December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you and your family
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May health, happiness and good times
greet you each day of the new year!

December 22, 2009

My Mom, the Style Icon

My friend, D turned me to an interesting blog by having her mom's photo published in it, My Mom, the Style Icon. The blog publishes photos of uber chick moms and of course as soon as I heard about it, there was no doubt that my mom's picture is getting submited. It took a while for me to scan the photos per Piper's (the editor's) request and chances are all of them won't make it to her blog, but I decided to pot them on mine since my mom was the prime example of chick and trendy. By this this collage alone, you can see that my mom didn't wear her hair the same way twice. (She was blessed with thick, lush locks for most of her life, or rather before chemo). As a student at the University of Culture in St. Petersburg, (right), she was the trendiest of her friends. (Far Left) is her at work in heels (and of course) with a manicure climbing at work. Even when I was born, my mom was the epitome of class and style (and you can't see that my carriage was blue on the black and white photograph because there was a deficit of carriages in USSR when I was born). If you didn't grow up in the former USSR, you will never understand what it's like to stand in line for hours for a loaf of bread or to get a cake from "under the counter" in a vegetable store, to see empty shelves in a supermarket or to find gloves and have a coat made to match. But, it was fun and with taste, even with limited resources, people stayed stylish. Imagination was key, without Ricky's on every other corner my mom dressed up as a Geisha for a costume party at work and I think she was a lot more believable than in my "trendy" Geisha costume last Halloween. (Bottom right) is the picture of my mom in a dress that my grandmother sewed for her. My mom, the style icon - the epitome of class and elegance not only by what she wore, but also by what she said and the kind of person that she was and for me, will always be.

(will post updates and link to the blog once it makes it there.)


December 18, 2009

One Third

"I tell you everything that is really nothing, and nothing of what is everything, do not be fooled by what I am saying. Please listen carefully and try to hear what I am not saying." -Charles C. Finn

Because really, what's there to say?

December 16, 2009

Strength

The ideas for this post have been whirling around in my brain for a few days now, but the words didn't seem to come out and the time has been somewhat scarce. Here I am on a 9 p.m. train heading back from a 1st holiday party at a new job and the thought won't let me go - so I will try to jot it down as coherently as is possible before it escapes. Hopefully, it'll make some sense...

I come from a family of strong women. Both of my grandmothers were extremely brave, strong and loving. Then there's my mom and there's not enough words in any language I know to describe her courage. My aunt is another prime example. This is not to say that the men in my family are weak, but quiet the contrary. It takes a very strong man to be with a strong woman. In my house, my parents always had equal voices. Maybe my mom knew more about this and my dad knew more about that, but every decision was made together. Yes, there were arguments. Those happen quiet often between two strong people, but as I got older I realized that it only reinforces the love and respect you have for your partner. If you never fight, one person in the relationship is a weaker, more agreeable one. That doesn't make him bad, but it's just impossible to agree on everything.

None of the aforementioned women, have had an easy life. Both my grandmothers lived through WWII, one by working in a factory, the other in an Uzbek family. They lost a father, a brother, a train full of classmates and many other friends and relatives like so many jews during the war. Luckily, they didn't lose their lives. My maternal grandmother raised my mom on her own by working (often two jobs) to make ends meet. My paternal grandmother lost her husband and the love of her life fairly young. She continued to raise her family and be the ultimate matriarch to two sons, five granddaughters and four great-grand-kids. We all immigrated and the struggles continued for them and began for me.

I hear from both friends and acquaintances, "you're so strong." I am not. Strength doesn't come from choice. I don't want to get any stronger, but somehow these walls keep building and the terror is felt only from within. You cannot explain the pain or the hurt or the rumbles that you feel inside. You go on pretending to be uninflicted, smiling even, laughing sometimes. You work, you eat, you sleep, you celebrate birthdays and holidays, you spend time with friends. Each day you die a little more. Each day there's a needless argument, there's an urgent return to be done, a phone call that must be made and someone you love is in the hospital, yet again. Where do you find the strength? Unfortunately, I don't have women to ask anymore (besides my dearest aunt, who's always had more on her plate than she knew what to do with) and as for the men, they are men. They don't talk about feelings. They shy away from doctors. They love with their actions. Their physical strength is only a fraction of the inner strength it takes to fight a war and get deeply wounded, to lose a child, to lose a mother and wife a year apart.

Strength isn't something you develop by choice. It isn't how many arm-wrestling tournaments you can win. It is your ability to get up every morning and to keep fighting, to keep smiling, to sing songs, to celebrate birthdays and holidays, to love and to keep living.

--
Sent from my mobile device

____________________________________________
"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
-Randy Pausch

December 7, 2009

"Бог дает одному наперсток ума и кувшин счастья, другому — кувшин ума и наперсток счастья."

December 3, 2009

Inspiration . . .

a TXT conversation between myself and a good friend [edited for grammar & language]:

Dec 3, 2009 1:31:47 PM
“She [her almost 4 year old daughter] is better. Unfortunately, we missed the tree lighting ceremony so hopefully we will go next week to Manhattan”
Dec 3, 2009 1:32:33 PM
“:-( da, will be nice to see all the displays and stuff. Trust me, it’s better to see tree lighting on TV, in reality, you can’t get through there.”
Dec 3, 2009 1:33:47 PM
“I know. So we are going to see Christmas Spectacular on Monday and I want to take her to the Disney store and Rockefeller Center next Friday.”
Dec 3, 2009 1:34:57 PM
“Awesome! You remind me so much of my mom! It’s really heartwarming…she used to take to all these things and everyone thought she was crazy.”
Dec 3, 2009 1:35:48 PM
“Actually, when I read your blog, it was a huge inspiration for me.”
Dec 3, 2009 1:37:09 PM
“You have no idea how big my smile is right now :D”

So, thank you mama for not only giving so much to me, but also for inspiring others.

November 26, 2009

Stuffed but empty

It was a lovely family dinner. Happy turkey day! Gobble gobble.

--



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November 24, 2009

Giving Thanks

With the holidays quickly upon us, it’s the time of year to reflect, to give and to make resolutions. The last few years have been extremely difficult, but there’s still a lot to be thankful for. Unfortunately, my family has gotten smaller, not bigger, over the last few years, but I’m truly blessed to have these people in my life. Every family has its quirks and mine is no exception, but luckily its loving, nurturing and nothing short of amazing. At the top of the list are my wonderful parents who have devoted so much time, put so much love and instilled values. I’m thankful for hubs, who often misses on the brownie points on the small things, but always makes up for it on the things that matter. My older sister always makes me feel less alone and is there to give advice or just to chat and to tell me what I don’t always want to hear. While my nephews are going through a tough age and have an answer for everything, I love them for the smiles they always bring. My extended family of aunts and uncles, cousins and second cousins are caring and always there through the best and worst of it. Then, there are my friends, many of whom have become family over the years. At a recent bridal shower for one of my closest friends, I remember our moms discussing how different we all are and how lucky we are to have each other and to have built these friendships that have already survived the test of time. We’ve laughed together and cried together. We’ve partied until the wee hours of the night and often into morning. We’ve also held each others hands through the painful days and nights. We’ve celebrated birthdays, graduations, jobs, engagements, weddings, births and we’ve cried over broken hearts, school, work, loss of grandparents, parent(s). We’ve shared lunch, clothes, secrets, joy, sadness, friends, advice, sleepless nights and happy days.

Despite the difficulty that often arises with living, I’m thankful to be alive, to be healthy and to be surrounded with such wonderful people, even though some left much too soon. I’m thankful to be human and remain humane. I love you all.

November 18, 2009

Three Months

of eating, of crying, of job hunting, of sleeping, of moving, of starting a new job, of house hunting, of Facebooking, of raising $ for Race for the Cure, of not sleeping, of random blogging, of emptyness, of smiling, of celebrating, of drinks, of shopping, of cooking, of waiting for the train, of talking, of traveling, of procrastinating, of dinners, of emptyness, of living...without my mamochka.

