Monday, March 30, 2009

Five Things.

I went to California this weekend (more on that amazing trip later). While I was there, I talked one night with my friends Margaret and Cassandra about life and it's meaning and how I wasn't sure I knew what I wanted to do with mine. (You know, the usual.)

And, Cassandra, the brilliant soul she is, gave me some wonderful advice.

Five Things.

She told me to every day write down 5 things that happened/that I did/that I experienced that made me happy. After a few months, she said, you'll see the patterns and the real things that matter to you will appear consistently.

I think it's great advice. Five Things.

What makes you happy? What makes you feel full and in love with the world? What are your five things?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Just some randoms

It scares me how much time has passed. I feel like just yesterday i was sitting here writing about how March was going to be the beginning of my year and now it's nearly done. I am still not where I want to be and I'm frustrated. I keep saying I'm going to get in shape and then I just mess up, what's up with that?!?!?

And while we're on the topic of getting in shape. I can't run. Literally. I went from badly pulling an inner thigh muscle so badly I couldn't walk, to a cyst that needed surgery and meant nearly no movement for 3 weeks, to shin splits that hurt when I walk and I can't run. Again. *Sigh*. I am hoping a few days of no running will do the trick. We'll see.

On a happy note, I am going to California on Friday. YAY!!! I am so excited for wine and nice weather and seeing my great friends. I have the day off from work tomorrow and I'll spend it getting some errands done and visiting Ylaria at MSKCC before coming home to pack. Ylaria always brings a smile to my face. Even when she is kicking me off the bed and refusing to let me color.

Thanks for letting me vent. It's really not that bad. It's nothing that can't be fixed. And if life has taught me anything, it's that the getting in shape thing is nothing at all. Friends, and sunshine and good wine and Ylaria's smile-- they're the things that matter.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I love StoryPeople. It's one of my favorite websites ever. I love how the authors can put so much of life into words. They make words magical. They create art. I'm in love and so thankful to them for this gift.

Below are some of my very favorites. Which are yours?

I promise you not a moment will be lost as long as I have heart & voice to speak & we will walk again together with a thousand others & a thousand more & on & on until there is no one among us who does not know the truth: there is no future without love.

Before Dawn
I've always liked the time before dawn because there's no one around to remind me who I'm supposed to be, so it's easier to remember who I am.

This is a box filled with the sorrow of all the people who have been forgotten & some day it will wash the world clean.

She said she usually cried at least once each day not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful & life was so short.

Hidden Ocean
She held her grief behind her eyes like an ocean & when she leaned forward into the day it spilled onto the floor & she wiped at it quickly with her foot & pretended no one had seen.

Scraps of Magic
These are little scraps of magic & when you paste them together you get a memory of something fine & strong, she said.

Words of Comfort
There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling rain & remember it is enough to be taken care of by myself.

Listening Well
He had the gift of stopping time & listening well so that it was easy to hear who we could become & that was the future he held safe for each of us in his great heart you may ask, what now? & I hope you understand when we speak softly among ourselves & do not answer just yet for our future is no longer the same without him.

No Words
I read once that the ancient Egyptians had fifty words for sand & the Eskimos had a hundred words for snow. I wish I had a thousand words for love, but all that comes to mind is the way you move against me while you sleep & there are no words for that.

Value of a Nickel
I buried a nickel under the porch when I was 8, she said, but one day my grandma died & they sold the house & I never got to go back for it. A nickel used to mean something, I said. She nodded. It still does, she said & then she started to cry.

Landscape of the Heart
It is still so new & all we see is the empty space, but that is not how it is in the landscape of the heart. There, there is no empty space & she still laughs & grapples with ideas & plans & nods wisely with each of us in turn. We are proud to have known her. We are proud to have called her friend.

One of Us
Someday, the light will shine like a sun through my skin & they will say, What have you done with your life? & though there are many moments I think I will remember, in the end, I will be proud to say, I was one of us.

Living Memory
I carry you with me into the world, into the smell of rain & the words that dance between people & for me, it will always be this way, walking in the light, remembering being alive together.

Wish List
I wish you could have been there for the sun & the rain & the long, hard hills. For the sound of a thousand conversations scattered along the road. For the people laughing & crying & remembering at the end. But, mainly, I wish you could have been there.

White Birds

I have always thought that stars turn into white birds in the morning light & sleep with their heads under their wings until the dusk begins to walk through the streets.

