Thursday, December 31, 2009

live in the now

Live in the now.

...life is short.

...seize the day and place no trust in tomorrow

...happy endings are not reliable. happy nows are.

...the future is promised to no one

...the living moment is everything

...live every day as if it were your last and then some day you'll be right

...it is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis

...forever is composed of nows

...dream as if you'll live forever. live as if you'll die today

...this moment keeps on moving, we were never meant to hold on

...nothing gold can stay

...life is uncertain, eat dessert first

...The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

2009 was not my favorite year, but 2009 gave me my biggest life alteration of pure liberation, freedom, and happiness. I live in the now (and I don't just say it)!

My New Year's Resolution is really a daily resolution, to live in the now, till now ends!

Happy 2010 to all!
May you live all the days of your life!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Toxic Sea

I am swimming in a toxic sea full of arrogant, gross, insecure, crazy, weird, narcissistic fish.

Will somebody throw me a lifeline, the water is bleak here!?!

First of all, I was always skeptical and now totally discouraged about the whole idea of online dating. The profiles that are out there are reee-diculous. I have past the point of no return on here...I'm drowning!!!

In the sea of plenty of fish, I see pictures of bare-chested men, arrogant braggers of their travels and boats, overly sensitive guys, uneducated men, married, yes married men too, about me sections longer than my longest blog, corny lines, and desperation leaking everywhere! Is this for real? I mean, seriously, it couldn't be! Oh, but it is...

Let's start with some of the emails I get:
  • "how was your weekend with out me?" - are you serious?
  • "wow you are gorgeous?" - that's it, you think you can throw me a compliment and I'm yours!
  • "hi" - okaaaay, you gotta do a little better than that, especially with that profile of yours.
  • "I like what you wrote, I think we can be compatible." - oh really, based on what? you're profile that tells me you love irish bars and prefer big breasts! yeah, that is so not me!
  • "should I attempt to drop a line here, or just flat out buy you a tiger...jk...lol" - what does that even mean?
or my favorite one:
  • "are you real? are you really on here?" - wow, nothing like starting with insulting me for being single and on an online dating service.

But wait, it gets even better when you read the profiles that these emails come from:
  • One profile said that any first date should include handcuffs and oil. - I kid you not!
  • One guy outwardly states he has no ambition except for having fun and he has no hobbies except for being sarcastic! - wow, you're a winner!
  • Or the many profiles that select "prefer not to say" when asked, Do you want children? Do you drink? do you do drugs? - are you fucking kidding me? how hard is it to answer these questions. Reject!!!
  • One profile jokingly stated that one of his interests are to tell children that Santa is a lie! - not funny, just stupid!
  • Some other interests I read on profiles: midget tossing, asking bums for spare change, camel toes, xanax, stalking people - I know, I know, the stupidity is endless.
  • Or the profiles that make jokes about their occupation, like male belly dancer. - no comment.
and the last one (only cause I just can't do this anymore):
  • One profile literally says "enjoying the finer things in life, while laughing at the misfortunate." - for real!?

I wish this was all a big joke or fiction for the sake of entertainment...

****HUGE SIGH****

No wonder I'm still single!!

Will all the normal single guys please stand up?!



oh and by the way, unlimited texting is a necessity for dating in the 21st century, you will get asked out, complimented, thanked, blown off, and even dumped by a text.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chrismakkuh Bush!

Christmas tree, o' christmas tree
Much pleasure that doth bring me!

What is a christmas tree? What does a christmas tree mean to you?

Being raised in a jewish home, I never had a christmas tree. It wasn't anything I desired to have or felt left out not having one. When I met and moved in with my catholic boyfriend, now known as my ex-husband, I had my first Christmas tree. We incorprated Hanukkah as much as possible; making the tree blue and silver (and purple), adding Hanukkah ornaments, and calling it a Hanukkah bush. It was so much fun! After the divorce, I had the first year of Christmas without the tree (and without Mathew) and it felt weird, bare and depressing. This year, I did debate putting the tree up...and that's when I realized it's a part of my life's tradition now. Eleven years later, it's a beautiful decorative piece in my house that brings holiday joy and cheer during the season. It doesn't celebrate the birth and life of Jesus. It doesn't symbolize christianity, catholicism or christmas even. It's fun and truly does bring me joy!!

