was waiting in line he recognized the person standing a few people in front of him. He was wearing a microscopic yarmulka and had a very closely trimmed beard. He was a very obvious chassidish used-to-be. Not that my husband can tell these things, but my husband remembered when he was in yeshiva together with the guy and he had long peyos that reached his shoulders.

My husband, when he recounted this incident to me later told me that when he saw the guy he literally shuddered remembering how he used to torture him in school. They knew each other as kids, before their bar-mitzvahs, and this boy, who was two years older than my husband, used to make his life hell.

We're talking stealing his lunch, tearing his books, beating him up, the works.

My husband said he remembered that the boy left yeshiva at thirteen and hit the streets and had a rough couple of years on drugs and hanging out with a really bad crowd.

He hadn't heard from him in over 20 years and was surprised to see that he was still around and obviously frum again.

Just for kicks my husband called out the guy's name to see what would happen.

The guy, (let's call him Joel because I'm getting tired of calling him Guy) turned around, saw my husband, and within seconds was hugging and kissing him and crying on his shoulder.

In front of at least 30 people in the store.

My husband was shocked that he recognized him, but Joel kept crying and said he was looking for my husband for over fifteen years to ask him forgiveness.

He didn't want to go into details in public but told my husband he was suffering terribly and he had long ago decided that whatever he was suffering from was because of four boys he had hurt as a kid.

He spent years tracking three of them down and asked them for mechila, but could never get hold of my husband.

He said he read newspapers all the time looking to see if any mazal tov ads were every printed with his name in it and asked around about him.

A few months ago he'd seen an ad in a paper that a man with my husband's name was making a kiddush for a baby girl and he wanted to go but he was afraid that if it really was my husband maybe he wouldn't be so glad to see him.

In any case, he was sobbing in the pizza place that night as my husband told him he forgave him with all his heart and wished him only mazal in his life from that point forward.

My husband walked in to my brother's vort almost two hours late and literally shaking with amazement.

That's the first story.

Now comes the second, not as amazing one.

Two nights ago I couldn't sleep.

This NEVER happens to me, especially since the baby was born.

But that night I drank like two ounces of cola before bed (because normally even coke can't keep me from my sleep) and I was tossing and turning for 45 minutes before getting up and turning on my computer to catch up on some articles and emails I needed to write.

My computer automatically opens my instant messenger program when Windows starts and so as I was working I was also able to see which of my friends were online at the time with me. It was almost one in the morning by then.

Out of the blue, a schoolmate I never IM with popped up on screen to schmooze. Happens to be, she was telling me she met my brother's kallah and she was so sweet etc, but after a few minutes she told me that she really felt stupid but she had to ask me forgiveness.

She said that she was up that night because something was bothering her and when she opened her computer and saw me online it just hit her. She said she remembered that when we were in school together she and a bunch of other classmates were mean and quite cruel to me.

I actually remember it well but got over it. I didn't take it personally then and I haven't thought about those girls in a long time.

She said she can admit it now that they were all just jealous of me, but she still felt awful about it. She even reminded me of two times, two different years when we were put together in the same group for a project and I was the one who did all the work while the other 5 or 6 girls bailed on me. BOTH YEARS.

In the end the entire group got an A+ for my efforts.

I remember it, but like I said, I'm so over it.

Well, she wasn't and wanted to ask forgiveness.

Now, that's all very nice and moving, but something bothers me.

Not that fact that both my husband and I were treated badly in school, but the fact that it took YEARS for these people to ask mechila.

My husband and I are both happy well adjusted people and these incidents were long buried for both of us. Apparently though, other people were suffering and just now decided to seek us out.

That kind of gets me. The coming out of the woodwork now. When it's convenient for them. When they need us. OUR mechila.

Where were they then? When we suffered?

This is not to say I don't forgive my classmate with all my heart, I actually am so impressed and flattered that she remembered this after so much time. But why do people do the kinds of things that hurt other people and then only come back to ask forgiveness when, oh gosh, something goes wrong in their lives.

