Thursday, December 29, 2005

PERFECT GIFTS

When I was pregnant with Ross while we were still living in Holland, my friend Lizzie followed the Dutch tradition of giving me a ‘chime ball’ as a gift. The silver ball houses a most delicately sounding chime which is said to have a soothing and calming effect on the fetus. You are not supposed to buy a chime for yourself but rather receive one as a gift. There is something very special about this chime and everyone who has ever worn one during their pregnancy will tell you they would never go without it.

Over the years, I have passed my chime on to many people who have all loved wearing it during their pregnancy. Mine has been worn in Holland, England and Canada. The most recent person to wear it was my sister in law Andrea with her third baby on the way and expected early January.

I spoke with her on Friday last week. While she has not had a complicated pregnancy, it has been tiring for her as she has struggled with coughs and colds and sinus irritations that have lingered over the months. She was saying how she felt so exhausted that she was seriously considering a c-section as she didn’t feel she had the energy to deliver a baby. I encouraged her to give this a re-think as she would have to then recuperate from the surgery and told her that ultimately her body would decide what the best way to deliver would be. I learnt that the baby was expected to arrive on what would be my father in law’s grandfathers’ birthday.

My father in law’s birthday is on December 26th so we were surprised when he called us early Monday morning considering we were expecting to call him for the traditional singing of happy birthday over the phone from New Jersey to Toronto. The reason for his call was to tell us that Andrea had delivered a baby girl on his birthday. The whole process had taken three hours and she had in fact not had time for any pain relief.

I love this story because it reflects so many blessings and miracles. I am very curious about what this new little girl's history is. I think it is so interesting that she was due on her great-great-grandfather’s birthday, and ultimately arrived on her grandfather’s birthday. I am overjoyed for Andi and Glen that they have been blessed with three children. I am in awe of Andrea for the fact that she has had a totally natural birth. I am reminded by all of this that there is always a power so much greater than us guiding us through our lives and in spite of our adamant belief that we are in control of everything, we are ultimately quite insignificant in the big scheme of things. If we would just have the courage to surrender and let things unfold as they are meant to. It all turns out so perfectly and exactly as it is meant to – be it good or not as good as we might have hoped for.

And now, the chime will be passed on from Toronto to Vancouver where my other sister in law Vicki will be blessed with the energy from within the chime to help guide their baby into the world in the new year … oddly enough, due on my birthday.

Happy Birthday ‘still to be named’ baby in Toronto. Happy Birthday Grandpa. Happy forthcoming birth day new nephew on the way in Vancouver.

Baruch Hashem, to say the least!

If you look closely, you will see the chime resting on Andrea's hand.

Awaiting arrival in Vancouver.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

Monday, December 26, 2005

CHOICES

We all know well enough that everything we do is down to our own choice. I sometimes struggle with the difference between choices and karma and circumstances and all the variables that come into play in any given moment in my life. Which ever way I choose to look at things, in my heart of hearts I do believe everything does begin and end with the choices I make or have made. With choice, comes responsibility. Sometimes that responsibility can feel like a burden and other times it can be a blessing … I guess it depends on how I choose to view it.

I spend a lot of time thinking about the choice that brought my soul to a body with a disease. It is indeed an ongoing dialogue of mine and one of these days I will get off my butt and start sharing my thoughts on my KEEPING THE PEACE blog. For now though, I want to share this.

Just before school closed for the winter break, Ross had some Social Studies homework to do. He is learning about the different cultures that make up American society and how much we can learn from each other. The 7th question asked that if he could declare a new national holiday, what would it be and why.

I told him that I thought this was a really interesting question and if I had to answer it, I would have to think about it as I was not sure what I would choose. He told me that he knew exactly what he wanted to choose and without any hesitation wrote down his answer. When he brought me the sheet of paper, this is what he had written:

click on the pic to enlarge it

Thursday, December 22, 2005

GOOD GRADES

Although I have yet to find the words that can adequately describe the emotions I experience when Ross shines, I finally set the wheels in motion to share the journey with him, or anyone else that finds their way to these pages.
My first post can be seen here. I know this is going to be a fun, ongoing experience and I couldn't think of a better or more worthy project to kick off the new year with.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

MY SHOPPING FAVORITES THIS YEAR

Jazz up a glass of water, or almost anything with these.

Feel like trying a different kind of latke this year, check out this recipe and if you're going to have a sugar rush, it might as well be with these.

For every fan of dooce and/or dog lovers with a sense of humor, this calendar is a must!

A nice perspective on listening to your kids, watch and listen here.

A great collection of gifts for any time of the year can be found here.

Remembering December 8th, 1980 and a good thought to hold, all the time. Available here.


THE BEGINNING OF WHERE I'VE BEEN

From my last post on November 8th, I feel like I have been through the most grueling of times. Real freaky things have gone down in my life between then and now. I have been getting bold, strong, if not brutal signs from the universe – you know when they come at you full throttle and make you realize that it is time to take certain issues on – in equal full throttle mode – like it or not.

The first of these signs was when the hard drive on my computer d.i.e.d. It was literally moments after that fateful post on November 8th . That post was motivated by the way I was feeling emotionally with regard to my step children. I published the post and that was the last thing I was able to do.

Daniel was away so I found myself alone in technology hell. My computer always works. I know how to do the things I need to do, but beyond that, I don’t know, what I don’t know! I am often surprised that that my posts make the journey from my brain to the blog!

It all started on the Tuesday morning. When I had left my desk earlier at around 2am all was well. Now, at 8am, as I tried to check my email, there was clearly something very wrong with my computer.

I decided to switch off and re-start. The numerous attempts I made eventually brought me to a screen, the contents of which really started scaring me. I called Daniel in Buffalo and he said he would get one of his technical guys to give me a call and see if he could assist me on the phone.

When I heard the words, “this is called a death screen” I knew I was in deep shit, to say the least. This is where the feelings of shame, guilt, remorse, and those other words which all end in the “…ide” sound start coming to the surface. You guesses it, no back-ups … ever!

So, I called DELL and they started talking me through a whole lot of processes. My calls fluctuated between their help desks in Texas and India. Everyone was very helpful and patient. What is interesting to note is that every time I was transferred to someone else, I ended up with a different Case Number. Each new conversation required I give the Case Number, yet I had to go through the whole story again, every time. After acquiring 6 Case Numbers, you can imagine that I was getting a tad frustrated at having to go through the whole story, again, every time.

