September 17, 2010

"On Rosh Hashanah it is written, on Yom Kippur it is sealed."

The period Yom Kippur is traditionally the days of Awe. It is time to reflect on the past year and to ask forgiveness for our wrongdoings.  I am sorry for not writing more and for disappearing a little too much and a little too often.  I'm sorry that too many of those I love are no longer with us, but sincerely hope that they are in a better place.  I'm sorry that I am brash and easily irritated sometimes.  I'm sorry that I strongly believe in fairness because things rarely are fair.  I'm sorry for not telling "I love you" to those that I love often enough.  I'm sorry to anyone I have hurt or offended throughout the year.  While it's not excuse, but it was a very tough year for me.  I'm sorry for not being a better wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend.  I am sorry to all I have hurt.  I promise none of it was intentional.  I am sorry that there's never enough words to explain my feelings and that I have such a hard time explaining them lately.  I'm most sorry that mama is not here with me.  As much as I want to believe that she's not suffering anymore and she's watching over us, I'm sorry that my heart can't let her go.  I'm sorry.

August 18, 2010

August 17, 2010

This time last year . . .

 "A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen." -Edward de Bono

This time last year I finished watching my 2nd episode of 90210 and posted S&M's wedding photo book on FB.  It is also the time when mama and I decided that we should take her to a hospital.  We spoke to her oncologist's nurse.  We were waiting for Daddy to come home...

I sometimes wish I weren't so sentimental that I could ignore the gnawing reminders of every day, but then I wouldn't be me.  I'd be someone else.  The only person I am and want to be is my mom's daughter.  I couldn't have asked for a better role model, a better mom or a better friend.  

"A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take." - Cardinal Mermillod

August 8, 2010

Zone 3

I am not sure if I ever wrote about my uncle's alarm and a quick search of my blog didn't result in any posts, but nonetheless, when my grandmother passed in July of 2008 my uncle's home alarm system went crazy.  Without delving into the details, Zone 3 is the attic.  It's next to impossible to get on the roof of my uncle's attached townhouse.  Every time something happens in our family since then, Zone 3 lights up.  Today is no exception.  Whatever grandma is trying to tell us, we hear it and know that she's with us in our time of pain.  Call it Esotericism if you want, but lately I believe it more and more.  Things in this world are so interconnected that I don't believe in random chance, anymore. 

28th of Av, 5769 כ״ח באב תשס״ט -

28th of Av, 5770 כ״ח באב תש״ע

Today marks the Hebrew year since my dearest mom is no longer with us.  It is surreal.  It was surreal to light the candle and read the prayer (an excerpt of which is below).  It was surreal to sit with my cousin and go through the pictures.  It is surreal to come to a home without her.  I thought that I was okay until I lit the candle, read the prayer and realized that although I follow the Gregorian calendar, it's a year, (10 days ahead of schedule).  I think that I'm all blogged out, but I can't sleep in anticipation or dread of tomorrow's unveiling.
I Love You Mom, today, yesterday, everyday.


Shall I cry out in anger, O God,
Because Thy gifts are mine but for a while?

Shall I be ungrateful for the moments of laughter,
The seasons of joy, the days of gladness and festivity,
When tears cloud my eyes and darken the world
And my heart is heavy within me?

Shall I blot from mind the love
I have known and in which I have rejoiced
When a fate beyond my understanding takes from me
Friends and kin whom I have cherished, and leaves me
Bereft of shining presences that have lit my way
Through years of companionship and affection?

Give me the vision, O God, to see and feel
That imbedded deep in each of Thy gifts
Is a core of eternity, undiminished and bright,
An eternity that survives the dread hours
of affliction and misery.

Those I have loved, though now beyond my view,
Have given form and quality to my being.
They have led me into the wide universe
I continue to inhabit, and their presence
Is more vital to me than their absence.

What Thou givest, O Lord,
Thou takest not away,
And bounties once granted
Shed their radiance evermore.
-Rabbi Morris Adler


August 6, 2010

Thank You

I'm rarely at a loss of inspiration - I was blessed with a mother that inspired me to live each day.  Every day my mom serves as that same inspiration, because today I live not only for me, but also for her.  Last year after my mom's death, I decided to finally sign up for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.  Through the incredible generosity of my family and friends, we were able to raise close to $3,000.  Yesterday, I was invited to a Pink Honor Roll celebration in honor of the top 121 fundraisers for 2009.  The #1 place raised over $113,000 and while I didn't raise anywhere close to that, I'm extremely proud of what we raised in such a short amount of time.  Of course K's dreidel game winnings, doubled by her company was a large chunk of our efforts, but the importance is the goal - as the NYC president, Dara said yesterday, "Our goal is to put ourselves out of business."  My personal goal is to surpass this fund-raising amount in 2010, double our team size and to help save another mother, daughter, aunt, sister, friend, so that another 25 year old girl doesn't have to lose her mom and her best friend to this terrible disease.

I started this post by talking about inspiration and I met a truly inspiring woman, yesterday aboard this cruise around NYC.  JP is a breast cancer survivor and her story hit home because she is a mom of two and was diagnosed around the same time as my mom.  We spoke of different treatments and she kept comparing me to her own kids.  Last year was also her first race.  She decided to learn to run, yes run, in honor of both her 60th birthday and her 15 year survival.  I can't run, but now I am suddenly feeling inspired - IZ may not be the only one from CUREiously PINK running in September.  She was having trouble taking pics and of course I don't take my camera on a trip such as this and I took some pics with my berry that I instantly emailed to her.  Today, of course I googled and found much more interesting facts about her and to quote from her featured surivor story on Komen:

  • If I had not had breast cancer, I venture to say I would not have had the courage to take swimming lessons in a chilly lake in springtime to get over my fear of water.
  • If I had not had breast cancer, I doubt that I would have had the fortitude to go to law school and become at attorney at the age of 52, which involved commuting three hours round trip to school each day of classes as a single mom.
  • If I had not had breast cancer, I do not believe I would have wanted to mark the milestone of my 60th birthday, which is also the 15th year of my survivorship, by learning to run this past winter and spring so I could run in the Susan G. Komen New York City Race for the Cure in September.

