Monday, May 31, 2004


If I could be granted any number of wishes, I would use one of them to become a morning person.

I went to bed last night with every intention of getting Ross and myself up early enough to make the fire department’s Memorial Day Parade. So keen was I that I awoke ahead of the volunteer fire fighter I share my bed with to ensure he would be up and ready and there by 7am. It was still too early for me to get up so I set my alarm clock for a little later, still leaving myself time to get there ahead of the start. I was looking forward to this as I have not been to any of the parades as yet.

The next thing I know, Ross is waking me and telling me we have slept through at least half of the parade. I look at the clock and tell him that we have actually slept through all of the parade. The two of us promptly rolled over and went back to sleep.

I was in that half asleep, half awake mode. There is something very restful about that state for me but I was still feeling somewhat upset with myself for not having been there for my favorite fire fighter. We live close to the center of our town and the firehouse. As I was picturing the guys laying a wreath at the firehouse I could hear the drum beats coming from the school band that lead the parade. I was amazed at how clear it was. It really sounded like they were outside my window.

My mind started drifting to the sound of the drum and I found myself thinking of my late Dad. He was in the Second World War and would no doubt be looking down on us. I know he would be extremely proud of the son in law he never met. If he were still alive, he would have celebrated his 90th birthday this last week on the 27th. Pic below was taken September, 1942.

I thought about how proud Ross is of his Dad and I too felt a deep sense of pride for Daniel. It takes very special people to knowingly put themselves at risk purely out of a sense of duty. While I certainly respect those we have lost in the name of service to their respective countries, I honor my husband and all the members of the RBFD. The entire department is run on a voluntary basis and the community could not manage without you.

Daniel, as a string of parades will take place through the summer, I promise to get my lazy ass out of bed on time and be there to cheer you on.

“Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares
to become involved with experimenting with his own life.” Herbert Otto

Saturday, May 29, 2004


Driving around my neighborhood I became aware of the trees looking quite delicious. I imagined each different shade being a choice of ice cream flavors. Although I have been living in the Northern Hemisphere for nearly 11 years, I am still fascinated by how these beautiful things emerge from under the snow and ice. I go through the same amazement every Spring as if it were my first.

Friday, May 28, 2004


My gorgeous son will be turning 7 on July 14th. As most of his friends are always away on vacation by that time, I give him his birthday party a month in advance.

It is no joke planning a party and some serious event management skills are required. I am still getting used to the whole party bag scenario. I hate to use the "when I was your age line", but sometimes it is impossible not to by means of example. I remember very clearly that the only person, who received a gift at a birthday party, was the one blowing out the candles on the cake. The rest of us were happy to win a cheap plastic toy in a round of pass the parcel or for successfully being the last one seated in musical chairs. I think if I had to suggest anything as unsophisticated as either of those two games, the children would think I had gone completely nuts.

Last year, in an attempt to give Ross a good, old-fashioned birthday party, we had it at home. We hired a magician, the kids participated, there was much yelling, and laughter, and all had a really cool time.

This year, we are headed to the gymnasium with all or some of the 19 kids in his First Grade class. We're going to slide, and roll, and tumble and flip. I would also have at a guess that we are going to do a lot of running and chasing and chasing and running. What is the appeal in this game? I am completely fascinated by the hours, 6 going on 7-year-old people can spend running after each other. They screech and run, and sweat and run, and dry heave and run. So space is an essential requirement. We're going to be pirates and hopefully have yet another super cool party.

I am going to record how many questions are asked and generally how many times he mentions his party between now and then. It is adorable how excited he is about it. I think we are around the several hundredth mark already. Watch this space for more!

Have a Good Shabbas.

Thursday, May 27, 2004


Last summer I made a very special internet friend. He is a Lieutenant in the Navy and is based in Hawaii. He is a Physician Assistant and is about to end his contract at Pearl Harbor and move back to San Diego with his family.

The six-hour time difference was fantastic and the insomnia I endured last year would have been a lot harder to deal with without him. He was incredibly supportive when I coughed my way into the hospital with pneumonia and the recovery period that followed.

He told me one day that he was a fan of Dave Matthews and referred to the ‘BEFORE THESE CROWDED STREETS’ album in particular. Of course I was thrilled that he liked a homegrown artist. I love the fact that Dave Matthews is from South Africa – he does us proud! I fell completely in love with the song CRUSH. Although I am from Johannesburg, for some reason this song conjures up pictures of Cape Town for me. It feels like Cape Town. It is one of the nicest, newest love songs I have enjoyed in a long time. The scenes he describes feel so familiar and when I listen to the song, I feel like I am reminiscing a summer love affair from my hazy, lazy, South African youth. I like the picture of me it brings up in my memory.