I dunno, I guess I can't expect us all to be sensitive and loving all the time, but maybe being a little more considerate and watchful isn't too much to ask?

It is chodesh Elul after all. Something to think about?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

What's up My Sleeve

My son hates short sleeve weather.

It means he has no sleeve to wipe his nose in.

Well, normally, when it comes to short sleeve weather, we’re not thinking about runny noses, but this year its proving to be different. With all the rain we’ve been having my son is proving very ingenious when it comes to finding what to wipe his nose in.

I’ve found streaks on my skirts and on the shoulders of my shirts and even one or two on my bandannas.

He’s used his little sister’s fuzzy blanket and even once his own.

And nothing I say can make him stop.

But that’s the way it is with kids. They sneeze without tissues and take matters into their own hands.

They just don’t get what the hem of a shirt is for if not for wiping their chins.

And obviously, rain boots aren’t as fun as splashing in puddles with sandals that let your feet actually get soaked.

And duh, hair is the perfect place to wipe your hands in after you get them full of ketchup.

G-d is a master planner. He knew what He was doing when he gave these kids ears to stick pennies into and nostrils for beans and little bits of paper.

But runny noses in the cuffs of his shirt get to me. Cos that’s just icky.

Then again, the other night I was up at some unholy hour taking care of a whining baby.

For the last two months every night has been another story and every night I convince myself that it’s only tonight, and that tomorrow we’ll be back on schedule.

Tomorrow never came.

Or maybe it did but I was too tired to notice.

Or maybe it just wasn’t different enough from the night before that it was impossible to differentiate without coffee but I gave up caffeine a long time ago.

So that night was the 62nd night in a row without sleep and I just about had it.

I contemplated letting her cry and then realized it would just wake up my son who would end up crying too and just the thought of that made me cry.

And at four in the morning I found myself sobbing with frustration and tiredness and also so much love for that round little face that only wanted her mommy and guess what?

I’ll tell you a little secret but only if you promise my kids will never know.

Sometimes… Mommies wipe their noses in their sleeves too.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chazak Hotline Speech

I just spoke for Chazak Hotline! It was so much fun even though the first three minutes aren't that great because I was nervous. It was weird telling my story to a phone that didn't talk back but when I got up to talk in front of the mirror it started sounding a lot better. :-)

Go have a listen and tell me what you think!

718-258-2008 or 845-356-6665. You need to press #3 to hear "Inspiration for Life's Challenges". Then press #2 for Whatever that option is, and then I'm speech number 55#.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Making Moments

I was feeding them supper one evening last week
and I was slouching exhausted in my chair.
I was counting the hours till the day would end
When they’d be sleeping and out of my hair.

I danced around the kitchen, and tricked them into eating
And sang till my throat was sore
And even though I wanted to sit down and cry
I tried to be patient when they wanted more.

I waited all day for this family time
But when it came it just messed with my head,
And I felt so bad that all I could think,
Was how long until I could ship them to bed

I glanced at the clock, another hour to go
So I gave them dessert to pass time
My son was ecstatic as I sat down on the floor
and waited for the hour to chime

And I was sad that it seemed that they all were like this
Each day just blurred into the next
And I wondered when I was going to make big memories
Days that stood out from the rest

I wondered which today's would be part of tomorrow
Which parts they’d take with when a new sun showed its face
Or which days of their lives they’d never recall
Hazy memories stored in some forgotten place.

And it made me sad all through their bath
Where we blew bubbles and tickled and splashed
And after that they got dressed and jumped on my bed
And made their tired old mommy laugh

It seemed so depressing, yet another evening
With no strength to make memories for keeps.
Instead trying to smile during their nightly routine
And waiting till they were asleep.

And when they became quiet later,
One in my arms, and my shoulder supporting the other one’s head
I kissed their cheeks and hugged them tight
And brought them each to their own beds.

I worried about those memories,
When we’d make them and what they would be.
Would they be of happy times of laughter and joy
Or of a tired and cranky old me.

And then my son called from deep in his dreams
He woke up for one last hug good night.
He snuggled up to me close and kissed me so cute
And I too held on to him tight.