This Sunday marks the year anniversary and this cruise really couldn't have come at a better time. 
To my dearest mom, who always found the strength to smile, to get up and to live each day!!! I love you, today, yesterday, everyday.

August 4, 2010

Reminders . . .

Every day is a reminder of something.  Today is a relative's birthday, yesterday was B&Es 4th Birthday, tomorrow is 8 years without my grandmother.  Am I overly sentimental? Probably. But how can I not be, especially now? Each passing day is a reminder of where I was a year ago today and as bad as things were a year ago, my mom was still alive.  As a matter of fact, mama was home from the hospital and doing better, we thought.  This Sunday will mark the Hebrew year since she is gone.  We will (hopefully) be unveiling the monument on this day as it is due to be up tomorrow.  Monday is daddy's birthday.  I still haven't bought a present. As I write this I realize one thing, for better or worse, life goes on...

I've been trying to look at things a little more lightly and calmly lately.  Everything I read seems to have the same message  - good attracts good, positive attracts positive and anyone that knows me knows that I'm a believer in Karma (and not in the "my karma ran over your dogma kind").  Yet, somehow it's hard to remain positive when everything you touch turns to sh*t.  I am really trying though and here are a few favorites from The Alchemist, which I finished reading recently by Paolo Coelho:

"Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead  their lives but none about his or her own."

"...and when each day is the same as the next, it's because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises."

"'It's not what enters men's mouths that's evil. Its what comes out of their mouths that is."

"One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving."

July 22, 2010

A year ago today and the meaning of dreams . . .

A year ago today, I was sitting in a hospital waiting room blogging about Health Reform without having the slightest idea that it was the beginning of the end, literally. 

Last night, although falling asleep rather early, I didn't sleep well, being awoken first by my phone then my dreams.  No stranger to dreams and especially after watching Inception this pas week, I'm a bit shaken up by it all.  The Dream Dictionary definitions seem accurate enough, but the reality isn't easier to deal with.

To see your mother in your dream, represents the nurturing aspect of your own character. Mothers offer shelter, comfort, life, guidance and protection.

To dream that you are having a conversation with your mother, denotes a matter that has preoccupied your mind and you are not sure how to deal with it in your waking life. It indicates unresolved problems that need to be worked out with your mother.

To hear your mother call you in our dream, suggests that you have been negligent in your duties and responsibilities. You are pursuing down the wrong path.

To see and talk with your dead parents in your dreams, represent your fears of losing them or your way of coping with the loss. You are using your dream as a last opportunity to say your final good-byes to them. In trying to keep up with the pace of your daily waking life, your dreams may serve as your only outlet in coping and coming to terms with the loss of a loved one.

July 15, 2010

Dot Dot Dot

I've been crying a lot lately.  Random things, randomly bring me to tears.  Today, it was this poem by Анна Ахматова:


Я пью за разоренный дом,
За злую жизнь мою,
За одиночество вдвоем,
И за тебя я пью,—
За ложь меня предавших губ,
За мертвый холод глаз,
За то, что мир жесток и груб,
За то, что Бог не спас.

There's many ideas for blog posts brewing and I'm not sure where to begin.  The last few months have been nothing short of torturous, confusing and lacking proper adjectives at the moment.  But I'm tired of talking of the negativity - if I am to practice what I've been preaching and desperately trying to believe - positive attracts positive.  Light attracts lights.  Love attracts love.

July 8, 2010

No More Tears

This stupid day just kept getting better and better.  I have no more strength and no more tears and with everything going on, I'm ashamed to say I forgot the most important thing.  I didn't even light a candle, but I remember. I always remember.  I even mentioned it in Danik's birthday toast - the three most important things that Grandma taught me -  
Не Откладывать! 
Уметь Праздновать! 
Жизнь Прекрасна! 
I really hope that she knows how much I wish that last statement to be true when everything seems to be in shambles.
Forever in our hearts 02/18/24-07/18/08

July 6, 2010

I'm with STUPID

o I am totally in love with new (not so new) DIESEL ad campaign. I think it's genius, here's a few I've "collected." What are your thoughts? What's your favorite one?

June 25, 2010

The Ex Factor

I think there was a SATC episode with the same name, but I'm not trying to plagiarize, just make a point. So what is the ex etiquette?
If you are friends with two people who dated, broke up, got married and lived happily ever after, do you invite both? Neither? Take turns?
Or let them decide? Does the equation change if there were hard feelings? Bad break-up? One is un-attached? Does it matter that you grew up with one and know the other for a few years? Months? Weeks? What if the relationship was between your friend and another friend's spouse? While there may be no easy answer to these questions, if you're going to spend your life making others happy, you'll make yourself miserable.

As adults, people can make a choice to be there for their friends and sit on opposite ends of a dinner table, if necessary. I was at quiet a
few events over the last few weeks where I've ran into ex's, flings and other romantic interests. I've taken pictures with them, of them, drank shots with them and celebrated the events that we were both invited to. It's a small world and while you can avoid people,
you're bound to run into them in the most ackward and inopportune of moments. As with everything else in life, there's no perfect answer,as my fave tax professor always used to say, "based on facts and circustances, it depends."