Go well Lieutenant! God Bless!

Dave Matthews Band
‘Before These Crowded Streets’

Crazy how it feels tonight
Crazy how you make it all alright love
You crush me with the things you do
I do for you anything too
Sitting, smoking, feeling high
In this moment it feels so right
Lovely lady
I am at your feet
God I want you so badly
I wonder this
Could tomorrow be
So wondrous as you there sleeping
Let’s go drive ‘til morning comes
Watch the sunrise
To fill our souls up
Drink some wine ‘til we get drunk
It’s crazy
I’m thinking
Just knowing that the world is round
Here I’m dancing on the ground
Am I right side up or upside down
Is this real or am I dreaming
Lovely Lady
Let me drink you please
I won’t spill a drop, I promise you
Lying under this spell you cast on me
Each moment
The more I love you
Crush me
Come on
It’s crazy
I’m thinking
Just knowing that the world is round
Here I’m dancing on the ground
Am I right side up or upside down
Is this real or am I dreaming
Lovely Lady I will treat you sweetly
Adore you
I mean
You crush me
It’s times like these
When my faith I feel
And I know
How I love you
Come on
It’s crazy I’m thinking
Just as long as you’re around
And here I’ll be dancing on the ground
Am I right side up or upside down
To each other we’ll be facing
By love we’ll beat back the pain we’ve found
You know
I mean to tell you all the things I’ve
been thinking deep inside
My friend
With each moment the more I love you
Crush me
Come on
So much you have given love
That I would give you back
Again and again
Meaning I’ll hold you
And please
Let me always

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


When my husband goes away on a business trip for four days at a time, every week, for three weeks, it is impossible to not o.d. on being a full time Mom. By about the two and a half day mark, in the second week it becomes increasingly difficult to be one of those wives and Moms who find doing laundry a spiritually rewarding process.

When the phone rings and I hear “Phone for you, it’s Dad”, I have to get myself into the “be nice on the phone zone”. I walk down the hall with the theme from CHARIOTS OF FIRE in my head in an attempt to start the call with “Hello”, rather than “grrrrrrrrrowl thanks and you?”.

Call me unsupportive, but do I give a shit that you reported your desk lamp not working to reception last night and you just got back to your room after a long day today and it’s still not working? Throw the piece of crap out the hotel room window for all I care.

In spite of this, I miss you like crazy and really want you to come home, NOW!

Sunday, May 23, 2004


We finally went out and bought the plants and pots that we intended doing some weeks ago. The garden is looking much better for it, and as soon as I have mastered the new facility for downloading pics into the blog, you will enjoy the visuals.

It is really strange where I fit into the process of getting things done in our household. I am without a doubt Head Organizing Features. I think ahead for everyone, I plan ahead for everyone and I have the most methodical logic of the entire household. I therefore keep constant track of all the stuff that needs to be done, that should have been done, that we had better do, or else! It becomes tricky eventually because I can’t meet the physical demands of all the things on the list. I therefore have to keep everyone motivated to do the stuff while I stand on the sidelines and watch it happen. In a different setting, you would call me the Director. In this domestic setting, words like “nag”, “pain”, “aaaah Mom”, “right now?” are churned out at me constantly.

Sometimes however, and in fairness, it does happen quite a lot, a plan does come together. When this happens, it is a great feeling for me because the process just works and I feel part of the whole thing, from beginning to end. That happened yesterday with the plants. Daniel, Ross and I went to the garden shop. When we came home, Daniel and David got right on with the planting process, and very quickly, the job was complete and we were standing and gloating at the pots.

My neighbors were also busy in their garden and they came over and then our good friend, the 1st Assistant Fire Chief arrived to show Daniel what he had bought at some major fireman’s show he had been to in Pennsylvania. I stood chatting with everyone in the driveway and it felt wonderful. This might seem an over zealous reaction to an everyday kind of event. However, when you are new in a country, it really takes a long time for these every day kind of situations to become commonplace in your life. It is very difficult to live as an ex-pat without comparing your life to life as you used to live it at home. It’s these little things though that creates a sense of belonging, of being part of a community and just generally having a sense of place.

Later that evening, my sister arrived with my nephew who came for a quick weekend visit from San Francisco. Ross was so excited to see him and started hauling his toys out one at a time to show them to Shaun. We sat together for a while, drinking tea and just generally catching up. Ross by now was playing with his toys on the floor and my sister said to me that she loves this kind of scenario of the family being together and just hanging out. She said she loves the sense of security it must create for Ross.