The diagnosis was that my hard drive had crashed and I had two options about retrieving my data. The first option was to purchase one of two DELL products. One such product would cost me $239 and give me a year’s cover, and the other would cost me $99 and give me three days cover. Given that my computer was bought as recently as February this year, I decided to go for the $99 option. I did, after all have the COMPLETE CARE WARRANTY EXTENDED CARE which was good through Sept. 19th, 2007.

In spite of the fact that I was being sold a product to retrieve my data, the guy kept mentioning a third option, which would be to contact a company called Drive Savers

It got to a point in the conversation where I had to ask the guy what state he was in. As my computer was down, and I didn’t have a watch/clock in the room, I needed to know what the time was as I had to go get Ross from school. He told me he was in Texas and we calculated what the time was in NJ, and I had to literally hang up and leave immediately. I made very sure that I would be able to call them back the next day, give the Case Number and then we would be able to start the process of retrieving my data; that was of course, unless I decided to use the option of phoning Drive Savers. While driving to get Ross, I admitted to myself that as technologically challenged as I am, even I could kind of see that retrieving my data remotely seemed unlikely – how was this possible. Oh well, I assured myself it must be, otherwise why would he have sold me a product for $99 … but there was this niggling voice reminding me that he had given me the option of phoning Drive Savers.

The next day a guy arrived to replace my hard drive for which there was no charge as this was covered by that super fancy, extra special all bells and whistles guarantee! He was here for a couple of minutes, did what he had to do, and left. Call me stupid, but I was sure that I would now be able to have my computer back, in full and perfect working order.

WRONG!

Daniel was now back and took over from me. To cut this already long story somewhat shorter, after speaking with DELL again, Daniel told me that replacing the hard drive was just that, and DELL were now saying that I had to purchase all the applications that would then have to be loaded.

I had also established earlier in the day that buying the product I had bought was indeed a waste of time because of course; it was not possible for my data to be retrieved this way. After a few more case numbers and some time on the phone, DELL agreed that it was their error and the cost of the product would be credited back to me in full.

I then spoke to Drive Savers and was told that they could retrieve my data. If I took the 5 – 7 day turn-around option, with the benefit of a 10% discount courtesy my referral from DELL, the cost ranged from $500 to $2700. I guessed that with the way things were working for me, I could pretty much take it as a certainty it would cost me closer to the maximum possibility, rather than the minimum.

Daniel went off to the Geek Squad at Best Buy. The next day, he went to pick up the computer, with all my data retrieved aside from my email. The cost … just under $100. The turn-around time…overnight. The method…they put the computer into a deep freeze, and seemingly, the freezing process releases the data. If you have lasted this long and are still reading this saga, then you know there is absolutely no point in expecting me to be able to expand on this technological phenomenon. Big, huge, loud shout out to the Geek Squad though! You guys rock!

So, now I have my data, I have a hard drive, and I can’t use any of it. I got back on the phone to DELL with renewed customer clarity. I was not putting the phone down until my computer was working. I made this clear to the person I was speaking to, and when she said that she was from the laptop department and would have to transfer me, I said that there was no way under the sun that I was going to repeat my story. I told her to please make sure she brought the person she was going to transfer me to right up to the minute on my situation.

Well, so much for my clarity. After repeating my story, the gentleman on the phone said to me, “your cover provides for us replacing your hard drive and that’s all. The details of it are in the user manual.”

I kept my cool and explained to this manager that when I have a warranty that says it is going to replace my hard drive at no cost, I expect to get my computer back in a usable format. If not, then effectively what I bought was a free delivery service, because my husband could have taken my computer to Best Buy and they would have replaced my hard drive for a lot less than what I had paid for my cover. I also told him that telling me the small print was in my user manual was not going to hack it. I told him that these companies only provide user manuals once you have bought the product. They do not discuss all the details of the user manual with you on the phone when they are selling you the product. Would it therefore not be more ethical to send me the user manual, let me read it, and then, when I really have an understanding of what it is I would be buying, I can make the informed choice on whether to make the purchase or not.

I went on to tell him that they had been really helpful up to this point. I don’t want this to sound like a DELL put-down. They had been friendly, helpful, and extremely polite and in general had provided me with good service. However, there was no way I was prepared to be left with the useless new hard drive. I am not sure what it was that made this guy get what I was saying. He told me to stay on the line for a moment and then he was going to transfer me to another Help Desk and they would do a remote installation of whatever it was I needed. I was very pleased about this as I felt my comment about the user manual was valid and that the situation I was finding myself in was really bordering on misrepresentation.

I explained to Mr I. Gotit that I was going to put my husband on the line as he would be the best person to work with the help desk to do the installation. I found the whole thing fascinating as I watched the lady in India take control of my computer – and within a reasonable amount of time, I was back up and running.

I appreciate that not everyone who reads this will see this as a major victory, but I felt totally empowered by the fact that I had gotten DELL to give me what I felt I was entitled to get.

Over the next few days I will be catching up on posts about all the things that have been going on since then, to now.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for the emails asking where I have been. This is just the tip of the iceberg in answer to that question! I’ll be back with more.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

CONTRACT

Just because I remain on my feet, doesn't mean I never stumble.
And when I stumble, I don't need to remain stuck!

This ain't no stumbling block
It's just a stepping stone
I'm gonna climb right up on top
And take a good look at where I'm going
And it ain't gonna slow me down
Hold me back or turn me around
This ain't no stumbling block
It ain't no stumbling block
This ain't no stumbling block
It's just a stepping stone
- Lari White
thanks for the pic, jen


Monday, October 31, 2005

BOY THING

I guess these two pics are testament to the success of my ‘no violent toys and thoughts’ campaign while Ross was growing up to be 8 – I tried people, I tried!
Were YOU a good witch, or a bad witch?



Thursday, October 27, 2005

VIEW

One of the best views of the world is through the eyes of my child.
While making pancakes yesterday Ross said to me, "look Mom, eggs with eyebrows."
"Go get my camera Ross, quickly - I am SO putting this on my blog!"


It was 'dress down day' at school today - the theme was 60's and 70's ... I had fun making the t-shirt!

Monday, October 24, 2005

HONORING

Rosa Parks
1913 – 2005

Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.
~ Maya Angelou


Saturday, October 22, 2005

BEING

While Ross was playing with Pingy last night, the unthinkable happened. Ross got a little too close for her comfort and her reflexes took over and she snapped at him, in his face. He was completely shocked that she would do such a thing to him. As quickly as she snapped at him, he pulled back, and with this mortified look on his face said to me, “Mom, Pingy bit my cheek.”

