Friday, December 31, 2010

As the Sun Sets on 2010

I am content.

I am peaceful.

I am loved.

I am free.

I am alone.

I am hurting.

I am safe.

I am wife.

I am daughter.

I am still sister.

I am mother.

I am still your mother.

I am aunt.

I am strong.

I am afraid.

I am plaintiff.

I am loyal.

I am friend.

I am defender.

I am rescuer.

I am Jewish.

I am happy.

I am a mess.

I am alive.

I am angel.

I am human.

I am blessed.

I am cursed.

I am angry.

I am forgiveness.

I am creative.

I am woman.

I am funny.

I. am. serious.

I am broken.

I am generous.

I am flawed.

I am compassionate.

I am driven.

I am breathing.

I am open.

I am honest.

I am grateful.

I am lost.

I am solitary.

I am friendly.

I am DNA.

I am water.

I am dust.

I am soul.

I am body.

I am willing.

I am kind.

I am here.

I am here.

I am here.

I am here.

I. am. here.

And I thank you for being here, in this moment, on this day, at this time, along with me.
And I would be honored if you might share with me, what are you?

Happy 2011.  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Let There be JOY

Angel Daughter Number One was born with the voice of an angel.  Whenever she sings, whether it be chanting in synagogue or joyfully singing Christmas carols for work, my heart takes flight.
It is times like these when I know that my heart has wings.
Last week, Mark, Angel Daughter Number Four and I, drove up to Los Angeles to hear AD1 and these three other very talented, beautiful kids Christmas Carol in the rain.  And although the weather was quite inclement, their voices were clear, melodic and bright.  When they pulled AD4 up to accompany them on the bells, everyone enjoyed the moment.  Thank goodness ALL of my daughters are musically inclined.  AD1 caught on immediately and shook those bells with a smile on her sweet face.  She is such a good sport!

May all of my wonderful friends who celebrate Christmas(and even those who do not) be filled with the joy of friends, family and abundant gratitude on this beautiful day.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Build an Ark

California is being inundated by a deluge of pounding rain.  And for the first time in many years, we are having an actual winter.  Never mind the fact that only a week ago, it was sunny and 80 degrees.  Right now it is cold and rainy and I think that I actually heard a voice, this morning, beckoning for me to build an ark.  Really.
So instead of heading down to the beach and hankering down there, I remain huddled up snugly in our main home reading, watching the last remaining moments of Oprah and wondering how many more days of thrown-together meals I can creatively prepare for Mark and myself.(One.  Possibly.  Nah.)  It is winter break for my three youngest Angel Daughters and aside from their popping in and out to sleep or change clothes or say "Hi Mom!", they are mostly like little ducks braving the inclement weather.  For them, the rain rolls right off, for me, it sticks and drenches and chills my bones right down to the very core.
Why is it that our water-repellent cloak seems to thin down over the years, leaving us more open and vulnerable to the elements?  What is it that we lose from fifteen to fifty that leaves us feeling more naked in the rain?
And yet, yesterday, when I stepped outside to gather the mail, I stopped and stood outside in my pajamas.  Rain pelting down sideways in sharp sheets without mercy.  Wind whisking wet leaves off of the trees.  Color upon grey upon color.  And I thought to myself, I need to capture this moment.  Need.
I ran inside to grab my camera which is always only an arms reach away.  Back outside in pajamas already saturated with rain, I began capturing time.  Click.  Click-click.  Click, click, click.    

And as the rain drenched my body, the color upon grey upon color also drenched my soul.  Instead of running past the rain with my once naturally-repellent, duck-like coating, I stood in the middle of a puddle in my pajamas(cheetah print!) soaking in the moment while absorbing what is.
And I realized that maybe it isn't so much about what we lose from fifteen to fifty, but what we gain that truly holds any water.(Okay, please forgive me that very obvious rain analogy.)  We might lose the ability to find every day so exciting that we run, unencumbered, from moment to moment ducking our heads underneath an umbrella, but we gain the true saturation of things.  The momentary drama of running from the house to the mailbox while catching the quick glimpse of color through the corner of our eye, only stopping to notice it.  Really notice it.  The ability to stand outside in cheetah-print pajamas, knowing all the while, that the neighbors will probably drive by at that exact moment, but not caring one bit.  The way that it feels so darn good to get back inside the warm safety of home and to feel blessed by the ability to prepare a simple meal with my husband of almost three decades.  Gain.  Gain.  Gain.  My Angel Daughters have so much to gain.  And yet, so do I.