MY Mamochka, a woman of incredible courage, infinite wisdom and undying strength. I love you.

--
Sent from my mobile device

November 5, 2009

The Yankees Won

Winning is awesome even when you don't really win anything. It's a sense of pride that arises from being a part of something, from being a fan. I am rather surprised that I actually got into baseball this year. I guess the 8 years of hubs' subliminal messaging paid off. Also, I've been spending a lot of times with my nephews between their constant Yankees versus Mets feud. I remember the last time the Yankees won the World Series (funny, how it's called "world" when
really it's a US pasttime) a bunch of my guy friends showed up at my house with "Y", "A", "E", "S" written in huge letters on their backs and chests. It seems like a bazillion years ago when in reality it's only been 9. Most of them, I lost touch with. The last time I saw one of them was at my wedding and one of the others I recently caught up with on FB.

Time flies, people change and yet so much remains the same. I recently caught up with another friend on FB. We went to elementary and Junior High school together. Finally, we met for coffee today and despite completely different lives and an absense from each others' for the last 10+ years, we had a lot to talk about, to gab about and to reminisce about. Life takes you in such strange circles and really the one thing most of us win are friends. Some are won over with
charm, others with personality. Sports are a great example of teamwork, friendship and the reality that you can't conquer the other team (or the world) on your own.

--
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November 2, 2009

The grass is always greener - I'm looking for a career, not a job.

When it comes to just about anything it always seems that "the grass is greener on the other side" or as that saying goes, "marriage is like when you go out to dinner with your friends and wish you had ordered what your friend is having (or something along these lines.)" In life, at least in mine, "when it rains, it really, really pours." For hope of getting away from cliches for at least part of this post, let me elaborate. I've been actively and not so actively with obvious slumps and as many as three interviews a day looking for work since June. The market was dead. Suddenly, when I have an offer, the calls keep pouring in. They may or may not be other offers, but they areopportunities. What happens when you're faced with choice? Decisions. I hate them! How do you make the right one? When I'm set on something, I have no problem going for it, fighting for it and ultimately (hopefully) getting it. Yet, it's not often that I'm 100% certain of what I want.

The only thing that ever came easily to me was school. That's not to say I had straight A's or a 4.0, but I did well enough with minimal effort and always had time for a social life and work since age fifteen. By the same token, I had two classes my senior year of High School - accounting (because of the two-year commitment of the Academy of Finance program) and gym (which apparently I needed to graduate); I completed my undergard in 3.5 years and my masters in 1. Where was I rushing to? I was playing catch-up, with myself. Regardless, it wasn't a struggle. Everything else, was/is.

I don't like to complain (I can picture several people snickering at this comment), but I don't. It happens, yes, but never in regard to the important things. At least I'd like to think so. I also hate
asking for help, even when I need it, even when I feel suffocated without it. Through the years, I've learned to rely only on myself. If someone lends a hand in the process, its greatly appreciated and never gone unnoticed. I've learned to ask for help from people that I know Ican count on. Those relationships took years to build, but I am confident in their strength. I've learned to say, "no." Now, I have to learn how to make the best decision for Me and not for the world around me. Tips/comments are always appreciated and hard to come by.

--
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October 19, 2009

I won the parent lottery

So, I finally began reading The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and after I read the chapter, "I won the parent lottery," I can't seem to get the phrase out of my head. Randy's story is truly inspiring as are hundreds of cancer stories. He had a mass audience. Each of us does, if we want to be heard. I truly believe that I won the parent lottery. Yes, I've fought with my parents. Yes, I've had the adolescent stage where I wished they would get divorced. Yes, I wouldn't trade them for anyone in the world. My parents invested their life into me (and my sister and nephews), but primarily me. I hope that I have the strength and courage to give my kids at least half of what my parents gave me. My mom and dad are very different, have a very different approach and both love me infinitely. My mom was the artsy one. She took me to the theater and to the ballet. She took me to Bulgaria on my 5th Birthday and to Moscow before I started school. She read me a bazillion stories and kept a diary of my perls of wisdom. My dad was the athletic and mathematic one. I knew the entire multiplication table before I started school. I played badminton and walked for miles "zagorod" [upstate] to pick berries and flowers. Hence, my love of walking and perhaps my profession, although, I enjoy reading a lot more than doing tax returns. But, I did minor in English.

Anyway, those are the little things. And right now they are incoherent, but I'll keep writing. Every day on the way home from school or on the way to Grandma's my parents would recite a new poem. By the time we were on the way back (or closer to home), I was retelling it. My parents invested all their time and energy into me. I was never too young or unimportant. My opinion always mattered, whether to buy flour in Minsk, to wear gold earrings while passing customs while immigrating to the states or buying an apartment which I'm now again sharing with my dad.

It always amazed me, but lately it's become a lot more evident for some reason how I remember a LOT more things from my childhood than most of my friends that immigrated around the same time and around the same age. I remember the streets, the way to school, to grandma's, to home (I have never been back). I remember my friends, my teacher, my doctor. I remember a ton of detail. I remember my grandpa. I remember my feelings.

Now that my mom is gone, I notice doing certain things that I was never taught, but I realize that those are things that she instilled me and they are inherent. My dad and I folded the duvet cover today. I didn't have to say anything, I just gave him the other end and we pulled in opposite directions. I remember when my parents used to do that when I was small and I would run underneath with bouts of laughter. I remember seeing my dad on TV and coming to his office. I remember him making me photocopies of a book his co-worker gave me as a souvenir. In 1980's Ukraine, that was a BIG deal. I remember visiting my mom's small library while "Дом учёных" was undergoing renovations. I made Borsch and Golubtsi last week, to taste, without a recipe. I did well in school without ever feeling pressured to. I wasn't "supposed to be" anything, despite my dad's big dreams of having a doctor in the family.

As usual, I notice that I'm rambling. Perhaps, I'll make this entry more concise when I focus, but I could write volumes about how the only thing I ever won in life is the parent lottery. I wish my mom had better luck in the longevity lottery, but she left a huge imprint on many people and the world.

October 17, 2009

Nothingness

I want to say that I feel nothing, but in reality I feel everything.
I don't know how to put all my emotion into words, partly because I'm
not that good a writer, partly because its all too much.

--
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October 15, 2009

Yesterday

Having visited Anyway, 3 days in a row and having heard "Yesterday" played two days in a row led to an interesting thought. Two and a half years ago, at twenty-three, I felt very young - too young for the responsibilities that I had and the problems that I was then dealing with. I felt too accomplished, if there's ever such a thing. Two and a half years later, with more responsibilities and even more problems, two very tremendous losses, I suddenly feel old. I feel that there
are a lot more things that I could have and should have accomplished. Yet, that same out of place feeling persists. I can't help but wonder if it'll follow me through life, if my over-analytical brain will ever give me a rest, if I'll ever come to peace with myself and my life.

What's two years on the grand scheme of things? Then again, life is all about the little things. It's about seizing the day and living a life worth living, whatever that means. It's about returning calls (I just made 4 notes in my calendar). It's about...who knows what it's about?

Maybe it's not about yesterday or about tomorrow, it's about today - just another day I spent in the kitchen. At the same time, I spent it with my nephews. I cooked for my family. I did homework with them. I got my nails done. I had a drink with a friend. I blogged. And the only unfitting sentence at the end of this pointless ramble is, I miss my mom.

--
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October 8, 2009

Dot Dot Dot

The NYC subway is good for a few things (besides getting you from point A to point B). It is good for talking (on the phone if you're above ground, or traveling with someone), playing BrickBreaker, reading a good book or blogging. Some of my best blog posts have been written while riding through the tunnels of NYC at all kinds of hours of day and night. Today, I've tried talking, reading and playing BrickBreaker, the only thing left to do is blog.