American culture is very used to families living apart from each other. Kids leave home to go to college and others find it very easy to relocate for work or any other reason. It is a very transient lifestyle. On the other hand, I have met people who were born in Rockaway and have literally been here their entire life. They live in what was their grandparent’s house, which they visited while growing up in their parent’s home next door. There just has to be something magical about living on one street your entire life. I can’t imagine it but it holds a certain appeal to me. That is what you call having roots.

So to all the new friends I have made here, my extended family of choice, and my tiny little family, it’s true, home is where your heart and pot plants are, and for now, they’re in Rockaway.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


The experience I had living in Scottsdale, Arizona for a year in 1982 was very much enhanced by watching “THE ODD COUPLE” on TV every night. It was my ‘Friends’ of the 80s. Where possible, I never missed an episode. I always thought Tony Randall played the best Felix, ever! I left the USA at the end of that year, a dedicated fan of Mr Randall’s.

It was with real sadness and lots of tears that I learnt of his death today.

In 1997, Daniel and me went from Amsterdam to London to see the production of “THE ODD COUPLE” at the Haymarket.

I wrote a fax, signed by Daniel, to the manager of the theatre explaining what a fan of Tony Randall’s “my wife Dawn is”. Because Tony Randall was such a super cool being, he invited us to join him in his dressing room after the show.

We had to go round to the side entrance where there was quite a crowd gathered outside at the Stage Door. We felt like celebrities for a moment as we “um, excuse me, sorry, coming through, yes, that’s right, me, oh sorry, yes, I am going in” through the crowd. It was fantastic to say, “Mr Randall is expecting me, Dawn Levin” when I got to the door. We were directed up what seemed like a never-ending flight of lots and lots of stairs. I could still climb stairs in those days but by the time we got up what was a climb of three floors, not sure what you call it, when the stairs form a square well down the centre – I was almost on all fours. I heard a voice from the top say “are you gonna make it?”. I looked up into the face of Tony Randall, and what a face it was. He had a look about him in certain poses that I found hilarious. It did not seem appropriate to burst out laughing in his face, particularly in my Mowgli posture on the stairs. I dragged myself up and staggered into the dressing room.

He was very welcoming and introduced us to his wife, Heather, who was just pregnant with their first child. They were both super friendly. We all shook hands and then, the silence! I got so star struck, that I could not articulate a word out of my mouth. I stood there with an idiotic grin on my face and a strange sound coming out of my mouth. I wasn’t sure if anyone else could hear it but I could not get it to stop. I looked at Daniel and he appeared confused. We were all exchanging glances in silence and finally, Daniel realized he needed to do something to save this moment. He got a conversation going and soon enough, everyone was standing around, very relaxed, chatting away; everyone except me. All I could hear in my head was my own voice begging God to please remove this idiotic grin off my face and to connect my speech to my brain, please, just this once more.

Their conversation lasted about half an hour and in a last attempt, Tony turned to me and asked if I realized what a famous dressing room we were standing in. He rattled off names like Sir Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Richard Burton and how they had all occupied this dressing room at different times over the years. I nodded my head up and down very dramatically to indicate that I so totally did and hoped he would get how desperately I was wishing I could wrap my tongue around the simple word, just one little “yes”. No such luck. Fortunately the sound in the back of my throat had stopped. Daniel looked at me like I had completely and utterly lost the plot and indicated that clearly, it was time to leave. In one of those gestures that remind me why I fell instantly in love with him when I met him, he turned to Tony and said, “Mr Randall, would you mind if I took some photo’s of all of us?” What Tony didn’t hear, but I could, possibly because at the mention of photographic proof of the meeting I turned into a complete bobble head, was that part of Daniel saying, “Would you mind posing with my dof*6 wife and Dawn if you don’t say something soon I swear I am going to bop you on the nose for a reaction”. I have a vague memory of having managed to offer some kind of goodbye message and it was over. Photo’s, autographs and the climb back down the stairs.

As we got to the street, I exploded as if I had been holding my breath for two hours. The first sentence out of my mouth was “well, we now know I can’t meet Mick Jagger ‘cos if this is what happened to me with Tony Randall, how can I possibly meet Mick Jagger?”

Thank you for all the laughs Mr Randall. Rest in peace.

Monday, May 17, 2004


Despite some serious attempts to get that car salesman to sell me the car I wanted, it just didn’t happen.

Daniel found another dealer and within a few hours, there was a car awaiting my arrival. If we could put background music to our lives, this scene would have had “who let the dogs out” playing quietly in the background. You are really hot when you get on a pluck*5 Daniel.