I have a Hanukkah bush, ornaments, stockings, wreath, and small xmas decorative trees outside. I have menorahs, dreidels, window decals, and garland. I light the menorah. I put gifts under the tree and in our stockings. Come the New Year, they all get boxed up and stored away for the next year's holiday season.

It's really silly to make such a big deal out of a jewish born and raised girl having a Hanukkah bush. Get over it! I'm not going to hell, my son is not going to be confused, and my life is not a mess. I may not be religious, but I have faith, compassion, and spirituality! I don't need an organized religion to tell me how to be a compassionate, good person, nor do I need any of you to judge my traditions, beliefs, and life!

I have a chrismakkuh bush. Get over it!
I am me. Deal with it!

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them" - Mother Teresa

Peace on Earth!
It begins with random acts of kindness, not judgment or bigotry!
Merry Chismakkuh and Happy New Year to all!






Sunday, December 20, 2009

wish you were here

wish you were here

the days go by
as if you were here
you're never too far
but you're not really here

i long to hug you
i can always feel you near
my heart is filled with your love
but you're not really here

i wanna call you
your voice to hear
you're everywhere
but you're not really here

in times of need
it truly dawns on me
and i'm just left crying
cause you're not really here

a day never goes by
without you close to me
your memory is alive
but you're not really here

you're not really here
you're not really here
it's hard not having you here
i just wish you were here

~sol


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

...all in due time


navigating
wandering
drifting
biding my time
in rough waters

breathing
hoping
holding on
to the beacon of hope
swirling in and out of my line of vision

struggling
scurrying
madness
my mind is tiring out
soon to be left drowning

enduring
optimistic
believing
surely a life line will be thrown my way
to take me out of these tides that crash me down

...all in due time!


Have you ever been in a tough situation where the only thing you can do is wait? Some days you have hope it will all be over soon and some days you are so drained that you just want to give up. You are torn between despair and hope; disappointment and encouragement; anger and peace. You are not sure what the answers are to the questions or even what the questions are. The light at the end of the tunnel never seems to get any closer, but there's always light. You are heading towards the light not even knowing what to expect, just knowing that anywhere but here is a better place. And in due time, whenever that will be, you will find peace again...

...all in due time!

~sol


Friday, December 11, 2009

...and place no trust in tomorrow

This WAS me a few years ago (before my divorce)...
I am respsonsilbe, sensible, and predictable. I am the non-spontaneous planner with goals and objectives in life. I have the daily planners (now in technology format), with to-do lists and notes to self. I am overanalytical and indecisive. I strategize and create pros and cons lists and weigh every option. I am a control freak that needs to anticipate the outcomes in life. I have 5 year plans and fear the unknown of my future without proper planning and direction.

This WAS me after explorig the buddhists teachings (in the last few years)...
I am respsonible but take more risks. I am sensilbe but love to be unpredictable. I am spontaneous and dip my toes in the unkown. I go with the flow without set targets or plans. I still have to-do lists but don't fret. I don't weigh every option, I follow my heart's every little desire. I've let go of control and embrace life's unexpected turns. I have no idea where I will be in five years, except that I will be happy. I live in the moment not worrying about my future. I don't put off things for tomorrow if I can do them today. I live for the moment (and not just say it).

This WAS me in the last four months (since my brother passed away)...
I am even more adventurous and have taken uncalculated risks. I've splurged on expenses that take me beyond my comfort zone. I don't pass up on any opportunity or experience offered to me. I don't know how to put things off for tomorrow. I reel in excitement of the unknown. I stopped taking life seriously and accepted the things I can't change. I've forgotten how to strategize and plan for my future, I'm too busy living in the now.