I'm stuck. I need a subject matter. While 36,287 thoughts are surging through my mind at any given moment, I can't seem to concentrate. I can't pinpoint what it is I feel or need to express. . .

. . .Are people closer because of distance? Do family friendships survive generations? Is everything really fated? Hmm...maybe I'll have more concrete thoughts on the ride back...

. . .Nothing's changed now that I'm on my way back home. Home, that's such a strange word. Home isn't really tangible. When I was little, I didn't understand the expression, "home is where the heart is." Now, I realize how much I've missed having one. I've been living out of boxes for what seems like forever now, really it's only much of my "adult" life. What makes you an adult? Age or experience? If it's age then I'm only 26 going on 57. If it's life experiences, I may as well retire. But before I veer off on another tangent, back to home. . .

. . .My heart is my home. It is filled with love for people close and not so close to me. It is filled with fond memories and deep wounds. It is warm and there's always room for me, my thoughts, my happiness and my sorrow. My mom is my home. She is no longer tangible, but I always go there. Even now, I don't want to make her worry an extra time, even though I now understand that she does and always has. She always made me feel welcome, wanted and loved. That's what home is. It's not about the size of the condo, house or mansion, the furniture and trinkets that you decorate it with, the curtains that you lug through all of Italy on your honeymoon (because buying them in Israel made so much sense at the time) or even the comfortable bed that is yours. Home is often where your family is, but more importantly it is where you find inner peace. I've been house-hunting for quiet some time now, but while riding on the Brooklyn bound, now local B train, I realize that what I've really been searching for is a home.

--
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Chai

I've been AWOL from my blog for a few weeks now because I was traveling and didn't have the time to sleep let alone write and also because I've been extremely lazy. I was in Israel. I love Israel as a country, but more importantly I love the people there. My mom's entire side of the family is there as are her closest friends. The experience can be summed up in three words: short, emotional, good. It was a big decision for me to go, especially now, but in the end I'm glad I went. There were scheduling issues, there was Yom Kippur, there was my cousin's Bar Mitzvah. There wasn't nearly enough time with anyone that we saw, but had we stayed a month it still wouldn't be enough with people that you love. As I'm typing this I realize that I still don't have the strength to write everything that I want to say, so I won't force it. I'll focus on Chai.

The letters "Chet" and "Yod" add up to the number 18, therefore a spiritual number in Judaism. I gave my cousin multiples of 18 as a gift for his Bar Mitzvah. More simply, "Chai" means life. When Jews drink, they often toast, "L'Chaim", to life. What's the significance of 18 in my life? My mom passed away on the 18 of August. She knew how to live and lived for each day. It is fitting that she was taken away from us on a day that signifies life. As much as I miss her each and every minute of every day, she's everywhere. She lives within me, within the tons of photographs, within the stories that her siblings, friends and relatives keep sharing, within our home, within all of our hearts.

Потери

An article graciously written and sent to me by mom's close friend, which was published in Israeli-Russian Magazine, "Силуэт".

Все уже круг друзей…

Эмилия Корытная

«Неправда, друг не умирает, лишь рядом быть перестает…» (К.Симонов)

Перейдя определенный возрастной рубеж, мы вступаем в полосу потерь. Собственно, полоса эта может возникнуть и раньше, но, «земную жизнь пройдя до половины», мы обнаруживаем вокруг себя разреженное пространство, где, даже если никаких катаклизмов не случилось, любимых и знакомых лиц осталось не так уж много… Это, конечно, естественный ход событий, но всякий раз смерть близкого, как разрыв снаряда, - потрясение.

Две недели назад умерла моя подруга – мы дружили почти 35 лет, хоть и жили последние двадцать лет в разных странах. И то, что я пишу сейчас, - единственное, что я могу сделать для нее, в память о ней. И мучаюсь, что не сделала этого, пока она была жива.

Мы познакомились с ней при довольно забавных обстоятельствах – в очереди на собеседование, на курсы экскурсоводов. Мы стояли в коридоре, сосредоточенно разглядывая свои руки. Потом подняли глаза, встретились взглядами, и Лера спросила: «А что, без маникюра сюда не берут?»

Нас взяли, хоть маникюр у нас был тогда совсем не яркий…

На курсах, у нас сложилась веселая компания, которую по имени одного из нас, Леня Колкера, стали звать «колкеры». Мы учили теорию, а потом ездили во всякие учебные поездки, где, как сейчас говорят «оттягивались» по полной программе. Нет, мы не пили и не бузили, мы просто доводили некоторых преподавателей до исступления своей абсолютной свободой – тогда, вероятно, это в самом деле не только мешало, но и ужасно раздражало. Мы позволяли себе говорить то, что еще не было принято говорить, а знали некоторые из нас много больше того, что полагалось…

Как-то, завершая учебу на курсах, мы с Лерой вместе повезли одну группу, кажется, в Минск. Рассказав все, что полагалось по ходу движения, мы стали развлекать своих туристов стихами, рассказами, песнями. Помню, как вдохновенно мы, сменяя друг друга, читали стихи-притчи-сказки Феликса Кривина, которого обожали. И что удивительно, все нас слушали, хотя это была группа с какого-то местного завода… Наверное, мы были так увлечены, что и им стало интересно, отчего белый бычок ищет по белому свету белую ворону… Кривин сейчас живет в Беэр-Шеве, но имя его и его дивные творения помнят сегодня только те, кто любили его когда-то… (Впрочем, на похоронах Ренаты Мухи – еще одна страшная потеря – я увидела венок с лентой «От Кривиных»).

Первым из нашей группы ушел Юра, по прозвищу Граф, длинный нескладный очкарик, который был всегда объектом шуток и розыгрышей – они с женой погибли на «Нахимове» по время того страшного круиза...

Потом не стало Вити Курсанова, самого старшего из нас, вечного студента, который - по легенде – проучился в университете двадцать лет, а потом его же однокурсники ему диплом вручали, вместе с глиняной медалью, на которой был запечатлен его усатый профиль…

Исчез их поля зрения самый респектабельный их нас – Юрка Екимов, эдакий супермен, похожий на молодого Пьера Ришара, теннисист, горнолыжник, фотограф, меломан, бабник, а по совместительству кандидат технических наук…

Кто знает, где сейчас Леня, подаривший группе свою фамилию, – он уехал в Израиль еще тогда, когда не было Большой алии, здесь я его не встречала – видно, продолжил путешествие в пространстве. А в те времена он был архитектором, замечательно знал наш город и здорово о нем рассказывал. Впрочем, в нашей группе было много отличных рассказчиков, и многих уже, увы, нет в живых. Умер недавно Борька Завельский, который был директором музея этнографии и народного творчества – такой деревянный городок из резных карпатских домиков, под открытым небом… При последнем нашем разговоре Лера с завистью сказала: - Вот счастливый, уснул и не проснулся…

Из ее уст услышать такое я не ожидала – она, проболев больше 15 лет, сохраняла удивительный оптимизм и жизненную силу. Видно, действительно, болезнь так измучила и изменила ее, что она смогла позавидовать чьей-то смерти.

Лера заболела, едва только приехав в Америку, обнаружили это случайно, во время обычной проверки. Операция, тяжелый период реабилитации, а потом регулярные обследования и опробование всех возможных методик – обычный путь онкологического больного.

У Леры был мощный стимул – дочка была еще маленькая, ее надо было поднять, дать образование, довести до той границы, где она уже сможет существовать самостоятельно, без мамы. Хотя где она, такая граница?.. Судя по самой Лере, ее мама была для нее и поддержкой, и подружкой, и необходимой частью жизни – до конца.