Ross rarely cries. He has never been a cry baby. So when he does cry, you know something has penetrated his emotions on a really profound level. He gets a look on his face that signals tears are approaching within seconds. It is a look that rips my chest open and all but wrenches my heart out of me. I feel the pull of his emotions as the tears roll, and the only reason I don’t cry is because I want to give him the space to have this emotional release. This is his moment. I am a much bigger cry baby than he is. I cry in cheesy TV commercials. I want him to know that boys really do cry and that is OK.

We established that Pingy had not actually torn his skin and he was not bleeding, it was really only a scratch. I explained to him that Pingy would never intentionally hurt him but he needs to understand about not getting in her face. Pingy was of course banished to her basket and then while Ross and I were shnoogying on the bed, wiping away his tears, we called Pingy to join us. She came back on to the bed somewhat reluctantly and it was clear to all of us that she was feeling really shitty about what she had done. Pingy is an exceptionally intelligent dog, and she is truly an integral part of our family. I was pleased when Ross took it upon himself to comfort and stroke her, assuring her that it was OK and that we all still love her.

After Ross went to sleep, I lay in bed thinking about that look on his face right after Pingy snapped at him. This total shock and disbelief that someone you love and care for would do something to hurt you.

A string of extremely unfortunate events unfolded between me and my step-daughter this week. The fallout has held this family perilously on the brink of crisis ever since and it has been quite horrible. As I reflected on the emotions expressed on Ross’ face, I realized that how he looked is how I have been feeling this last week. There is something overwhelmingly upsetting when someone from within your closest circle does something you never thought they would do.

How does one find the balance between giving your children the freedom to grow and trying to get them to see that you are not limiting them or holding them back when you teach them values? Values that your experience has shown you the world – and life – respond well to. Perhaps someone out there knows better than I how to effectively communicate to your children that all you want from them – ‘cos hey, we know ‘expect’ is a dirty word! – is, just, be nice!

Monday, October 17, 2005

LICENSE, SHOWER, WEDDING

Marti and Glenn have been planning their wedding since they returned from their summer vacation in Slovakia. Marti went home to visit with her parents, family and friends for three weeks. Glenn joined her for the last ten days and they returned to the USA engaged to be married.

When Marti and I went with Justine and Alyson to choose a bridal gown, we were surprised by how shocked the attendants were that we had the audacity to be in the store planning a wedding a few weeks away, rather than a year in advance. Giving them little but no choice other than to get over themselves, we went ahead and started the selection process. When you look like Marti does, you can take any rag, put it on and look stunning. By the end of the evening, in spite of the Tiara in my hair, I was feeling distinctly overweight and traumatized about what I would wear to this event. In a relatively painless process, Marti went back to the dress of her original choice, having tried several other gowns on. In spite of the numerous weddings of my own that I have been through, I still am not sure I fully understand what it is about a wedding day that turns even the most un-Barbie-ish women into obsessive princesses. From the moment the dress was chosen, life turned into a process of the most serious commitment to perfection that I have seen in a long time. Unless Marti has a secret stash somewhere that I really don’t know about, she has proven to me that projects can be achieved without lists and the incessant use of highlighters.

In addition to having to bring a huge amount of details together in a really short space of time, the bridal couple had to endure the stress of Marti’s parents applying for visas to visit the USA and then on getting them, being allowed entry into the country. This success of this largely depends on the mood of the immigration official that greets you at the airport. On the day they arrived, the one single question the immigration officer asked her parents was whether the man their daughter is marrying is a nice guy. Imagine the relief when they said “yes” and the official was sufficiently satisfied to grant them entry into the USA. From the moment they arrived, it felt like all details had been covered and we were now well on the road to a perfect celebration.

Preceding the parents’ arrival by three hours, the rain started. It continued through the weekend and was still here on Monday. By the day before the wedding, possibly because it had rained continuously through the week, the rain was now coming through the roof of where the reception was being held, and landing on the dance floor. The manager of the venue assured Marti that it would be repaired by the time the wedding guests would start arriving the next day.

If we all felt like ducks as we waded our way into the church, we were soon followed by a swan that graced us with her beautiful presence. I really can’t adequately describe my feelings as I watched Marti, in all her splendor, stand and take her vows with Glenn. All I can say is that I was overcome with emotion. From deep inside my soul my emotions came to the surface and there was nothing I could do to stop the tears, so I let them flow. I have always known that my relationship with Marti is karmic, and while this story is not about me, but about her and Glenn, I got a deep sense of completion as I watched them become husband and wife. I felt very much like my mission had been accomplished and it was now time to sit back and watch the rest of the story unfold. There is no doubt in my mind and heart that the road to this destination started in London, the day I first interviewed Marti as a potential Au Pair six years ago.

The wedding ceremony was followed by a beautiful reception where lots of joyful dancing took place on a dry floor. If Ross could have climbed under Marti’s veil and attached himself to her hip, I think he would have done it. In spite of the joy I was feeling for their obvious happiness, I felt a sense of sadness for Ross because I think he realized that this change in Marti’s life brings with it a natural shift of priorities. I think he senses that her focus too has now shifted and he misses having her living in the house with us. He enjoys the same sense of security that I get from her and being without her is an adjustment we will both make together.

Although it is apparently not customary for the groom to make a speech, Glenn stood up and addressed the party. He spoke so lovingly about how he and Marti had met through the introduction made by his friend and our mutual Doctor, and myself. He expressed how certain he was this was their true destiny and how he has never felt so sure about anything else he has ever done in his life. He spoke about his desire to have children with Marti because he knew they would be as beautiful and wonderful as her. Is that not the most loving and uplifting acknowledgement anyone could ask for? This brought Marti to tears of joy.

The room looked beautiful. There was a lightness about everything that made absolutely every aspect of this celebration special. Given that our lives are a consequence of the choices we make, I am always surprised how often we forget how easy it is to choose to be nice to each other. There is something about a wedding that makes the world feel like a place where nothing can go wrong. As naive as this may sound, it is so much easier to be kind, and nice and to let our love for each other flow – why do we sometimes choose any other way?

God Bless you Marti and Glenn ~ May all your dreams be realized. You truly bring joy to everyone in your path and may God continue to smile down on you, always.

It's official - we're getting married - the License is now in the making.

Outside our Borough office where I signed as witness to their Marriage License. It really felt like putting my own daughter on the road to wife-dom! Thanks for giving me this honor, Manka!

