Carpool Buddies, Won’t You Chat?

Family carpool.

Strap In Carpool Buddies!

Sometimes I wonder what my relationship will be with my children when they get older. You know when poop isn’t their favorite word and ice cream doesn’t cure everything.

Today’s guest today is with someone whose children are older than mine: my cousin Bonnie.  She and her husband, Howard, have two children ages 16 and 13.

She works as a resident coordinator in a large hospital in Philadelphia. Bonnie enjoys reading, baking and going to the movies.  She also loves playing board games and recently became addicted to some I phone games.

Bonnie was one of my first followers. Unfortunately, she rarely comments. However at every family function she tells me how much she enjoys the blog. Family is a good thing!

This is her first blog post. Enjoy.

Do you drive your kids to school?  I do. I drive my teenage daughter and her friend to a school in center city Philadelphia that is 13.9 miles from our home.  We are carpool buddies.

Anyway, the girls sit in the back which leaves the front passenger seat available for my tote bag, pocketbook, box of tissues, and makeup.

The three of us spend 45 minutes together every morning fighting traffic jams, pot holes and obnoxious drivers.  We have lots of time to talk, listen to the radio…. etc.   This has been our routine for 5 years.

A few years ago we carpool buddies found a radio station that we all liked.  We used to sing along, listen to the gossip about Hollywood stars, and try to call in for trivia contests and concert tickets.  Unfortunately, some DJs left and the ones who remained became increasingly annoying.  We no longer enjoyed the “talk” and the music become very repetitive.

The girls’ response was to plug into their personal audio devices (Ipods). I was left to listen to the news or an “old lady radio station” with light rock/easy listening.  I missed the old days when I felt we were carpool buddies.

I missed their animated conversations about who likes whom or what teacher did what.  I missed hearing about the parties they might attend and the outfits they might wear.

They may not have always been including me, but I felt like I was part of it, and felt privileged to have that window into their lives.

Sometimes we still have great conversations, or my daughter will read out loud to us. Yet now, more often than not, there is silence in the car.  The girls are either sleeping or studying quietly, and I don’t want to disturb them.

You should see them.  They are bent over writing, reading, calculating or memorizing.  Otherwise, they are reclining in their seats, snuggled under a blanket and out like a light.

But, I can’t sleep.  I can’t read.  I have to drive!  I get a little jealous…

However, I treasure these early mornings.  I love having my carpool buddies.

Before I know it, my kids will be driving themselves and will have no need for me in the driver’s seat.

Hmmm…It’s not a bad idea.  Maybe next year they will be in the front, and I will be sleeping in the back with my tote bag, tissues, cellphone and other essentials!!

 Photo courtesy of Microsoft clip art.

Some Things Are Timeless

Great Art is TImeless

The Beatles are timeless.

All nostalgia. All the time. Yes, the last few days have been about The Beatles and the 50th Anniversary of their first live US television performance.

We’ve all seen the clips of Ed Sullivan introducing them. He stiffly waves his arm and these neatly groomed Rock n’ Roll rebels in suits and ties break into “All My Loving.”  According to an article from Time, “60% of American TVs were tuned to CBS” to watch The Beatles that February 9th.  In addition, “The crowd outside stretched over eight blocks, giving the place the revved-up energy of a Broadway opening.”

So, the Beatles were a phenomenon before their first performance.  And that performance and their catalogue of work have solidified what people sensed before hand.

They clearly remain a phenomenon so based on the 312,000,000 results (0.26 seconds) from Google when typing in The Beatles.

Last night I was talking to BR – my 9-year-old about The Beatles. By the way, for the record, I like The Beatles but am not a fanatic.

Anyway, after confirming that he had heard of The Beatles, we had a discussion about the band.

“How old are The Beatles now?”

“Well, there were four of them but only two of them are alive now.”

“What happened to the other two?”

“One of them was shot. It was very tragic.”


“December 9th, 1980. I kind of remember it, but it didn’t mean that much to me at the time.”

“Why did someone shoot him?”

“I don’t know. He was a crazed fan.”

“What about the other one who died?”

“What about him?”

“Well, was he killed?”

“No, he just died of old age.”

“How old was he?”

“I don’t know but think about it. If The Beatles first played in America 50 years ago and they were a group for a few years before that.  They have to be at least in their 70’s now and he died a few years back. So, he was like 60. ”

“Wow, they’re almost as old as bubbie (Yiddish word meaning grandmother).”

