Independence Day and Letting Go

It had been 5 weeks since the rescue. The helpless baby had been pried from the mouth of a dog by my son. He had wrapped it in a blanket of grass, cuddled it into an empty planter and frantically driven home for advice.


We made calls to wildlife rehabilitators because we had been through this before and it had not ended well. Unfortunately, no one answered the phone so we did some quick research online and then drove to Petsmart. It was my day off of work and I was not expecting such drama. However, I knew how important this was to my son and I committed myself to the rescue efforts.

He attempted to feed the injured bunny with a rubber nipple and formula designed for orphaned kittens. Only a few sips were taken so when he wrapped the bunny in a dish towel and placed a space heater near the planter to keep the bunny warm for the night, I did not believe she would see the light of day.


Shockingly, the next morning the bunny was not in the trough! We searched every nook and cranny of my living/dining rooms and finally found her huddled in a corner under the sofa. Amazingly, the crucial 24 hours passed and extended into days and weeks. My living room showed signs of stray hay on the floor and milk stains on the coffee table. The game of hide-and-seek continued throughout the 5-week period as the bunny was slowly nourished back to health. The containment vessel became larger and deeper with more obstacles to prevent escape until we finally used a 40 gallon blue utility bin with a mesh screen over the top.

My son took his rehabilitation responsibilities seriously. Every morning before school he got up early to feed it carefully warmed formula. Gradually a few sips became 10ml at a time. He supplemented her diet with tender lettuce greens from our garden. It turned out she had a voracious appetite for those and the supply could not keep up with the demand.


As the bunny grew, she became more intent on escaping and foraging on her own. Finally, my son realized it was time to set her free. He knew he had done everything he could to prepare her for the real world. Now it was up to her to follow her instincts.


So that evening, we walked down the wooded path along the power lines and released her in an area where we frequently spotted other cottontails. As we watched her hop away, we felt a little regret; but mostly relief that she had made it this far and that all of our efforts had been a success.

I recognized the emotions my son was feeling all too well. I will feel the same way this fall when he leaves home to pursue his interests in college.I know he is looking forward to his freedom and his right to choose his own path. I have gotten him this far (high school graduation was a week ago); now it is up to him.

Matt podium

My Grandmother’s Cookware

These were the pots that my  mom remembers from her childhood;  filled with delicious soups or stews when she walked home to Clarendon Road on her school lunch break.
Her mom alw20160522_114913ays had something delicious and perfectly prepared for her and her sister every day.
I was helping her sort through belongings stored in the house she was finally ready to put on the market as part of her downsizing. When we unpacked a box in her cedar closet, we found these treasured vessels which seemed overflowing with memories.
We put them aside and kept focused on our work; but later, when we sat down to sip tea and plan our evening, those memories, and the emotions that mom had been burying all day in her determination to get the house ready for sale, came flooding back.
With a voice strained  from choking back tears, she explained that she wanted to cook one more meal in these pots to pay tribute to her mother for all those fond memories of delicious meals.
The proposed menu was not what I would have liked for dinner, but I recognized the need to bring closure to this and that she also needed to do it with a family member. This outdated cookware was the source of her comfort food. So we purchased a nice Cabernet Sauvignon and enjoyed some cheese and crackers while she started the brown rice in her mother’s cast iron, plated pot. Next, she sauteed the chicken tenders in the frying pan  and, lastly, tossed in the snow peas for a balanced meal.
During the course of this process, the rice burned and stuck to the bottom and she realized the handles were hazardously loose. Is it possible that her mother- my grandmother-  had mastered these difficult cooking techniques so that she never burned anything? Or did she compensate in a way that children would never notice?
At any rate,  it was not about the food, it was the company. Ultimately, we shared one last meal which brought a fine conclusion to this honored cookware. We sat at the table with a gorgeous bouquet of lilacs and celebrated all we had accomplished during the day.
Thanks for the wonderful memories!
20160522_114935     20160522_114947


“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

~Cicero (106 BC- 43 BC)
Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist.

The new year is here, the holidays have passed, the gifts have been received and, for all we know, the world may be coming to an end. I guess this is as good a time as any to talk about gratitude. According to Cicero, gratitude is the root of all other human values. Why, then, does it come more naturally to some than to others? We teach young children to say “please” and “thank you”; but is that really enough to impress upon them the real meaning of appreciation? From the piles of presents mine opened during Christmas, you would have thought there would be nothing but smiles. As adults, we all know to express appreciation whether we love the gift or not; but…

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A Voting Reflection

Several years ago (actually 2011-is that a few?)  I posted a copy of an Op Ed that I had published in a local paper Voting Booth Nostalgia .