И Лера держалась. Она работала, почти все это время, без перерыва – это тоже был стимул, ощущение востребованности. Дочка подросла, закончила учебу – теперь нужно было дождаться ее свадьбы, а потом помочь растить внуков. Свадьбу сыграли знатную, по высшему разряду – впрочем, Лера всегда все делала со знаком качества. В школе училась отлично, вуз потом выбрала - из лучших, закончила его с блеском, потом спокойно и уверенно продвигалась по карьерной лестнице. А если она устраивала дома какой-нибудь «сабантуй» можно было быть уверенным, что все будет необыкновенно вкусно. Они с мамой накрывали полянки с такой изобретательностью, что даже лучшие хозяйки – они, как правило, очень придирчивы и ревнивы, не могли не оценить этого… Точно таким же перфекционизмом отличается и Аленка, ее дочка: у нее всегда изысканная стрижка (роскошные блестящие волосы достались ей от Леры, которая тоже всегда была модерново подстрижена), стильный прикид, фирменная обувка… Все должно быть лучшим!

Уже когда первая операция была позади и Лера немного пришла в себя, она затеяла первое путешествие - в Израиль. Волосы, почему-то начавшие виться после лечения, только-только отросли легким пушком, еще не прошел болезненный отек, но Лера была полна оптимизма, превозмогая усталость, ходила и ездила по стране, восторгалась красотами и радовалась общению со старыми друзьями и родными. Она привезла тогда с собой чемодан подарков, впрочем, это тоже была фирменная фишка – у нее всегда был специальный подарочный фонд, и никакое мероприятие не заставало ее врасплох (если Лера видела какую-то вещь, которая могла пригодиться, она покупала ее, даже если в данный момент это было ей совсем ни к чему).

А еще она всегда использовала любую оказию, чтобы передать что-то приятное друзьям. Иногда мы злились: вот, приехал какой-то чужой человек из Штатов в гости, а нам теперь за подарками от Леры приходится тащиться черт знает в какую даль, да еще ведь и ей нужно что-то передать, а попробуй сочинить подарок тому, у кого все есть! Но когда разворачивали с любовью сложенный пакет, всегда поражались точному попаданию – она знала, какой цвет и фасон кофточки (помады, теней для глаз, лака для ногтей) подойдет каждой из подруг, угадывала, какой именно флакон духов очень удобно расположится в сумочке каждой из женщин... А потом она стала везти и слать подарки и для наших детей и внуков, и снова – всегда точное попадание!

На каждый день рождения неизменно приходили поздравления, традиционные, на ярких открытках – всегда с остроумными пожеланиями, навевающими ностальгические воспоминания, цитатами, которые для нас были знаковыми, связывающими с каким-то событием. А на каждый семейный праздник они общими усилиями выпускали газету… Написала эту фразу и вспомнила, что и мы когда учились на курсах, пару разу сделали замечательные стенгазеты, одну из них я даже привезла с собой (и куда она подевалась во время переездов с квартиры на квартиру?..) Она была выпущена к какому-то сходняку: на листе ватмана были приколоты разные предметы от каждого пришедшего, что в кармане завалялось, у кого этикета от водочной бутылки, у кого записка с напоминанием купить картошки. Помню, была даже увольнительная, ее прикололи курсанты нашего политучилища (это уже когда ряды «колкеров» стали шириться). Жаль, что потерялась – замечательная была память о тех временах…

Примерно раз в месяц раздавался звонок от Леры – она была в курсе всех наших дел, мы подробно обсуждали с ней все происшедшее за прошедшее время. Даже с друзьями, которые живут в получасе езды, мы не поддерживали таких плотных контактов. Более того, через Леру мы узнавали о новостях друг у друга, находили потерянные связи – имя ее служило почти шпионским паролем: «Я знаю о вас от Леры…»

Тогда, в свой первый приезд в Израиль, она была полна надежд. А потом изо всех сил рвалась сюда снова – ей после приезда стало ощутимо лучше, или так казалось. И она приехала еще раз, через пару лет, снова полная оптимизма, опять с чемоданом подарков. А потом все телефонные разговоры завершались, почти как в молитве, фразой: «Я приеду…»

С такой же радостью приезжала к нам Аленка, сначала с мамой, а потом с мужем – при каждой возможности. В последний раз они был здесь в начале года, снова проехали всю страну, не забыли никого из родственников и друзей, раздавая подарки и рассказывая вновь и вновь, каким молодцом держится мама. И почти клятвенно было сказано: «Маме станет получше, я куплю ей билет в бизнес-класс, чтобы можно было лежать во время полета – она так хочет в Израиль…» И мы поверили, что еще немного - и мы снова увидимся.

Я поставила эпиграфом к этому тексту строки Симонова, очень оптимистичные и светлые. А, дописав, поняла, что на одном оптимизме и силе воли продержаться очень трудно. И как раз книга подвернулась современного, даже, я бы сказала, модернового писателя, работающего в стиле нестандартного фэнтези, Джаспера ФФорде (это у него такая фамилия), и прочла фразу: «Я не завожу слишком много друзей – они имеют обыкновение умирать, как только привяжешься к ним». Да, слишком много друзей мы теперь не заводим, но те, кто уже стал другом, тоже почему-то умирают. А после смерти остаются только в наших воспоминаниях…

September 24, 2009

Traveling

Traveling is usually exciting and with the intent of vacationing. Whether it is to relax, to sightsee or to spend time with family/friends, it is usually a pleasant experience. Yes, the process of getting to your destination of choice is usually annoying and cumbersome, but the stay itself makes it all worthwhile. I've gotten on a plane many times to travel all over the place. There were bumpy rides and easy fligths. There were those with baggage and those with just carry-on. I came to America on a plane. (Duh!) It was exciting and scary at the same time. America was my new home and in my over-analytical 9 year old brain it meant a lot of change and change came. We adjusted. America is home. I've gotten on a plane twice to come to a funeral. Today I'm getting on a plane and nothing is the same. I'm not going to a funeral, but I'm in mourning. I will attend a Yom Kippur fast and a Bar Mitzvah. I will see my family and family friends and yet I feel so uneasy, so restless. I don't know what this trip should bring. I don't know whose moral support I'm going for, mine or someone else's.

September 22, 2009

first birthday

No, it's not my first birthday, but it's my first birthday without mom, the person that gave me life and so many of its lessons. Many moms do many things for their children. I don't think there are too many that write their child a letter on the day they are born. I wish that I could explain the emptyness or the pain to someone, to anyone. I wish someone would understand. I wish someone would let me talk about it, without making me feel guilty for putting a damper on their mood. I know they always say "be careful what you wish for," but this birthday I have only one wish which will never come true.
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September 19, 2009

My mother is a poem
I'll never be able to write,
though everything I write
is a poem to my mother.
-Sharon Doubiago

September 18, 2009

Shana Tova

I'm a big fan of Dry Bones. Happy New Year. May the year ahead be full of gain and not loss. May everyone remain healthy and in good spirits. All else we can buy.

September 17, 2009

1 Month of Emptyness

By the time I wake up tomorrow, it'll be one full month. Where did the time go? Tomorrow is Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of a new (Jewish) year. It's a holiday of sweetness and abundance (both of which are missing in my life this year). This Rosh Hashanah was supposed to be spent with family, to get on a plane Sunday/Monday for Paris. We were gonna spend my birthday and a few more days in Paris and then head to Israel for Yom Kippur and my cousin's Bar Mitzvah. As I've learned over and over, nothing (in my life, at least) ever goes according to plan. We are having dinner tomorrow with my dad and sister and Saturday with the in-laws. My birthday is still on Tuesday. We are getting on a plane next Thursday heading for Israel. But NOTHING is the same. The biggest part of my life is missing. Family dinner will be missing the main ingredient. The person that gave me life won't be here to wish me a happy birthday, so what can there be to celebrate? Paris just doesn't seem to be in the cards. I'm going to Israel to see mama's family, my family; to spend time with her friends; to be there on Yom Kippur (and not the Brighton fashion show); to be there (as promised) at my cousin's Bar Mitzvah, to light the candle, to say a prayer and not to dance.