Sent from my mobile device

June 18, 2010

A Sad Kind of Proud

Today is 10 months since mommy is no longer with us and besides all the other craziness in my life now, that is the one that takes precedent over everything.  It consumes me because I miss her so much all the time.  I'm trying to finalize her monument for a week now and everything looks wrong and no words and no slab of stone can ever do her justice.  Looking for a Chai (חי) design is proving extremely difficult as there's not much choice and nothing looks right.

Ironically, yesterday, after a first Girls Night Out (with a smaller turn out then expected, but we all have to start somewhere), I received the following letter from the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  More ironically still, is that August 5 will mark 8 years since my maternal grandmother has passed.  I'd like to that all of you for your kindness and support, whether it be through email, joining me in the race or through your generous donations.  The race doesn't stop however, we have to keep walking until we find a cure.  We have to save every 8th mother, daughter, sister and friend.  I invite you to join us in this year's race and to support our team either through your donation, volunteering your time or having a portrait taken by Lina at Lasting Memories Photography with all proceeds going to support our team.

Thank you again for remembering and for your support.

<3 Me

June 2, 2010

$$$ versus Sanity - a modern conversation

WorkingGal1 - you know - bad economy shmeconomy...cannot find anything online
WorkingGal2 - i need shoes and a dress and work clothes and some sanity :-)
WorkingGal1  - shoes? what kinda shoes do you need? :) i thought u settled on the dress
sanity sounds good
WorkingGal2 - [a bunch of stuff that doesn't need to be mentioned here] I'l take some $$$ over sanity at this point too lol
WorkingGal1  - [some more omissions] listen missy, it is  either sanity, or $$$ u have to make up ur mind 
WorkingGal2  - since when is it $$$ or sanity - $$$ can buy sanity or at least therapy :)
WorkingGal1 - well (since we did not marry right) for us working lots gets $$$ = insanity

May 14, 2010

"My karma ran over your dogma"

Lately, I've become a big believer in karma and positive energy and the whole "what comes around goes around" business. Yet, no matter how hard I try everything I come near turns to sh*t. (I apologize, I'm not a fan of profanity on my blog, but couldn't find a fitting synonym). So anyway, back to The Secret of positive thinking.  For starters, it's really not a secret - think good thoughts, believe your good thoughts and when you have bad thought, turn them around and all good things are yours.  Sounds simple, but to me it's simply impossible.  Don't get me wrong, I agree with the premise and even reading fiction like The Lost Symbol, for example, strengthens that conviction.  In lament's terms - good attracts good, bad attracts bad, but how do you get out of the bad mindset?  My manicurist tells me what works is to just simply concentrate on whatever it is you're doing, typing a blog post, manicure, driving a car, eating, don't get carried away with your thoughts.  It's funny, because only the negative thoughts seem to carry.  We rarely dwell on something positive. 

I'd like to think that I'm a good person that cares deeply around those around me.  I usually put others before myself, but rarely feel the same in return.  I share (or at the very least try) in everyone's (that's close to me) happiness and disappointments.  I always try to go above and beyond, because I believe that you either do it right or you don't do it at all.  Nobody has yet gotten upset at me for not returning a call, text or email.  I remember birthdays.  This is beginning to sound very self-validating and it's my blog so it can be, but why doesn't this positive karma boomerang back? How do you turn it all around?  The ageless wisdom of "do onto others . . ."

I got stuck in my not-so-positive thoughts, so some "wisdom" on the topic:

“Sometimes we need to stop analyzing the past, stop planning the future, stop figuring out precisely how we feel, stop deciding exactly what we want, and just see what happens.” - Carrie Bradshaw, SATC

“Sometimes skulls are thick.
Sometimes hearts are vacant.
Sometimes words don't work.” -James Frey quotes
“The human body can bear immeasurable pain and yet recover. Wounds can heal. But once your spirit is broken, everything falls apart.” -Palden Gyatso
“Miranda: Maybe it's time that I stop being so angry.
Carrie: Yeah, but what would you do with all your free time?”
“Despite the fact that there are over eight million people on the island of Manhattan, there are times you still feel shipwrecked and alone." -SATC
Can you tell I'm a huge fan of SATC? Can't wait for the movie!

May 9, 2010

"A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take." - Cardinal Mermillod

Some Favorites on a really, really sad day . . .

I miss home, "A little girl, asked where her home was, replied, 'where mother is.'" - Keith L. Brooks

"All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his." -Oscar Wilde

"A mother is not a person to lean on but a person to make leaning unnecessary." - Dorothy Canfield Fisher

"Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother's love is not."- James Joyce

"A mother understands what a child does not say." -Jewish Proverb

"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us when adversity takes the place of prosperity when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts." -Washington Irving
"Most of all the other beautiful things in life come by twos and threes by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers, and sisters, aunts and cousins, but only one mother in the whole world." - Kate Douglas Wiggin

"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." - Theodore Hesburgh
I'm so glad I got to witness this firsthand. I love and thank my parents for giving me a warm and loving home to grow up in.

"Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever." -Unknown

Happy Mother's Day / C Днем Победы!

To My Dearest Mommy,

This is my first Mother's Day without you and I miss you every minute of every day. There's so much going on in my life right now and you are the only person that I want to share it all with. You're the only one that can give me real advice and wisdom. "I pray you can see me now and be proud of what I have become because of your example, but most of all I thank you because you loved me so much."