Thousand Moments
I still remember the day the world took you back & there was never time to thank you for the thousand scattered moments you left behind to watch us while we slept.

Missing Piece
Wanting him to come back before anyone notices a part of the world has not moved since he left.

More Fair
They left me with your shadow, saying things like Life is not fair & I believed them for a long time. But today, I remembered the way you laughed & the heat of your hand in mine & I knew that life is more fair than we can ever imagine if we are there to live it.

Blue Squares
We lay there & looked up at the night sky & she told me about stars called blue squares & red swirls & I told her I'd never heard of them. Of course not, she said, the really important stuff they never tell you. You have to imagine it on your own.

Real Hero
Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again. That's what takes a real hero.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Believing in Magic. For Ylaria.

I've never believed in magic. Not really. The idea is nice, comforting, poetic even. But, Life has made me skeptic and I'm much more careful with my heart these days.

Or, at least, I try to be. But, for all that I try, I fall in love with people. They come into my life and before I know it, they are so much a part of it that I can't remember a time when they weren't there.

In November of 2007, I fell in love with Ylaria and her family.

Life is strange in the ways it works. It can be so painful. It can take so much away. But, in the same breath, it can give just as much in return. I'm not entirely sure I am worthy of the friendship I've made over the last year and a half. In fact, I'm fairly convinced that I'm not. All I know now is that I wish on stars and watch for signs. I light more candles and make more wishes. I believe in magic. And, I'm praying that it's real. Because Life needs magic from time to time.

Now is one of those times.

Ylaria is 3 years old. She loves Dora the Explorer, Cinderella and band aids. She has the most amazing laugh you'll ever hear and when she smiles, that happiness stays with you for days. Ylaria is magic.

Ylaria has Neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a childhood cancer of the central nervous system.Ylaria was diagnosed Neuroblastoma, Stage IV in June 2007. She has been fighting for her life ever since. Treating at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in NYC, Ylaria and her family frequently travel between California (home) and NY for treatment. Due to the demands of Ylaria's treatment, mom is the only one working at the moment so that dad can travel with her for her chemo, radiation and other treatment needs in NYC. Ylaria and her family have a strength and determination that is awe-inspiring. And, for all that they have given me, I am now trying to give a little back in return.

In an effort to help them in this battle, my amazing cousin, Sonia, her friend, Allison and I are putting together a fundraiser for Ylaria and her family. So mark your calendars! On Friday. April 24th from 9-11pm, at Lounge 11 in Hoboken NJ., we will be raising money to help cover some of Ylaria's medical expenses. There will be a $40 cover charge, $20 of which will go to Ylaria. Once you're in, it's open bar, but you *need* to be there between 9-11pm. Can't make it? Never fear!! To make a donation (no amount is too small) simply click here .

Thank you so much for your support. I know that times are tough right now, but I also know that they are even more tough for those in greatest need. Any support you can give would be very much appreciated. Please let as many of your friends know as possible. If only because the world deserves to know Ylaria and share in the light of her magic.

Thank you!

Ylaria's website is:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

On Love.

I believe in Love. I believe in the ability of one person to care for another, the desire of one person to share their life with another, the dream of one person to build a future with another. I believe in the power of Love.

Love is limitless. Love is kind. Love is beautiful.

And, I believe that everyone has a right to Love. Whoever it is they choose.

I don't understand why it is that we haven't legalized same-sex marriage. Sometimes, America boggles my mind. It seems that we are incapable of learning from our past. We realize that slavery is wrong but allow segregation. We acknowledge that women should have the right to vote but refuse that same right to African Americans. We forcibly march Native Americans off their land, leading many to their death. We imprison Japanese Americans throughout WWII despite their being American citizens. The list goes on. It seems, that at every point in our history, we have found someone "different" and made them less because of it.

Today, we outlaw same-sex marriage because, for whatever reason, the love a same-sex couple is wrong. It has been decided that marriage is, by definition, between a man and a woman and that a child cannot be brought up well if it were to be defined differently. It's irrelevant that 50% of marriages end in divorce and that children are abused by their parents. All that America stands for seems to be at peril if same-sex marriage were to be made legal.

We are only as strong as our weakest member. We are only as true as the words we make real.

When will we learn from our past? When will we learn that we can't weaken the humanity of those who are different simply because we choose to not understand? They are not less human simply because we diminish them. In order to grow as a Nation and as a People, we have to create equal ground for everyone. Always.

