Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hear me Roar

Weird thing happened today.

I was asked to be class mother for my son's nursery class and made a round of phone calls lasat night to mothers regarding chanukah tips for the teachers.

Each call took between 30 seconds to a minute except for one. One mother, whom I decided is my new best friend, spoke with me for a full 17.5 minutes.

Our entire conversation was basically about how we couldn't believe that we didn't know each other. We must have played Jewish geography for 15 out of the 17 minutes and yet though we were both of similar ages and had grown up close to each other and in some of the same schools we had nothing in common.

Today the same mother called me again to make sure I got the money she sent because her son claimed he threw it in the garbage bin at school. After I assured her it made it all the way to me, we said our goodbyes but at the last second she quickly blurted that she had something weird to ask.

She said, "I hung up the phone last night and couldn't sleep because I felt that I somehow knew you even though there is no possible way that can be. I was literally up at the oddest hour thinking about why I felt such deja vu talking to you and then it hit me! Please don't think I'm weird for asking, but has anyone ever told you that you sound exactly like Tzipi Caton?"

I laughed and told her I could see why she thought so.

So the the conversation went like this:

"Wait, you wrote that book? I READ that book! I LOVED that book! I can't believe I spent 20 minutes talking to Tzipi Caton last night! Oh wow! Wow! It's so funny!" And so forth.

Of course I called my mother and we both laughed at how random it was for someone to recognize me by my voice. Although she claimed it wasn't my voice as much as my manner of speaking- the way I'm excited and laughing all the time.

Then at a wedding earlier I went to the kallah to give my mazal tov wishes and even though we had only met once at her engagement, she knew me right away. I was impressed that she recognized me and she waved me off and said, "Nah, its not the face, its your voice! Everyone knows what Tzipi Caton sounds like!"

I'm doubly weirded out.

Regardless of the above, now that I spent the majority of my night screaming over bad acoustics, my signature voice is gone anyway and maybe I can be anonymous for a few days. :-)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

You Wanted a Post

To be very honest to everyone out there. I have no idea if I'm continuing this blog.

For a few different reasons.

The first one would be that technically, the blog is over. How much can I really write about being sick and miracles and all this inspiring stuff? It's not that my life experiences haven't changed me a lot, it's only that since I was 16 I have been through more life experiences and as I get older and these things become more personal, there are just things I don't feel like posting.

To bring out my main point. I don't know what individual readers took out of my blog, but I'll tell you what I took from it.

When I started this site it was because I truly enjoyed posting and putting my experiences into words and making them come alive for others.

I loved the interaction and responses I got from people and was blown away by how powerful my journal became. My blog was pure fun.

The book and the speaking arrangements and my next book were all amazing experiences and I do not regret a single one.

I do understand that fame comes at a cost. As this is such, my decision must be about if I'm willing to pay this price.

One of the biggest costs of my "fame" is that writing has stopped being fun. I came to this blog to unwind and make people laugh and cry and have a good read. At some point I began to realize that when I have to deal with people stepping into my personal space, writing this blog isn't enjoyable anymore.

Yes, Miracle Ride is a very personal story. It is also a story that took place almost ten years ago. Although it is a story that deals with heavy medical issues and extremely personal experiences, I would venture to say that making public that part of my life isn't half as personal as telling anonymous bloggers some of the things my kids say. Not because they're really private, but because I deserve for readers to respect my privacy in my every day life.

I love my readers and I love to talk to you on a personal level and for you to feel like you know me and I'm winking back at you through my work. In my perfect world, that's the way it should be. That's the way it used to be.

Recently though, I had a few disturbing incidents where my privacy and personal life have been seriously breached. I was harassed and stalked and I suffered the indignity of having personal information bandied about because certain fans felt they were entitled to know these things about me. They felt that if I could share my cancer story with the world, what was wrong with sharing some other smaller details of my life today.

Let me tell you what's wrong. Other than the fact that what I share is for me alone to decide, I'm not sixteen anymore. I'm not an irresponsible teenager who loves life and has no one to answer to.

These days I am a mother and a wife and can count a few other titles I respond to. These days when someone stalks or threatens or harasses me and wastes my precious time, there are other people hurting.