L'Shana Tova U'Metukah and please whoever you are and wherever you are(I realize you may not be reading this, but you know this is in my heart), let this year (5770/2010 whatever calendar you use) be a year of gain and not loss. I can't get any stronger and even if I can, I
really don't want to. I pray only for health of everyone that I love. (A not so) Happy New Year!

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September 16, 2009

My dreams are getting weirder...

To dream that you are at somebody else's funeral, signifies that you are burying an old relationship and closing the lid on the past. You may be letting go some of the feelings (resentment, anger, hostility toward someone) that you've been clinging onto.

To dream that you are seeing the doctor, indicates your need for emotional and spiritual healing.

It's a loong story...that I've been trying to write down all day...maybe tomorrow.

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September 15, 2009

HET C/\OB

Every day for the last four weeks I feel that there are no more words left, no more tears left, but each day to (no longer) my surprise they (both) keep streaming. It's a gorgeous summer day. I'm sitting across the Hudson River with a spectacular view of the city, waiting for hubs to finish work so that we can go to Poconos - to get away, to breathe some fresh air, to relax, to clear the head. It's the same place we were four weeks ago. It took a lot of convincing for me to go, but I can't keep hiding forever. Everything is painful-the house, the dishes, food, friends, family, vacations.

I walked into the store today, not really willingly, just had a few hours to kill and there's really not much else to do in Jersey. The first thing I found (without even looking) was a sweater for my mom (those of you that know my mom can understand the significance) and I just burst into tears. I wanted to buy it. How many times did I look for a birthday present? A new years present? A mother's day gift? Ajust because? Without ever finding it. Why is it screaming at me now, "pick me up, buy me!?".

I don't know how I can look forward to anything anymore. J said something smart (again) yesterday, "U think u have to get over it, u never will, u just have to learn to live with it." How can I? Who will give me advice? Who will yell at me and hug me right after? Who's going to buy me a birthday present a month and a half in advance (or rather give me $ for another successful visit to Century)? Who will write me poems and give me newspaper clippings with useless
information? Who will talk to me for hours any time I want to?

I can keep blabbing, but for now I gotta keep driving. Ta Ta, for now.

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September 13, 2009

Lucky or not so lucky sevens...







So seven has been a pretty prominent number in my life (but more about that some other time), doing the race for the cure now, there's 7 of us on my team, the 7 dwarfs. The race is really empowering. We had a hard time parking, Ira is already at the finish line, while the rest of us just passed mile 2. The turnout is incredible, in celebration of "my life," "my mom," "my sister.". In memory of "my mom," "my mom, my nanna," "my daughter Susan.". There's definitely a herd mentality, but it makes you feel a part of something bigger. This won't bring mama back, but if it can save another mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, etc., it's worth all the effort, the $1500 that we raised in less than two weeks and in keeping my mom's heroism alive.

"In Loving Memory of Leonora," my mom, my hero, my role model, my hope. You're ALWAYS with me. This is for you.

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September 12, 2009

Hospital

To see or dream that you are in a hospital, symbolizes your need to heal or improve your physical or mental heath. You need to get back to the flow of everyday life. Alternatively, it suggests that you are giving up control of your own body or that you are afraid of losing control of your body.

September 11, 2009

I want my mommy!

For everyone, it seems, life goes on. In some aspects I can even say that it went on for me. I mean I haven't locked myself in the house or anything. I see people when they aren't too busy or preoccupied with their own lives. We celebrated our three year anniversary yesterday. I check FB, odnoklassniki and email regularly. I booked a flight to Israel. But, I feel so empty, so lonely. Every smile is fake - it covers the tears and the pain underneath. I fight tears back ten
times a day, sometimes 10 times an hour, sometimes 10 times a minute. I can't explain this feeling. I can't explain this pain. I can't explain the weight of this loss. So I get frustrated.

My mom ALWAYS knew what I was feeling. I didn't necessarily have to tell her what's going on in my life for her to feel my emotions and know whether I was happy or sad. I didn't have to tell her the details of a fight or a date - being next to her made me understood. I will never forget a trip to Miami, when I called mama and from 3,000 miles away she said, you sound good, rested. I felt happy at the moment and the fact that she knew that from my voice just left me speechless. No, noone can ever replace that, but I think what makes me angry is that nobody even tries. Everyone moved on, they "did what they had to do." They came to the funeral, brought food during shiva, they called a few times and went on with their lives without stopping to think why can't I? Yes, life gets in the way and everyone has their own share of problems and happy occasions that they need to attend to. People may even get upset at me for not asking about their doc's appointment, choice of hair color or new purchase. Maybe I am preoccupied now and I deserve to be given some slack? Maybe I haven't been a good friend all these years? Maybe someone else needs to think about what my dad, husband and nephews need to eat on a daily basis? Maybe I always expect too much?

As usual, I don't have any answers, just a bunch of muddled questions in my clouded mind. I want my mommy! I need her and I will never see her again.

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Sent from my mobile device _________________________________________________________________
"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
-Randy Pausch

Race for the Cure 2009:
http://www.komennyc.org/site/TR/Race/race2009-wide?px=2103990&pg=personal&fr_id=1170

There's so much pain in this world.

It's another grim September morning. It's September 11. I'm watching the memorial, the nasty weather outside and my mom's picture. I cannot help but draw the parallel between cancer and terrorism. Cancer is a terrorist. It kills and destroys without regard for race, color, age, etc. It kills its own kind. Yes, terrorists are human-kind, but they are not worthy of being called people and I will continuously refer to them as "it." Those who have no regard for human life, not even their do not deserve to be called people, do not deserve to live. It goes back to the question of fairness, because so often they do. The broken families are left to pick up the pieces to fill the gaping void of a life lost prematurely, before its time - speak at a memorial, write on a blog, knowing that nothing will ever fill this emptyness.

Always Remember, Never Forget

09/09/86
09/11/01
08/18/09

September 9, 2009

Another book I've been meaning to read . . .

. . . it first stood out to me on a crowded subway, When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. The title just seemed fitting at the time and while I had no idea who the author was or what the book was about, it just keeps popping up (not just on NYT Bestseller list). Some quotes that I just came across that . . . well that (without sounding redundant) made sense . . .

"If you're looking for sympathy you'll find it between shit and syphilis in the dictionary." David Sedaris (Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays)

"If you aren't cute, you may as well be clever." — David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day)

"Real love amounts to withholding the truth, even when you're offered the perfect opportunity to hurt someone's feelings" — David Sedaris (Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim)

"I haven't the slightest idea how to change people, but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out." David Sedaris (Naked)
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Another (bestseller) book that I've heard a lot about is, The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch based on his renowned lecture, which I've been meaning to watch. As I'm writing this my recent post is flashing in neon bulbs in my head. I will keep saying I need to read this, see that, spend time with, etc., instead of talking/blogging about it, maybe I'll head to the library tomorrow. I must add, however, that quiet a few of my tight-knit fanbase have been telling me that you're enjoying my posts as of late. I guess when life happens (no pun intended), there's just more to say than before. I know I've often blogged about keeping certain things private, but this is no secret and like I told V today, I don't do it for anyone but myself. I enjoy rereading my posts after time has passed. It's an online public diary of real day-to-day emotions. It's a venting mechanism. Maybe I do need a stroke of the ego every so often and that's the reason my blog is public and the reason I crave comments. I know you all have BBs, iPhones and are constantly glued to the computer. Be kind.

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people!" — Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

"When it comes to men that are romantically interested in you, it’s really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do. It’s that simple. It’s that easy." — Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

"The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have. "Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

"It's not about how to achieve your dreams, it's about how to lead your life, ... If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you." — Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

"If I only had three words of advice, they would be, Tell the Truth. If got three more words, I'd add, all the time." — Randy Pausch

"It's not how hard you hit. It's how hard you get hit...and keep moving forward."Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

I had a dream . . .

. . . interpretations welcome.

If you dream that you are on your way to the hospital to have a baby, then it signifies your issues of dependency and your desire to be completely cared for. Perhaps you are trying to get out of some responsibility.

