December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you and your family
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


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.