Yes, these men who made teenage girls scream, captured the attention of the world, affected the destiny of music are now either deceased or old men.

Do you realize The Beatles were only together for 10 years?  The band officially broke up in 1970 or 6 years after the famed Ed Sullivan show performance (and the year of my birth).

Yet, they remain a force today.

The Beatles are Shakespeare, Beethoven, Robert Frost, etc. They are artists, creators whose work is bigger than themselves.

So, while people are happy and feel nostalgic to see Paul and Ringo together, the music goes way beyond their physical presence.  It’s the Beatles music which lives on to future generations and continues to affect others.

That’s truly the power of art.

Pic is courtesy of gOOGLE Images


My Daughter Can Do Anything

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Thanks again for stopping by and sharing this amazing story of Anny’s courage and R.S.’ overwhelming love and pride for her daughter.

Everyone knows the saying if life gives you lemons, then make lemonade.

Some people live their life with this mantra. One such person is the daughter of my dear friends.

R.S. is a crazy New Jersey mother of two children – a son aged 17 and a daughter aged 12. RS works primarily to pay for expenses incurred in educating her visually impaired daughter. In addition, she tries to manage her household.

However, one thing you have to know about R.S. is that “if you cross my children, you will have to cross me as well – and you don’t want to do that!”

Below is a story about R.S.’s12 year old Anny that is sure to bring tears to your eyes. Thanks to R.S. for sharing this incredible moment.

My visually impaired cancer patient 12 year old daughter can do anything she wants.

Recently, she decided to raise money for the charity Chai Lifeline (an organization the supports children with cancer and other blood disorders) as a way to say thank you for all the support they have given her during her battle with cancer.  So, she decided to participate in the organization’s Miami half marathon.

Anny dressed and ready to head to the marathon.

Anny dressed and ready to head to the marathon.

We flew to Miami Thursday night but didn’t check into our hotel till 2:30am!

From the time we woke up the next day, we were being taken care of without even asking for it!

Anny spent Friday afternoon swimming in the pool and enjoying spending time with some of the other kids who were there – cancer patients, survivors and siblings of patients.  Lunch was brought by one of the counselors who made a pizza run.

Dinner was provided by Chai Lifeline and over 700 people shared that meal.  We were sitting with our group – The Power Players – Anny’s counselors from camp – who raised almost $50,000 to participate in this marathon!  There was singing, and joking and good food.  I watched as Anny’s counselors included her in the singing and even joined Anny when she chose “The cup song” (her favorite) to sing!

Later, I enjoyed the dessert reception by one of the hotel pools while Anny was resting in the room, too tired to go.  I spent some time talking to other families of cancer patients and survivors about life.

I needed this time as my husband and I had just gotten news: Anny’s first MRI after chemo showed unfavorable results.  We talked about anger, frustration and the brief meltdown Anny had earlier in the evening when I told her about the MRI. I had told Anny that it was ok to cry, after all this was not what we were expecting to hear.

Saturday’s weather was even more beautiful than Friday.  The sun was shining brightly and we decided that we were going to walk along the beach with some other girls after lunch.

Saturday night was a pre-race past party.  Everyone who entered the party was cheered on by the staff – The cheers of “Anny, Anny, Anny” were a great start.  The room was filled with runners, some in their team shirts, some in their running shirts, and some in just their normal street clothing (Florida style!)  There were some speeches, some videos and lots of cheering and yelling and singing.

We got up at 3:30 A.M. as we needed to so to catch a bus to the marathon at 4:30 A.M. Anny wore her shirt with the marathon badge. I was so proud to see her in her marathon outfit – sneakers, runner’s pants and marathon shirt with her number and name on the sleeve!

Anny at the starting line.

Anny at the starting line.

Once at the race, I found a good seat at the finish line anxious to see my princess to arrive.  I was told that my daughter’s counselor usually ran the marathon in just over three hours, and she predicted that it might take her 30 minutes longer to push.


Anny and her counselors along the route.

Anny and her counselors along the route.

Around the 2 hour mark, the clouds started to roll in and the rain began.  Many runners passed by and told me that Anny was right behind them, and so I waited.  The 3 hours mark came but there was no sign of Anny or her counselor though I continued getting assurance that “she’s right behind me.”