Then I knew suddenly that as blurry as they get
Each night helps to build a new dawn
And that the hugs and the laughs and the bubbles we splashed
Will help us all keep moving on

And my daughter smiled in her sleep, don’t know what she was dreaming
But my evening lost some of its gloom
I felt so much lighter after that hug and her grin
And felt happy as I left their room

I realized its not the big memories but the little moments,
Not the big days but just small tiny parts
Those are the minutes that last through the tomorrows,
Nestled somewhere in their little hearts.

So I vowed to make more of the today’s.
Hug tighter, smile bigger, laugh real
To stop worrying about the memories I wanted to make
And to love the precious moments we steal.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sometimes I Wish.

Sometimes I wish for the time where I was just another kid in high school.
Sometimes I wish for the time when I was just another newlywed wife on the street.
But then I'd be giving up who I am now and all those people I've gotten to know and help and learn from in this last year.

Sometimes I wish for the days when Mommy's kiss made everything better.
Sometimes I wish for when a band-aid took all pains away,
But then I'd be giving up the experience and the biggest times of growth of my life.

Sometimes I wish for the late nights spent laughing with my friends.
Sometimes I wish for the early mornings I used to go rollerblading with my mother before school.
But then I'd be giving up the midnight feedings and the happy "git morgen Mommy!" I get every day.

Sometimes I wish for the man who used to take me on dates when we were engaged.
Sometimes I wish for the man who came home only to me.
But then I'd be giving up the man who proudly gives piggyback rides and mushy kisses to our kids.

Sometimes I wish for the days when I'd leave my bed unmade cos no one noticed.
Sometimes I wish for the days when I'd clean the house and it'd stay that way.
But then I'd be giving up on happy faces smeared with sticky lollipop goop and floors scattered with beloved toys.

Sometimes I wish for the easy black and white, right and wrong of my childhood.
Sometimes I wish for the shades of grey of my political teenage years.
But then I'd be giving up the world of primary colors and rainbows I live in now.

Sometimes I may wish but I never forget what I already have.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Setting Ourselves Free

I know I haven't posted in a while, just been way busy. Have another book in the works that had to get finished and then of course there is Pesach coming and my little munchkins who take up all my time.

But tonight I have some breathing room (please please please don't wake up for another twenty minutes till I finish posting!!!) so I figured it was only right to come here and post.

So here goes.

A few weeks ago my friend who comments here quite a bit, itsagift, sent me an awesome quote.

"Resentment is like drinking poison and then waiting for the other person to die."

This quote just hit me so hard I couldn't delete her email. I fell in love with the truth of it and the great message it had.

I wanted to blog about it for a while but I guess it's appropriate that it waited for now- right before Pesach.

You know, each of us have people in our lives who have hurt us and caused us some miserable times. They're hard to forgive and let go of. I know. I've had plenty of hurts myself.

But twenty years, or even twenty minutes after the event, when you're still smarting at what this person may have done to you, do you think they're thinking about you too? Do you think that all the years you wasted hating them and wishing things would have worked out differently are being hated and wished away by that other person as well?

I doubt it.

Once, I worked for someone who made my life a living hell for as long as I was their employment. I used to come home with stories and tears and literally shaking with anger after a day at work.

One Thursday, I had a fallout with my employer over something stupid. I was asking for advice on how to deal with a certain situation that had come up and was told quite bluntly that my employer believed that I caused the whole thing and that if I would not be "Me" then it never would have happened.

Understandably I got pretty upset and said that if my place of work would be a little more accommodating to its employees THEN it never would have happened.

So the boss tells me unceremoniously that if I really felt that way I should look for a new job.

I spent all Shabbos alternately seething and fuming and then crying and pouting.

Until my husband, wise man that he is (and no, I would not say this to his face but if he'd read my blog he's welcome to the compliment) asked me, "While you killed your entire Shabbos, and by the way, killed mine as well, do you think that your employer wasted even one second thinking about you?"

