Putting Dad to Rest

It took two years but Dad’s, and a portion of Phyll’s, ashes are finally floating free together.

For almost two years, my dad’s ashes were sitting in a tote bag in a corner of my bedroom. When the funeral home gave me the tote with his ashes, I had to bite my tongue to keep from telling them how absurd it was to give customers a cloth grocery-type bag with their company imprint. Like I would ever re-use that bag to schlep groceries. But I refrained from saying it. I never stopped thinking it.

We only had a portion of my stepmom’s ashes to sprinkle; the rest of hers were sent to my stepbrothers. I have no idea what they did with them. I know that despite not having all of her ashes to mingle with Dad’s, they are 100% together in spirit. They were lovebirds to the very end of her life and such soulmates, I can’t imagine that what came to 8 pounds of ashes is the sum total of their love and affection, and respect, for each other. Those were the embodiment of their relationship, and I’m sure followed them into the spirit realm.

It was a windy day out on the water so we sprinkled Dad’s cat, Pebbles, as a test. Our sprinkling of ashes did not look like some of those others on YouTube and we were spared having ashes all over us. The process of actually putting all the ashes in the water was a short few minutes.

Yesterday was Dad’s birthday. The 2nd anniversary of his death is the 20th. So what was most important, while the seven of us were on the boat, was that we shared some lovely stories of both Dad and Phyll. It really warmed my heart to know that they were, and still are, so important to so many people. It makes the loss so much more bearable to know that they were loved. It is so moving knowing that my dad, who meant so very much to me, meant so very much to the 6 others that were on that boat, and that both Dad and Phyll are not forgotten.


I know they are resting in peace.



I haven’t posted a blog post since the 1st of January. I’ve had lots to say but life has been such a jumble that I haven’t had time to say it.

I know you know what I’m talking about.When you working 10 plus hour days (self-employed – no work no money) and you’re trying to get to the gym and you’re doing laundry and you’re cleaning and you’re trying to find time for family and friends and you’re taking care of animals. I honestly don’t know how friends with children do it.

I come home at the end of the day. I make something to eat. I turn on the television and the next thing you know it’s 2:00 in the morning.

I have the act of passing out from exhaustion down to a science.

I went on vacation for 8 days. It was amazing. I came back and it had taken a month to catch up.

Guess what? I need a vacation!

Someone please please tell this exhausted woman how to slow down this merry-go-round.

New Year’s Resolutions

I typically do not like making New Year’s resolutions. At least not as most people make them. I don’t want to make some resolution and then break it. I want my resolutions to be more than pie-in-the-sky aspirations. So I like to set goals which I can work toward. Concrete targets. Workable goals. Attainable goals.

It helps that my birthday is January 3 because my goals coincide with me traveling around the globe another year since my birth too.

Last year, with the help of a friend (thanks Chelsea!), I set a new financial goal for my office, and got down to making that goal a reality. It is still in process but I’m definitely on the right trajectory. That this goal will be multi-year does not make it less valuable. It is a hill worth climbing.

Instead of saying “I want to lose weight”, I set a goal to better health each year and my continued improvement of my health. As I get older, I know that this is a crucial aim to achieve. It is always a journey though.

For example, I recently started eating rice, corn, and white potatoes again — after 3 years of none. But I don’t want to go crazy. They aren’t the best of foods for me to eat, especially since I love FRIED potatoes and can eat them to sickness. So I set my goal so that for the most part, I would not make them at home and only eat them out of the house. I am not uber-strict about it but I still haven’t bought rice or corn in years. Eating these items while dining out (or takeout at home) keeps me from over-indulging.

I always have a goal to eat healthier foods. My daily goal is to drink enough water. That hasn’t changed in years. Neither has my goal to eat lots of veggies. My newest goal is to eat more fish and lamb and less beef. I will accomplish this by eating beef most of the time while dining out and only eat poultry, fish, lamb, and some pork in the house.