We went to pick it up on Thursday afternoon and it is just totally amazing.

I got Ross from my Mom and when we arrived home, he looked at me and said “Mom, can I live in your car?”.

The ride is powerful, the seats are comfortable and the leather makes it is so much easier for me to get in and out. The DVD is really cool and there have been moments in the short life of the car where I wondered if someone had anaesthetized Ross without telling me.

I chose the COSMIC SAND METALLIC with BEIGE leather. Very sharp.

We are in the process of choosing a name – moving in the direction of Speedy or Goldie … Ross is still to decide.

Thank you for the new car, Daniel!

It’s nice to get excited about meaningless, materialistic shit sometimes, isn’t it?



I saw an amazing Doctor on Thursday. He specializes in respiratory disorders for people with muscular dystrophy.

John R. Bach, MD, Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Vice Chairman, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Professor of Neuroscience, Co director, Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Clinic, UMDNJ--The New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey

He pointed out that the doctors I have been seeing have been treating me for lung disease when in fact there is nothing wrong with my lungs. The problem is with my diaphragm due to a muscle weakness from the dystrophy. Normal lungs breathe in 2 – 3 liters of air. I breathe in 1 liter. Because I don’t take in as much air as I should, I am not breathing out enough carbon dioxide. The main result of this is the dreadful headaches I wake up with in the morning. Using the oxygen has also not been a good thing.

One of the most common treatment errors for people with neuromuscular disorders is oxygen therapy, which Bach likens to "putting a Band-Aid on a cancer." He says that oxygen should never be used for people with neuromuscular conditions unless pneumonia has resulted in the need for intubations and intensive care.
Oxygen turns off the brain's drive to breathe and greatly increases the likelihood of ventilator failure, basically allowing the blood's carbon dioxide to increase to levels that render a person unconscious and cause him to stop breathing entirely (respiratory arrest).
Usually decreases in blood oxygen levels are caused by airway secretions that the patient is not strong enough to clear without training in Bach's methods and the secretions themselves can also result in respiratory arrest.”

I can improve my breathing through a technique called ‘air stacking’. He took me through this process and the deep breath I took was so painful that I literally cried out. He explained that I had probably not used my muscles (between my ribs) to that extent since I was around the age of 10. It passed quite quickly but I felt like someone kicked me in the chest.

I will be getting the equipment I need to do this at home.

Pulsox Machine – will be checking my oxygen saturation levels a few times a day to make sure I keep my oxygen saturation at 98%. Mine seems to level out at 96-98, (when I went into hospital it was at 87). If it goes any lower than 98% then I know to stop what I am doing and do stack breathing.

“The technique involves the use of the glottis (throat) to add to an aspiratory effort by projecting (gulping) boluses of air into the lungs. The glottis closes with each "gulp". One breath usually consists of 6 to 9 gulps of 40 to 200 ml each. During the training period the efficiency of GPB can be monitored by Spiro metrically measuring the milliliters of air per gulp, gulps per breath, and breaths per minute.”

It’s all very new to me but I will get used to it over time.

It was very nice to have it confirmed for me that I am not nuts for saying that when I lie flat I get very claustrophobic and feel like I just can’t breathe. Truth of the matter is, I can’t. The diaphragm is weaker when you lie flat. With the assistance of this new machine, I will get more air into my lungs so I should be able to lie flat. I have been sleeping in a sitting position for a few years now.

What is really interesting is that I have always said my body instinctively knows what it needs. I have not had much success with the machine I was prescribed to sleep with and have hardly used it. I stopped using the oxygen quite some time ago as well. Clearly, those were two right decisions.

When I got home on Thursday night, I really felt the need to honor my body. With all its weaknesses, it survived 20 years of cigarette smoking, bounced back from many bouts of bronchitis, 2 cases of pneumonia, but more than anything, it allowed me a trouble free, healthy pregnancy.

While getting pneumonia might have been a somewhat dramatic way of getting to this Doctor, it got me there.

I really have a lot to be grateful for and look forward to waking up headache free very soon!

Tuesday, May 11, 2004


...Alex passed and got her driving permit! Did I mention how much I love being a passenger to a new driver????????


I have to declare my complete and total love of the Internet. I am not technically minded at all, which might be why the building of my website is driving me to the point of screaming obscenities at my mouse. In spite of being technologically challenged, the Internet makes me feel connected and informed as well as hip, cool and wow in many other ways.

Of course there is the use in the fields of science, education, medicine, etc., but being a heart-centered person, the human condition aspect is what captures my attention first.