And then it smacked me over the head. No. She didn't. She couldn't care less about me. I was just a fly she swatted and walked away. Yeah, too bad for me that I was the fly left dying on the floor, but she COULDN'T CARE LESS.

And then I realized that I wasted a good 48 hours of my life on someone who didn't deserve those 48 hours of my life.

And it was over.

I left that job. I realized that this person not only didn't deserve my moping, she didn't deserve the time, effort, and the heart that I put into my job to begin with.

And for that I am a much happier person.

I still have to remind myself sometimes to stop driving myself crazy for people who won't even care, but it's a good thing to remember. Because in the end, by allowing myself to be miserable, I am HELPING that other person hurt me.

Imagine if the person who caused you all that pain knew how deeply it hurt you- that you were thinking about it and resenting it for years after. I can just hear the evil laugh. "I thought I could get her down for five minutes max, didn't dream I'd get it going for five years! I am gooood! MWAHAHAHH!"

LOL's aside, there's another aspect to this.

Forget people.

I get asked all the time how come I don't resent the years in my life that I suffered, missed out on being a regular kid, went through what no one should ever know of.

Well, I guess you can say I learned a good lesson. It's not worth it. Those were years that Hashem had planned for me. And as hard as they were, they were going to happen whether I liked it or not. They NEEDED to happen because I had to grow from them. And only those particular circumstances could have made me the exact person I am today.

And a little bigheadedness here- I LIKE the person I am today.

So how can I waste the next five years of my life being miserable about those five months that were only stepping stones?

Resentment is a choice. You just have to realize it. And you need to realize that the health food store don't carry it, just because it ain't healthy. It's poison.

So I think it's perfect for this time of year. Pesach is about letting go- becoming free. But really, the key to most freedoms in this world lies within us. So let's decide to let go this year. Smile, and make the world wonder what you're up to.

If I don't get to the blog again before Pesach -have a kosher'n freylichen yom tov everyone!

And I should have prayed for Moshiach earlier, turns out Hashem was listening. HB JUST started wailing- like she was waiting for the end of my post. :-)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Purim in the Bronx (Zoo)

My kids dressed up as animals yesterday (JB was a kangaroo and HB was a bear) so this is the poem I wrote to hand out with our shalach manos...


Back in Shushan many years ago

Bee-gan the tail I now recall,

When Achashveirosh made a mishteh

For nobles, and pheasants, his subjects all.


He was proud as a peacock

Of the riches he possessed,

And he couldn’t wait to show off Vashti,

His deer queen to all the rest.


But Vashti was acting catty,

She couldn’t bear the way she looked.

The king got annoyed at her otter disrespect,

And decided her goose was cooked.


But then Achashveirosh was sheepish

When he realized he had caused a scene.

And so he sent out announcers throughout the streets,

Hare ye! We’re looking for a new queen!”


Hagai was a man with a porpoise,

He was the cardinal royal beautician,

He was ticked when Esther ignored his help,

And heron in became a man with a mission.


But Esther didn’t need any of it,

People used to crane their necks when they spider.

The other girls got crabby and thought she was a cheetah,

But as queen, no one could fight her.


Of course her identity as a Jewish girl,

Was kept quiet at a mouse

The mystery was like an elephant in the room,

But the king still made her queen of the house.


Bigsan and Seresh planned to kill the monarch,

But by Mordechai were overheard

He stopped the sly foxes from using snake venom on the king,

And watched the traitors hung up with the birds.


The court squirreled out of Mordechai’s reward

Even though he was Esther’s relation,

Because Haman came in raven about a new plan,

And it created quite a sensation.


“Please don’t be chicken” he said to the king,
Owl take care of it all, you know.

Just please let me kill all the Jews in your kingdom!”

And Achashveirosh said, “Llama lo?”


Mordechai told Esther about this fishy plan

And asked her to have something arranged.

She told the Yidden to fast for three days

And she’d see if the king’s tuna could be changed.


She went in to the king bone tired and thin,

Cowering with fear,

But he sent out his seal and nodded to her

And said he was ready to hare.