I bemoaned the switch from  “now-vintage” voting booths with levers, tabs and curtains to the digital scanning method of voting.

Local school budgets are up for voter approval today. My 19 yr old daughter is home from college for a few weeks . So I told her she was eligible to cast her ballot. My husband even tried to entice her to participate by telling her that this was her chance to use the old voting booths.

Despite what my hypothesis was in my OpEd Voting Booth Nostalgia ,

she was totally against my expectations (should I be surprised?)

Her reaction was: “Well, I’m claustrophobic. Those booths would scare me. I would be afraid I couldn’t get out. And I don’t understand how to flip the buttons.”  Who would have thought? I guess my argument was totally wrong. (Actually my argument has been disproven).

Nevertheless, I went to vote today, all excited to pull the lever, and instead was handed a paper ballot and a pen.

The mechanical era is over…


Snow and Politics Come to Town

Finally, it snows- on April 4th

I don’t usually discuss politics on this blog, but these are unusual circumstances. With no clear nominee for either party this late in the race, all of a sudden New York has become a high stakes battle ground. Candidates, who normally would bypass this area, are motivated to connect with upstate voters. On Monday, Hillary Clinton was the first one to visit.

Over the years, I have participated in peace demonstrations and marches for women’s rights, but never in a campaign rally. Excitedly, I contacted a friend who wanted to join me. Her 17-year old daughter also wanted to bring a friend. Both of them will be able to vote in the general election, so I thought this was a fantastic way for them to start their voting career.

The day of the rally was the only day we have received significant snow since January. By 3pm it was up to 5 inches. Thankfully they did not cancel the event, but it made driving messy and it was very challenging to find a parking spot. By the time we found one on a side street several blocks from the site, people were already walking away, shaking their heads that we would never be able to get in. Still, we were too excited to turn around. We found the end of the line that wrapped around the building into the parking lot and there we stood- in the snow and cold- hoping we would be lucky enough to get in.


As the time passed, we chatted with fellow ralliers who said they hadn’t seen lines like this even for Black Friday. Every so often, a group would break away from the line in defeat, either out of frustration or frostbite. Occasionally a staff member would walk down the queue and every 10-20 feet make an announcement about the progress of the security check, when Hillary was expected, or promise that they were going to get everyone in.


Even though I was bundled up in my long parka, it was freezing cold. I offered my hat to my friend, but the young women were frozen. I felt torn between wanting to see Hillary or get the kids back to the car to warm up. As we crept closer to the entrance, we saw the Secret Service drive behind the building and few moments later we could distinguish cheers from inside.


My husband was home by the fire, following the news on tv and texting me updates on who the various speakers were- assuring me that it was not yet Hillary the crowd was cheering. We finally entered the building and, just before we walked through the metal detectors, the security official told us that Hillary was just starting so we wouldn’t miss much.


We quickly entered the gym and, amazingly, found plenty of space to stand with a good view of the stage. We were within 50 feet and felt embraced by the energy of the crowd.


Every time Hillary paused, a wild cheer and applause would erupt. The students in the bleachers would wave their pompoms and raise the letters that spelled her name.


Hillary knew how to rally the crowd by continually connecting with people in every direction to show them that she cared. She seemed very warm and genuine and the crowd loved her. After it was over, I congratulated my friend’s daughter on her first rally at a much younger age than me or her mom. I hope the long wait in the cold will not discourage her from doing it again. But was it worth it? #HillYes!


When we got back to my car, I discovered a parking ticket on my windshield. Apparently the empty spot I had found was blocking someone’s garageless, unmarked driveway, buried under the snow. Oh well, I will consider it part of my campaign contribution. Immediately after this event, all the other candidates announced stops in the area prior to the April 19th primary. It is very flattering, but I think I will pass. One is enough for this week.

Recycling brings a sigh of relief

A some of you may know, April 22 is Earth Day, and many communities  plan events for environmental awareness. In my town, today was a big recycling project. People brought electronics, scrap metal, clothing, textiles, housewares,  books and paper documents to the park where their items would then be sorted and taken to a recycling facility.

This year, in addition to several years worth of old bills and stacks of paper we no longer needed to save, I was able to finally let go of something that brought a great sigh of relief…

A week ago, my youngest made his decision on where he is going to college this fall! It seems like this process of searching colleges, visiting campuses, writing applications and the waiting…. oh the agonizing waiting for responses… has been going on forever. In actuality, it started just 6 years ago- which kind of is forever in a parent’s mind. My eldest spent hours reading about schools and sending away for brochures. She also worked hard at her preparation for college and took SATs and ACTs multiple times. There was a stack of practice test books on the shelf — more than a foot wide. Then there were the AP exam books- World History, Biology, Calculus- and the SAT II Subject practice tests- Math II and English. Again, all of these added up to at least another foot of space on the shelf.     IMG_3179



Lastly, there were the books ranking colleges, advising how to write a college essay and hundreds of pamphlets, brochures and other promotional material that both of my children had accumulated either in the mail or during campus visits. I probably should have taken a photo of the massive amount of paper these items took up, but, truthfully, I was so eager and ready to get rid of it. I never considered I would want to see it again. These collective items only symbolized the ongoing process of getting ready for college and the enormous amounts of stress that were heaped upon all members of the family.