Part of my Bridal Shower gifts for Marti were these 'word art' messages to remind her to always believe in her dreams.

Ross' choice for his Bridal Shower gift for Marti.

If I were asked to put a face to one of my Guardian Angels, this would be it.

One of many tender moments that made this such a beautiful celebration of their love for each other.

Yummy Groom, Yummy Cake, Yummy Bride

Marti and her Dad, Jaro.

No comment necessary.

Shouting the odds already ... you go, girl!

This pic of Ross applauding Glenn & Marti just makes me go *sob*gulp*

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

TRUST

This week marked the start of a project I have been working on for some time now. I am not ready to share the details of the full picture as like all things, it is a process that has a beginning, which will progress to its middle, and ultimately, the end will mark the next new beginning of where it will go from there. The beginning part of the process is in the making, and when that is done, I will be ready to share it all.

What I am ready to share is my excitement. I am excited because I am confident. I feel energized. I use this phrase often, and I am happy that I have done it; I have put it out there!
TO BE CONTINUED …

Monday, September 26, 2005

SPLUTTERING

Over the last two weeks I have been dealing with one of my dreaded coughs. I have written about these frigging recurring coughs I get and am bored to tears with the subject. Last night, I actually did resort to tears. I don’t do this very often because while I don’t think I am in denial, I really just won’t go to the “feeling sorry for myself” space. After two weeks of non-stop coughing though, something obviously got the better of me, and last night as I sat on the loo just before going into the shower, I lost it!

I cried and cried and cried and really got into a space of not understanding why this happens to me, feeling sorry for myself. I felt sorry about the fact that in spite of my best efforts to keep a healthy headspace about everything, I find myself in this situation where my body just gets the better of me. I cried about the fear I experience when I get to this place.

While thinking about this today, I reminded myself of one of my core beliefs, that there really and truly is a blessing in everything. As dark and horrible as things might be at times, and as challenging and hard as the places are that we sometimes find ourselves in, if we are willing to look, there is the beauty of blessings.

When I have one of these coughs, the best place for me is on my reclining chair, with my c-pap machine on. I have to just surrender to stepping off the treadmill of my normal day-to-day activities, rest my body and take advantage of the fact that when I use my breathing aid, I don’t cough. When I don’t cough, I don’t get physically wiped out and I prevent myself from having to build up my strength and get back to where I was before the cough started.

So I thought …

I thought about my husband. How he stood there last night and watched me cry, and cry and did I say, cry!? Therein lies a blessing. Someone who knows when to say and do nothing. Someone, who in his silence and stillness creates a safe space for me to let go.

I thought about my son. This caring, nurturing being that comes to my aid with tissues when he hears me coughing from the next room. Therein lies a blessing. This strong child, who in spite of any fears he might have, rises above them and knows when to back off, take care of himself and can sense when I just don’t have any energy to spend on him.

I thought about my Mom, who doesn’t burden me with the thoughts I can read in her mind as she aches watching me pretend that I am not struggling because I don’t want to burden her feelings. Therein lies a blessing.

I thought about my friend Jodi who just arrived here because she hadn’t seen me on line and because we hadn’t spoken on the phone in a couple of hours. These are gestures you expect from people you have a longer history with. These are moments that shift friendships to the next level. The simplicity of a random act of kindness and love. Therein lies a blessing.

I thought about my neighbor Alyson. I thought about her voice mail telling me she had gone away for the weekend and wanted me to know that even though she wouldn’t be next door, her cell phone would be on the whole weekend. I thought about how cool it makes us feel when we know people stop and think about us as they go about their busy lives. Therein lies a blessing.

I thought about my sister who stops and calls me incessantly through her madly busy work days, just to hear how I am doing. Always being in someone’s orbit. Therein lies a blessing.

I thought about my friend Leigh, who sent me a bouquet of cookies because cookies are good medicine and who was content with text messages and emails telling her not to call me but to wait until I was ready to call her because I was not in the mood for yapping on the phone. I thought about how she just gets it and it is always ok with it. Therein lies a blessing.

I thought about Marti, who is minutes away from getting married and how she just keeps my home, my child, my laundry, my food shopping, and, and, and all that ticking over, even though it is probably the last thing she feels like doing in her life right now. Therein lies a blessing.

I thought about my friend Denise (no, not that one, my American friend, Denise). So similar to the South African Denise in so many ways. I thought about how she too somehow laughs with me when I need her to, cries to me when she needs to, and never says no to watching Ross for me when I need her to. Therein lies a blessing.

And I am smiling as I write this, about the people who will email me and bitch at me because I might not have mentioned them in this post. Therein lies a blessing.


Friday, September 16, 2005

*SOB*GULP*

Dear Mick
I am really sorry I didn’t make it to the show last night.
There’s only so far I can push myself when I am running

on empty and there just wasn’t enough juice in me to
get there.

You do of course realize that I would never intentionally

do anything to hurt or disappoint you. I hope that having
to ignore my empty seat wasn't too much of a distraction.
You know I love you and if it had been humanly possible
for me to be there, I would have been.

Rock on, dude – you’re the best! Always have been,

always will be. The album is totally a bigger bang –
my favorite so far, track 5, ‘streets of love’

See you at the Garden in January, no matter what!

Love,
Dawn


Saturday, September 10, 2005

NINE ELEVEN

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
No religion too

Imagine all the people
living life in peace...

Imagine no possesions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one.

- John Lennon


Monday, September 05, 2005

VOWS

When Daniel and I got married, I had been working for a large, Jewish congregation in Johannesburg, South Africa, under the leadership of Rabbi Ady Edward Assabi. Over the three year period that I worked for him, he became my mentor, teacher, friend on a soul level and someone whom I looked up to as I had never done before. Our three year friendship encompassed a lifetime.

He officiated at our wedding and in celebration of our 12th wedding anniversary on September 5th, I decided to transcribe the Rabbi’s speech. I watched our wedding video for the first time in many years a couple of weeks ago. After 12 years of marriage, I realized how deeply profound this speech was. There was no way I could have appreciated the depth of his words at that time.

Ketubah – Jewish Marriage Contract
Chuppah – Jewish Marriage Canopy
Kippah – Jewish men/boy’s head covering



"This ketubah witnesses before G-d and man that on the eve of the second day of the week, the 20th day of the month of Elul, in the Jewish year 5753, corresponding to the 5th day of September, 1993, the holy covenant of marriage was entered into between the bridegroom Daniel Nathan and his bride Dawn at Johannesburg, South Africa. Duly conscious of the solemn obligations of marriage, the bride groom made the following declaration to his bride:

To be consecrated unto me as my wife,
according to the laws and traditions of Moses and Israel I will love, honor and cherish you. I will protect and support you and I will faithfully care for your needs as prescribed by Jewish law and tradition.

