Choose love …

We all remember where we were. It was an earth-shattering day. A wake up call. And it didn’t matter who we were or where we were, it was a day that we were all called to action.

I was in my car on the way to work when I got the call. I hadn’t worked in years but my old employer asked if I could take a hospital contract since I lived so close to the site. With Sid and George in pre-school I jumped at the chance. It was my husband who had called me. He asked if I knew if my aunt was working in the towers that day. I had no idea why he would be asking me that. For some reason I hadn’t turned on the television nor the radio. I was oblivious to what was happening. And I was in utter shock when he told me.

After checking on Sid and George, I continued on to work. I still don’t know why. No one would have questioned if I had decided it was more important to get my kids, go home and confirm that my family back east was safe. All I can say is that it just seemed to flow naturally.

About two hours later, after absorbing that the United States was under attack, and finding out that my family was no where near the city that day, I was part of a team that was searching hospital rooms for suspicious packages. All the hospitals in our area were receiving bomb threats. Looking back on it now, I don’t think I would have known what a suspicious package even looked like. I was a social worker not a part of a bomb squad. But there I was, discretely checking hospital rooms for anything that I felt looked concerning. Again, it all just seemed to flow naturally. But I wasn’t alone. That day we were all called to do more than we we could have ever expected. And when I say “called” I don’t mean it was a physical call or someone asking. What I saw that day, across our great nation, was that people JUST DID what they felt they needed to do to help. It was beautiful, and sadly for some, that reaction to be of help ended tragically. But seeing the natural propensity to DO GOOD, will forever leave a lasting imprint on my heart and memory. Regardless of our political affiliations, our race or ethnicity, our socioeconomic standing, our education level, our sexual orientation or our religious beliefs, our souls banded together for the greater good. And it was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. And through our grief and healing we came together as a country. We were proud to be Americans. Homes were adorned with flags. We gained a sense of family and togetherness. I felt that it was such an amazing way to honor our fallen heroes. There was a patriotism that swept across our country that I had never seen before in my lifetime. It had me in awe. It still does. I want that for us. I want that for us every minute of every day … because I honestly can’t think of a better way to win against hate and terror and evil, than to show an abundance of genuine love for one another despite all of our differences.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you choose love!!!

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Live, love and laugh …

Last night and this morning I had my Nana on my mind. Nana is my paternal grandmother and she passed away several years ago. I miss her terribly. She was a beautiful human being and I was blessed to be her granddaughter. When you hear of someone being able to love genuinely and unconditionally that was my Nana. She loved you big and you never had to doubt it.

When I was 12 years old my Nana and I spent some time together in New York. It was a short visit but we had a great time. One of our stops was dinner in China Town where she gave me a lovely gold word pendant that I still have today. I believe that my Nana gave me the pendant to always remind me of some simple life rules that would always keep me happy. And I think she was right.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you LIVE, LOVE and LAUGH!!!

Blazing buns …

I love kaiser rolls. They remind me of a winter break I spent in New York many moons ago. The foodie in me just loves food memories. They bring such detail to life events. A taste. A smell. It all brings you back to the very moment you experienced long ago. For me there is nothing quite like a warm kaiser roll with butter and egg to warm your soul on a snowy day. We obviously don’t get snowy days in Southern California but with the impending rain I went to the market yesterday to make sure we had my favorite rolls in the house.

Everyone is on a different schedule here this morning. So breakfast was a buffet of easy foods. I made bacon and sausage the other day and eggs were cooked as needed. I also put out bagels and, of course, kaiser rolls. Libs had a challenge match this morning and I planned on eating after I got back from dropping her off. Her opponent was running late so Libs told me I had plenty of time to eat beforehand. I was pretty hungry so I put a kaiser roll in the oven to warm it and cooked an egg. I guess I was feeling a little rushed because when I reached into the oven to retrieve my warm kaiser roll I pulled it out (so fast?!?!) that it flipped off the baking sheet and on to the bottom of the oven … and caught on FIRE! In my decades of warming kaiser rolls this has NEVER happened before. So I quickly turned off the oven, grabbed some tongs and threw my flaming kaiser roll into the sink. Disaster averted. If you were wondering, I went back to my original plan of eating after I got back home. Which went without incident, smoke or flames. Yay.

Well, I hope you all have a day where your buns aren’t blazing!!!

Jamie Foxx, Annie, Down Syndrome, and reliving a bit of my childhood …

Last night Libs and I went to see the new Annie movie.

We. Loved. It.

When I was 10 years old I flew back to New York, by myself for the first time, to spend the holidays with my family. It was a great trip and it was during that time that my love for the theatre was sparked. My Ya Ya (grandmother) took my cousin and I into the city that year and we saw the Broadway musical Annie.

It was truly magical.

I still remember the staircase in the theatre. All the red and gold. I can still feel the excitement I felt all those years ago. The performance was spectacular. The singing perfect. The costumes and staging transported me to a different time and place. I loved every moment of that experience. I must have listened to that album (yes, the black circular thing) a BAZILLION times thereafter. Andrea McArdle, who played Annie, was the most influential performer to me in my young life. If I remember correctly, she was also the youngest person to ever win a Tony award and it was for her starring role in Annie. Wow!

Flash forward to about a month ago. I’m not a big television watcher or movie goer, but when I heard Jamie Foxx was in the new Annie movie I knew I had to see it. I’m not sure if everyone knows this, but Mr. Foxx has a sister with Down Syndrome. Yep, he’s on OUR “team”! And I recently found out that he and his sister, Deondra Dixon, founded a magazine called “Down Syndrome World”, a publication of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. I don’t know him personally, but he sounds like a pretty great guy to me so far!

So, last night Libs and I got an opportunity to go see Annie. I’ll admit that I’m not sure if it was the time of year, the memories it brought back for me or the fact that it was actually a great movie musical, but I LOVED IT! I laughed. I cried. I sang. And I danced. I even remembered the words to the original songs! Seriously, I was like a kid again! And it only added to my already intact Christmas giddiness!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you get to relive your childhood!!!

Donuts …

I am a pretty healthy eater and I have been most of my life. I came into my love of fitness and nutrition the summer I turned 12 when I discovered the Richard Simmons show. I would write down his recipes and when my mother would come home from work I would beg her to take me to the store to buy all the ingredients. For the record, that woman was a saint. Of course since then, I did the typical high school and college crappy diet scene. But in the end, I always came back to what I knew to be the best thing for my body. Plus I have ALWAYS had a fear of chemicals and preservatives (and plastic for that matter, but again, that is topic for another day). So needless to say, eating healthy caused me less anxiety than dealing with all my other phobias combined, HA!

That all being said, I do have a vice I will probably never give up … DONUTS. Donuts are my thing. They always have been. Honestly, I think it came out of being a New Yorker. Yes, I’ve spent most of my life as a Californian, but it doesn’t matter. Once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker … first and foremost. Anyway, one of my favorite childhood memories is of little pink pastry boxes tied up with string that always seemed to fill my YaYa’s (grandmother’s) hands. Yes, bakeries, pink boxes and donuts are a part of my personal history … silly I know, but sentimental to me nonetheless. Donuts are not just my vice … they have become my reward and my comfort food. When I celebrate, I usually do so with donut. When I am sad, I also comfort myself with a donut. Perhaps I seek them, in good times and bad, because they bring me back to a simple happy time when life was just starting for me. When life was genuinely good and right. When a sweet was just a treat. I cherish the memories I have of the smiles that came across the faces of the people I loved who delighted in what was found inside those pretty pink boxes. Donuts. They may not be the best thing for my body, but every once in a while, they are exactly what my heart needs.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you enjoy a donut!!!