It helps my food goals that  I eat 2/3 of my meals at home and that I really like to cook. It also helps that I have two friends that are professional chefs. One cooks me great, healthy meals to take home periodically (the cost is less than eating out). The other is someone that I can bounce ideas off of for home-cooking and has some of the same food challenges.

I set a new goal to do more yoga and/or tai chi in the coming year. I’ve said it before but I have made a serious setting of intention this year. My thought process is that I want something that is good for my mind and spirit not just my body. I am that person that feels great after going to the gym but getting me there is hell. But with yoga, I’m not looking for power yoga or exercise disguised as yoga. I want yoga that has lovely, slow movements and lots of breath and mindful meditation. It may very well mean a beginner’s class. I’m okay with that.

I have set a goal for reading books every year for as many years as I can remember. I am forgiving of myself and change it as necessary. The past few years I use Goodreads to assist by following their annual reading challenge. The reading challenge helps me keep track of books I’ve read (I do not make any money from Goodreads; I just like the program). Last year I read 27 books (plus 1 book I read 1/2 of and just couldn’t bring myself to finish). But I decided to set my goal at 12 books for 2018 because I’d rather readjust upward than “fail”. My goal since I was 10 years old has been to read at least one book a month. As I get toward the goal of 12 books, I will reevaluate and likely increase the number of books to read by year’s end. I love to read so this is not a hardship but sometimes work gets in the way of my reading habit.

Some other ideas I have for goals this year are to start playing guitar again (we’ll see how that goes) and to take my love of photography more seriously (I bought myself a camera for the holidays so that’s a start!).

One of the most important goals I have made a commitment to is to friends and family. Life is too short to spend on people that will suck your time and affection from you. After someone I cared for and trusted showed me that I was wasting my time and energy where it wasn’t appreciated, I made an almost immediate goal half-way through 2017 to connect and reconnect with those people that truly care about me and that I care about. I am continuing this vital goal this year with gusto. Tea, coffee, drinks, lunches, dinners, movies, emails, letters, phone calls. Do I fall down? Yes. But I keep trying.

In Hebrew, the number 18 corresponds to the word “chai” which means “to life”. So here’s to 2018 — to life!

20 chai

Alabama — By the Numbers

I haven’t written in a while because I’ve got something up my sleeve. A project. More to come in the next few months.

But I thought that after yesterday’s nail-biter of an election in Alabama, I would give my 2¢.


My Bachelor’s is in Political Science and I have a law degree, so I find all of the politics very interesting, even without all of the emotions that get everybody (myself included) knotted up. The political scientist in me is very interested in the numbers. I am not going to discuss how over 600,000 people could vote for a man that is likely a pedophile instead of the “liberal” (okay, I guess I just did, although discussing it further gives me heartburn and makes me immensely sad).

Here’s what I saw with the numbers. Doug Jones won the election by 20,000 votes. But what was most interesting were the 22,000 votes by mostly Republicans that wrote-in a candidate’s name instead of voting for Moore or Jones.

What this tells me is that while Jones, the Democrat, won this election, a solid Republican candidate has a very good chance of winning during the next election because it is likely those 22,000 write-ins will go back “to the fold”.

It seems to me that Jones, who I am sure will run during the next regular election, will have to do a stellar job  in office (although it may not be enough) and everyone that voted for Jones this time will have to make a concerted effort to vote in that next election as well. Plus an additional 25,000+ will have to step up and vote for Jones or he will be sent home.

Standing Silent is Not an Option

As a Jew of Eastern European decent, and complexion-wise, arguably one of the whitest people I know, I can “pass” as a white Christian Anglo every single day. Non-Jews assume my last name is German. If they ask, “Is your name German,” I have always answered “no, Hungarian”.

I was taught not to make waves. Ssshhh. Don’t draw attention to yourself.

So, it is not surprising that I have heard acquaintances, colleagues, and clients say horrible anti-Semitic statements in my presence. Some, maybe most, have no idea that I’m Jewish. Some do. What I’ve learned is that some people will say terribly bigoted and racist things and they don’t care that what they are saying is not acceptable.