These days, every time I get another comment on this blog asking when I plan on posting next, I flinch thinking about it. This blog was never meant to be a chore. It was never meant to become something I had to think ten times about because of the arguing I sometimes have to moderate between commentors and because of the way it will encourage readers to pry into my life.

So writing this blog has ceased being fun. It has stopped being an enjoyable medium for me to talk to fans.

I miss writing here, but I also miss the old naive me who thought that decent people respect boundaries.

So here you go. You wanted a post. I can't imagine this is the one you thought you would get, but it's a post nonetheless.

Please don't ask how much longer it will take. It may take forever to make up my mind. If you're so concerned about the time you're wasting checking up on me each day, subscribe to my posts and you'll be notifed immediately when I post next.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

No Time to Post...

Really way too busy to be posting right now so I'm not really blogging, just putting up some pics of my kids for fun.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Inspired? Not.

I'm going to post this even though it may be controversial. I'm posting this for a very good reason. I promise. I don't mean to hurt or offend anyone, but if you're going to subject me to something this stupid by forwarding every idiotic email you get, this is what you can expect.

So if you're the type to get offended easily, stop reading. If not, read, like, dislike, whatever, but DON'T, I repeat DO NOT use my comment section to turn this post into a back and forth forum and discussion.

This is MY blog. MY opinions. NOT yours. You're welcome to them but if I have to referee I'm going to shut down all further comments for this site.

Now. *deep calming breath*

I received an email the other day:

I heard a beautiful story in a shiur given by Rabbi Avrohom M. Alter that is available online. He said the story in the name of Rebbetzin Kanievsky.

In March, someone packed a car with 100 kilos of explosives and parked it at the CineMall in Haifa. It was parked hear a supporting pillar. Had it exploded, not only would it have destroyed that pillar, but other cars in the lot would have caught fire causing the gas tanks to explode. In that very popular mall, the consequences would have been too horrendously tragic to contemplate.

The explosion did not happen. A passerby spotted some smoke coming from the car and alerted the police whose sappers were able to come and defuse the explosives.

Even Ehud Olmert recognized this was a miracle, although he attributed it to the alertness of civilians.

Here's what really happened:

Several weeks before this event, a girl in Haifa who had been sick and went for tests was told she had stomach cancer. The tumor was so big, and had metastasized, and there was nothing the doctors could do. They told her to go home for her final weeks.

This non-religious girl and her non-religious parents pleaded with the doctors to try. They begged them at least to make an effort. The doctors finally agreed and told her to come back the next day for surgery.

She was assigned a young, inexperienced surgeon. They felt it would be good practice for him, and since there was nothing that could help her, it didn't really matter.

The night before the surgery, this non-religious girl pleaded with Hashem. She said to him, "HaKadosh Boruch Hu, when we had the Bais HaMikdosh people could bring you korbanos to plead their case. Now we have no Kohanim, we have no Bais HaMikdosh. But I still want to bring you a korban."

She went to her closet and took out all her immodest clothing and took it out to the yard and burned them. As the her clothes went up in flames, she cried out, "This is my korban."

The next day this girl went to the hospital in her nightgown. She had burned her entire wardrobe and this was all she had left. She had the surgery. The giant tumor had not metastisized, as was previously believed. It was totally contained. It was easily removed. And it was benign.

She told all her non-religious friends about the miracle. When the girl had recovered enough to get out of bed, her friends brought over all their immodest clothing and made another fire.

Left with nothing to wear, the girls needed new clothes. When that bomb was supposed to explode at the CineMall, these girls were inside buying themselves new, modest clothing.

A miracle that a civilian saw some smoke? Or a reward for tznius?

Now instead of ranting at the idiocy of the above story, I'm only going to post some discrepancies a friend and I found and sent back and forth in email. There are more, but you can do the rest yourself.

Okay you know this was made up, right? Because of course Reb Kanievsky spoke to the girl and knew exactly why she was in the mall. Oh, and were all the friends there in their nightgowns too?

Yes, I know that email was made up. I mean, have you, or anyone you know been told, "I'm sorry, your cancer is too advanced, we'll give you the young, inexperienced surgeon to practice on you?" I haven't. And if this girl was takkeh left with no clothing bec they were all untznius, does she sound like the type to have a tznius nightgown??? Still puke-worthy. Just because you stick in the part about her cancer, all of a sudden, we're all supposed to tzitter.