The said bride made the following declaration to the groom: I pledge you all my love and devotion and I take upon myself
the fulfillment of all the duties incumbent on a Jewish wife.

Bride and Groom then together declared before G-d and man
that they had signed their names to this ketubah of their own free will without reservation or restraint and that they intend to be bound by this holy covenant so long as they shall live.

Having read the Ketubah which is the binding Jewish document of marriage,
standing here under the chuppah which symbolizes the presence of G-d, having shared a cup of wine as we hope you will always share all your joys and sorrows from now on, I can almost declare you to be both civilly and Jewishly husband and wife.

Before I do so I would like to express to both of you and your respective families,
my personal, deeply felt best wishes for what will hopefully be an arrival at an abode of peace and tranquility.

You have both walked a long way through the pain and agony and the tribulations of life.
You have had plenty of the cup of sorrow. And one of the basic elements that makes you the couple that you are, is probably your respective mutual experiences and your heightened sensitivityto the needs of each other. And so you found each other, almost as an act of Divinity and you ran into each others arms as if you were destined for each other from the day you were born.

You might have each taken different routes, but that which needs to be,
will eventually take place. The ‘D’ cannot stay away from the ‘D’. And that was the role of the Levites in olden days. They were running in between. Serving the priests on the one hand, and representing the people on the other. And this Levi here has done his fair share of running until he came across the dawn of a new light in his life. The emergence of true care, of compassion and understanding as only you Dawn, know how to give and how to express.

Both of you will have to put everything you have into this union.
You will have to remember that you are two separate individuals; that you do not become one today; that you retain your individuality and the need to respect each other’s individuality; that what you pledge to do is to walk together through the path of life, hand-in-hand – what ever it may bring, and to support each other - as friends, as companions and as comrades.

The one thing that you need to remember at all times is that the openness,
the ability to say what is on your heart, the avoidance of any kind of keeping things to yourself, but rather verbalizing it when you feel it and when it comes, and being able to accept it from each other with mutual respect - is what is going to make every day a very special day

As G-d renews the work of creation
so must you renew your love for each other. As the cycle of life continues every day, and the beauty of its harmony, so must you enhance each other every step of the way … and please G-d you will be blessed with the ultimate fruit, and you will have the privilege of raising little boys and girls in good Jewish tradition - faithful to the heritage from which you come and destined to spread and radiate the love that you feel for each other.

May G-d be with you wherever you turn.
May you bring out the best in each other and may,
through you - those who come in touch with you - be blessed for ever more. Amen"


ADY EDWARD ASSABI
March 29th, 1947 – June 15th, 2003

Ady,
Perhaps it is your wisdom that guides us,
perhaps it is that Divine spark you spoke of …
what ever it is, I could not think of a better way of honoring your memory
other than simply stating, we have done it … and then some!
On the eve of a new school year, as I lay my son’s kippah out for him to wear to school tomorrow, I know you are smiling down on all of us.
I thank you and I miss you.
Love,
Dawn

Signing the Ketubah

Ady Edward Assabi

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

FREAKED OUT!

I don’t know how to articulate my feelings about Hurricaine Katrina. All I can say is we need to pray, donate, do – as long as we all just do something!

THE BIG FOUR

This time of the year is full of anniversaries for our family. The most recent addition to the list is that Monday was Marti’s one year anniversary in the country. Today, our family acknowledges our 4th anniversary in the USA.

If I look back on all the stuff that has transpired in this time, it seems more like a lifetime than a mere 4 years. At the same time, it all feels like it went by in a blink of the eye.

I have always said that reality will far surpass your wildest fantasy and thinking back on all these events and the webs our lives spin, it is a reminder how we are so not in control of anything.

Our lives hang in the balance and we go to bed each night safe in the assumption that our sun will rise in the morning, and when it does, we just continue with our days overlooking the gift that lies within the opportunity to recreate ourselves every single day.

With that in mind, I have been asking myself all day how different my life is after four years here, to when I was living in England, what have I learnt, etc. Here are some of the answers:

- I love the four seasons here compared to the varying degrees of winter in England, all year round; but I can’t stand snow and black ice!

- I live in a house probably three times the size of which we would be able to afford in England.

- I actually did learn to drive on the other side of the road but Rt. 80 still scares the shit out of me.

- My dog fetches the ball but I get my kids from school. In England I used to fetch my kids from school and my dog would fetch the ball as well.

- An interesting picture comes to mind when I think of how we would catch a bus in England rather than take the bus.

- I could never have anticipated [this] small town America’s dislike of foreigners and people who do things differently, yet I have made friends that will be in my life for ever.

- I have come to love Thanksgiving as if it is a custom I have grown up with.

- That “Hurro, pick a kurra!” is my manicurist greeting me and inviting me to choose a color of nail polish.

- That Green Cards are actually white!

I’m sure if I dug a little deeper, I could roll out some profundities, but for now, this is what comes to mind.

WELCOME TO THE USA!

Monday, August 29, 2005

ADORABLE

“Mommy, do you know that when I am in the bathroom I talk to God?”

“No, I didn’t know that you do that. What do you talk about?”


“Well, things that are hard to answer.”

“Yup, I think God is the right person to ask when you are looking for those kinds of answers.”

“Mom, do you think there’s a different God for boys and girls?”

“I actually don’t know, I have never thought about that. Which do you think God is, a boy or a girl, Ross?”


“Hmmmm, Mom, I don’t know, I guess I better ask God.”

My God-Spark!

COURAGE

Many years ago I did a personal transformation workshop. One of the concepts that was introduced said, “my relationship with you has nothing to do with you.” At first this made absolutely no sense to me. How is that possible? My relationship with you has everything to do with you, I thought.

While reading this post on Jen Gray’s blog, I realized that this concept is perfectly reflected in my friendship with Jen. I have never met Jen. I found her blog and read it every day. When she does not post for a day or two, I miss her. When she writes of being happy, I feel inner warmth about her happiness. Likewise, when she writes of hard or sad times, I am distracted by these thoughts and feel deeply concerned about what she might be going through. Nothing she ever does is directed at me personally, yet it feels as if it is. I relate so much to how she writes and just love the way she views her world and shares it through her pics.

