Good People

Cars have always been something that have taken me from point a to point b. I was never one for a looker, I just want to make sure I’m safe. When I first bought my CRV, my brother looked at me and asked if I was actually a 36 year old mom with another one of the way as he checked my backseat for the car seat. Ha, Ha, jerk. I never truly recognized how a car can hold so many memories.

A first, terribly awkward, kiss in a mini van.
The time my friends put me in a trunk of a Ford Focus and we drove around like sixteen year old morons.
When my mom taught me how to drive in her Nissan Pathfinder. And then decided to get me private lessons.
Road trips to Cape Cod in my Subaru.
When my brother crashed my forest green Sunfire while I was on vacation. My family decided it would be cheaper to bolt the front bumper back on- so we named it Frankenstein. And then it got hit by a school bus. And I still drove it around.

A car holds so many stories for so many people.

When my best friends boyfriend bought his Ford Country Squire, I have to be honest, I laughed. Ford Country Squire- like… from the Griswold’s family vacation?! Yes. Just like the Griswold’s only less green.
I have my own memories of this vehicle and though they are hazy due to time, they are fond. Back when we would all get together as a big extended family, we would squeeze into the station wagon. My cousins and I would fight for the seats in the way back. At a solid 55mph, you would feel infinite as you faced out towards the backside of the car.

When the offer came to drive the Ford Country Squire to go see Jack Johnson last night, there were no questions asked. Six of us crammed in and began our own Family Vacation, myself as the “chosen one” to sit in between mom and dad for the journey to Jones Beach. It felt like a genuine road trip as we whipped down the Ocean Parkway blasting cassettes and singing at the top of our lungs. A little Beastie Boys, a little Prince.

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We pulled into the parking lot like a bunch of champions. Champions ready to dine of Subway. The meal of Champions.
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And I can’t explain it, but there is something insanely special about popping down, no chairs, no preparation whatsoever, for a semi-impromptu Jack Johnson concert with your friends. And by semi-impromptu I mean we spoke about buying tickets but did not follow through until this week. And we got the perfect weather, and the perfect scenery, and the perfect group. 20140608-102059.jpg
And the car soon became a focal point for multiple people- they came up to us and asked to take pictures of the car, sit in the car, and told us about their own personal stories. One guy recalled laying in the back with his two sisters and sleeping the whole ride down to Florida with his family. He smiled from ear to ear- his wife told us that she has heard this story for the past 11 years and possibly the millionth time. As a group we sat there creating new memories.

When the time came to go into the concert the sky was filled with stars, voices, and an array of potent smells.
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We sang, laughed, and felt like we were sixteen all over again. And it’s the small moments that pass us by that culminate into your unique life. We drove home together, reveling in the amazingness that is Jack Johnson. What a night.

Luna

I believe that truly learning about life comes from experience- it has to be authentically earned from moments we come across whether they are positive or negative. Whatever the moral of the story may be, it’s what that connection imparts in us that helps to define our understanding of the world. Life lessons have come to me from all corners of my tiny universe but one that I have learned greatly from is my relationship with my dog, Luna.

My dog taught me patience- half lab, half crazy, Luna was never the easiest pup to own and though her name came from her dark color that reminded me of the night sky, we would often refer to her as Luna-tic. From the time she was a puppy she made no discrepancies in her hatred towards all humans not in her family. Sure, her incessant barking at strangers was bearable as a little black puff ball, but as she got older and stronger it could scare the pants off of a grown-ass man. A lovely midday walk could result in a 90 pound dog taking me on a drag as she launched her body at a tender little child passing by on the street. I chose the word tender because I imagine that Luna would use that word to describe the child. She looked like she wanted a steak dinner. Because of her difficult behavior, we were forced to keep her bound to the confines of our small raised ranch in the quiet hills of Westchester, New York. As an avid pet lover, it was disappointing that our dog would never be the hiking partner I dreamed of. Or would she.

When I say that Luna will take you on a drag it’s because she truly will, but after becoming a closet Dog Whisperer admirer I began to use Caesar’s training methods on Luna on a regular basis in the Summer of 2007- I was a bored college student home on break and I made it my mission to tame the wild beast. Every day I would take her leash, bring her to the car, and go down to the bike path, choosing the least desirable time for bike riders, joggers, and children to be present (for fear of their safety.)

Day in, day out, this became our routine, 10 miles on the bike path, just me and my dog. If I so much as walked by her leash her head would perk up. I had to be careful with my words around her and even spelling the word car became part of her repertoire. We were bonded by the bike path and overtime she learned that if she even so much as gave a human the side-eye it was back in the car. We are nice in this family, Luna! We don’t eat our friends! I can’t tell you that she became this human loving, child canoodling, dog, and I’m not even convinced that if given the chance she would never eat a child, but within a summer she learned that if she wanted to run, she had to play by the rules. I learned a lot too. I learned the love and bond a person can develop with a pet is remarkable. I learned that hard work and perseverance paid off and I learned to never quit, and never say never. Many people would have quit on Luna a long time ago, but our family loved that dog.

