Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Letter from God

I saw this on Facebook and just had to share it here. (This is not mine I am just re-posting.)

Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month. The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so, and she dictated these words:

Dear God,
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her. She likes to swim and play with balls. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had. 

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, 'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.' Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note: 

Dear Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized her right away.

Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I'm easy to find. I am wherever there is love.
Love, God

Monday, September 26, 2011

Some thoughts on food

In my house lately, we've been talking a lot about food. (We love food). We have all of the regular food conversations like what's for dinner, and what we need to buy for the week, and how I cannot seem to let a day pass by without some (all natural) peanut butter (with chocolate, of course).

But, we've also been discussing  other aspects of food and nutrition and health that are now becoming more newsworthy and more urgent. For example,

1. Some studies have suggested that if current eating trends don't change, three-fourths of adults in the United States will be overweight or obese by 2020.That's 8 years from now.

2. There are more obese people in the world now than hungry.

3. And a personal favorite of mine: the overabundance of processed versus whole foods (which is directly linked to points 1 and 2 mentioned above.)

Today, I woke up and as I was thinking about processed versus whole foods, I thought: wouldn't it be interesting to see if I could go one week (baby steps) without ANY processed foods? It would certainly be a challenge. Processed foods are everywhere and in almost everything. Living in NYC, and having a really long commute, it's easier and faster to simply grab a processed snack bar, pretzel or other such food than it is to sit down and eat a salad.

So, we'll see how this week goes without processed food (no white flour, sugar, or pre-packaged "foods".) I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


It's that time of the year again where all of those TV shows I absolutely love to watch come back for another season. In case you're interested, my current show addictions are (in order of importance):
1a. Bones
1b. Castle (Bones and Castle are tied depending on the episode)
3. The Good Wife
4. Glee
5. Grey's Anatomy

I feel like I am forgetting one, but these are the ones I keep up with most.

Last night, Castle started. It was AMAZING. I mean...AMAZING. I can't get over it.

If you haven't watched it, you need to. It's just that good. I owe my own knowledge of this show to Christina who is actually the person responsible for getting me addicted to shows 1a, 1b, and 2. Yeah, we're best friends. (For this, and other reasons, I might add!) Today, I feel the need to share the (TV addiction) wealth.

I can't talk about what happened since there are those reading who haven't seen the episode yet but if you watch Castle, what did you think?

What shows (if any) do you watch?

Monday, September 19, 2011


A little girl died. Five years ago today. Her name was Christi. She was 9. Christi was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was five and bravely fought the disease for 4 years.

Christi was an exceptional soul. There is so much we could all (still) learn from her.

Christi loved her family. Her mom, dad, and little sister were her favorite people in the entire world. Jennifer L, Traci W., were also very high on that list. Today, please keep them in your thoughts and your prayers.  

Christi loved to go to school. She had taught herself to read and could do simple multiplication by the time she was 4. She was beyond brilliant.  Today, when you pass a school, see school supplies, or enter a bookstore, remember Christi and her love of learning. If you can, donate school supplies to children less fortunate in Christi’s honor. She would love that.

Christi loved animals. She dreamed of being a vet when she was older. When she was in Philadelphia for treatment, Christi loved to see the animals that would come to the Ronald McDonald through the Vet’s Pet program. If you happen to see an animal today (in particular a cat), remember Christi and her love of animals.

Christi loved helping others. She held numerous Alex’s Lemonade Stands to raise money for childhood cancer. She would often bring gifts to the other children in the hospital, or read to a younger child as they were waiting for treatment. The Christi Thomas Memorial Fund ( and Kids Cancer Crusade ( were two organizations established to honor Christi and to share her spirit with others. Today, if you can, donate to a cause in Christi’s memory. Through their work, we keep Christi’s spirit alive and her name resounding in the world. 

Christi is so loved and so missed. Today, as you hug your sister, call your mom, cuddle with your pet, read your favorite book, learn something new, help a stranger, or make a friend smile, remember Christi. She is alive in everyone and everything she loved.

Friday, September 16, 2011


I wanted to post something simple today. And then I thought I would share some gratitudes. Because who doesn't love to share in thanksgivng?

1. I am grateful for my friends. For putting up with my rambling emails and for being "there" to listen & love me. You guys are awesome. K., thank you for all of the advice over the last few days. C., I just read your email-- and got teary-eyed too!

2. For my "sorority". You make coming home so much fun.

3. For making new plans & taking new chances. They may not lead where I expect but I am finally opening up to the unknown and discovering that I enjoy it.