It’s difficult to know what to say in response, or even when is it appropriate to respond to an anti-Semitic comment.

On two occasions, a group of women I considered friends made anti-Semitic comments in conversation in my presence. One comment was in reference to a son’s girlfriend as a “JAP” or “Jewish American Princess”. A JAP is a pejorative meaning that a girl or woman is pampered and selfish and only likes the finer things. In this instance, the girlfriend wasn’t Jewish, but the mother said that her son’s girlfriend acted like a JAP. Not too long after, one of the women was explaining how she “jewed down” a car salesman to get a better deal.

So I privately told one of the women involved that as a friend, the comments, especially the comment “I jewed him down,” were hurtful to me. She told others what I said. One of the women told me “we don’t even think of you as being Jewish”. I have no fucking idea what that even means. I can only surmise that they meant it as a compliment, which of course, is an insult. Another of the women told me that people just talk that way and that I needed to grow a thicker skin. I don’t talk to those people anymore.  I don’t think they notice my absence or care that I bowed out.

I’ve realized that I cannot stay silent in the face of bigotry and racism. I grew up in a mixed race/religion neighborhood in NYC. It was a wonderful childhood in the 1960s and 1970s. I thought, apparently wrongly, we were beyond this. I thought we were better than this.

Since this last election cycle, there have been so many incidents of anti-Semitism, and other bigotry, and racism, and it makes me sick to my stomach. I’ve started using my social media presence to call out certain of these incidences because I believe that I have to point it out.

I was told that being so outspoken about my politics was hurting my business (it hasn’t. I’ve been busier than ever). When I expressed that all these incidents made me fearful, I was told I have nothing worry about. I have had difficult expressing why I am so fearful. I’ve taken the admonition to not be so vocal as a call to action with regard to anti-Semitism.

We cannot act like this doesn’t happen with “love and light” blinders. Sometimes “turn the other cheek” just doesn’t work because these bigoted, anti-Semitic, and racist people think that your silence means you agree with them.

Well I don’t agree with them and I’m no longer going to stand silent. I don’t see this as negative because sometimes you have to walk in the darkness to appreciate the light.

And anyone that doesn’t like it can kiss my tuchas.


I Quit Blogging Before It Was Cool to Blog– I’m Baaack!



I was a blogger before it was cool. I was blogging regularly in 2003. I blogged about music and my marriage and my family and how I was feeling and, and, and. Back then, it was considered really strange. I met some good people and I still “talk” online to some of them because we’ve kept in touch all these years. That was a great side effect of blogging. Of course, I loved flexing my writing muscle.

But then I quit.

I archived all of my blog posts and shut down my site.

By 2007, I hadn’t blogged in over a year and a half and I was still way ahead of the blogging curve. In 2007, I had to actually add the words “blog,” “blogging,” and “blogged” to the Word dictionary because Word didn’t yet recognize the concept of BLOG.

Why did I stop? I stopped blogging because I really got tired of total strangers reading my words and feeling like they had a right to comment on what I thought. Some of the people were downright rude and obnoxious. I also didn’t like the idea that anyone could read it and draw conclusions that I didn’t like. My family also was chiming in and questioning why I needed to blog. Right up until my dad’s death in 2016, he questioned the need to talk about anything publicly, in a blog or on social media. He thought it was really weird and perhaps even unseemly.

I wasn’t ready to be out there.

Nonetheless, I started blogging again in 2015 although due to work and caregiving, I was (and still am) rather neglectful of the blog. I was still worried about what people thought though. I thought that in a city with the population of Beijing it might not matter but I live in Winchester, Virginia, hotbed of gossip. I worried. Blogging was definitely beyond the pale if I chose to blog the way I do. I’m not doing a cookbook blog, or teaching people to be healthier. I had people tell me that even my social media posts might be negatively affecting my business and that perhaps I should be more circumspect. Airing laundry in Winchester, even if it’s clean, is apparently not a good idea.

Well, first, I started having different people coming to me for legal advice. These were people that did not know I was of a similar mind before. They assumed I was a stodgy conservative thinker. Surprise, surprise, surprise! Business has been better than ever. So much for hurting my business.