With all my love always,

From a few Mother's Days ago . . . in Kittichai with overpriced Mimosas.  I would give everything to be there again. <3

 Check out, My Mom The Style Icon for my dedication

May 6, 2010

An Interesting Idea . . .

Came across this on someone's profile and totally love it:

"People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life... "

Doing Good Deeds . . .

With the team set up, please feel free to join, donate and help support Breast Cancer Research.  In the last few days we've gotten a very positive response  - $150 donated, $600 pledged and several sessions being planned.  All in the first week!!!  Then I get an email from Chloe Swanson of the Spread the Word for Charity at program.  So of course, I go to check out the site and it's awesome! is a unique search engine that consumers can use to find hotel availability and rates, and to compare prices and offers from multiple merchants. Using their service, travelers no longer have to search websites one by one to find the best deals and lowest rates. Once you find the supplier suitable for your needs, they link you through to the supplier website to book directly. I'm learning so many new things lately, if only I had such excitement in studying for my CPA.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead

May 3, 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

The fight against cancer goes on.  In today's society everyone knows someone who has been touched by breast cancer.  Whether it's a friend or relative, someone in your circle has battled breast cancer.  I have found a way to fight against cancer: the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure®.  Registration for the September race opened today and I will be dedicating my walk to my Moma woman of incredible courage, infinite wisdom and undying strength.

The Komen Race for the Cure is a community event that honors breast cancer survivors and co-survivors and pays tribute to those that have lost their lives to the disease.  The Race also plays a vital role in raising funds for research, education, prevention, advocacy and treatment.  Each year over 1.3 million people take part in Race for the Cure events around the world.   I will be joined by thousands of others on September 12th in Central Park.

How can you help?
You can support me by making a tax-deductible contribution to the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. If you would like to donate, please visit and click on my personal page to make a donation to my efforts.  You may also call me with the amount you will be pledging and can send the donation, payable to Komen Greater NYC, to me at the address below. 

Additionally, you can join me at the event (details to follow as soon as the team is set up) as a Race participant or join the fundraiser thrown by Lasting Memories and Plan A Coordination (see flier for more details) .  There are many ways you can participate and help run breast cancer out of town once and for all.
Facebook page for CUREiously PINK - Komen Race for the Cure
Thank you for your continuous kindness and your support in the fight against cancer!

April 19, 2010

A Not So Happy Birthday

April has always been a busy month filled with happy occasions. It is the month of many birthdays, anniversaries and usually, holidays.  This year, however, it is one birthday less.  The candle is lit, the balloon went up to the heavens and I miss my mommy every minute of every day.  There's so much going on in my life right now and she's the only person that I want to share it all with.  She's the only one that can give me real advice and wisdom.  As I type, with tears on my eyes, my thoughts drift away to happier times.  I love you mommy, родная, любимая. Wherever you are, I hope you're better and looking over me, too. <3

Mommy's Last Birthday 04/19/09 @ Old Castle Cafe

Своей я маме посвящаю
Свои победы и удачи,
К своей я маме прибегаю,
Когда бывают неудачи.

Она поймет меня, рассудит,
Всегда поможет мне советом,
Я только маме доверяю
Свои сердечные секреты.

Когда я стану чуть постарше
И у меня родятся дети,
Я постараюсь объяснить им,
Что лучше мамы нет на свете!
 Ты отдала семье так много лет -
Готовила, стирала и пекла, Дарила нам своей улыбки свет,
Очаг семейный чутко берегла.
Заботой на заботу отвечая,
Мы все тебя боготворим.
И к сожалению, тебя сегодня нет, но
От всей души за все тебя благодарим!
Как больно жить без сердца мамы.
Мамуля, милая моя
Тебя мне в жизни не хватает,
Я без тебя совсем одна.

Как трудно в этой жизни
Без мамочки идти.
Тропою одинокой
В мучительные дни.

Всегда я представляю
В моих глазах тебя,
И слезы набегают,
Как капельки дождя.

April 15, 2010

Random acts of kindness

I've always been obsessed with quotes and sayings, because wisdom
imparted by various individuals throughout time is relevant today, to
me. It shows that human nature has no boundaries of language, time or
geographical location. We may have evolved as a civilization, but the
same human truths that were relevant 2000 years ago have not changed.
People need three basic things for survival - food, shelter and love.
I digress.

Love comes in many shapes, forms and sizes, but I won't babble about
what writers, philosophers and scientist have tried to explain for
centuries. I will say that lying in bed after an uneventful evening
in the privacy of my 4 (rather 3) walls an email from a complete
stranger with a simple comment meant more to me then the long awaited
and even longer debated dinner with two of my closest friends.

Sometimes, these random acts of kindness lift us out of a dark void,
if only temporarily, "because despite everything, I really believe
that people are really good at heart." (Anne Frank). Sometimes a
stranger can impart more wisdom then your most valued confidant and
sometimes you just need an impartial reassurance of what you already
believe, but doubt. Sometimes a candle lights the way.

"When you see light at the end of the tunnel, it may be the headlights
of an oncoming train."

Sent from my mobile device

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

Remembering . . .

I came across this quote by Pericles on my new follower's, Nova San's blog, "What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others." I cannot even begin to describe the depth and perspective that this short saying means to me, right now as I'm trying to finalize my mom's monument. Translating English to Hebrew, Hebrew to English, abstaing from Russian, trying to find the right symbols, images and words and nothing seems fitting - no piece of engraved granite slab will ever describe my mother. No words will ever do her character and persona justice. I am my mother's daughter, her sole offspring and what she instilled in me during the very short time that she was here [with me] will forever remain within me and hopefully will be passed down to my future children.