Esther ducked her head shyly and quietly asked,

If he’d come to her for a spell.

She’d serve lamb and turkey and other nice things.

And said Haman was invited as well.


That night dressed in her most beautiful boa

Esther asked the king if it was alright

If she hosted another party,

Bear with me one more night.”


Later Haman went running back to Achashveirosh

Even though he was in pajamas and crocs,

His head was so abuzz with the plans that he had

He ran in and forgot to knock.


The king was sitting up in his own comfy mules,

He had a dilemur he was mooseing over you see.

He needed to honor Mordechai,

But Haman thought, “Whale, he must mean me!”


So though Haman plotted to kill the Tzaddik,

He ended up leading Mordechai’s horse instead.

He crowed to the streets about what a fine man he was.

And his own daughter dumped a pigsty on his head!


He wished he could bow out of Esther’s gathering that night,

His day had gone to the dogs anyway.

But he was told to furget that plan,

And hurry over to the palace without delay.


At the party Esther whaled on him,

By crying to the king about Haman the shark,

The king hawkishly sentenced him to death on the spot,

“Get him out of my sight!” He barked.


“I’m sorry I exposed him for lion and cheatin’”

Esther apologized as Haman and his family hung,

(Along his wife Zeresh and his son Dolphin,)

But the king said “Don’t worry about that skunk.”


We Jews are not Man o’ war,

But we won a battle then,

It was our victory over Amalek

We roared our thanks to Hashem.


Today its years and years later,

And we still don’t let anything bug us in this special time,

We carry our feathers in our caps.

Cos we’re proud of our heritage so fine!


Pigeon to make this the best Purim ever

By keeping happy but careful too,

Make sure to stay safe, act like mentchen, not chayos,

Even though Purim can feel like a zoo!


A Freilichen Purim!


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

B'simcha!

JB dancing his head off. Taking a break from dancing on MY head...


video

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sharing Simchos!

We were due three days apart but our little girls ended up with a 19 day gap between their birthdays.

My friend "Michal" from my book just gave birth to a playmate for HB this morning! She sounds great even though she's not resting up enough (I am one to talk because I am three weeks down the road and know what she's about to face...) and she's just thrilled to be a mommy.

Her daughter is making up for the 19 day gap by weighing more at birth than HB does at almost three weeks old, so I just know they'll be great friends with a lot in common.

I should really add some of these last posts as a P.S. in the book now that Miracle Ride is going into its third printing. :-). People keep asking me for updates on all the characters in the book- and B"H there's been a lot of happy stuff going on for us.

May we only share simchos!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Small Steps

Taking life day by day gets easier when you remember to appreciate the small things. :-) And it gets better when you remember to smile. Oh, and take lots of cute pictures. :-)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Of Life and Linen

And Real Life goes on!

Taking it day by day is easier than it sounds. Especially when the last few days have been full of unexpected surprises.

Before this baby came I prepared like crazy- made suppers and froze them, stocked my pantry, prepared the baby room and gear from JB, all that fun stuff. So I wasn't worried about bringing JB back home less than two weeks after HB was born because I knew I could manage.

What I didn't know was...

-JB would cry himself to sleep the first two nights home because he lost his pacifier and because he missed being at his grandparents' house.

-Late Sunday night my boiler was going to conk out on me.

-HB was going to cry all Sunday night.

-HB was going to wake up JB at 6am.

-We would have to spend all Monday at my parents house for the heat.

-The plumber wouldn't be able to fix my boiler.

-There would be no one to call for emergency service because of President's Day.

-I was going to go back home with two electric heaters.

-...That would stop working at 11pm.

-HB was going to wake up for her feeding at precisely the time that JB vomited all over his crib.

-JB was going to puke all over my husband's bed while I was washing his linen.

-HB was going to cry while I did three more laods of laundry and JB threw up on my floor.

-I was going to be listening to Mrs. Himmelstein invite Mrs. Pitkin to her nephew Lemel's bar mitzvah at 4am. (Shmuel Kunda- JB likes to fall asleep to it.)

-I was going to be woken at 6 again for a feeding.