Second, I allowed a few chosen people to read my “private” blog posts. These are posts that are hidden. They didn’t run and hide or cringe. They asked why I wasn’t posting them and when could they read more.

Third, I went to a writers’ workshop and came away with the idea that I cannot keep worrying about what everyone else thinks. Not family. Not friends. Certainly not exes. As long as I was speaking my truth, I was okay.

I’m ready to be out there.

It is a risk but I am willing to take it. Hang on folks and damn the torpedoes!

I’m Human & This Being Positive All the Time is BS

Human beings feel all sorts of emotions — fear, love, loathing, hate, like, happiness, elation, anger, grief, and many more. It is part of the human condition.

The current mantras are “stop being afraid”, “always have a positive attitude” and “stay positive”. Social media is filled with clever sayings and memes about the “think positive” mind-hive .

Well, sorry folks, I’m here to tell you, unless you are a monk or some ethereal being, it is not human to be positive every minute of every day. Is God positive all the time? Well, if you believe the Bible, no! God was a very angry God sometimes. God was judgmental. God was vengeful. God grieved.

I’m a firm believer in having your time to  feel your anger, feel your grief, feel your fear. You can’t wallow in it but not allowing yourself to feel these things I have learned from therapy is damaging.

The author, Maddy Paxman, wrote about the grief she felt after the death of her husband, Michael, in an article in The Telegraph, and how it is not acceptable to show grief, in which she states:

Anyway, try not being strong and see where it gets you. Once, at an ice-rink birthday party for my son’s friend, I sat down on the floor in the corner and sobbed. No one came near me. Diana, Princess of Wales’s funeral notwithstanding, public displays of emotion are still largely a cause for discomfort. We do not know how to witness another’s pain, simply to stand by them as they grieve. So grief and sadness become private, hidden, shameful even. I even found it hard to cry in front of myself.

I have found this to be true even for myself. You get labeled as a “negative” person when you show how you really feel at that moment. You are given anecdotes in which everyone knows someone with three children, whose husband died, and is now dealing with cancer… and the death of a parent… and the loss of a job. And of course, this person is always happy and cheerful. I don’t know how to break it to you but that person – she is just putting one foot in front of the other and often pastes a smile on her face to show to the world. She is not as happy as you think. She isn’t opening her heart and soul to you however.

How do I know? I spent years telling people I was “fine”.  I was anything but fine. But I was known as an always upbeat and happy person. It was a lie. It was a lie I told others and I often told myself. And when I wasn’t lying to myself, I was berating myself for having negative emotions. “Why am I sad and anxious? I should be happy. I have so much going for me” was a reoccurring theme in my head.

I talked to my therapist about my grief, for the loss of my dad, for the loss of my cat, for the loss of friendship, for the surgery I had in December, for the loss of the woman I called “grandma”, and she told me that I must allow myself time and permission to feel what I feel. She said it is imperative to not allow anyone to tell me how I should feel and give me a timetable in which to “get over it”.

People want us to be positive all the time because as, Paxman said in her article, anything else makes you uncomfortable. We are human. We don’t like being uncomfortable (another emotion!).

Talking about business, Seth Godin wrote in Linchpin; Are You Indispensable

Discomfort brings engagement and change. Discomfort means you’re doing something that others were unlikely to do, because they’re hiding out in the comfortable zone. When your uncomfortable actions lead to success, the organization rewards you and brings you back for more.

Glennon Doyle Melton wrote about this on her Momastery Blog in 2014, specifically writing about anger and the discomfort people feel when you express anger. She wrote “Forbidding half of the human experience to half of the human race is quite insane and dangerous.”

I know that when friend or family member is uncomfortable with my negative emotions, I stop confiding in them. Then I stop talking to them about anything of any import. Because I don’t trust them with my feelings, honoring all of my feelings, or more to the point, honoring all of me.

We need to honor our friends and family. All of them, in all of their messy glory. I need to honor myself in all of my messy glory. Because we are human.