One day I decided to send her an email and acknowledge her work. I thanked her for what I get from it and over some months, an e-pal friendship evolved. I find it hard to articulate how I feel about how this friendship formed. It feels more so as if from nothing than other new friendships I have made in recent years, perhaps because we have never met and there does not feel like any pressing urgency to do so in order to continue growing as friends. When I read the post I referred to earlier, I felt compelled to email her in praise of her bravery. While I still can’t find it in myself to call myself a writer yet, but more someone who is learning to be a writer and someone who wishes to be a writer, I know how hard it can be to be open and lay your thoughts and feelings on the line. Jen somehow does this with such a raw honesty that I truly envy her talent and ability.

Her email response ended with this,
“i wonder if i will ever have half of your beauty grace strength and perspective...
love
jen”

I was so deeply touched by this reciprocal acknowledgement that I burst into tears. I felt incredibly flattered to have received this if not a bit undeserving. This interaction somehow brought the lesson of the concept home to me. When I consciously apply it to other people in my life, it somehow makes my relationships easier to nurture because it releases the other person of all expectation and lays full responsibility for the quality of the relationship at my door. It ties in nicely with the thought that my happiness is not your responsibility, but my own.
I think you have to be strong to live by these thoughts, don't you?

pic by jen gray

Friday, August 12, 2005

SURPRISE

When Ross suggested we give David a surprise birthday party and Daniel thought it a good idea, I found myself faced with an interesting challenge. I don’t like doing something that I can’t put my heart behind and my spontaneous reaction to this request was that I did not want to do it. For those who don’t know the players in these stories, David is my step son who was about to turn 17, Ross is his younger brother of 8, and Daniel is hubby and Dad to them all.

I am not sure how to describe my relationship with David. Saying it is the hardest relationship I have had to endure in my life doesn’t feel like it even comes close to painting a realistic picture. If someone were to ask David for his perspective on our relationship, I would expect much the same response, if not worse.

This was really a tough one. I have made a concerted effort not to project any of my negative feelings on to Ross and I have always encouraged a good relationship between him and David. To Ross, David is his big brother and he does hero worship him, as all younger brothers do. Ross knows well enough that I love hosting parties and it would be very out of character for me to say this was not a good idea. Daniel felt that it would be a great thing to do as David has just graduated high school and because his birthday falls in the middle of the summer vacation, he has not had a party in the nearly 8 years he has been living with us. So, I took the time to get my head around this and decided to put all points of view aside, and with as much of the same feelings as I would do this for any other family member, I set out to bring this surprise party together.

There is something interestingly fascinating about communicating with 17 year olds. There is this kind of unconsciousness about them that truly has me confused as to how they survive in the world. While I am all for living in the now, fact of the matter is, we can safely assume that life does go on beyond the moment, and as much as I preach that this moment is all the reality we have, they outdo me in walking the talk. Outside of the present moment, nothing holds any relevance. For example, I spoke to one of Dave’s friends who was assisting me with coming up with the guest list. As much as he assured me everyone had been informed and was aware of the party, I would only be happy when I had personally spoken with them, or at least emailed them and had a reply.

Within a very short time lapse between getting the assurance they all knew about it, and making contact with some of the people on the list, astonished is how I felt that none of the people I spoke to were aware of the party. I reminded myself that I was being a tad paranoid when I started thinking this might be a set-up to make me look like the real wicked step mom who couldn’t pull a surprise party together. Sad, I know, but these young adults get your mind working overtime!

I followed up these phone calls and voice mails with emails giving clear instructions on what time the guests should get here and why timing was really important for the surprise to work. I asked everyone to please park off our street as the cars outside the house would be a glaringly obvious clue. I covered everything, because if I was doing it, I was gonna do it properly!

I did get a bit nervous when 20 minutes after the time I had asked them to be here, no-one had arrived. Daniel had taken David out and was going to call to check that the scene was set and make sure it was good to come home. I told him to delay their return by a further 15 minutes, and soon enough, the party had arrived.

When David stepped out on to the deck, he got the surprise of his life. He was stunned. He truly had no clue what awaited him and he was shocked. Once the expletives to register his surprise were exclaimed out very loud, he started making his way down the stairs to mingle with his friends. He commented on his way down how cool this was and that no-one had ever done anything like this for him before.

On hearing that comment, I was pleased I had decided to go along with Ross’ original idea and to be honest, proud of myself that I had managed to put my own feelings aside. It was good to see David enjoying himself, it was good to see Daniel enjoying seeing David enjoy himself and I surprised myself at how good this all felt!

I hope your 17th Birthday is one you will remember fondly, David




Tuesday, August 02, 2005

VIEWING

I loved 'Hell’s Kitchen'. There was no way Michael could not have won – he was so darn sure of himself from the get go. The one thing I want more than an entire series on Dewberry, is for the day when I can hear Gordon Ramsay actually say, “I am frigging out of here” on TV, instead of “I am bleep out of here”. I think that was even better than “Elvis has left the building” and a perfect way to end a really yummy show!


Friday, July 29, 2005

GUT FEELING

Early in 2004, I asked my doctor if he would please give me a letter of necessity to support the visa application to bring Marti here from Slovakia. He gave me the letter and told me that he has a friend whom he described as being “the nicest man I know.” He said that we should introduce them when she arrived.

I told Daniel what the doc had said. He didn’t pay that much attention to it but I said to him that as strange as it may sound, I had a really good feeling about this guy. Daniel was more inclined to thinking that perhaps we should wait to see if she gets her visa first and then we can start thinking about meeting this stranger that I had good vibes about. I was not prepared to brush it aside though and stressed to him that she would of course get the visa and he should not ignore the fact that I had a good feeling about this guy.

By the time she finally arrived here, the better part of a year had passed and my doctor had relocated to Colorado. After nearly two months of her being here, I emailed the doc and said I thought it would be a good idea to put them in contact with each other. Within a couple of days I received an email from Glenn and I in turn passed Marti’s email address on to him. It was interesting for me to see how the whole process of a blind date had changed from my day and within a couple of email exchanges an evening out for coffee was set up.

Marti of course questioned why I had not told her that I was going to email the doc before I did it and I told her that I purposely chose not to as I knew she would object.

It was fun and exciting waiting for the bell to ring and we giggled as we went through the scenarios of what we would do if she were greeted by a monster at the front door. Soon enough the bell rang, Ross opened the door, and within minutes gorgeous Martina came mincing down the stairs. I watched Glenn’s face and saw him fall in love, in that moment. The thumbs up and smile from Marti as she closed the door was clearly a good sign.