It just makes me nauseous how people make up stuff like this and then go and repeat it and think that we're supposed to like do teshuva over it etc and then the worst part are those girls that actually forward it because they DO believe it and they get all inspired and emotional lol.

And lol about the part about her owning a tzniyus nightgown- I didn't even think about that but really duh- im FRUM and I didn't own a tzniyus nightgown until i got married. *rolls eyes*

Yuck, cant stop thinking about that story, its like a bad Yair Weinstock book.

Yeah, I thought of another problem in the story- SINCE WHEN can you find tzniyus clothing in ISRAELI MALLS??? They should have been in Geula. Plus a bomb scare in Geula would have been a much better story anyway.

The whole story makes me queasy so I won't dwell on it any longer. Also, I didn't verify that Reb. Kanievsky really said the above- I'm just reprinting it the way me, and the 600 other girls on this friend's contact list got it. I doubt any of them verified the origin of this story either so I'm not going to feel too bad. Also, I don't even believe Reb. Kanievsky said such a story. But I'll leave that for you to decide.

Let me tell you what the WORST part of this whole thing is.

THIS is why I grew up with such an attitude.

When a girl sits for fifteen years in a school system where stories like THIS are the bulk of the "inspiration" her teachers pump into her for life- what is she supposed to turn out like?

This is utter fantasy. Supersized garbage. Bombs, explosions, promises to G-d, hidden spyware and teenage heroes. Oh, and of course the requisite ba'al teshuva aspect.

Where's the real inspiration?

I grew up hearing this stuff in class thinking "This is all nice and well for the people G-d loves and shows such wonderful open miracles to. Maybe Hashem doesn't love me as much and that's why He doesn't send such inspiring incidents my way?"

I'm almost tempted to say that when I was diagnosed with cancer I jumped off the doctor's table and did a happy dance because I just KNEW this proved G-d loved me and that now I was finally going to see open nissim.

I would say that, but firstly it's not true and second, if I did say that I'd be just as bad as the teachers I couldn't stand.

Where are the real stories? Like the kid who was nice to the retarded girl in her class that smelled.

My favorite sample of real inspiration comes from the book "Dovid Meyer" that I read growing up. It's the part where Dovid Mayer, an au pair for a non-religious family, ties his gartel (belt) to the baby's bassinet and the baby falls asleep to his singing and rocks along with his shuckeling as he learns a blatt of gemara.

Where are the simple, real stories that people can identify with?

Stories like the one in that email are big mistakes. We're desensitizing our kids from recognizing the real inspiration in their own lives. I want my children to grow up feeling that Hashem is with them EACH DAY. Not just in Haifa at bomb sights while He's rewarding some girl for throwing away her clothing.

I'm too worked up to even write more rationally. I think everyone gets the point.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


This poem MUST remain a state secret for a while so don't tell anyone you saw it here- my niece is using it for a school assignment under her name but I was so excited with it that I just wanted to post it already. So just don't let anyone find out that she paid me to write it for her. :-)

Growing up I felt alone,
Had nowhere I felt right.
My friends were always noticed,
While I stood just out of sight.

They seemed to have it perfect
Knowing just what to do and say
Easy smiles, the right clothes,
They were accepted right away

So for a while I copied
Made sure to dress the same way too
Had the matching designer bags
And the perfect pair of shoes

The clothes didn’t seem to cut it
Even the compliments seemed fake
So I went back to my observing
And looked for another take

And then I cut my hair like they did
Laughed at the jokes I didn’t quite get
They laughed along and liked the hairstyle
But I didn’t fit just yet

And as much as I kept trying
To copy every expression on their faces
I never felt like I was me,
I was pieces in a thousand places

Then one day I woke up tired
Was so discouraged I could cry
I put my hair into a good old ponytail
And gave my own self a try.

That day at lunch I admitted
That those shoes pinched my toes
I laughed a real laugh then
When all I heard were a bunch of “I know’s!”

Slowly I stopped worrying
And stopped copying what they bought
Figured it was time to find out who I was
Without worrying what they thought

Funny thing happened then
As I started to make the shift
I became noticed more
Wasn’t lost now in the drift.