In the last year, I have formed some incredible friendships on line with people that I know I will never meet in the “real” world. I have had reunions with school friends dating back to 1964 and probably the most amazing reunion I had was with my first ever really serious boyfriend. For people like myself who go through phases of insomnia, the Internet is a great companion. It does only what you ask it to do. It does not demand anything from you and it will obey your every command. During one of my sleep-deprived evenings, I was surfing the net and getting from one place to another by means of links. I found myself on a page that listed a name and email address. I am going to respect name’s privacy, so for now, we will call name, Mr Boyfriend Features.
I stared at the name and my instincts yelled at me that this was the man. This was the first love of my life that I have had no contact with for about 28 years. I sent an email asking if it was he, and included the polite apology for the intrusion in the event it was not. Mr Boyfriend Features was great about responding very promptly and there we were, in communication as if no time had gone by at all.

I then discovered a site where South Africans can reunite with old school friends. When I contacted a friend now living in Australia, I made the comment that I was not sure if he would even remember me. After some 33 years, his response was fantastic. He even asked if I still bit my nails! There was I worrying that he would not remember me, when in fact, he did, right down to a disgusting habit I am pleased to say I did outgrow. Isn’t it amazing, if not a bit sad, really, how invisible we think we are?

Another site I visit regularly is She is a fantastic writer and I urge you to pay it a visit. In March, Daniel, Ross and I went on a cruise for a week. When we got back, I could not wait to log on and get my dose of dooce. While reading it, I realized that I had spent a week missing someone … I don’t know … not true, she shares herself so openly, I feel like I do know her. Someone …invisible! I noticed last night that I am actually concerned about her wellbeing because it is out of character for her to not update her site for 4 days.

While in a more technical way than our kids do it, us adults can now enjoy a circle of imaginary friends without being considered crazy. Who knows, maybe you would describe these friendships as crazy. Who cares though, you can’t see me anyway!

p.s. I’ve realized I do a lot of realizing.

Saturday, May 08, 2004


The lease on my car is about to come to an end so I have been looking at new cars. Last summer I admired the Mazda MPV but Daniel said it was only a 5 seater and we want to have a 7 seater. I told him it had 3 rows of seats but he insisted it didn’t. In fact, his comment was, “I don’t know what car you looked at”, implying that I had not known either. Do you even bother arguing with this kind of logic? This is the same logic that insists he had given me a piece of information when I totally know he hadn’t. These are the moments where you know you love your husband, but you question what the fuck you are doing in the same life as him. You also know these moments are fleeting and that you adore him and certainly don’t want to be anywhere else, or so you keep reminding yourself as you walk down the hall muttering “asshole” under your breath.

More recently, we went on a car investigation day and I discovered that I can’t get into most of the cars I want. They are either too high and I struggle to lift my legs into them (and we all know I aint gonna get far without my legs!), or they are too low and I can’t lift myself up and out of them.

Interesting to note, however, that the Mazda MPV with 3 rows of seats and places for 7 bums is the perfect height for me. In an interesting twist to the car-purchasing norm, we found ourselves a sales person that we are practically begging to sell us the car. I’m sure he is supposed to be putting us under pressure to buy it, not us him under pressure to sell it to us.

This morning we called him as we were hoping that on our way out to buy plant pots we could go get the car. Daniel spoke to him and he advised it was not possible for today but that he will call us on Monday.

This all proved to be too much for Daniel and he started asking God why things always have to be such a challenge for him. He reminded God how hard he works and how he does his best by everything and everyone, and yet life still brings challenge and struggle.

Well, move over Neale Donald Walsch … here comes Daniel. Within two hours of Daniel calling on the Divine for help, a salesman from a local dealership that Daniel had popped into about a week ago called him. He told Daniel to come see him today as he could offer him a really good deal on his car. Daniel was thrilled to hear this as his lease runs out next year so best he get sorted with a new car real soon, huh? Within the space of two hours he pulled up at home in his brand new Dodge Durango SUV.

Who could blame me for asking God why life has to always be such a challenge for me?

Hope you love your new vehicle my dear, darling husband. I watched your joy and understood so clearly the passions that drives that little boy who looks like a free sample of you! I love you, even when I am muttering things under my breath at you. I wish you many happy and safe miles of travel and now I am going to sit down and write THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A SHE DEVIL – UNPLUGGED!

Some more from the mixed bag of my day today:

I bought a soap making kit and hope to produce a few bars of home made natural soap. It all came from the craft shop. Ross loves doing science projects so he will help me on this.