This is me NOW:
I believe that where I came from and how I have gotten to where I am today is a nice blend of all of the above creating a harmonious, mindfulness, and balanced life. I have been given a gift, a chance, a ticket to change the course of my life and I am fully on board this new ride till the end. This new attitude, my new lifestyle, can be strongly attributed to my brother's recent death and my latest years of buddhist readings. Even my tattoo, intentionally designed to represent both, is a reminder of this new lifestyle I have come to learn, love, and embrace. Through these new set of rose-tinted glasses, I see that life is unpredictable, transient, and unfair, yet more importantly life is what you make it. I live consciously, rest in stillness, breathe in/breathe out, savor the present, go with the flow, accept suffering and let it go, observe and embrace the greater universe, and I live in the now, now, now!

Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero – "seize the day and place no trust in tomorrow"

...and place no trust in tomorrow




Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sex is a Drug

Pope Benedict XVI says sex can become like a drug. I'd like to correct him now by saying, sex IS a drug. It's alluring, sinful, and addicting. Your heart pounds, your body sweats, the smells intensify, and the orgasms send you to heaven in a euphoric state of mind. Whether in love or in lust, it stirs up desires and cravings. Endorphins kick in and dopamine starts coursing through your body. This positive experience leaves you flying high and yes, leaving you with withdrawals. Sex is a drug!

I'm not addicted, I'm just a recreational user!


Before I go, here are a few sex analogies I started with while drafting this blog:

Sex is like a can of pringles, once you pop, you can't stop
Sex is like lay's potato chips, you can't just eat one
Sex is like Maxwell coffee, good to the last drop
And my favorite (regularly used):
Sex is like a snickers bar, it satisfies.

Honest Scrap Award

Ellen, from .....this bittersweet symphony, was super kind enough to give me my first blog award, the "Honest Scrap" award. Thanks Ellen!!! I keep it real on here :)



Monday, November 23, 2009

the lightning storm

when the knock finally arrived
a force of energy jolted inside of me
as I opened the door, this stunning beam of light hits me
our connection igniting a fire in our eyes

it was just a brief gaze
before her long legs swayed past me
my mind all fuzzy with electricity
but my desires thundering clearly
I pull her in close and feel the heat rising

before words were spoken
our lips charged firmly
hands moving ecstatically
and in a flash we were in the middle of a storm

lace panties around her thighs
skirt hiked up to her waist
stiletto heels gravitating off the tile floor
sparks flying in my living room

as I lay her over the arm rest
she's looking back at me with arousing flurry
her eyes lock in with mine
as I penetrate with a force of love

my thunderbolt of passion
firmly gliding through her wet trail
we crash into each other
causing the floor to shake beneath us

enraptured by her reckless abandonment
my hands entwine in her hair
and around her art adorning neck
her mouth opened in graceful haste
I can hear passion in her breath

as we make our way around the room
the sun is sinking deeper
her silhouette sparkling in its reflection
I lower her down beside me

the calm before the orgasmic storm
conducting a slow stirring movement
magnetic energy pulsing inside
ending with an abrupt electric discharge

leaving us breathing heavily
with drops of sweat trickling down
exhilarating smiles are exchanged
the storm has passed
words finally spoken...

~sol

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dork

Dork?!?!
Who me? Neh, couldn't be!
According to many of my personal close friends, they would say "YEA YOU!!!"
This week, I was reminded by two close friends that I am a dork (Thanks Denise and David). They never let me forget, nor do others. It's definitely not the first time I've heard it, nor shall it be the last. I hope it's a term of endearment though.

When I hear dork; I hear quirky, silly, loquacious, humorous, nerdy, geeky, oddball, spunky...