We must breathe Life into our Words. We say that "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal", and yet, we continuously act to the contrary. Our words mean nothing when we limit their reach.

We have been witness to the destruction that fear and prejudice create. Let us learn from our past so that we can create a new future free of those mistakes. To do otherwise, is to diminish our better selves.

To do otherwise is to diminish Love.

Love deserves more. Much more.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

LTLYM #47: On Giving Thanks

Assignment #47. Write a letter to a former teacher thanking them for teaching you something.

So, I saw this LTLYM assignment on one of my favorite blogs (thanks, Kristen!) and it (again) inspired me.

You see, when I was watching the Inauguration this past January, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and John Williams joined forces with other artists to create a music piece in honor of the event. I immediately thought back to my music class from my senior year in high school (9 years ago!) and thought then that I had to write to my music teacher to thank her for teaching me so much. Because of her, I attended my first classical concert. Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman performed and I fell in love with the art they created with their instruments. Kristen's post reminded me of this. I had thought too much time had passed since January to write the letter now, but the truth is that it's never too late to let people know that they matter, that they've made a difference.

Music is one of those classes that I feel can easily get overlooked because it's not one of those "major" core courses (English, Math, Science, History and Foreign Languages). I have to admit that, at the time, I did not consider the class to be as important as others and while I did all the work, studied for the exams, and tried my best, it wasn't my priority. It's funny how the world works sometimes. Looking back, I learned so much from those 4 months (it was a class we only took for one semester) and so much of what I learned then I still remember today.

So, thank you, Kristen, for sharing LTLYM with me. I've learned so much about myself and others in just a few days of starting my own projects. Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing Kristen's blog with me (and for convincing me to start my own!). Without you both, this journey would never have started at all. While not teachers as such, I have learned so much from you. I'm a better person from having crossed paths with you. And, I believe it's essential for everyone to know the impact they have had on others and on the world. Life is such a fleeting thing. We should all be reminded of the value our own has from time to time.

My challenge to you, if you're reading this? Thank someone in your life. It's ok if it's not a teacher. Reality is, we all teach and we all learn from one another. We all have gifts we share. Don't forget to let others know that their art, whatever its form, matters.

Monday, March 2, 2009

#44. Make a "LTLYM assignment".

So, I came across this website: Learning to Love You More, through the friend of a friend and I decided that I should participate! I've also decided that today is the start of my new year and what better way to start a new year than by doing something new, right?

You may think March 2nd is an odd day for a new year, but I disagree.
1. It's a Monday
2. It's a SNOW DAY. And I don't even go to school. (I just have really cool, understanding and amazing bosses.)
3. I went for a run (on the treadmill) for the first time in two weeks which means my pneumonia is hopefully kicking it (finally!)
4. I hate March 1st so the day after is bound to be a million times better by default. :p
5. Why can't it be my new year if I want it to be!??!

As my first LTLYM assignment, I decided to create my own mainly because I wanted to do something I could write and because I wanted to do something that made me really happy, but that would also push me out of my comfort level.

My assignment?

Write a love letter to yourself.

Corny? Probably, but coming from someone who has struggled with this whole self-love thing for years, I think it's a necessary way to start off the new year. :p And what better way to get over my "oh-my-god-what-are-people-going-to-think-of-me thing than by sharing it here???

Dear Me,

Today, I want you to know that you are awesome. Really.

You do more than you give youself credit for. You do things for others. You give unconditionally. You go out of your way to make people happy. All of this makes you happy, true, but it's not always easy. You do it all anyway because at the end of the day, you know that the doing is not about you at all. You've acknowledged that there is a world beyond yourself and that's the first step in making a difference. I know you struggle with seeing your impact, your worth, your meaining, but if you stopped analyzing and if you just let yourself be, you'd see that while you haven't changed the world, you've changed a small part of your piece in it. And, that's just as important.

You make people smile. And laugh. The office is quiet when you're not there. The fact that this is mentioned every time your away is an indication of your value. Your quirkiness makes everything just a little more interesting. You're different; it's a great thing.

So while you may wonder what the point and meaning of your life is and if you even have one at all, know that you do. You matter- and not because of what you do- but because of who you are. Don't ever forget that.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.

Dear Manny,

I loved it when you were living.

My heart goes out to wherever you are.

I will miss you forever.

I will love you for always.

Your little sister

August 1, 1980-March 1, 1995