Her life didn't touch mine alone and I am certain that there are many  people that will remember her birthday this coming Monday, a day after the 8 month anniversary of her passing and I hope that I won't be the  only one to light a candle. Although, the candle, much like the monument is nothing but a symbol, a tradition, a way of remembering someone that you will never forget.
Sent from my mobile device

March 24, 2010

Looking at (the) Work Through Rose-Colored Glasses

My second computer monitor has been randomly turning pink for the last few days making me look at depreciation schedules, tax returns and other pertinent client information through this tinted hue. A few days ago I prepared a Rental Real Estate partnership return. Those are my favorite. I have prepared them and reviewed them almost exclusively during my tenure at KPMG. There was an income item which I knew goes on a separate line and without question, I put it there. The incompetent manager that seldom reviews my work asked me to unlink my workpapers (which took half a day to link) and when she finally took a look at the return she couldn't understand why I put the income item on this line. If there's anything I learned at KPMG and from the book, "How To Work for an Idiot" that a partner there (at KPMG) let me borrow (and I'm yet to return, or finish reading), it's pointless to argue with someone that doesn't understand or (even worse) doesn't care.

I brought this up to the partner and while he asked me the reason for my question, he got tied up and we moved on. I reclassed the income item, but it wouldn't let me rest so I emailed my former colleagues, who all responded quickly and confirmed that I was correct in my logic. One of the people was the former partner, who through the grapevine heard of my question. He didn't fail to point out that it was a good question and provided some industry perspective. I thanked him in an email and he followed up. While the current partner that I work with still disagrees with me and left the item as he deemed fit, I know I did the right thing.

Regardless of what anyone tells you, the people that you work with are the most important aspect of your job. When I started at KPMG, we worked insane hours, but we had a great group. We helped each other and one of the partners that we worked for actually cared about his people. He trained his staff, he supported his staff and he worked as late as his staff (if not later). Yes, that included Saturdays AND often Sundays. Yes, that included 28 hour days. Yes, that included sending you home when he knew it was your anniversary. Yes, that included sending you home at 2 am (an hour earlier than everyone else because you live in NJ). In return the respect was reciprocated. Unfortunately, he is one of the few, but by the same token, the only one I keep in touch with.

He sent an outline of the new Health Care Reform Act and it's tax ramification to his entire "old" team, who had left the firm due to many different factors. If I could work for a boss like him my entire life, I'd be thrilled especially with the team that we had. The hours seemed more bearable and the happy hours more fun. The hours I work now pale in comparison, but so does the team, the work and the experience. When the partner leaves at 5-30-6 (and the rest of us stick it out till 7:30) it'd be nice to hear him say, "Good Night." Again, I'm being overly sentimental and looking at everything through the pinkish tint of my monitor, but I don't want to "make it work," I want to understand what I'm doing and the reasons for me allocating income between Lines 1 and 2. I want to be a skilled professional not a trained monkey.

March 19, 2010

My Mom, The Style Icon

My mom was recently published in Piper Weiss' blog, My Mom the Style Icon and now Piper has landed a book deal with Chronicle Books due out in 2011. The exciting news is that Piper has contacted me to use my mom's photos and story to be published in her anthology. Now, if only I can come up with the perfect descriptions to these pictures, come up with the right words to describe the kind of woman she was and more importantly the amazing mother that she will always be for me.

I just got my hair blown out in preparation for the six birthdays that we are celebrating this weekend and the mafioso looking hairdresser, says to me, "I bet you your mom has beautiful, thick hair like yours" and for the first time in my life I've walked out of a hair salon in near tears. My mom had amazing hair that changed with seasons and wardrobes and has been worn in every style imaginable - long, short and medium; curly, wavy and stick straight; in a braid, down and in an up-do - all before chemo had it's nasty effects on her hair amongst, other things. She was beautiful inside and out and to quote my dad yesterday, "Бедненькая, как она на мучалась." My mom will forever be remembered as a woman of incredible courage, undying wisdom, amazing taste and infinite strength. She's so much more than a style icon, she's an icon.

March 16, 2010

Komen for the Cure -

We now have a sponsor me page on Facebook and a personal fundraising page on Komen. Please support us with your generosity, your time and your kindness.

Komen for the Cure - In Loving Memory of Leonora

March 15, 2010


On Friday hubs and I went to see Red on Broadway with Alfred Molina. I've been a huge fan of Molina ever since seeing him in Fiddler on the Roof a few years back with my mom. Red, didn't disappoint. It is a remarkable play by John Logan that highlights the life and work of famous American artist, Mark Rothko. The dialogue was splendid and I want to attempt to find the screenplay to read. There was much banter in the dialogue referencing other art works, artists, poems, writers, musicians, etc. The names all famous, Monet, Manet, Nietzche, Vivaldi Rembrandt, etc., yet it saddens me to think how little our generation knows.

We know how to work the iPhone, the PC, the remote control, GameBoy and PS3, but we don't know the literary classics, the artistic masterpieces or the classical tunes that have been around for generations. Our parents' generation knows it all, read it all, heard it all and seen it all (if only in books and magazines). Their social gatherings are so much more fun then ours. Someone always play(s) [an instrument], everyone sings, anecdotes referencing historical events, figures, etc are told and it's so much more than our regular debauchery of stuffing our faces and drinking.

We are living in the information age and yet most of us are very uninformed. Yes, we have the news, sports and weather at our fingertips. Yes, we can google anyone, get directions anywhere, download any iTune and still know nothing. Reading has become almost taboo. Few people I know of my generation actually play an instrument (as a hobby) and even fewer know the difference between Bach and Mozart (myself included). There are a gazillion books that I want to read and often have the likes of "Time Traveler's Wife," "Russian Debutante's Handbook"(current reading), "The Lost Symbol" thrust in my face. Yes, they are fun to read and pass the time on the evening commute home, but they can't be compared with the likes of World Class Literature.