If you dream about someone who has died could mean that you have unresolved feelings regarding them, or you didn't mourn enough for them.

The above is what I was able to find in regards to a pretty bizzare dream that I had last night. The dream left me so shaken up that even though I've shared it with several people, I couldn't bring myself to write about it. The dream was very vivid, I was in labor in the hospital waiting room with none other than my mom. Nobody else was there (except strangers). I went to use the restroom and felt the baby starting to come out, so holding the babies head with my hand, my mom and I are running through hospital hallways in search of a delivery room and/or doctor. Somehow in between, we caught a glimpse of my dad when the elevator stopped on our floor. What he was doing there or what he said, I don't remember. What's strange is that neither my hubby, sis or friends were there, it was just me and mama. The dream was so real that even in my dream I was fully aware that my water didn't break, that I wasn't having painful contractions, just that this baby needed to come out.

The other strange thing is a girl I know and share a birthday with gave birth a few days ago and for some reason I couldn't wait to tell her that we now have Virgo babies. I woke up before "giving birth" so I don't know if it's a boy or a girl. In reality, my maternal instinct is kicking me hard; almost as hard as the necessity to find a job and a house. I always wanted a boy. I even had a name picked out. I didn't like any girl names. Now, I want a girl. I want to buy pretty dresses and hair clips. I want to make braids and take her to the zoo, the museum, the theater, everywhere. I want to attempt to teach her at least half of what my mom taught me.

From my mom's collection of aforisms & poems . ..

September 8, 2009

"Я без тебя умеру"

Reading and rereading the diary that my mom kept with my perls of wisdom, I came across this phrase apparently uttered by me around age 5. I'm 25 (yes, I'll be 26 in two weeks, but who's counting?) and somehow I'm still breathing, walking, living. Yet, I feel completely empty, completely drained and no matter who I talk to, they just don't understand. I can't keep talking about me, there's nothing to say and to hear someone else's problems, well they just seem so petty now.

Speaking of talking (is that even proper?), people are strange. Maybe I am strange. Maybe I have a convoluted perception of everything. Then again, I always have. I feel that certain things should go without saying. I realize that noone is a mind-reader, but there are things that are either common courtesy or common sense. There are people that I haven't spoken to in ages that came to the funeral, but haven't followed up with a call since. Then, there are strangers that call often. I guess it all depends on the person. Everyone always has enough problems and drama in their own lives to worry about anyone else, but some people go the extra mile. Some do it habitually. Some do it for everyone. Some do it for a select few. Some don't do it at all. Having dealt with enough problems and drama in my own life, I often notice that it's strangers that will do more. It's my friend's mom making us dinner, it's an ex-landlord taking care of D's grandpa, it's a childhood friend/old co-worker/college classmate pledging money for the cancer walk I'm doing this Sunday. It's my mom's cousin that didn't call when my grandmother died or when my mom died. It's so much and nothing to say, because the only person I want to talk to is mama. I feel that she's here. She's home, downstairs and come morning I'll be able to catch her up to the latest gossip and she'll yell at me for the mess in the house, which I've actually been trying to clean up (sort of). It's everything being out of place - "ты моя любовница," I told my mom while hugging her (around the same age), and I know noone will ever love me as much. I pray that I have as much love to give my children and half as much wisdom as my mom gave me.

Komen Greater New York City - Race for the Cure 2009:

Komen Greater New York City - Race for the Cure 2009:

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September 7, 2009

It's NOT fair!

Life isn't fair. Duh! I don't have the toy that he has, I don't have the body that she has, I work harder than he does, she is smarter than me, etc. We are all placed in situations where we deem things to be unfair. We feel that someone, other than ourselves is getting preferential treatment. Sometimes, it really is the case. Sometimes, it's the cosmic powers that surround us that regardless of whether your believe in destiny or the power or positive thinking screw us over so much, that things really are NOT fair.

This seems to be a recurring theme in my life as of late. When I lost my job, one of the partners and I had a very long discussion about fairness. He told me how his entire client got outsourced (revenue included) whereas he was still doing the majority of the work (client meetings, negotiations and review of the tax work). A few weeks ago, leaving my parents' house, D also went on a rant how there's people that do drugs and commit crimes and live long and healthy lives whereas good people have to suffer. My mom died less than four days later. She never did drugs. She never smoked. She was loved by everyone she came in contact with, from the pharmacist (who called yesterday), to the manicurist (who called last week), to her friends (who are scattered worldwide), to the sales person in the russian store (who took phone orders from my mom), to the sixty plus people (who showed up to her funeral in a matter of three hours), to her husband (who is keeping all his pain inside), to me.

All I can do is write. There's nothing left to say. There are people that have trouble having children and then there are those that stuff babies into garbage cans. There are people who never experience loss and then there are those that lose entire families in an instant. There are people who don't love/like/communicate with their parents and then there are those that lose their mom, their rock and the foundation of their entire family at twenty-five. What's fair? Who's to decide? What can you do to change your destiny, because no amount of positive thinking will bring the people that we love back.

Week Three

Time keeps flying somewhere. It simply disappears. I find myself smiling more, but the heaviness in my chest isn't going anywhere. I still can't do certain things and yet, I end up doing more and more normal things. I have these mixed feelings about seeing a movie or going to a cafe with music and any time a car with the radio blasting passes by these feelings flood over me. I don't know what they are, the closest comparison I could come up with is guilt, but that's not accurate either. I am trying to be strong, mainly for my dad. I'm trying to act "normal" (whatever that means) for everyone around me. Yet, when the reality hits me, so do the tears.

My mom and I have been apart for weeks on end when either her or myself have been out of town, when I was working ridiculous hours, so to some extent the full reality of her loss hasn't really sunk in yet. I understand and am fully aware of everything that happened last month, what happened that stupid Monday, three weeks ago and the funeral on Tuesday. I don't want to believe it. I don't believe it. I can't believe it. Who knows what the right thing to do is? No, my mom wouldn't want me to suffer, but she wouldn't want me to move on so quickly either. It's like with my whole perception of Judaism, you do as much as you can. Everyone keeps saying that I did everything I could've when it came to my mom, but I don't. I feel like I could've done more. I should've tried harder. The feeling of helplessness, for me, is the worst. No matter, what I did, how hard I tried, the result was the same. It's just not fair!!!

September 3, 2009

Spasibo, XPEHOBO!

"Only by looking at you now, do I realize that it's much easier to die than to live."

--
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September 2, 2009

My Mom, My Hero

I think that most normal people love their mothers. I think that the majority of these people have good relationships with them and admire many of their character traits. Few people I know have the kind of relationships that I do with my mom. With small lapses when either one of us was out of town, my mom and I spoke every day, usually twice a day, sometimes 8 times a day. I could trust my mom with anything. I often didn't because I didn't want her to worry an extra time. By doing that I worried her even more, as I realize now. After finding out about my mom's sickness at a ripe age of twelve, I set myself a goal - my wellbeing is one less thing my parents have to worry about. I did well in school, I chose my own schools, I worked since age 15. Overall, with a few growing pains, I was a good kid. Yes, mama was worried about wrong crowds, drugs, late nights, but which normal parent isn't? Besides the late nights or early mornings, as my mom called them; a few bad seeds that I never called friends and quickly got discarded, she was happy with how I turned out. Mama raised me well - I know how to read and write in two languages (product of immigration, but my mom was always the go to person for any help with russian vocabulary when playing "balda," "goroda" or "pasochki"), I have a strong respect for the arts and an even stronger respect for people, I could set the table and cook a meal (although the golubtzi and borscht are two recipes that will take me years to recreate). She taught me the values of hard work, the importance of family and the necessity in always remaining human, or rather humane. She knew my harships, she faced many more. I know that my mom was extremely proud of me and the wow that I took at age 12 will hold true for me forever. I have a hero to look up to. Many people have said that my mom deserves a monument while she is alive. She will soon get one, unfortunately she won't be here to see it. My mom never talked about being sick, she talked about her youth, her family, her friends. She was always more concerned about first me, her mom (while she was alive), my dad, her dad, family, friends. She has a LOT of friends. I do too. Addresses changed, circumstances changed, they got older, but their friendships lasted. My mom's willpower didn't falter till the very last day. Yet, she still didn't want to take an extra pill to ease her pain. As J said, "she didn't leave [me], she was taken away from [me]." While that's true in the physical sense, noone will ever take mama away from me. She is me and I am her. She's my hero and I will live to keep making her as proud as she's always been and then some.