Four weeks ago Marti went home to Slovakia for three weeks vacation. Glenn joined her for the last ten days. By the time they returned, Glenn was a fiancé and Marti a fiancée.

Congratulations Glenn and Marti ~ you deserve each other and all the joys that life can offer you.
Added Later: I had to come back and mention ... he proposed in Slovakian. Is that adorable, or what?


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

SIR SCRUMPTIOUS DELICIOUSNESS

Happy 62nd birthday. Only 51 more sleeps.

You can see it in a clear blue sky
You can see it in a woman’s eyes
You can hear it in your baby’s cries
You can hear it in your lover’s sighs
You can touch it in a grain of sand
Yeah hold it right there
In the palm of your hand

Feel it ’round you everyday
And hear what I’ve got to say
God gave me everything I want
Come onI’ll give it all to you
God gave me everything I want
Come onI’ll give it all to youI

saw it in the midnight sun
And I feel it in the race I won
And I hear it in the windy storm
And I feel it in the icy dawn
And I smell it the wine I taste
And I see it in my father’s face
And I hear it in a symphony
And I feel it in the love
You show for me
YeahGod gave me everything
I want
Oh come on
I’ll give it all to you
God gave me everything I want
Come on
I’ll give it all to you
God gave me everything I want
I can’t stop
I’m still looking now
God gave me everything I want
Oh come onI’ll give it all to you
Crazy you said
It’s all in your head


Thursday, July 07, 2005

AGAIN?

When I woke up to the news of the terror attacks in London today, it reminded me so much of the day we woke up when living in London and heard that Princess Diana had died. There are those few moments where I can’t digest it, then I get angry and then I stop thinking about how I am feeling and think of all the friends I have there whom I love like family. They commute on the London Underground to work. I went straight to the phone and called Jennifer, she was at home safe. Yesterday, for the first time ever, she put her son Alexander on the tube (their word for the Underground system) alone. He commuted between her and her sister.
Paula was on line and confirmed that Shaun was ok. In the midst of trying to get through to cell phones that I knew weren’t working, Vicki had the compassionate sense to email me and tell me that she was ok, as was John, John D, and Oonagh. Paula hadn’t heard from Claudia so did not know if she had heard from Yaron. I got the voice mail when I called Lauren but she then called back to say Craig was fine. Karen and Stuart were on their way to Spain and Fritzi is in Greece.
My Mom and Elaine called to see that I had heard from everyone in London. Ed checked to make sure Daniel wasn't in London on buiness.
For those people who maybe didn't have anyone call to check where they were, we thought of you too. For those people who didn't get that call telling them that someone was ok, we hold you in our prayers.

We wish you better London!

Those who injured us did only what they knew how to do, given the conditions of their lives.
If you won’t forgive, then you allow those ancient injuries to continue their hold on you.
- Dr Wayne Dyer

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

MENTIONING ...

If you don't regularly visit my FEELING GROOVY page (see side-bars) please do ~ especially friends and family who know Pingy. Some really cool pics of her. Thanks. :o)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

SUMMER VIEWING

If you're looking for something different to watch, treat yourself to these two movies. Each website offers so much interesting information that it is like reading the book and then watching the movie. Take some time out this summer to treat yourself to these movies. They offer the opportunity of changing the way you view the world. It might be for just a moment, or longer – it’s up to you!


See INDIGO and WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW?


4TH OF JULY

Just like smells, sounds take me back to places where I have been before. It is not often that I have the treat of smelling a Jasmine bush, but when I do, I close my eyes and I am immediately transported back to my friend Denise’s house where she had an abundance growing in her garden. Yesterday, the sounds of adults and children splashing around in the pool and the kids shrieking when Daniel was spraying the deck down with the hose and they were running through the spray did two things.

It took me back to the many Sundays I spent in my childhood at my uncle’s house with all my cousins. They had a pool and trampoline and we used to have the best time ever. There was an abundance of good weather, South African hospitality and food, and there was no greater, simpler pleasure than Sunday’s at this pool.

While I stood in my kitchen yesterday, I realized that not only did the sounds from the outside take me back to this very happy place, but they also made me realize that I am a real grown up. I thought about my parents and uncles and aunts, and how they were my age when we were the shrieking, carefree kids in the pool.

This was all enforced by a conversation I had with my Mom on Sunday evening. I was saying to her how entertaining people in my home, feeding people, hosting Shabbat (Sabbath) dinners and BBQ days like the one I was preparing for, was almost like a drug to me. As much as I wished we had no plans so we could just relax and take advantage of these holidays, it was almost impossible for me not to host a gathering – regardless of how many or little the number of guests might be.

She went on to tell me how much I took after one of my Dad’s sisters. I had three aunts, all of whom passed away when I was young, but I do have clear memories of them all. Apparently my Aunt Ella also used to love cooking and having people over. It is interesting to note that my handwriting can easily be confused with hers and I am told that the older I get, the more I resemble my Dad’s family. This clearly explained to me where this trait in my character comes from and how there are times when I am planning an event; I have noticed that it feels like I have no choice in the matter. I have to do it! I guess it’s in my genes and I am obviously doing what comes naturally.

My Mom went on to tell me how in 1944, she and my Dad would go out for dinner every night after work. My Dad had just been discharged from the South African Airforce where he served during the Second World War. As Mom had little if any cooking skills, the cost of 3 Shillings and Sixpence (35c) per head, made it possible for them to frequent a variety of restaurants at least four nights a week. The remaining nights were spent at one of my two sets of grandparents for Shabbat dinner, and Aunt Ella would have them over at least once a week as well. The dinners at Ella were the yummiest and favorites!

The restaurants were eventually narrowed down to one favorite and after eating there for a time, my Mom came up with a great idea. She approached Ella and suggested that she pay her the equivalent of what they were spending in the restaurant, and for the same money, Ella could cook for them four times a week. Given that this would feed not only Mom and Dad, but Ella, her husband and their baby son, it was a win/win situation. They all enjoyed the arrangement for about a year by which time Mom had acquired some cooking skills.
I hope that as time moves on and Ross finds himself all grown up, that he too will be transported back to a happy place by the sounds and flavors of his adulthood.




Wednesday, June 29, 2005

TIMING

My Mom is an amazing person. I don’t think there is anyone else who can piss me off as quickly as she can and I am certain that there is no other person whose face lights up like hers does when I walk into the room.