This non-quitting attitude carried into the following year as Luna got sick and stopped walking. The veterinarian put her on a medication but she was given too much and her liver and kidneys went into failure. As a family we discussed at great lengths what to do with our sick, but young dog. The decision was to bring her to another veterinarian and give her a chance. This vet practices holistic medication and today Luna receives acupuncture on a weekly basis- I can’t make this up, that’s how loved this dog is.

Luna getting accupuncture

Luna getting acupuncture

At times we questioned what was the right thing to do. There was never an easy answer, but I will tell you that the right decision was made. Today she can no longer run, but she has been given six extra years of life that were almost taken from her. Since receiving treatment she has regained the ability to walk though she struggles to do long distances. This dog is a fighter, a wise old lady, a family guardian. She is stoic, but humble, and the boss of the other dogs in the house. I admire her.

The summer of 2007 we connected over those walks and developed this secret bond that only she and I will ever understand. I can never thank her enough for those memories. Today I no longer live at home but when I am home she still gets excited when I walk towards the door or near her leash. It breaks my heart to know that times will never be like they were seven years ago, but we both still remember, and that’s a beautiful thing.

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Why it’s Better that I was a Jewish Child

The title is implying a lot of things, so I’ll just cut to the chase and tell you what I mean before you ruffle your feathers. I mean, I’m annoying. I say that as I begin this post from bed at 7 in the morning when there is absolutely no reason to be awake.

John has a little saying he thinks is adorable, that makes me want to punch him when Talia’s up everyone is up! It’s been a sickness since I was a child. Do I mean for it to happen, no, but I’m restless and laying around or sleeping in seems like I just lost a huge portion of my day. So, I get up. And I start doing things. Or bothering people.

You may be thinking to yourself, and so what does this have to do with you being Jewish?

Some of you may have been that child, some of you may have that child. I’ll give you a familiar scenario, you are sleeping, I am not. I tip toe out of my bedroom because I’m bored, duh. Now, I open your door because there is no such thing as privacy once I’m born, and I creep over to the end of your bed so I can awkwardly stare at you. You don’t notice me. I must get closer so I move to a key spot and now, I’m closer to your face and blatantly staring at you while you sleep just waiting for you to notice me and get up.

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Oh, hey, don’t worry about me, whenever you’re ready to get up just let me know.

I’m sure if I was an adorable puggle, such as the photo I borrowed from google depicts, that would have worked better, but it worked fairly well most of the time, perseverance pays off, mom! And the next thing I knew I had a playmate and someone to hang out with in the wee hours of a weekend morning!

Now imagine that exact scenario on Christmas. I can only fantasize about the terror of a child I would have been had I been born Christian and it was christmas morning. I may not be here today.

Mom, mom, mom, mom… Santa brought… Mom. I heard him. Wake up. Mom.

So mazel tov to me for staying alive all of these years. Now, as I sit around waiting for friends to get up I have a better grasp on what’s appropriate and what’s not. Text message your friends. If they don’t answer, they’re sleeping. Bother your boyfriend, he will love you no matter what.

But seriously, I want to open presents. Get up everyone!

And don’t let me forget, as I’m all wrapped up (pun intended) in my own nostalgia…

Merry Christmas everyone! Thanks for letting me share in the culture of Christmas! And making it socially acceptable to wake up earlier than usual.

One good thing about music

In the words of Bob Marley, one good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. That is one good thing- but music is everything. In fact, when people say, I’m not a music person, I don’t exactly understand the kind of person they are at all.

Do you ever wake up on the wrong side of the bed, get into your car to drive to work, and playing on the radio is your jam? Your day just got instantaneously better. That’s the power of music.

Music is a holder of memories and it can be the source of both happiness and in some cases, moments we wish to forget.

Music is the nostalgia of your first love- it’s your first song, or the song that was playing on the radio as you were breaking up. 

When I was diagnosed with lupus I drowned myself in music. At that time I had just discovered Modest Mouse and I could listen to their CD, Good News for People who Love Bad News, on repeat. I was a wallowing teenager who wanted to be swallowed by the unidentifiable sounds and instruments of a band that told me we’ll all float on, alright when I needed to hear it the most.

At times, music has consumed my whole being, and it’s as though I can feel it reverberating off of my bones and become absorbed into my soul. I believe that’s what Bob Marley meant when he said that it hits you.  

When I’m feeling as though, today, I just can’t run, I give myself a simple reminder…

Ten good songs will get you through two miles. 

And the next thing I know I’m out there running.

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Maybe you need to cleanse your mind so you listen to Jack Johnson.
You want to go harder? Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Empowered? Beyonce.
Feel good and fun? Matt & Kim.

Music is limitless. It allows us to connect on a deeper level with ourselves. And in ten songs, you have just completed two miles – and maybe even skipped a song if you got bored.