I love you mulya.

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Random acts of kindness, memories and the small things that change lives

Obviously, one's parents have a profound effect on one's life. My mom has definitely made a tremendous impact on mine. She made me, shaped me, instilled values in me, passed down annoying character traits and had the biggest overall effect. My mom made significant impact on lives of others as I am beginning to learn. Yes, we can start with my dad. But, they didn't meet until she was 31. With one letter (which for as long as I can remember has been claimed by my dad to be the reason he married my mom since "it was the first letter he received in his life that had no grammatical errors") lives changed forever. Myparents were married. I was born.

Today, amidst moving boxes of my stuff into my parents apartment, I received a letter from one of my mom's friends. She's a journalist, so needless to say it was well-written. They've been friends for 35 years and living on separate sides of the globe for the last twenty. The letter spoke of how they met, some of their escapades and memories in general. The letter made be both cry and laugh especially after rereading several times.

After sitting with my nephews, a gazillion calls, arranging for a job interview tomorrow and several visits to car dealerships, my parents friends' from Canada decided to "drop in" and pay their respects. Oleg and my mom met in 1974 when he came to her library and she gave him an "intelligent" book to read. They soon became friends and after seeing one of his performances at the Lvov theater (he's an actor), my mom told him backstage, "I know you can do better." He took it to heart and this changed his life and he went on to study acting more seriously and his talent is remarkable. He sang his "crown" song at our wedding, Besame Mucho, but I've seen him do better.

It's both uplifting and sad to see these people and hear these stories. I constantly go through pictures (from yesterday and from 40 years ago). It calms me, sometimes. Really it makes me see what a wonderfully smart, charismatic, beautiful, vivacious and loving woman my mom is. It makes me extremely proud to be her daughter and to strive each and every day to be as wonderfully smart, charismatic, beautiful, vivacious and loving. There aren't enough adjectives to describe my mom, but hopefully if what I am planning will work out (with a lot of work and a little bit of luck), I will be able to collect enough adjectives and learn of many more life-changing stories, transatlantic friendships and little anecdotes to ensure that my mom's legacy lives not only within me.

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Sent from my mobile device

August 31, 2009

JOIN ME - Komen Race for the Cure

I'm not sure where this came from, but so true

Как часто мы не ценим время,
И часто им не дорожим.
Как часто жизнь мы вспоминаем.
И часто о былом грустим.

Как часто говорим пустое,
И часто тишина в ответ.
Как часто спорим про смешное,
И часто ждем мы лишь совет.

Как часто на себя в обиде,
И часто некого винить.
Как часто любим мы в порыве,
И часто нелегко забыть.

August 28, 2009

Carpe F***ing Diem

My friend has a tattoo with those words. I got D a T-shirt with those words two weeks ago. My mom is one of the few people I know that lived by it. We've all heard the cliches of "tomorrow may never come" and sometimes it really doesn't. My mom loved the theater so she went despite everything as much as she could. She fractured her foot once going to see a show (it resulted in a much less painful visit to ER). She never talked about her sickness, about her pain. She talked about her feelings. She cared about everyone around her. She loved people. In a matter of a couple of hours sixty people showed up to her funeral (discounting the fact that the majority of her family and close friends are scatterred world wide). Hoards of people kept coming to the house, bringing food and expressing their condolences. It got loud and rowdy at times. People talked about their own things, laughed, looked at pictures and played "Eggs USSR". I just wish they came when she was alive. It would've made her happy. I know someone wanted to visit her next weekend and someone had a movie for her and someone I haven't spoken to in years was remembered by her only days before she was gone to have him call me 10 days after. She lived selflessly and always surrounded herself with good people. Sometimes we don't say "I love you" often enough, sometimes we're to busy to visit when we should, sometimes "life gets in the way, when you're too busy making other plans." I, like my mom, have wonderful friends who are there to help in any way they can even when I don't know what I need help with. Even when all I want to do is scream. Even when I do scream. Even when I say that if I hear "how are you" one more I will smack someone. I feel guilty doing certain things, despite the reality of "life goes on" and at the same time the reality of this not sinking in. I don't think it ever will. Noone will ever replace mama. I never had to share her love with anyone. It was always all mine. Now, I have noone to share the grief with either.

I see a red door and I want to paint it black


Yes, generally red is my favorite color. I own red shoes, red glasses, red sweaters, etc. The cover on my bb is red. I guess, "I'm on a new diet, wearing black."

August 24, 2009

Emptyness

I've felt pain before. My entire adolescence was extremely painful. I've lost loves and loved ones. Nothing compares to this numbing wound. My heart has been ripped out and the half that remains is still beating. Each photograph and clothing item, every memory, is a pinch of salt dropped on my bleeding heart. I do everything like she did, from not leaving dirty dishes and closing the fridge to correcting pronunciation and punctuation. I even finish sentences with her aforisms. Yes, the show does go on. Life continues for some faster than others. Yet this feeling of emptyness persists. Twenty people will not replace one and the tears keep streaming when I think no more are left. How can people laugh? How can they shop and listen to music? How can I smile? I know I will. I maybe even have, but this gaping hole keeps getting wider and emptier as minute by hour by day it's already a week.

--
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August 18, 2009

Mamochka

My mom is the strongest person I know. She's extremely brave. I can't refer to her in the past tense. She made me a list of everything I need to make Borscht only yesterday. She was her mother's only child and I am mine. Noone will ever replace her and I can only hope of being half as good of a mother as she is. She never complained. She did everything for me. Her house was spotless. Her cooking superb -noones golubtzi can come close and I don't even have a recipe. I wish she lived to see her grandchildren, but wish her nothing but rest. She has suffered enough here, but she made many wonderful friends whom life scattered worldwide, she created a loving family and a warm home. Her door was always open and like any Jewish mother, she always fed you even when there was nothing to eat. Her stories always went on tangents that by the time she ended you forgot where you started. I used to scream at her for that. I'd give anything to hear another one of those stories about her friends and parties and boys. My mom loved mansi, but she never gossiped. She is always fair. She is the best. She fought till the end. She is my mamochka.

--
Sent from my mobile device

August 1, 2009

Healthcare Reform

Dear Mr. President,

The US health system is in dire need of reform. I realize that you want change, but while I am not 100% clear on all of your points, I have a few of my own. Before I begin, let me preamble by stating that inviting the Harvard professor to the White House is not essential to the country right now. Yes, it's a shame that it happened, but racism just like anti-semitism, sexism, etc. is still prevalent. Stereotypes exist for a reason. While you speak English properly, have an Ivy
League education and worked extremely hard to get where you are today, with stereotypes working against you, not everyone has. Yet, everyone likes to take credit. "We won! We won!" Wtf did you win? (Pardon, my French, Mr. President). If you're a lazy, unmotivated individual,
you're not going anywhere and it has nothing to do with color, race or poverty. I commend you for achieving the level of success that you have, but that was done on merit and not handouts, that many are expecting. My family came to this country with $90 and we're doing just fine. Yes, we needed assistance at first. Yes, my grandmothers received SSI, but I've paid enough taxes to cover that and then some.

So back to healthcare...

(1) You should only work in the medical profession if you truly want to help people. If you're in it for the $, get out. Health is the biggest asset an individual can possess and compassion is a virtue. Being able to diagnose/treat/speak with a sick person is a talent.