-JB was going to wake me up at 7.

-JB was not finished throwing up.

-JB was STILL not finished throwing up.

-HB was going to wake up while JB decided to throw up AGAIN.

-They were both going to finally fall asleep on stripped cribs and beds and I would be stuck in my freezing house still in pajamas at 1:20 pm wanting to go for a nap, but waiting for my linen to come out of the dryer...

Ah, real life. Feels wonderful to be normal again.

If anyone sees a squishy pink thing laying around or maybe even strolling the streets, I seem to have lost my mind some time ago. I'd like it back. :-)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Back to Real Life

So, HB is almost two weeks old and JB is back home with me and life goes back to normal. Except it's not really back to normal for me because I've never experienced life with two babies. So this is more like a brand new major adjustment period rather than regular life.

I remember feeling something like this after I finished chemo. It was like getting used to life all over again. It was so confusing and scary and maybe even a little depressing at times when I realized that my old life was never coming back. That as much as I grew and gained from my experiences, I still missed a part of whom I was before but I could never go back.

From what I've heard, lots of cancer patients feel that way after getting better. The whole time they were sick they couldn't wait to be back in the real world, get back to their real lives, but when they finally got out there again they discovered that the real world didn't wait. It moved on without them. And their real lives? All of a sudden they have to reassess what that even means.

All day today I was battling some New Mommy Blues , fighting it back as I had my first regular "back to normal" day. I took my kids (feels so funny to say that! My Kids :-) ) to Toys R Us for some baby gear and for a butt-day present for JB. There were a load of screaming monsters all over the place and my son wasted no time exercising his lungs too.

I thought I would go out of my mind or at the very least have a screaming fit as well.

In the end, we left with JB's present of choice- a big 15" ball that cost all of $2.16 (may all his future wants and needs hurt my pocket no more than this did) and with a splitting headache.

I felt like crying all through the afternoon when HB made through three pampers and two undershirts in a row and then through the bath that JB refused to take and then through bedtime which JB and HB cried themselves blue and where I ran from one to the other until JB cried himself to sleep (he lost his pacifier last night at his grandfather's house) and until HB had her bath and spit up some more formula on her (used to be) clean (ten minutes ago) stretchie, and conked out as well.

I feel bratty about this- like I should be so thankful that I have this wonderful family but instead I'm just wishing to go back to two weeks ago when I was in charge (mostly) of my hormones and to when I could sleep 8 hours (if I took Tylenol for the lower back pain) a night, and to when I had an excuse not to wear heels on Shabbos.

I felt bratty after chemo too- I knew I had to be thrilled that I was well again, but it took a long time until I got settled enough to be able to look back and appreciate it. Those first few months were awful. Yes, I got engaged and married in those months, but daily life was hard. I struggled to get used to the world where it was when I rejoined it. And it was hard after having missed out so much.

So even though some will say that I'm just hormonal (just not in front of my husband please, he hates that word...) and I have no qualms about agreeing with you there- I will also say that I am adjusting. And that adjusting is just as hard as dealing with mood swings. And that adjusting WITH mood swings is harder. And that adjusting with mood swings AND sleepless nights is a killer. So bear with me world. I'm catching up as fast as I can.

But I'm learning. Or at least remembering. That the great things in our lives come at some sort of price. But not in a bad way. Just in a way that makes us appreciate them even more once we get past the rough spots.

One day down, and we'll keep doing it one day at a time.

Or one night at a time- kids are sleeping finally, so that's my cue. Mommies of newborns are allowed to go to bed before ten p.m. It's the only way they stay sane. Or at least partly so.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Name

I might as well start from the beginning if I'm already going to tell you my daughter's name.

We'll start with JB.

JB of course is only a nickname. When he was born he was so tiny that we joked he looked like a jellybean all curled up in a little ball. So we called him JB for a week until his bris and the name kind of stuck.