We are a product of our times and our parents and grandparents are/were a product of theirs, but there's so much more that we can learn from them, from history and from the classics. We can all become a little more cultured, a little more inspired and a little more appreciative of things that came before us, that gained worldwide recognition and have surpassed the test of time much more so than their contemporaries who die out after one song, one book or one picture.

March 5, 2010


The first year of life is usually that of many milestones. As our friends are having kids and we'll be attending five 1st birthdays in the next month, we've witnessed firsthand the milestones in the first year of life - sitting, eating, standing, first teeth, first steps. In the first year of death, however, there are also many milestones that you have to overcome. It's your first birthday without your loved one, your first new year, your first year "celebrating" that person's birthday without them. Eventually, it'll be the birth of your first child without them. It's about remembering and yet about moving on, somehow. Today, would have been my parent's 27th wedding anniversary. Next month is my mom's birthday. Each day is one more day that she's not here, that I miss her and that I have to learn to live with only her memories.
March 5, 1983
(unfortunately, 4 people in this photograph are no longer with us)

March 1, 2010

Brick by Brick

So back to the SHS, the new space in SoHo is the new home of this "young" and trendy synagogue. A seven year lease has been signed and the first year rent has been completely covered by generous donations from (mostly young) philanthropists and the designs are in place by a famous designer/architect whose work is on display at the Guggenheim. While I missed some of the pertinent details (stay tuned), from my understanding, the SHS will be writing it's own copy of the Torah. They've split it up into sections, where each section will be written with the help of young patrons and a $1,000 donation, followed by a "Stroll for the Synagogue," since Jews aren't exactly known for their athleticism. Having been able to raise over $1,500 for Race for the Cure in a matter of a few short weeks this summer, I have no doubt that with your help, we can raise $1,000+ for the SHS. I think it is important for Russian Jews to get involved in this project and help expand the synagogue, the Jewish community and to meet and mingle with other smart and successful people. While the "Brighton Shore" has been getting quiet a lot of publicity, I don't think it's the kind of publicity that most young Russian Jewish professionals that have been educated in this country, entered the workforce by landing great jobs in various fields, started their own businesses and succeeded in this country would like to get. Every race, religion, nationality comes with a stigma, and it is in our power to change it - to prove "them" wrong and to think outside our comfort box.

To me, it's been amazing for a long time that having been in this country since age 9, I don't have many American friends. I grew up here. I speak English (with a Brooklyn accent as opposed to a Russian one). I graduated college, completed my Master's, worked in a global firm and yet all of my closest friends share the same background. At the SHS Purim event this Saturday, we met an amazingly great, soon to be married couple, L and A. She's from Long Island and A is from
Kansas. Hubster and I were both surprised that there are Jews in Kansas. The fact that they are from Middle of Nowhere Kansas or middle LI has nothing to do with anything except out surprise and our instant liking to each other. Despite the fact that we may have scared them a little when we drove them home to their Lower East Side apartment with a shovel in the backseat, I can't wait to reconnect with them at another SHS event.

What's cool about the SHS is that beliefs and traditions aren't forced on you. As a woman, you can wear pants and as a man show up without a yarmulke and you are not made to feel as an outsider. On the contrary, you feel welcomed and glad to be surrounded by people who are equally proud, but for better or worse, have joined the modern and not Orthodox world. I want to think outside the box, brick by brick, please join me.

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The SoHo Synagogue

I've been on the SHS mailing list for some time, but Saturday's Purim event was the first that hubby and I were able to attend. The SHS is a synagogue is unlike any synagogue you've ever been to. For starters, it's across the street from the rear of Bloomies SoHo (a very fitting location). It is also in the former Gucci Store space, which is a bit ironic given Gucci's signature "Christmas" stripes. We weren't sure what to expect, but we were really glad that we came. We met some really interesting people and the cause is definitely more than noble.

Being former refugees from the former Soviet Union, we were always very aware of being Jewish, but never allowed to practice there. Growing up in non-religious families with our grandparents speaking Yiddish, making gefilte fish and teaching us the importance of picking a Jewish spouse. The diaspora was/is a crazy phenomenon and threw Jews all over the world. We ended up here, half of our families ended up in Israel, Canada, some stayed behind. What I liked the most about the SoHo Synagogue was that you understand where people come from and that most of us aren't religious, but are very proud of our heritage and would love to get involved.

I want to get involved. The events of 2009 have inspired a charitable spirit within me. As Hillel is famously quoted, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?" SHS throws a lot of fancy parties in top-notch places, but it also teaches you traditions that we have long forgotten or maybe never learned. How great is it to spend a Pesach Sedar amidst 20 and 30 somethings that are smart, successful, talented and dressed to the T. (I'm not sure what that means).

Religion is a sensitive topic and I could go on for hours, but I've been trying (with many interruptions, stupid work) to finish this post all day and it doesn't look like I'm anywhere near done. I will definitely attend more events and support what I believe is a wonderful cause. So, my proposal of the day, is support something, help someone. You don't have to help my cause(s) (although I'd greatly appreciate past, current and future donations), but join a cause, spread the word, it's not about money, it's about time.

February 18, 2010

Forever in My Heart

Sometimes I wish I wasn't so sentimental. I wish I didn't remember every birthday, anniversary. Sometimes, it's good to remember. Sometimes, you wish you could forget.