4. For great books that make me laugh. Even on public transportation.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Did you know?

Gold Ribbon

Did you know …

In the U.S., childhood cancer is the number one disease killer of children, killing more children between the ages of one and 20 than asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and AIDS COMBINED. It is the second leading cause of death during childhood, exceeded only by accidents.


Did you know …

Approximately 46 children are diagnosed with cancer every day.


Did you know …

Approximately 7children die from cancer every day.


Did you know …

Childhood cancer is not related to lifestyle choices as it is for many adult cancers, and there are no screening tests for most childhood cancers.


Did you know …

Most children cannot be treated at a local hospital, and families must face the disruption of moving for treatment at a regional cancer center.


Did you know … 

Only $0.007 of American Cancer Society and only $0.02 of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fundraising goes to childhood cancer research.


Did you know …

YOU can change these facts? YOU can help save a child's life.
YOU can contact your local congressperson to demand more funding specifically for childhood cancer research. For more information on how to do this, visit Hope Street Kids.
YOU can support Kids Cancer Crusade by donating to my upcoming Christi Thomas Memorial Run or by holding a fundraiser of your own. Kids Cancer Crusade was founded in 2006, inspired by Christi's caring and loving spirit. Christi was 9 when she lost her battle to neuroblastoma. Kids Cancer Crusade works tirelessly to keep her memory alive and to bring sunshine into the lives of other children with cancer and their families.
YOU can make Erin's Dream Lanyards which are sold to raise funds and awareness for the Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation. Erin lobbied congress for more funds for childhood cancer research because she was "tired of waiting" (as she poignantly told a representative). Erin loved making lanyards. She dreamed of a cure. Erin passed away in 2009 after a nearly 7 year fight. She was 11.
YOU can hold an Alex's Lemonade Stand, an organization started by Alex when she was 4 years old. She wanted to help her doctors raise money for a cure-- for her and for other children with cancer. Alex died 4 years later. Her incredible legacy lives on in ALS's work.
YOU can organize a bake sale for Cookies for Kids Cancer, an organization started by Liam's mom when he was first diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Appalled to learn that the main reason 25% of children with cancer die is due to lack of effective therapies-- there are simply no funds for them, she was determined to change that. Liam died in January at the age of 6.
You can find more information at Kids Cancer Fight
 Don't wait until it's your daughter or grandson or cousin or classmate. Do something today. The children are waiting.  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy News

My cousin wanted me to post something "happy" today. So here is some happy case you're needing some.

1. According to the weather channel, it's going to be 66F on Friday. I can't wait. I love fall. It's my very favorite season. Bring on the warm apple cider.

2. Kids Cancer Crusade is making some hoodies! AMAZING!!! (I know). This is directly linked to my love of fall. My family will attest that if I could live in hoodies, i would. Apparently, they're not "professional", though.

3. I am (finally) buying Celia Rivenbark's new book (You Don't Sweat Much for a Fat Girl) today. If she doesn't make you laugh, you don't have a sense of humor. I highly recommend ALL of her work.

4. The farmer's market is overflowing with absolutely delicious apples (and apple cider). Now that I can actually walk outside without feeling gross, it's a great morning stop.

5. And, last, but most certainly not least, my family is (allegedly) planning a trip to Niagara Falls. I can't say I'm excited though because we can't seem to find a date we're all free that doesn't land us at the end of November so we'll see. I'll keep you posted.

What's your news on this lovely Monday?

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Today, thousands of children across NYC are going back to school. They will begin a year of learning about addition, and subtraction, and history, and science. Their days will be filled with assemblies, art projects and after school activities. They will meet new teachers and make more friends. They will grow, and dream, and get one year older.

Today, 46 children will be diagnosed with cancer. They will spend this year learning about chemo and IVs. They will learn to swallow pills and to be careful with germs. They will spend more time with their doctors and nurses than they will with their teachers and classmates. They will miss countless school days, class trips, and special school events. Their hospital room will be their classroom. They will grow wise beyond their years. They will become braver and stronger and more resilient than most of us could ever imagine. They will fight for their lives, and not for a spot on the soccer team.

Today, 7 children will die from cancer. They will miss a lifetime of learning and growing. They will miss a lifetime of waking up early and packing their book bags. They will miss a lifetime of making new friends and running out to recess. They will miss a lifetime filled with the dreams all children carry. Their families will miss their warm hugs, their contagious laughter, and all of the hope that their children brought with them the day they were born.