Please put out good vibes for Alex on Monday. She is writing her driving test and really needs to pass it this time. If she does not, she is unable to take it again for 6 months and none of us want to see her have to wait that long to get driving. I also think I should mention that if she does not pass, I might end up in quarantine from the effects of vloek*4 fallout!

Marti has an interview date for June 10th at the Embassy in Bratislava. We are praying that she will be granted her “Domestic Worker” visa so that she can come be my Domestic Worker. In addition to my thumbs, toes, nose, ass, knees, ear lobes elbows and thighs, I am holding anything humanly possible to hold to ensure this comes through.

David’s rugby team won a tournament on Long Island today. They were extremely happy and he scored 2 tries. Go Morris Rugby Club.

Pingy Features seems to be in good health again. No dry heaving and lots of examining of her nipples to see if she is with pup or not.

Listen to for some really cool music and no ads – a real pleasure. I bought two cd’s off their play list from this week. MORE BEST OF LEONARD COHEN. The track I really like is “The Future”. The other one I got is WONDER BOYS from the movie of the same title. From the man who did THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGING … the Dylan track THINGS HAVE CHANGED is great. My Bru*2 was a huge Dylan fan and I am finding it impossible to get through a Dylan song without crying.

I wanted to find something to build a mother’s day message around. I referred to one of my favorite books IDEAL BIRTH by Sondra Ray

I chose the page randomly – this is what I turned up:-

“Women – The Torch Bearers

The author beautifully summarizes the role of woman, not only in family, but also in the world:

Ø To protect life
Ø To protect the right development of life
Ø To evoke the highest talent in man
Ø To protect beauty
Ø To protect peace and harmony
Ø To protect the age long fruits of the labor of humanity
Ø To protect the teaching from degeneration
Ø To encourage the best in all fields
Ø To strive towards the future
Ø To learn and teach the laws of sacrifice and service
Ø To produce the highest survival techniques
Ø To inspire creativity in all fields
Ø To reveal the future possibilities of life
Ø To explain the law of love and compassion

The New Age woman will teach the value of life, he stated. I salute you, Torkom Saraydarian
As a woman, I am happy to accept this responsibility. That is why I wrote this book.”


Friday, May 07, 2004


When we picked Pingy up from the pound last week, we were told to get her a license. Part of this process required a visit to the vet. Daniel set up an appointment for Tuesday. She has always been a healthy dog so if she was going to pick a day to walk around the house dry heaving, Tuesday was a good choice.

I watched helplessly as her little body contracted and I was frightened by the bizarre sound that she made with each heave. I felt sorry for her but was scared to touch her. It reached a point where I was thinking an alien might have invaded her and sooner or later something was going to start gnawing its way out of her tummy and attack us all.

Another Pingy-ism is that she HATES the car. This is not a dog that will leap in and rest her nose on the open window to delight in the wind as you travel around. Quite the opposite. She has to be held in your arms so that the minute you start the car, she can bury her nose under your elbow, facing the passenger door, and I promise you, she does not move a muscle until the car is turned off. At that point, she sits up immediately and you can hear her thinking “thank goodness that is over”. It was a miracle that her snout was not morphed to my elbow when we drove from Amsterdam to Calais when left Holland for England. I went to get Alex from College so she could hold Pingy.

The vet confirmed that she weighs the grand total of 4lbs. He took her temperature, gave her a rabies shot and then asked me if she had been in heat recently. I told him she had and aspects of Pingy’s life flashed in front of me like they do when you think your time on earth is up. I had a vision of her dashing out the house the week before as a new chair was delivered. I could see her little legs charging as she returned home from the top of our street in response to my calls. I recalled having said to the kids a week earlier that I wished I had let her have a litter of puppies. Hearing the vet say that I had to schedule her for some dental work brought me back into the room and into the moment.

On the way home, I couldn’t help telling her what chutzpah I thought she had for taking off and possibly getting herself laid. The gestation period is 62 days. Unfortunately there is no stick for a dog to pee on that will reveal whether she is preggy or not. I have to take her back to the vet in 45 days, and she will either be obviously pregnant by then or going in for dental work under anesthetic.

The lessons in this:
1. Don’t under estimate the smarts of a mature woman, even if she only weighs 4lbs.
2. Be careful what you wish for.
3. It is impossible to dodge city hall – you got a dog, get it a license when you arrive in town!

Please click on the "feed an animal in need" option at It is free and will help them with the difficulty they are having in meeting their quota for getting free food donated by corporations. This food is for abused and neglected animals. Pass it on to your friends as well.