The 4 hours mark passed. I was sure that there was a problem with Anny and that the counselor pushing her was struggling.  Again I was told “Anny is right behind me.”

At 4 hours and 28 minutes, I saw a beautiful sight.  There was my daughter, smiling, walking with her cane, guided by her counselor, with another counselor pushing the wheelchair, walking towards the finish line.  I began to scream and cheer and cry. I could not believe that my daughter – with brain tumors in her head, and a walking cane to guide her in her hand – was about to cross the finish line!    Other runners joined her as she approached the finish line and crossed it with her.  They sang, screamed, and cheered with her and me.

Anny and her counselor crossing at the finish line.

Anny and her counselor crossing the finish line.

My daughter who is “differently abled” can accomplish anything!  Seeing my daughter cross that finish line filled me with a feeling that words can’t describe and an image which I will never forget.

Annie getting her medal from another counselor

Annie getting her medal from another counselor.

Anny faces many challenges, in the next few months while we get clarification of her updated diagnosis and in her life as a whole – but she can do anything she wants to.

**Please note Anny walked three miles of the marathon and was pushed in a wheelchair for the other 10.5.

An Inglorious End: What A Parent Wants and Doesn’t Want For His Children

Children on a ride

BR & SJ on a ride. Where my children will go – no one knows.

What job would you like for your children? This question or some facsimile of it was recently posed in my dad bloggers group.

If this question were asked directly to children themselves, how many would say athletes, musicians, or actors/actresses? I’d say at least 50%. Sound reasonable?

And why not want such a life? Doesn’t it seem glorious?

You are adored by millions who are intrigued by your every move and word. You have the wealth to do nearly anything you want. You are surrounded by beautiful people who are also living fantastic lives.

Or that’s how it all seems.

While watching the Pathetic Bowl err I mean Super Bowl on Sunday, I got a little bored. Well, at least I showed up – unlike the Broncos. Seriously, was that the most pathetic Super Bowl ever?

Anyway, I got bored during the Super Bowl and therefore went online. While going to check my email, I noticed Yahoo’s top stories.

Unlike most of Yahoo’s headlines, the one I saw on Sunday during the Super Bowl shocked me: Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead in his apartment.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman

I have enjoyed many of his films. The movie that especially sticks out to me is “Almost Famous.” I loved the movie and thought he was excellent. Anyway, I enjoyed his movies as he’s an excellent actor.

I’m far from the only one who respected Mr. Hoffman for his acting skills. He won an Oscar for Capote, was nominated three times for Best Supporting Actor, and also received three Tony Award nominations for his work in theater. Clearly, Mr. Hoffman was talented at his craft.

Mr. Hoffman lived in Greenwich Village and was apparently ‘one of the guys’ there. According to a New York Times Article, he was “an ambassador of sorts for Greenwich Village.” It was “a common sight to neighbors as he pushed a stroller, smoked a cigarette on a stoop or offered directions to a lost tourist.”

Despite being separated from his companion Mimi O’Donnell, the father of three seemed to have a good life.

He was well paid, well known, greatly respected, and seemingly content. All the things society says we should strive for.

Yet, Philip Seymour Hoffman according to the same New York Times Articledied by all accounts, an addict’s death.”

He died alone on his bathroom floor dressed in his underwear with a needle still stuck in his arm and many drug-filled baggies next to him.

Think about that. Picture it in your mind.

Imagine you could see yourself after you’ve died. Think of the sight that Hoffman would have seen.

I don’t think an ending could be more inglorious.

So sad, so pathetic.

According to the article noted above and other sources, Mr. Hoffman had been clean for twenty plus years.

Then last year, he admitted to suffering a drug relapse in 2012.  It began with him popping prescription pain pills. He again went to rehab. He never could completely quit the drugs and alcohol after that.

What a shame, a pity, and a waste.

Damn drugs!

What do I want for my kids? I want them to be strong, confident, self-assured, and fulfilled. I want them to have family and friends who they know they can count on. I want them to know that life can be challenging and frustrating and hard and difficult. But they should also know that life is beautiful and a blessing, and they should strive to make the most of every situation.

Celebrity? The heck with celebrity.

Rest in peace Philip Seymour Hoffman.

photo credit: <a href=””>Wolf Gang</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>