Are you aware? If not, it’s time to be. There is no more time to wait. Visit Kids Cancer CrusadeErin's Dream Lanyards, Alex's Lemonade Stand, and the Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation (to name but a few organizations) to learn more about what you can do to brighten a sick child’s day, bring hope to a family in need, and change the facts of childhood cancer.

Don’t wait for it to be a child you know and love. Act now. Together, we can make a difference.


Friday, September 2, 2011

My Day in Dora Band Aids

I have to start off this blog entry by acknowledging that the story I am about to relate is most likely going to make me sound completely insane.

I am ok with that. There are those who will understand. And, I am confident that Ylaria would approve, which is really all that matters.

Yesterday was, as you know (at the very least from my last blog entry), the start of Childhood Cancer Awareness month. I intended to mark the month with a platelet donation at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. My iron levels, on the other hand, had other ideas. My counts were way too low and I was (very kindly) rejected. I am fortifying myself on iron-rich foods for another attempt in a few weeks. 

In addition to donating platelets, I had another mission in mind yesterday. For some time, Belen and I had been talking about walking around NYC together and leaving Dora band aids in Ylaria's favorite places. A tribute to Ylaria, if you will, a marker that would say, in its own small way: "Ylaria was here".  I started yesterday.

I left the first band aid on the 6 train sign in the Union Square subway. (You can sort of see it in this picture.) It may seem strange since Ylaria and I were never there together, but this place is significant to me because it is the train I would take to go see Ylaria after work. I know it sounds strange, but every time I pass that sign, I remember running down the stairs to get the uptown 6 train to 68th Street (the stop closest to MSKCC and the RMH). I remember the excitement I would feel at getting to see Ylaria and her family and how incredibly impatient I could get over the 45 minute commute. I miss my trips on the 6 train.

After this little Ylaria stop, I walked over to my office building and placed another band aid on the step outside the main door. Why? Because it's where I was standing the first time Gino asked me to babysit Ylaria so that he could run some errands. "Would I mind coming for 20 minutes?", he asked. "Of course not!", I responded. I stayed for two hours. That was the first of countless visits. I wish I could make some more. (There is no photo of this band aid.) 

My last band aid stop for the day was near the entrance for MSKCC (above). After I was denied my platelet donation, I walked outside and placed it very carefully on the sidewalk. Someone saw me snapping the picture and said: "Are you really taking a picture of a Dora band aid on the sidewalk." And I said. "Yes." (very definitively) and walked away. I am certain he thought I was insane. He doesn't understand the significance of Dora band aids.

After this picture, I did something I wasn't planning on doing at all. I walked into MSKCC. I can honestly say now that the need to walk in that building was my driving force at the time. When the security guard asked me where I was going, I told him I was going to peds on the 9th floor. He let me through. I walked into the gift shop and looked around. I saw things that I knew Ylaria would like. I saw chocolates that I remember sharing with Belen on one of my many visits there. Then, I got on the elevator and took it up to the 9th floor. I got out, stood in the hall for a moment, and then took the elevator down again. A nurse saw me then and said, "You just missed the elevator" (she did not see me get off initially.) I replied that I had missed my stop. The lump in my throat was too big to explain any more.

I am completely aware that in sharing the above, I sound completely insane. I can assure you, I am not. It's hard to explain. Impossible, actually. All I can say is that I wanted to do something to honor Ylaria yesterday. I wanted to spend some time reliving moments that I had shared with her. Some people feeling a need to remember a loved one might light candles. Others might choose to release balloons. I leave Dora band aids in places that most remind me of Ylaria. I smile every time I pass them now.

I did not raise any great degree of awareness on my venture . I'll be making more lanyards for Erin's Dream Lanyards and gold ribbons for Kids Cancer Crusade this weekend. But, yesterday, I needed to start my month with a tribute to one of my very best and most cherished friends: Ylaria, a soul who taught me so much about strength, and courage, and laughter, and love, and the pure magic of being alive.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Today is the first day of September. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Do something this month...every single day to raise awareness for this important cause. Working together we can make sure that a cure is found. The suffering of children and their families can stop. I truly believe this.

Too many children have lost their battles: Manny, Ylaria, Christi, Erin, Kayla, Liam, Sydney, Alex, Mary, Matty, Tyler...the list is endless.

Too many are still fighting: Elizabeth, Codey, Spencer, Emily, Maddux, Nathan, Joshua, Dominique....another endless list.

And many more will be diagnosed. Today. And tomorrow and all month long.

There is simply no more time to wait.

Together, we can make a change. Let's start. Now.

Today, I am going to donate some platelets at MSKCC. What are you going to do?