Today, despite the pain, I'm glad I remember, and I know that I will never forget. There's nothing more that I could say today except that I miss my dearest mom and grandma more than any words could ever express. It's an interesting coincidence that 6 months after my mom is gone would have been my grandma's 86th birthday.

LI 04/19/51-08/18/09
ZI 02/18/24-07/08/08

"Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose." -The Wonder Years

"I pray you can see me now and be proud of what I have become because of your example, but most of all I thank you because you loved me so much."

February 13, 2010

Saturday Morning Commute

Q train to DeKalb, R to Canal because it doesn't make it's usual stops and is running over the Manhattan Bridge (and they don't tell you this on Atlantic), long walk to downtown 6 from last car to front of platform, downtown 6 isn't running, longest crossover to uptown 6 over and down multiple flights of stairs (all in four inch heels), 14th street to Wall Street wait time for downtown 4 - 15 min, destination WORK. Caffeine intake zero, frustration at all time high, directions
to tourists 3, hours of sleep 5.5! MTA FAIL!!!

Total travel time 2 hrs, immeasurable nerves complete with lack of desire to work on a Saturday to begin with.

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February 12, 2010

Сильная Женщина

Speaking of music, strength and all other wonderful things, made me think of this song,

I wrote this, or rather embedded this and remembered how I used to be teased as a kid and used to come home in tears because someone called me Alla Pugacheva. The other day my friend who was recently at a Lady Gaga concert told me that Lady Gaga reminded her of me - creative and had a way with people. I think it was a very big compliment. But I am me.

. . . tired of being strong, крикни а в ответ тишина . . .

February 8, 2010

The Sound of Music

Music as sacrifice – I don’t think that’s a very novel idea. Yet, it’s something I haven’t thought a lot about in the past. By Jewish tradition, you’re not supposed to dance or listen to music while you’re in mourning. As I type this, a line from an old comedy routine at the Comedy Cellar just seems fitting, “I too am a Jew, but I’m not as Jew as you.” That aside, music was never a huge part of my life, or so I thought. I’m tone deaf. I have two left feet. Our wedding dance was a disaster, which thankfully was edited pretty well. Since August 18, I haven’t (intentionally) listened to music, but I don’t live in a box and every time you walk into a store or see a movie or go to a party, you hear music. Sometimes you can’t help but tap your foot to the beat, but now I’m very conscious of it. This awareness is very strange, especially at a party when you have to explain yourself, since people don’t know, don’t understand or simply don’t care. We have at least two weddings to attend early this summer of very close friends. I won’t be dancing and I am not sure what will feel more strange – not dancing, or dancing.

I don’t have a favorite artist, or even a favorite song really. I always listened to whatever was playing on the radio, popular at the time or that my friends made me listen to. I always liked songs with meaning. Whether it was an old Alla Pugacheva song or a Nautilus Pompilius ballad, or some pop trash that had relatable appeal, I always paid more attention to the lyrics than to the music. While we were packing and moving “Painted Black” was whirling in my head and while writing my last post, all I could think about was “Proschay Lumibiy Gorod.” Maybe music is a bigger part of my life than I thought. There’s different music – happy music and sad music. Music is a means of artistic expression and usually the best art comes out of bad emotion. When you’re happy, you find better things to do with your time then compose, draw, write.

Back to work.

February 2, 2010

21 Grams

How many lives do we live? How many times do we die? They say we all lose 21 grams... at the exact moment of our death. Everyone. And how much fits into 21 grams? How much is lost? When do we lose 21 grams? How much goes with them? How much is gained? How much is gained? Twenty-one grams. The weight of a stack of five nickels. The weight of a hummingbird. A chocolate bar. How much did 21 grams weigh?

-Paul Rivers, 21 Grams

January 26, 2010

Шереметьево - JFK: 17 years ago, today.

As hard as it was, life was simpler then - for me anyway, I was 9. I was a kid full of hopes, dreams and a promise of a bright future. I remember a lot of things about our voyage because I've always been very impressionable and even more sentimental. I remember waking up on a cot completely surrounded by suitcases and huge bags (баулы). There was a lot of scurrying since everyone was already up. It was about 4 am. All of a sudden there were a lot of people taking bags and bringing them out of our 3rd floor apartment - the only home I've known until that point and the only place I've really ever felt at home (now that I think about it). There were even more people in our yard all waiting their turn to say their goodbyes. I remember leaving and a strange guy ripping out our beautiful hardwood floor which my mom managed to sell for a few dollars.

We got to the train terminal (what's it called in English? station?) (The same one that they shot in Everything is Illuminated, yes that's L'vov) and we boarded the train. I remember being in the suite (is that how you say it?) with mama and grandma and the three of us hysterically crying and my dad running in with a grin and yelling at us for crying. As the train moved, the crowd of familiar and strange faces just burst into "proschay lubimiy gorod," a song which has made me cry since the day I realized we'd be leaving my beloved L'vov.

We got to Moscow and there things got blurry. I remember being afraid of wearing my gold earrings since they may rip them off with my ear and later (after passing security) telling my mom I could've put "all the gold" in my pockets since they didn't check me. The "gold" is probably worth $500, if that. I remember them searching us like we were trying to smuggle worldly possessions out of what was no longer the USSR. A bag with coins (specifically collected for calls) somehow fell into one of our huge bags and they had to completely unpack it (read: dishevel it). A suitcase which was specifically sent by my sister from the US to meet the size requirements, didn't and we were fined $100. That $100 is probably the equivalent of $10,000 or maybe even $100,000 for us today. Unlike many people, we didn't sell our apartment, because there was yet no privatization in L'vov. On the contrary, we had to pay them to leave two beautiful apartments, one at the city center and ours with complete capital improvements (and now, without parquet floors). We didn't have gold or money - we came with sheets and towels and pots and pans that can probably last us another 17 years.