Now, does anyone know how to build an ark?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Gratitude For You

As the waves crash up against my life, I feel like I sent out some distress signals which were answered by so many compassionate and concerned friends.  And in the answers came strength, comfort and understanding.  There is a collective woman-soul(This includes certain men who are very comfortable with women.  You know who you are:)) which crosses over boundaries, differences and even the Internet.  There is a language spoken that whispers to us and helps us to fly past the obstacles and into a clearing of better understanding.  In so many ways, the individuals who I have met as a result of this blog, have ushered me into a space of clearer understanding.  We may all be on different paths during this lifetime, but so much of each other's story feels familiar.  We listen to one another.  We care for one another and we reach out when someone is wounded.
And as the waves crash in, I am so blessed to be pulled away from the undertow by kind souls like you.  Your words, like floating buoys of respite, cradle my tired spirit until I am able to swim my way back to gentler seas.  Thank you for allowing me to admit that even though there are some things that will never be, I can search for and find comfort in places I never even expected.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I need a momma.  Not the mother that I have.  Not the one who gave birth to me and brought me into this crazy, mixed-up world doped up on twilight drugs so that she wouldn't have to feel anything.  Not the one who has lived her entire life in a completely irresponsible way, banking on the idea that her responsible daughter and hard-working son-in-law would serve as her retirement plan.  Not the mother who has betrayed me time and time again, all the while knowing that my heart is far too loyal and much too tender for me to take off to a tropical island with no forwarding address.  Not the mother who calls me up, and without even taking a breath, marches directly into a diatribe about who did what to her this week, and then wonders why she knows so little about my health condition.  And most of the time, I am okay with needing a momma.  I really, really am.  I have a wonderful, loving husband.  I have a father who is not only my father but a man who I genuinely like.  A lot.  And of course, I have my miraculous angel daughters.  Four of them.  And soaking in their love is one of the greatest gifts of my life.  But after coming home from a doctor's appointment like the one I had today, feeling totally depleted, I just need a momma.  And there is nothing that can replace that lonely feeling of wanting to be able to just melt into a puddle of tears while having a mom there to listen.  And advise.  Or not.
I find ways to nurture myself that are safe and comforting.  I surround myself with cats and dogs and birds, all creatures who will love unconditionally if we allow them to.  I am sure that part of the reason that I had baby after baby after baby after baby was because of my inherent need to encircle myself within a cocoon spun with love and connection and security.  For me, just as much for them.  And it has worked, for the most part.  Except on the days when I need a momma.

So I look towards God, towards Mother Nature, towards the angels to guide me when I am sapped of energy.  I open myself up to the ocean, to the sun, and to the stars.  I remind myself that all of this, all that I have been blessed with, is truly enough.  Yet I cannot help but feel that empty place in my spirit which yearns for something that I will not have during this lifetime.  I mourn, not for the loss of, but for the lack of.  And then I send love out to all of the other momma-less daughters who come home from a doctor's appointment needing something that can never be.  And I thank God that the births of my own daughters were more than just twilight induced dreams after which someone just happened to hand me a baby.  A stranger in my arms.  How did you get here, little one?  I thank God for the sweat and the tears and the joy of being a momma.  And I thank God that my angel daughters will not be daughters who have to do without.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Life in Color-San Francisco Part II

Most cities are, well, sort of grey and black and white.  Even the clothing that people tend to wear in the city is fairly monotone.  It is as if a bit of color would somehow disturb the landscape.  But China Town is a different story.  It exudes a vibrancy which is contagious.  It is full of color and texture and dimension, lots of dimension.  And there is food, lots and lots of food, which adds another wonderful sensory dimension to the already vibrant atmosphere.

And then there are the tchotchkes!  Knickknacks, baubles, trinkets, souvenirs.  So much junk it can make your head spin around like one of those bobble-head critters that some people display on the dashboards of their cars!  Some of it so cute that it makes you actually want to buy it!  And for $1.95, who can resist?

Angel Daughter Number Two finally made it up to the city on Tuesday which made her momma very, very happy.  Right now she is so busy with school and photography that she has very little time to do anything else.  But I am very proud of her.  She is working hard and achieving her dreams.  She is making a name for herself in the photography world and was recently featured in a magazine article about six up and coming artists.  At twenty, she was the youngest individual featured in the article by at least seven years.  So as much as I miss her and wish that I could spend more time with her, I honor her independence.  She is learning to fly.

Angel Daughter Number Three added her own special color to the streets of China Town by wearing her fuzzy kitty hat.

My Girls

As much as I adore the city(I was born and raised in New York city), the sights, the smells, the architecture and even the tchotchkes, it leaves me longing for the place that my spirit feels most at home. For someone who was once a "city girl", I am now much more at home in nature.  I long for the ocean, the mountains, anyplace where I feel as if I can breathe, truly breathe.  And as far as the tchotchkes go, any ephemera, sea glass, unusual stones, dried seaweed branches, shells, anything that I can collect while walking peacefully along a quiet beach, that is enough for me.  Those are my treasures.  Those are the reminders of where my soul mostly longs to be.  Those are the talismans which lead me back to home.
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