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, May 06, 2004


Dear Ross

Thank you for a wonderful day today my angel.

I knew you would be excited about your Spring Concert. Practicing your songs has been fun. It amuses me how you can only remember the words, besides the chorus, when you are singing with the rest of your class. I am that way with a lot of songs from Shul. I can only hum the tunes at home but put me in the congregation, and my Hebrew choir skills astound even me!

You looked incredibly handsome and smart in your shirt and tie. I wish there was a way I could bottle your enthusiasm and spread it around. At your tender age, you have totally mastered the art of getting totally into what you are doing when you are doing it. You realize that all you have is right now and that awareness turns everything you do into something quite magical.

When you were a little baby just standing in your cot, you would greet me in the morning with a humungoid smile – it seemed to wrap itself all the way around your head! I used to walk out the room, side step into the bathroom and come back into your room just to see that smile. “Hello Mr Smiley Features”, I would say, and you would smile even wider. I would do it a few times over, and each time I walked back into the room at 3-second intervals, you would smile and greet me like we had been parted for a month!

As I watched you on stage this afternoon, it was so reminiscent of those mornings that I could totally smell your delicious new puppy smell. Do you remember that special place at the back of your neck that I would nozzle my nose into? I watched your face as you scanned the crowd for me. I was anxious for you to see me because your face said, “she is not here”. We found each other and in an instant I was transported back to your cot by that familiar smile. Today however there was the added pleasure of the waving of arms to confirm our connection. One of the many wishes I have for you Ross is that your life is filled with the kind of love that you give out. I want you to walk into a room and have it lit up by the smile of a person’s joy at seeing you.

You sang like a star – I was really proud of you.

As you sang, "don' let the music stop!".

x x x x x x

Wednesday, May 05, 2004


Earlier this week, a friend of mine said to me, “If OPRAH told you to jump off a mountain, you would think it was a calling”. I got highly pissed off with him; felt deeply offended and couldn’t understand why he would say such a hurtful thing to me.

I spent some time asking myself why I adore OPRAH as much as I do. Firstly, for the kindness and generosity she has extended to the children of South Africa, which is fantastic. Secondly, for her ability to create and spread joy and the fact that she does it. I remember years ago watching an episode where she was making dreams come true. Unbeknown to one of her viewers, she got hold of every single bill the woman had. It amounted to a really large sum of money. I don’t remember the details of why she was in such debt, but on the show, OPRAH presented her with this long ream of paper, which was each individual bill, taped to the next bill. Across each one was a huge stamp saying PAID. In a split second, OPRAH had set this woman free. At that particular time in my life, I was in debt up to my ears. I so related to what that woman must have felt in that moment, and yes, I was wishing that someone would do the same for me. I remember shouting out loud, “OPRAH come and get mine too, please!”. Today when I think about it, I just think of how totally cool it must be to be that rich – rich enough that you can spread joy which in turn makes you richer on a very different level, and the most important one.

That offensive comment was a reminder to me of the importance of hearing what comes out of our own mouths. We under estimate the power of the vibrations of our words. Some things resonate with a wonderful, uplifting energy and others bear down on us like dark clouds.

I acknowledge the people in the media who use their positions to improve the quality of people’s lives. It’s a shame it’s only a few. Just imagine the power behind the huge audience that watches the CNN evening news. If one piece of really good news ended each main broadcast, that many millions of people would walk away feeling uplifted. The collective energy from that could start creating miracles in the world.

My friend’s comment was such a clear reminder to me that peace in the world starts in our living rooms. As mothers it is our responsibility to keep that foremost in our thoughts, deeds and actions.

On an OPRAH show this week, she interviewed Maria Shriver and they came to a comment on motherhood where Maria said:
As a mother I am at the frontline of humanity 24 hours a day – are you man enough for the job?
I enjoyed that!

I have the cutest little desk calendar given to me by my boss and friend from London, Jennifer. It is a page a day calendar with a thought for the day. As I toss Wednesday, May 5th into the garbage can, I see that Thursday, May 6th is asking me “What am I grateful for?”

p.s. My friend did come back to me with an apology.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


About 20 years ago, when I was still living in South Africa, I went to movies one night with my boyfriend, Peter. In the row in front of us, was a guy eating from a box of popcorn. The movie hadn't started yet, so the lights were still up and people were talking at normal voice levels. I sat and watched this guy with his popcorn, and he was, to say the least, eating like a pig! He was scooping handfuls of it out of the box, throwing his head back, and snorting into his hand as he all but pushed the pop corn down his throat. The snorting and grunting sounds made it totally impossible not to be drawn to him and feel somewhat grossed out. I leaned over to Peter and said, "what a hog features that dude is!".