I am 5ft 1” tall, and she is shorter than me. She will be turning 82 in July. Her home is impeccable as is her appearance. Although she claims to hate it, she is always cooking and produces food that clearly falls into the category of “Jewish Penicillin”. One of her greatest joys is the fact that the only soup Ross will eat is her chicken-lokshen (noodle) soup. She sews and knits and spends hours doing “paperwork”. Any accountant would be impressed by the perfect Cash Book she maintains.

Another thing that amazes me about her is the process she goes through when she does her shopping at the supermarket. If she does not use public transport, I take her to the store, give her my cell phone, and she calls me when she is ready for me to come and get her. Keep in mind that she is shopping for one person; one small person with a tiny appetite and who hates cooking. The shortest time she has spent doing her shopping was 3 hours. As I pull up in front of the store, I can barely see her over the mound of bags in her shopping cart and yet she gets into the car and says, “I didn’t get everything. I got most of what I needed, but not everything.” I learnt from my Mom that supermarkets do take returns on unopened goods and they happily give you a store credit.

Last week, she called me to tell me about her experience at the supermarket that day. When she got there, she went straight to the customer service desk as she had a large amount of returns. The desk is right next to the One Hour Photo Shop. When you collect prints, you will be helped by the person at one or the other counter. She went on to tell me that as she walked up to the counter, the guy on the Photo Shop side was holding up a print and asking the lady on the Customer Service side what he should do with it. She said that it had been in the drawer for the longest time and passed the time period that they hold pics for customers. “You can throw it away,” the Customer Service lady said.

“Hang on a minute,” said my Mom, “that’s my picture!”
“What?” said the woman.
“Really, look at the picture and look at me, that’s me!”

Turns out my Mom had taken this picture in many months ago to have duplicates made. When she had picked up her order she hadn’t noticed that the original was in fact missing from the envelope.

We commented on what an incredible coincidence this was and how timing is of the essence in everything.

“I think that is an incredible story Mom, I hope you thanked your guardian angels for guiding you to that perfect moment.”

“Of course I did, I always do when things like that happen,” she said.
That single comment best reflects why I love and adore my Mom. So many people might respond to me with “yeah, right; tell me another one.”
My Mom, however, taught me to listen to my angels. I can’t ever thank her enough for doing that!

Unplugged Snr - Circa 1941

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Sunday, June 19, 2005

There's just somefin' abou' these English boys that makes you wan' to watch their films and listen to their music, d'you know wha' I mean?





ANY SIDES WITH THE WILD SLIDE?

Having recently had good reason to use such a parking space at a drive through, the logic behind this pic is clear, even though it may not appear to be at first glance.

A couple of months ago a burger outlet opened near where we live. In our almost four years of living here, this is one fast food service we had not yet tried. One Sunday afternoon, we were vegging out in front of the TV when Daniel said he felt like some junky munchies.

I remembered the new location and offered to go get some of the burgers we had heard so much about. It had been explained to us by our trusted friend the Fire Chief, that these smaller than average burgers are more affectionately knows as ‘sliders’. Why? Because they are so small, you tend to slide them down [your throat], one after another. We had also been told that you could order them in sacks (paper bags) of 10, because they are so small! Daniel suggested I get a couple of bags of 10 assorted burgers.

When Ross and I drove up to order, we were relieved to see that there was no long line of cars stretching all the way around the building and back out onto the road, as it had been for a good few weeks after this particular location had opened. I placed my order for a variety of sacks and came around to the window. I was basically buying burgers for four of us who were at home that afternoon.

The guy at the window took my money and directed me to one such parking space as shown in the pic below. As I was deep in conversation with Ross, I started thinking about the somewhat hefty price I had paid for a few sacks of burgers. I didn’t dwell on it and carried on my conversation.

A little while later, I saw a couple of guys coming out of the building and asked Ross if he thought ALL the food they were carrying was for US? “I think it is Mommy, but it is so much!” he gasped.

These two young guys looked like they were carrying suitcases of food and as they got to the passenger window; I saw that they actually were! Ross and I laughed all the way home and as we got closer to the house, I called Daniel and told him to be waiting downstairs to help us carry the food up. We unpacked, no kidding, about 80 burgers!

A couple of hours later, I came up with my own theory on why they call that “food?” SLIDERS, and it aint because of the way they slide down your throat, trust me!

That was the first and last time.


WHAT THE ...?

This pic was taken by my friend Jodi’s husband, Alan in Massillon, OH. She shared it with me in an email and it just brought up a whole lot of questions for me.

What would an Amish person be doing at Walmart?
Would somebody be that mean that they would steal a buggy from an Amish person?
If someone stole a buggy from an Amish person, would they park it at Walmart?
Do the Amish know something we don’t know?
I wasn’t aware of Walmart hosting ‘Amish Shopper Specials Day.’

Perhaps Alan’s thought was the most accurate; “Is the cost of gas just too high?”

What do YOU think the explanation to this pic is?


DAD'S DAY

In spite of the fact that Daniel does not put much energy behind either Mother’s or Father’s Day, I don’t see any harm in it. I have therefore always encouraged the children to make an effort for their Dad. As Alex and David are now 20 and 16 respectively, I feel they are well old enough to be left to their own resources.

Ross and I chose an awesome basket of organic fruits on line during the week and arranged to have it delivered to Daniel's office. He had said that he wants to try cut down on the fast foods that he inhales in the lunacy of the work week, so we thought it would be a good idea to support this intention. It was delivered on Friday morning and Daniel was thrilled with it.

Alex master-minded a perfect plan that resulted in some awesome pics of her and Ross. I have posted one of them and I do expect you will be able to tell the difference between the professional and the ‘photographer-unplugged’ shots! Daniel was really more than pleasantly surprised as he opened them in bed this morning.

Through very bleary eyes and having to have practically been dragged upstairs, David gave him one of these cool key chains.

Later on in the morning, Daniel asked me in a whisper if I thought he might be successful in asking Ross to delay going to movies. He had promised him yesterday that they would go this afternoon. I suggested to him he asked Ross directly. I really had to stifle my laugh when Ross so eloquently replied, “it’s up to you Dad. It’s Father’s Day, you choose.”

I just couldn’t help singing this to the tune of “glory, glory, hallelujah” – “pack your bags, you’re goin’ on a guilt trip, la la la la la la la la”

The joys of parenthood and the movie will be enjoyed by all today!

Blessings to all the Dads!

 
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