(2) Good Doctors/nurses/other med professionals should be paid top dollar for their hard work, sleepless nights, gazillion years of school and emotional burden. They should NOT be taught in school to "charge max versus doing best treatment." They should be compensated fairly for the work they do based on city/state average, their experience level and complexity of the work. They should collect 100% of what they (fairly) bill, not 10%.

(3) Get rid of unions. They don't work. They are costly and they don't hire the best talent, but usually quiet the contrary to meet certain quotas. (The same goes for the construction industry.)

(4) This may not be true of the entire country, but NY hospitals are overcrowded (much like the rest of the city). Patients need privacy and regardless of their sickness/diagnosis should be treated as people and not "bed 42". More time should be spent per patient.

(5) Drug interactions and prior history need to be checked with each prescription, doctor visit, hospital stay. Here I propose a central database accessible by every health care professional across the nation. (It's 2009, let's make use of technology!) Such "smart" database would flash a warning to an opthalmologist who is prescribing medication that has a direct effect on the person's heart and he suffered two heart attacks, for example. If the undiligent doctor
wrote the prescription regardless, the pharmacist filling the prescription would see the same warning. Healthcare needs to be put back in the hands of the patient. Leeches are no longer the "cure-all" solution and with the millions of drugs on the market, one needs to know what it is he is taking and how it will affect his body. I can go on about the details of such database, but in interest of time (and my sleep), I believe I have made my point.

(6) People who have worked in/for this country their entire lives should be entitled to affordable healthcare and prescription drugs. People on welfare and other such public assistance need to stop abusing the system. (Do NOT have 8 kids when you can't raise any of them (because you're an idiot yourself) to collect WIC, food stamps, etc; do NOT order medical supplies you do NOT need simply because they are free (and then donate them to salvation army for a tax write-off),
do NOT bill Medicaid for free air-conditioners, trips, etc. Yes, these programs are wonderful for older people, but the funding has to come from elsewhere.

I may not have all the answers and I definitely haven't covered all the points, but these are issues I feel most important. And the sooner someone does something about it, the healthier we'll all be. What could be more important than that?

Sincerely,
AI

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July 22, 2009

Doctors, Medicine, Hospitals and other such Yucky things!

My grandmother was right. Every family needs a doctor. Maybe I should have been a doctor? I get nauseous at the sight of blood. I feel like I will throw up after any conversation having to do with surgery. I think in mental pictures. Yet, I've spent so much time in hospitals from a young enough age to at least have been useful, to understand what these medical terms mean without Google or Wiki and to be able to make educated decisions concerning the health of those I love.

I couldn't study for the SAT, studying for MCATs and the Boards would have been out of the question. Life has always been too important to me, but so have the lives of those I love. Spending as much time in hospitals as I have, I probably could have completed residency already and still I skeeve them. Some have been really nasty and old, others new and with the patients' needs in mind, but they all have the same feel. The doctors vary, the hospitals change, but I don't wish anyone to know what it's like to be in the care of the best doctor in the best hospital. I wish everyone in my life, HEALTH and at least one doctor in the family. Luckily, I have a sister-in-law in med school, a friend that's a RN, two PA friends, a friend of a friend that's a pharmacist and then there's J who knows a little about a lot. For everything else, there's Google.

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Sent from my mobile device while sitting in a hospital waiting room.

July 21, 2009

Single, Engaged, Married...repeat as necessary.

When D and I got engaged one of my bridesmaids gave me wonderful advice when I was contemplating about what kind of wedding to have,"make your first wedding count." Going into marriage, I don't think that anyone thinks that it won't last (I'm not talking about the
"marry for green card" weddings). This weekend two of my very dear friends proposed. Obviously, the girls said, "yes". Does anyone ever say no? Either way, I wish both couples a lifetime of love,understanding and happiness together in good health.

Another friend of mine was proposed to on the 3rd date. Are we getting engaged for the right reasons? Do we unconditionally love our partners? Is unconditional love even possible? Do we choose significant others based on our compatibility or incompatibility? Is it social compatibility or mental or physical? Do we get engaged because it's time to settle down? Do we settle? What's settling? Isn't being with one person for the rest of your life settling? If you wait forever, won't you die alone?

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July 15, 2009

Walking around in NYC

Sunrise/Sunset





A movie hasn't had such a profound effect on me in a long time as Before Sunset. I recommend watching it, the sequel first. Sometimes life or at least a movie is meant to be played in reverse.

"Memories are wonderful things, if you don't have to deal with the past"

July 13, 2009

"the world is cruel, and the only morality in a cruel world is chance." -The Dark Knight

July 11, 2009

You Live, You Learn

I never knew that you can inscribe a bench in the park. Here are a few that caught my eye.
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July 7, 2009

I don't believe in miracles . . .

but stranger things have happened. So today was the second time in my life that I witnessed a natural phenomenon. It's even stranger that for the second time it happened at a cemetery. Moreover, on the one year anniversaries of each of my grandmothers' deaths. It was a lovely morning despite the cloud hanging over NYC and the predicted rain. Despite agreeing that nobody will go to the cemetery before Sunday to mark the opening of the monument, I went. I had to. Plus, I never listen. As soon as I picked up the Yahrzeit candles and got into the car it began to drizzle, but rain never scares me so I kept driving. I drove through a mix of sun and rain all the way to the cemetery. By the time I got off the highway, it was pouring. Cemeteries in the rain are freaky and as I came up to the "street" where my grandmother's monument is, it was a complete downpour. I wasn't sure what to do, but I couldn't turn around now. I waited a few minutes squinting to find the monument. I made a U-Turn so that it would be on my left and not right side. I rolled up my white linen pants, grabbed an umbrella and walked out of the car. The rain eased up. I quickly found the monument and said my prayers. The rain stopped. It was unbelievable, but given New York weather recently, not shocking. I walked back to the car and got out the Yahrzeit candle. I lit it and put it on the monument covering the wax with rocks so that it wouldn't go out from the wind. The birds started chirping. I said another prayer. I got in the car and stopped by the main entrance to wash my hands. There was no rain, the sun came out again. I got back in the car hoping for a quick ride home and as soon as I passed through the gates of the cemetery, it began to pour. I'm not talking about a drizzle, I'm talking about a downpour. It was raining so hard that going about 7 miles an hour I had zero visibility. It rained most of my way home. Now, it's sunny.

There are things greater than us out there. I believe that. This wasn't a coincidence. I believe that too. Neither was August 5, 2003 when only during the prayer the sun hid behind clouds, the wind picked up and it looked like it was going to pour any minute. As soon as the prayers were sad, the clouds parted and gave way to the beautiful August day. Natural phenomena? Divine intervention? Miracle? Whatever it was, it gave me a lot to think about on the ride home.

June 30, 2009

Interviewing is a lot like dating

Where did you go to school? Why did you leave? What makes you interested in us? All these questions make your head spin and the more interviews I go on, the more I feel like I'm going on a blind date. Granted, I've been out of the dating game for quiet some time, but I remember what it's like and I have plenty of friend stories. You go into an interview, much like a blind date, only with the name of the prospect and whatever information you found on the internet. After the interview/date is over you dish to your mutual recruiter/friend about the good, the bad and the ugly. You talk about reasons for going on a second interview/date and whether or not you
see yourself with this prospect in the future. You sit and wait for a few days, weeks and sometimes even months inviting you to come and join them and the terms on which they'd like to see you again. You cross your fingers and hope for the best.

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June 28, 2009

Cough, sniffle, sniffly, cough

So I can't shake this stupid cold. I'm now on antibiotics (prescribed
by my dentist friend, aleve cold and sinus and buckleys cold syrup).
I'm self medicating and it doesn't seem to be helping. This cough is
annoying me the most!!!

I should probably be sleeping and not bitchin. :)

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Sent from my mobile device