But his real name is Shimon. For R' Shimon bar Yochai. He was not born Lag Ba'omer time- JB's birthday is actually this Shabbos, but my husband's grandfather was named for R' Shimon and he requested that anyone named after him should never add a second name because it wasn't his name to pass on- it belonged to R' Shimon. So JB in his other offline life is also called Shimi. Or Monster. Or Stinker. Or cutie-patutey. Or if he's really misbehaving, SHIMON HALEVI "CATON"!!!!!

JR's name is Hadassah Bracha.

Hadassah is for my great grandmother whose real name was Esther Malka. We couldn't give Esther Malka because we already have another family member by that name. So because of the Purim story where Esther HaMalka is also called Hadassah, we chose to remember her by that name instead.

Bracha is her second name and it's after the woman my great grandfather married when Esther Malka was niftar. She was a quiet person, a very special soul, who never had any children of her own. I felt very strongly about giving my daughter her name because she was such a fine person and because she deserved to be remembered even though she had none of her own children and grandchildren to pass on her name.

Another reason I felt strongly about the name Bracha is because of the timing that my daughter was born. 5 years and 5 days off chemo- a week into my life out of remission. She's really a bracha to me at this time- just a sign that my life is going so well, and that every day that I am well and the fact that I have a husband and two beautiful kids is a gift from Hashem.

So there you go- another big peek into Tzipi Caton's personal life...

And for the poster who asked why I never put up pictures of my husband- Well he's shy. And because he agreed to be MY husband, not Tzipi Caton's. So I need to respect that this is my story that I chose to tell, not his. But I'll tell him he's being asked after- I know he'll get a kick out of it.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Meet JR!




Five years may have passed, but I still hate hospitals, so I'm home a little bit early and back with pictures to show you all.
They're not especially great, but that's what having a new baby is about- a bunch of messy pictures taken by overwhelmed husbands and excited grandmas.
So Jellyring (no name until Shabbos) weighed 6lbs 6oz (2 oz more than JB) and came in an inch shorter than him at 18".
She's so far really cute and quiet and lovable and I'm really looking forward to getting to know her and being her mommy.
JB is thrilled with her. He keeps trying to give her a pacifier and a bottle and was very taken with her little fingers. He giggled when she cried, he thought it was hilarious that something so tiny can squeak. It's his birthday this week and he is sure that Mommy and Tatty bought him this baby as a "Butt-Day" present.
Wait till he finds out that this present can't just go back in the toy bin when he's bored of it!
Thanks everyone for the Mazal Tov wishes! IY"H simchos by all of us!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Adding to the Nosh Cabinet....

Not a very well written post but a good one still...


We get a mazal tov!


JB has a sibling- a little baby sister. We'll call her JellyRing for now, JR for short.


Details will come when I get home and can post from something other than a BlackBerry.


IY"H only oif simchas by all of us!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Because I Can and so I Did

Tonight I let my son stay up late and we played together. Just because I like to hear him laugh and because I'm grateful that he's here with me and because Mommies can push off bedtimes if they want to because I can and so I did.

Tonight I baked a cake and I just took it out of the oven and it smells delicious. Just because I was in the mood and because I know it will make my husband smile and because I had too much cocoa sitting in my pantry and because I can and so I did.

Tonight I took a sponge and crawled up on the counter to clean in the corners behind my sink. Just because they were dusty and because I wanted them clean and because I like climbing onto countertops and because I can and so I did.

Tonight I washed the floors with Mr Clean and now my house is spotless. Just because I like the smell of lemons and because the smell also reminds me of Fruity Pebbles cereal and because the floors were dirty and because I can and so I did.

Tonight I spent an hour schmoozing to my friend and we caught up. Just because I missed her and because I'm lucky to have her and because there's no one to tell me not to hog the phone lines anymore and because I can and so I did.

Tonight I am going to read a book and skip pages if I want to. Just because I want to read the funny parts and laugh a little and because no one is here to tell me that I can't read a book in mixed up order and because I can and so I will.

Tonight is the first night of the rest of my life. Just because tonight is five years since my last day of chemo and because tonight my status changes to become that of a regular person who has the same chances of getting sick like someone who was never sick before and because tonight my period of remission ends.