I guess when I was like them
I was just another face in the crowd
With those matching perfect shoes and bag
Nothing different to make me stand out

But now my hair is longer,
Pulled back into place
It’s not the raging style
But it looks good on my face

And my friends really accept me
For whom I am and what I have
They like me for what’s inside me
(Although I still love that designer bag!)

It was hard to make that realization
That I had to break away
Stop doing things just to be like them
And figure out my own way

But after all is said and done
It’s easy enough to see
That while it’s wonderful to feel accepted,
It feels better to feel like me.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Purim Pics!

Oh, and yes! JB has peyos! I really wanted to post about our trip to Miron but you know, Purim got in the way...

My Monopoly man and his bag of money:

My kids and my great-nephews (the ballerinas):

My brother kissing a friend on the street. (My brother is the girlie. Don't ask.):

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Purim Poem 2010

I dunno about Purim this year...

I love Purim but I love the spirit of it, not the competition. I can't stand the neighbors showing off their six daughters all matching in some costume I saw for $29.95 in the party store and giving out 65 shalach manos that cost at least $10 apiece.

I mean, yeah, I've been doing themes since I was two and I have pictures of all eleven of us (parents and the siblings) all dressed matching, but they're in costumes we made ourselves and with a theme we worked on together as a family project. It wasn't about my mother showing off her brood to her friends, it was about us kids getting together for a day of creative fun.

There was no pressure as a kid. Purim was pure fun. Sure, I lost my cool when a sister wore our "secret" costume to her purim masquerade a few days before the actual unveiling and I got mad if a brother wanted to be a soldier instead of the garbage collectors we were doing that year, but still, it was all in good fun.

Then I get married and have my own kids and I'm learning what Purim is all about in the adult world. My FaceBook home page is FULL of my friends obsessing over their themes and costumes and the last item that MUST go into their mishloach manos. I'm starting to feel inferior and even a tad resentful that my husband won't allow me to blow my last three paychecks on fancy chocolates no one likes and bottles of wine. Oh, and three Sundays baking Boston cream pies and Biscotti. (Please, I'm kidding)

Just as a by the way- for those friends who are baking- don't bother. If you have kids under the age of ten in your home, everything homemade goes right in the bin. I have a three year old baker here too and I know EXACTLY what goes into your cookies. Snot sweat and more snot.

So not my thing.

Which is not to say I don't go a little crazy.

I am a perfectionist after all and I do want my kids to look good and I want to be proud of whatever presentation we decide to give.

So while my mishloach manos isn't anything special (think everything that was ten for a dollar in the supermarket) and our costumes are pretty basic (black hat, shabbos vest, cane, and money necktie, or in my daughter's case, a pillowcase stuffed to look like a bag of money) the one thing I pride myself on every year is my poem.

You liked it last year, so here's the one we're doing now! (Our theme is Monopoly)

Money money years ago
It started with a king,
He ruled 127 countries
And monopolized everything.

He threw a party for all his subjects
But then his queen refused to dance,
So he shut down her accounts
And said “You lost your Chance.”

When his deed hit him hard,
He sent out a new bill
Said “I’m looking for a Queen,
Vashti’s place to fill.”

Girls from all over the country
Basked in Hagai’s makeups and scents
They were banking on this to get rich quick
And would spare no expense.

Esther had all the properties
Achashverosh wanted in his wife
He took one good look at her
And signed the dotted line for her life.

But although he kept asking her
“A penny for your thoughts”
Esther kept her identity secret
And wouldn’t allow it to be bought.

It may have bothered the king greatly
But soon he had troubles of a capital order
Mordechai found two traitors
And the king had them drawn and quartered.

Then all was forgotten
When Haman proposed his new endeavor
With moneybags as a bribe
He hoped to be rid of the Jews forever

But Achashverosh didn’t much like the Jews
And so gave Haman the Royal seal
Said “Business is business”
And “I’ll fund the whole deal

Haman set a lottery
He let the die cast the date,
Though he didn’t credit the actions the Yidden took,
When they found out about their fate.