Somehow, we finally passed security and boarded the chartered plane heading to NY. Because of my grandmother's heart condition, the plane was full of old and sick people. During the flight, when my dad (who hasn't been on a plane since that journey) took me to walk around a bit, I saw things that have stayed so imprinted on my young mind that to this day they give me chills. There were beds suspended from the ceiling. And religious men in black hats (not a common sight in Ukraine) were praying. There were all kinds of crippled people. It was scary.

We landed. It was a sunny and beautiful New York morning. It was about 50-60 degrees (yesterday's weather but with sun instead of rain) and I remember thinking to myself, it must always be warm here. It seemed wondrous and wonderful. I was ecstatic to see my sister and couldn't stop hugging her! She looked great in her purplish/pink shirt with a black zipper and curly (then still dark) hair. I think she had flowers, or maybe balloons and my dad yelled at her for spending money. As Dyadya Monya drove us to Bensonhurst (we stayed with my uncle and grandma for 3 weeks) the ride on the Belt with the sun beaming and the water glistening seemed surreal, warm and wonderful. I've never since enjoyed that road like that again, having made the trip probably 1,000+ times. I had on rose-colored glasses of both childhood and innocence as well as the expectation of a better life for my family.

I'm glad we're here, but I don't know that it's a better life. I think I've blogged about it before, immigration was extremely difficult on our family. Hardship after hardship followed. Yes, good things happened too, but it's hard to concentrate on that, especially now. Шереметьево - JFK: 17 years ago today, the day my childhood ended. Now, starting the 18th without mama, 7 without grandma Mira and the 2nd without Zilpa. How I wish I could be on the Belt in my rose-colored glasses.

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January 22, 2010

Blueberries, Raspberries and Blackberries...

So you get it, I like berries. I especially love my BlackBerry. It's a phone, a camera and a browser. It allows me to always stay connected (which is not always a good thing). For more specs on the BB, go to their website. Blackberries tend to malfunction - sometimes the trackball doesn't scroll, sometimes they delete your data, sometimes they freeze. In a conversation with E today, my BB froze. Having been a BB user for some time, I know that the best way is to take out the battery, blow and reboot. It worked like a charm. Sometimes it doesn't. In those cases, you call your service provider and have them send you a replacement. Within 2-3 business days you have a shiny new (or refurbished) model to sms, bbm, fb, email and talk on.

Well, all of this got me thinking of how nice it would be if people were like berries, provided that you're a loyal customer. If a person is misbehaving or freezing up on you, just take the battery out and restart. The valuable data that you share with that person is backed up on your pc and in the case of a crash, easily recoverable. In the chance that you didn't have it backed up, well that you'll just have to live with. In the instance of broken trackballs, they can easily be replaced in your local store. In the event that you and this person are constantly fighting, they are shutting you out and forgetting important events in your life, first upgrade the software, then reinstall the OS and if all else fails, call your service provider for a replacement. Every 2 years (or sooner if you're willing to spend the cash) you're eligible for an upgrade for a better
looking, faster and smarter phone errr person.

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January 20, 2010

Looking for inspiration . . .

People have been complaining and I've been uninspired. Today is my grandpa's 89th birthday. During the last year he lost a child, had a heart attack and ended up in the hospital for the first time. Prior to the events of the last few months, I always wished that all of grandpa's offspring (3 children and 6 grandchildren) have my grandfather's genes and my mother's will to live. I still wish that for all of us. I'm the only one here. My aunt and uncle and their children are all in Israel with my grandfather and I'm here, now, alone. I'm not really alone. I have my daddy and hubby and sis and nephews and uncle and wonderful friends, but the emptiness is unavoidable and there are not enough words to fill this blog with.

My aunt just got back to Israel after spending the last week in Vegas for most of which I joined. Vegas was fun, expensive, filled with more than one adventure like getting conned out of $300 and proved yet again that I have no luck when it comes to cards.

Vegas, much like everything else, keeps changing (pix to follow). The things that don't change is your family, for better or worse, they are there to stay. I just wish some of them were at least a little bit closer to help me feel a little less alone. . .

ALL you need is LOVE . . . not the BB commercial, but the Beatles song . . .

In the meantime (while I'm looking for inspiration), help a great cause or two by simply clicking to help raise $1M for research from Chase . . . I love their new slogan, "Chase what matters":

January 8, 2010

A New Year, A New Decade, Same Ol' Me . . .

I started this blog post weeks ago, but just haven't had the energy, strength, time or inspiration to finish it . . .

So, I've gotten more than one complaint for not updating my blog the past few weeks. Despite the constant thoughts and ideas whirling around in my head, there just hasn't been anything exciting worth sharing . . .

In Russian there's a saying, "Как отметиш новый год так его и проведёш" (how you celebrate New Years, is how you'll spend the entire year) and this year was fairly quiet and surrounded by kids. I can finally deal with quiet. For many of my friends, I've been known as "having a propeller," "cup of coffee" and "always out and about." Well the propeller isn't working with quiet the same speed and while I still enjoy good coffee and more importantly, good company, I'm also content watching a good movie under the covers with a glass of wine. Yes, wine, "Wine a little, you'll feel better," and usually I do.

My Mom, The Style Icon: Cruise control

My Mom, The Style Icon: Cruise control

As promised, my mom was featured on the website and the pictures that Piper chose were some of my favorites from the cruise. . .

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