From that moment on, a new way of describing things was born. Mr Hog Features became a well known figure, and is still a well used way of describing things within the circles in which I mix. In conversations with friends from that long ago in my life, some sort of features person will always be referred to, and the newer friends I have made, also find it a very descriptive way of suggesting a mood or feeling.

This morning I logged on to my niece's blog [] and saw she had introduced a 'comments' facility. I very much want one of these as well so I ventured to the site Lori had used. It describes the whole process of being two simple steps so I decided that I really need to try this out. In addition to getting my blog going, I am also in the process of building my own website. Through these two mediums, I am more convinced than ever that I am an IBM Golfball Generation Person, and not an information highway generation mom! It is incredible how stupid this can all make me feel and the scary part is that I don't know, what I don't know! However, I ventured, and I actually gained.

You will note that I have successfully installed a COMMENTS facility and I hope it will be used by you when you visit my blog.

I therefore declare today a HAPPY FEATURES day!

Sunday, May 02, 2004


I get a lot of security from making plans. I enjoy spontanaeity, but when you are managing a family of 5, you really need some rough idea, at least, of the order in which things need to be done. Silly me, I overlooked factoring my dog disappearing this weekend into our plans so was kind of taken by surprise. Daniel and I went out with friends for dinner. The nice thing about going out with another couple is that it is unlikely we will discuss our kids. Are we the only couple who a lot of the time go out, spend the first half hour together discussing the kids, and then enter into a long silence? While enjoying the company and food, Daniel's cell phone rings and our daughter brings us the news that Pingy is missing. Pingy is an 8 year old miniature Yorkshire Terrier. She weighs about nothing pounds, is intelligent, has an amazing personality and is a very loved and important member of our family. When people think Daniel and Dawn, they think Pingy ... she is like a living coat of arms, a moving logo of the family. Of course dinner was cut short and we came rushing home. Daniel and Bobby started driving through the area, calling her name, and this major search began. I called the local police and they promised me they would let me know if someone advised them she had been picked up.

Eventually we went to bed with very heavy hearts and no Pingy. Ross said to me "Mommy the family will never be the same without Pingy - she is the source of the family". I am not sure as to what he finds her the source of, but it was profound enough for me and I was in tears. For some reason I had no horrific pictures of her lying dead on the side of the road pop up in my head. Because her perfect housebroken skills went out the window as a sign of protest to us bringing Ross into the household I feared different things. I had this vision of her pissing on someone's carpet and that person going into a total rage. I wept at the thought of her being hit, possibly kicked or even having her nose rubbed in it. This is a dog who lies on the bed and asks me to keep quiet when SEX AND THE CITY is on. I had such a pain in my heart, a totally hollow feeling in my belly and I just prayes she was ok and that she would come home. As I lay there, my thoughts went out to my Mom. My brother passed away March 2003. He was 57. My Mom was 79 at the time. All I could think of was that if this is how I was feeling about my doggie, how the fuck does she actually get up and function each day the way she does? The enormity of the pain she must be living with REALLY hit me last night. I would say on a certain level, I felt it with her. I felt so sad for her and thought how unfortunate it is to have lived 79 years to be burdened with this kind of grief at such a late stage of your life. I again closed my eyes and prayed for her healing.

When I got up on Sunday morning, I noticed what a huge gaping hole there was without that totally tiny piss bag about. We all went about our waking routines and stuff and busied ourselves with various things. Daniel went shopping and called me from the car. He said that I should ask David to once again go door to door and continue the search. So, to keep it short, one of the doors he knocked on was the winning door. A lady told us that the police had picked the dog up yesterday.

I called the police immediately and really did not know what to say when the cop who had picked Pingy up asked ME why the cop I had spoken to last night had not told me they had picked her up. Unless I am missing a vital piece of information here, I don't think I will ever solve this riddle as much as I would like to. Pingy was at the local pound. When I told my neighbor who phoned to find out if there was any good news, she told me that she knew the woman who runs the pound. I took her number and we called her because the pound is closed on a Sunday but there was no way we were going to let Pingy sleep without our duvet covering her. The lady was very nice and agreed to meet us there. On the way to the pound, I told Daniel I was going to kiss Pingy, then slap her, then kiss her again. Just kidding ... when Daniel handed her to me all I could do was kiss, kiss, kiss her with joy.

With that the roller coaster car was half way up the rise ...
Have a great week!

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Until I have sorted out the facility - feel free to address all and any comments to me at
Would welcome the feedback.