Anyway, my husband and I loaded up our car and drove to the park this afternoon. The man who directed us to the paper recycling location was a friend. When I told him what we were bringing, he agreed that we must be very relieved to have this process -of prepping our kids for college and actually getting them both into a school of their choice- behind us.

As I carried the huge armload of practice test books to the table, a volunteer followed me with the heavy bag of brochures. I placed the pile on the table for the other students to deal with and watched as the one carrying the bag dumped its contents into the giant recycling dumpster. I breathed a sigh of relief as I walked back to my car. I looked at my husband and smiled, “Isn’t it great to have this behind us!” He smiled as we drove away. “Happy Earth Day!”


Family Balancing Act

As we usher in the new year, I am so happy to have my  daughter home from France, where she has spent the last semester. My son has already had multiple acceptances at colleges for next year, so this should be a no stress time, right? We had a family bonding week in Florida during the holidays that really brought us back together.

Tonight, due to my son’s insistence, we planned a Fondue dinner with some grass-fed beef we bought from a local farmer that he was dying to test. My daughter was trying to regain her figure after a semester of French cuisine – so the dining requirements were quite challenging. However, we set up a beautiful 2 pot fondue system -one with oil, the other with a broth. The oil was working well but the broth was underheated. My husband, the physicist, decide to up the ante and add a pot of alcohol to the broth heat source. Unfortunately, he spilled the alcohol and set the table on fire! I wish I had a picture to share, but obviously quick action was the priority. He grabbed the fire extinguisher-which we have not used in 20+ years and sprayed the fire which was rapidly spreading across our table. Ironically , over our vacation, we had tried to explain to our children how to use a fire extinguisher if there was ever a problem.

By the time he was done putting the flames out, our dinner was coated in white residue and there were burns on one of the placemats . The table had a permanent burn in the surface.  None of the food was considered edible.

Much to my son’s dismay, we threw everything out and decided to go to a restaurant. We chose one within 5 minutes of our house where we could each choose something to our dietary needs – and left satisfied and in a much better mood. However, we did have to come home to the remnants of our disaster.

Now that it is dealt with, I am happy to say all is good- but it is an extremely unusual way to usher in the new year.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and peaceful 2016!


Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite


Last night, my husband and I went out to a local restaurant and then a live musical show with another couple. It was a Saturday night and it should be our right to enjoy these activities without fear of endangerment. The terrorists who carried out these attacks in Paris don’t deserve to be called human. They are evil and have committed heinous deeds. I find it hard to believe that there is a higher benevolent power that condones the slaughter of innocents in his/her name.

Je t’aime Paris! It is the city of love and legend. It is the place I would go for a romantic getaway- which I have done on more than one occasion; and I am sure a number of the victims were there for the same reason.

I am saddened to learn that Paris has been attacked by Islamic extremists. The city is on  lockdown and the French borders are closed. The only consolation is that my daughter is not among the casualties. She is studying abroad in another city of France- although she had contemplated travelling to Paris for the weekend to see the Eagles of Death Metal perform at the Bataclan theater.

Fortunately (in this case) she had a conflict in her school schedule which changed her decision for weekend travel plans. She has been in France since August and has found the French people to be very friendly. She has enjoyed the freedom of travelling throughout Europe- whether to Switzerland, Netherlands, Spain or within France. What a shame that this wonderful global experience is being dampened by fear and hate.


President Obama proclaimed that France and America share the values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Isn’t that what all the victims of the attack were doing Friday night- good food, entertainment, camaraderie? That is exactly what my husband and I, our friends and countless other people were doing together on Saturday night. While I enjoyed the food and the show, I could not stop thinking about how it would feel if someone came busting through the door with AK-47s or bombs.

While Paris seems far away, I definitely felt like I was attending the show in the spirit of not letting terrorists get us down. My daughter, on the other hand, reported that no one is going to the  cafes or restaurants in her area. I am sure she will have travel restrictions in the coming week.

I don’t know what can be done to  stop the spread of terror, but I hope the next round of presidential debates give us some answers. In the meantime, I am thankful my daughter is safe. And I thank her for all the photos in this post. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of France. Je suis desolee. But we shall overcome….










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