When Charvona came to teller,
Esther asked for a fast,
“For three days of davening I appeal,
Before the king’s patience I’ll tax

“I’d treasury your company tonight,” Esther said,
“And please make Haman aware.”
The king was interested in her offer,
And promised he and Haman would be there.

The King asked for her trust,
Begged her to get the worries off her (community) chest,
But “Please come tomorrow night”
Was Esther’s only request.

Buy night Achashverosh couldn’t sleep,
And called for Haman’s advice,
“I need to give someone a bonus,
Give me an idea that’s nice.”

So he expressed a fanciful vision
Weal-the king means me of course!”
But when Haman heard he’d be leading Mordechai
It was like a Railroad hitting him at full force!

His daughter re-vault-ed him in public,
He didn’t much like this game,
And when he had to run to Esther’s party,
He thought he was going insane.

Only one thing had him laughing all the way to the bank,
The thought of cashing in Mordechai’s chips,
So he rushed in to his private party
With a confident swagger in his hips.

When the party passed Go
Eshter laid her cards on the table
“This man has been nickel and dimeing you!”
And she told Achashverosh all she was able.

Obviously, Haman went to Jail,
And he was given free parking on a tall tree.
He and his family hung high above the boardwalk,
For all Shushan’s residents to see.

With the flip of a coin, our nation was saved,
Their mazal was changed in a blink.
Haman was gone, the gezeira was over,
From rags to riches in a wink.

All the Yidden Sell-ebrated,
Once the news got around,
Hashem performed a huge nes,
And the Jews were now safe and sound!

Today we give Mishloach manos, we eat a seuda
And are “b’simcha adei ad”,
And of course we do matanos l’evyonim
Giving dollars “l’chol haposhet yad”!

So this is the story across the board,
What the megilla has to say.
Take note and remember it well,
And monopolize the day!

A Frelichen Purim!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Week's Worth of Posts

Yeah yeah, I'm still around. Just too extraordinarily busy to post.

But there are a lot of things I should have posted about so today I'm playing catch up.

I think the first thing I should post about is my trip to Montreal.

Last Sunday I flew out there with my daughter (on her first Birthday!) for a speaking engagement. HB was adorable! She flirted with everyone in the airport and ate delicious dirt off the floors as she crawled around for the hour that we waited to board our flight.

Then, once on the plane, she looked fascinated out the window until takeoff when I had to sit her facing me on my lap. I was afraid she'd scream as the plane went up, but she was really really quiet and alert and as the plane lifted and there was that slight drag that pulls you back into your seat, HB dozed off. The drag pulled her body down to me and she gave into it and closed her eyes. It was so funny!

So she slept through the entire ride and when we landed I woke her and we breezed through the airport because I had no luggage save for one carry on.

We met up with the woman who came to get us from the a-port and she took us to my grandmother's flat about fifteen minutes away.

Then my grandmother spent the day spoiling us both rotten. We had a HUGE lunch that only a grandmother can set up and then we went out to buy HB a new snowsuit because her great-grandmother was SCANDALIZED that she wore JB's old navy blue one.

So one MAGENTA snow suit later we went back home to take a nap before the big event that night.

We left right on time, fifteen minutes late and spent the whole way arguing with the GPS that was supposed to get us there but didn't recognize the address no matter how many different ways we tried putting it in.

We got there in the end (the place was only ten minutes away and we followed printed instructions) but we spent an extra fifteen minutes ranting at the stupid GPS about why it didn't work. My grandmother had specifically given my grandfather's car for a car wash that day because she was set on taking his car that night because it had GPS. So of course when the GPS didn't work she was devastated and on the way home we drove right through a three foot deep slush puddle to punish it.

The party was thrown by an organization called Ezras Cholim. The organization is like a referral agency- they help patients navigate all the red tape there is in the medical field and get them into great doctors that would otherwise have waiting lists as long as my arm.

I've been to lots of parties but this one was awesome. The auction was downstairs and upstairs, since it was in a rented wedding hall, the caterers set up the chairs around small tables so the whole setting was very cozy and not as "speechy" as most other events where the chairs are lined up in straight rows.

My grandmother sat down at a center table that had a big reserved sign on it and whenever someone came to tell her it was a reserved table she proudly said, "But I am Tzeepi Caton's Grrrrandmozzer!" (She's French)Of course when someone told me to leave I did so very politely. Then later when I was called up to speak I totally enjoyed the look of horror on the same lady's face.