Tonight is special just because I say it is and because I have this night that's just another great night with nothing else to worry about and because I have a night that's just full of me doing stuff because I'm healthy and capable and willing and because I can and so I do!

Five years ago they told me that chemo is over and that I can have a great life, and tonight, just a regular night, I know it's true. They said I can, and I know I do.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Just for Cuteness


My family and I went back to Hackensack (the hospital where I was treated) for their Chanukah party and my son, (whom I dressed up to show off) decided he wasn't interested and took a leisurely nap on a table. My little monster. :)

Just thought I'd share now that I finally got the pics onto the computer.

EDIT: The other pictures were added after some commentor couldn't understand why I call him a monster. He's my yummy monster, devilishly cute.

(Note ketchup stains around mouth...)
(As I was running to bentch licht my son was taking care of setting the table)

(Note some more ketchup stains around mouth.)

(Nothing tastes as as good as biting into a WHOLE tomato.)

(Taking time to smell the flowers.)

(Trying out his new fluffy slippers.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Denomination Doesn't Determine Destiny

Here comes part two of my second to last post.

So I got to thinking, I don't double cover my sheitel even though I'm Chassidish, my Yemenite best friend isn't required to have a middle name like Mazal, and my Litvish friends don't all wear denim. It's weird how silly little things get stereotyped and people come to expect them.

But that's not my main point.

My thought was, after I was mistaken for being S'fardi, that as much as we stereotype other people, we also tend to exclude and try to elevate ourselves to a level above them.

There have been times where I've felt that people looked down at me for having been sick- like I chose it, or like it's something that only people who are "like me" (whatever my group may be) can get. People just assume that these bad things don't happen to them.

Whenever we hear about an accident or get another tehillim name forwarded on our email accounts, or find out about another young person who passed away, we sort of all say "nebech", forward the bad news further, say a perek or tehillim (or not) and then move on.

We kind of forget that these names are real people and that they are people like us. We tend to think that they belong to some "other" group, that live in some "other" universe, that lead "other" lives that don't pertain to us.

We're all guilty of it- I do it all the time.

Part of it is because we are desensitized. Unfortunately, there is so much bad news and we hear it so often, that it loses the dramatic impact it should have on us. But I think a bigger part of it is how disconnected we feel and allow ourselves to feel from each other.

And even those of us who aren't judging people that are different- and most of us don't- we still do think of others as being "not like us". When we read the terrible headlines we automatically say "Oh, but these things don't happen to people like me."

We hear about an Israeli soldier who was killed on the front lines the other day and the first questiona are "Was he frum? Ashkenaz?" etc. Does it matter? He was Jewish. He was one of ours.

I wrote in a post ages ago where a lady at a job interview told me quite bluntly that she was shocked that I was married because she would never let her son marry a cancer survivor. She made it sound like I was born into a coven of little monsters that were all fated to live through some horrible illness at the age of 16. I was the outcast, the different one, because things like cancer just didn't happen to people like her and her precious son.

And I sure hope they don't! I hope she and her son and her family are all well and never have to go through any tza'ar, but still- who told her that she's immune?

And when I heard about those ladies talking about me at the RCCS event, I had to wonder- do they feel better about themselves thinking that I am S'fardi? Did they go home relieved that something like cancer couldn't happen to them because it was only something that happened to "people like her"?

There is no real answer or solution to this that I can think of off the bat except for really trying to internalize the message- "Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Lazah." We are all responsible for each other and we are all interconnected and part of one whole. "Ke'ish Echad B'lev Echad."

I think that this is even sadder than judging other people because when we judge we single someone (or a group) out and put them down. But when we assume that certain things only happen to certain people, we are taking OURSELVES out of the whole. We are choosing to separate ourselves as individuals from the K'lall that we should all feel so privileged to belong to.

So the next time you meet or hear about someone who needs your help- see them that way. As a Someone. As a Person. As a Jew. Forget about the denomination, because in the end, we all share the same Destiny.

May our ultimate destiny be fulfilled very soon! Bimheira V'yameinu Amein!