Friday, December 31, 2010


I may have mentioned this before…in our family we have somewhat of a ritual, every New Year’s Eve we all write on small pieces of paper the things that we felt were great about the year and put them in a small “memory” box with the year written on them so we can look back on those pieces of paper in the following years. We also write on small pieces of paper for that same year what things were bad, and then we put those memories in the fireplace and watch them burn. There’s something quite cathartic about seeing the bad things burn away, giving a fresh start to the new year, with nothing but the good memories left behind; of course this is symbolic, we still have our minds to deal with, but generally it’s a very purifying experience.

The year 2010 has been a difficult year for me and my family, and this year we’ve all said that while we’ve had a few things that we were glad that we had the chance to be able to see and do, and of course we would all like to write down those few things and put them in the box, what we all felt like we wanted to write down about the bad things instead of writing the individual things which seemed too many to write was to just write down 2010 and throw it in the fire. We’re still deciding what we will do, and what will make us feel best. Here are some of the things:

In the box:
We really enjoyed going to Maine this summer, seeing Jamie in Rumors this winter, Rachel is very happy that after many years of wishing she finally got an Apple computer for her birthday. I met some amazing people this year that are helping me make my Non-Profit Brain Matters and the walk I intend to make in October go from a dream to a reality. Jon and I happily spent a beautiful time celebrating our 25th Anniversary at Bedford Post Inn. Jamie interned at Telsey Casting this summer, which she loved so much she wished she could just camp out there overnight. We’re always thankful for our pets, and this year we’re glad for having met Jamey Garfinkle at Pet Sitters, who walks Max four days a week. Jamie has been such a help to me, and a great friend to Max. Lastly, we’re glad that we’re here to see the possibility that 2011 is a better year.

In the fire:
We were supposed to move in December 2009 when the seller of the house that we’re now living in came to visit us at the house we were living in at the time, uninvited two weeks before we were suppose to move into his house and said he didn’t want to move anymore. What? We learned a lot about NY Real Estate law this year. We moved, but not when we had planned, but the people who bought our house still moved into our house, fortunately they rented it to us for a month after they bought it (while they lived elsewhere), then we moved at the end of that month. All our stuff went into storage, we moved in with my parents, including all our pets…just like the old days when I was in High School…NOT. Shortly afterward one of our cars was in a car accident, only we weren’t in it (that was good, I guess), it was hit while parked. Our other car stopped working because it needed a new transmission (bad timing). While the cars were being repaired, I went to LA for a few days, and Jon and Rachel went to Florida. I missed my first flight, and flew out the next day. I started to feel my whole body buzzing-the warning of what would turn out to be seizures that I was to be diagnosed with due to a combination of post-radiation and stress. When I was leaving LA, my return flight was 4 hours delayed. When I returned, it was one thing after another, our dogs were crazy living at my parents, it snowed every other day, we continued to battle it out every day with our “sellers”. At the end of the month I was in the hospital. We closed on the house the beginning of February, but I was unable to go to closing. Our stuff left storage and we moved into the new house without my being there…it took me months after we moved in to find things. Rachel helped tell the movers where things should go once they reached the house. Jamie came home from school to help Jon get things from my parents to the house. I was still trying to figure out my medicine and my seizures. After all this, we dealt with kitchen renovation, painting, I didn’t drive for months, one of our birds died in June, Jamie had stuff, Rachel had stuff, Jon and I had stuff, our dogs had stuff. How could we not have stuff? Goodbye 2010. Here’s to hoping 2011 will be better year, and no worse a year. Happy New Year!

It's Days Like This

There’s this way of assuming things, taking things for granted, that once you’ve learned that you can’t…you don’t…you won’t, not ever. This not ever taking things for granted is as they say “both a blessing and a curse”, it allows you to appreciate things in a way that you may never have been able to before, but you also are anxious and worried that you may not live long enough to see and do the things you want to be seeing and doing. So it’s with that in mind that I tell my next story…event really. It goes like this:

Jamie (my oldest daughter), who is now in her senior year at the University at Buffalo was recently cast as one of the leads in Neil Simon’s farce “Rumors”. First, it’s hard to believe Jamie is a senior in college. She just started college when I called her to let her know that I was going to have to have another brain surgery. My first brain surgery was when Jamie was a bit over a year old-she doesn’t remember much, if anything at all about that surgery. Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled story.

The three and half years since Jamie started college have flown by in one way, and crept by in another. So much has happened in these years, and yet there have been times we have all wished for certain of those events to move by faster than others. The family has moved, we’ve had pets that have died, more doctors appointments than we can count…these things some how have gone by slowly, but Jamie’s time in college…to us anyway, has gone by quickly.

Jamie has always loved the stage; she loves everything about it. Before she was performing on a stage, she was performing at home. When she was got a bit older, she went to USDAN, a summer theater camp where she met and still stays in contact with other theater loving kids-who have and will go on to pursue careers in theater. I don’t think I can remember happier times for Jamie than the ones when she’s been onstage. Among other roles, she was an excellent Peter Pan at her Junior High School-in fact they still talk about it at that school, and it’s been probably eight years since she’s played that role. This year she was cast as Chris Gorman in “Rumors”. Jon and I booked our flights, our hotel room, Max’s Pet Motel stay. We were in snowy Buffalo a total of 24 hours. Jamie said something, that rang poignantly to me; she said that was probably going to pursue a career in the world of theater, but her intent was not to pursue a career as an actor (that wasn’t what rang poignantly). She said, “you know, I was thinking…this may be my last time on stage!” My feeling is that if she loves it, she will find a way to do it. What’s the saying? Where there’s a will, there’s a way? Even if she doesn’t do it professionally, she can do it locally, or regionally…who knows…passion is an extraordinary thing. I know this first handedly. But still it did leave me with a funny feeling; it felt like sort of an ending, which I guess is somewhat of the same feeling she was feeling in herself. All the more reason I was glad to have been able to make the trip.

The organizing and traveling for this “blink of an eye experience” was so totally worth it. Jamie was magnificent. She looked terrific, she was funny, captivating, of course I missed the fact that she didn’t sing, because I love when she sings, but I was so glad to be able to be there. As I was watching her on stage all I could think was that over these last few recent years I wasn’t sure where I was going to be, or how I was going to be…but here I was…watching her. I will remember this always. I love you Jamie-you’re terrific, and will be terrific at whatever you choose to do.