It happens to me all the time. It's not like a wear a sign announcing who I am when I get to an event and I don't tell anyone who I am until my speech because otherwise my whole night gets killed with all the people who MUST come over and talk to me. So it was much easier when a group of ladies came to my table and politely told me shove off, to just apologize and wheel HB away.

The speech was beautiful. I spoke and showed off HB who was smiling and waving and so not intimidated. (She gets that from me!) I think that HB was the hit of the night. People left talking about her, not me. :-)

Of course we got home really late (the GPS again) and then the next morning I had to wake up really really early to make my flight home.

But alas, the weather in New York was awful and they weren't allowing any flights in so my 11:00 and my 1:30 flights were cancelled and HB and I got to spend another whole day with Babby.

The 3:30 flight did go in the end so we got to the airport early and flew through check in but of course since the whole airport was backed up, I waited an hour in customs and by the time I got out my flight was boarding so my husband had to make do without the Peter Heering liquer he wanted me to pick up in Duty Free.

HB was good on the flight back as well although she didnt sleep but I was antsy and anxious to be home already.

This is why I charge so much for bookings- Two cancelled flights and my day is killed- I charge for my time more than for my speech.

We landed at 5 and at 5:05 I was out of the airport wiating for my ride. No one told me that my ride was making a stop in some hick town on the way home and that they'd get lost and that I'd be sitting with a cranky, hungry kid on my lap and that my toes would be in agony from my (adorable but) pinching boots and that I'd come home a full two hours later than I was supposed to.

But by 8pm I had both kids bathed nad fed and sleeping and I would have loved to sleep too but I had a wedding to run to which I ran to and then ran back from and fell into bed and was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Then there was my speech for Project HOPE in Monsey this past Motzei Shabbos. HB came along again because there was no way the husband would agree to watch her and JB for the night. JB cried when I left- my speeches don't particularly make him very happy.

HB cried in the car - so me and the husband are even I guess. Although JB was sleeping by 10 and HB was up till 12 when we got to leave the party and then she screamed again at 1:30 when I woke her up to bring her into the house.

But anyway, the party was stunning! They had the whole place decorated with butterflies like the cover of Miracle Ride. It was in someone's home and was set up so nicely. There were a few rooms set up with chairs and large video screens where the speeches and program were shown. HB crawled around my legs as I spoke and I picked her up towards the end when she started chewing on the wires and I was afraid of either a blackout or electrocution.

I stayed late to sign some books and smile a lot at people I didn't know.

The best part of the evening was meeting my longtime friend and "editor" Chany L. who has worked with me on both my books and has read every piece of writing I have done in the last two years and gave me excellent feedback on everything.

We'd never had an opportunity to meet before that night and being that she lived in the area, she dropped by the speech and we got to meet each other in person for the first time. We both agreed that each other were adorable but she might have been lying- I'm not. :-)

By the time we got home I was a zombie and when my husband heard me come in he woke up and told me what a miserable night he had with JB. I smiled pleasantly and told him "welcome to my life." He'd never handle doing this every day with both kids. He told me that I couldn't make enough money for him to babysit ever again and I informed him that when it's your own kids it's not called babysitting. Then he went back to sleep in a huff. Oh well, at least I have some extra money now to buy that new pair of four inch heels I had my eye on.

So I think that's really most of what I was supposed to blog about recently.

Oh, and I didn't get to meet our frequent commentor Brochi because she had a baby Thursday before my Montreal speech! Mazal tov to her and her husband!

Im going to attach some pics of HB in Montreal and more pics of the tzitzis I made for JB last week. His upsherin is in three days and I wasted five hours apeice on each of those pairs, which is why I had no time to post. Hey, he deserves them! We're shaving his HEAD for this! And besides, he only gets to turn three once!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Look what I Found!

I get asked a lot if certain of the crazier parts of Miracle Ride are real- other than real proof you're just going to have to take my word for most of it, but look what I just dug up! (and yes I know it's a few weeks late...)

P.S.- only about two more weeks to send in your reviews on Invisible Me! Targum's contest runs until January 31 2010. Send 'em to my email address- twinklebrite AT