Yup, that's me...I am a bookworm, use puns, laugh at myself, act like a goofball, quote movies in conversation, have a keen interest in technology, a knack with computers, love love gadgets, a geek in many subjects, wear glasses, fancy comic book heroes, and I don't care what anyone thinks about it. Denise, David, does that about cover it??

So yes, I am dork! So what? Thinking about it, my dorkiness can actually date back to childhood. I was a dork way before being a dork was cool. Wait, is that even a compliment to myself?!

Anyhoo, I am a dork, proud of it, and love all fellow dorks!!! You know who you are ;)

Now the question is are you a dork too?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Congratulations?

Mathew told me this weekend that his step mom was cooking a baby in her belly...strange I thought. I laughed it off, but told myself to ask his dad if this were true. Mathew doesn't usually make up stories, so I was taken back by his statement and was left in total disbelief. I let it slip my mind and didn't bother to ask about it. I carried on forgetting about this comment, as did Mathew. When I called his father today, to discuss some other Mathew items of business, I realized there was something nagging in the back of my head...then he beat me to the punch. "Mathew is having another brother or sister!" So it was true! Congratulations I say apprehensively with a question mark rather than an exclamation point. And the story goes...Mathew (my little smarty-pants) deduced that she was pregnant and questioned his dad and stepmom. They had to tell him the truth, seeing as she's having the baby at the end of January. So, dad figured that if Mathew knew, it was only a matter of time that I will find out about it...so the lion found courage and finally made the announcement to me.

I'm not annoyed at all about the late announcement or the fact I heard the news from my son first. It's not really an issue at all. I think I'm just a little concerned that they failed to tell Mathew he was having another sibling in his life. They waited until he asked them. What were they waiting for? In about TWO months, my son will have another sibling and they somehow failed to mention it to him. Did they think he was not smart enough to understand? Did they think he doesn't need time to adjust to this idea? Did they think it wasn't that big of a deal? I just don't get the logic behind this thought process. So now I sit with my son, and talk to him about this upcoming life changing event that is about to happen to him (we make delicious lemonade again). I ask him how he feels about it? His response: happy! *phew* He always amazes me. He is so well-adjusted and YES, I take all the credit. :) Interestingly, the conversation carries into a different twist, asking me if I'm going to make a baby soon. I told him, no but I hope to someday. He asked if it would be real soon. I said no, that I first had to find a daddy for the baby. Then he melts my heart by saying, that he would be the daddy! I love being a single mom...I guess I really don't have that much to worry about, after all. Mathew will be just fine and already proved to me that he would tell me otherwise!

I thank god for my unanswered prayers!

I seriously with all my heart wish my ex-husband and his family a life of happiness. And what makes it easier for me to say that with heartfelt, true empathy is simple, Mathew! There's nothing I wouldn't do for my little man!

Monday, November 16, 2009

unlimited texts

out of the blue
ding ding ding

a short message service
a note of sweetness

the smile on your face grows
and your heart pumps faster

one message after another
it gets carried away

from hello sunshine
to what are you wearing

in partial shock
with a twist of excitement

not sure how to respond
you uncover an inner naughty side

details shared of your intentioned moves
arousing yourself in the process

pop ups keep chiming
and body parts are buzzing

back and forth, slow and fast
dirty words exchanged

our desires obscenely expressed
as our fingers click away

black sounds fill the screen
as rich in tone as your voice

I want yous
and oh the things I'll do to you

teasing and suggestive
unrefined and x-rated

only building the suspense
for another insurmountable night

and even if they are just words...
they are words worth having an unlimited text plan

~sol

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

adrenaline rush

adrenaline rush

it all started when
he placed his hand ever so inconspicuously on her knee
then sliding down her inner thigh
stimulating her heartbeat
she glances over
his confidence allures her in
she bites her bottom lip with visuals running wildly through her mind
he presses firmly with appetite
her eyes close and she breathes deeply
he's throbbing in excitement while concentrating on the road
the yearning heats up
her nerves dissipate
she grabs the back of his neck roughly
his hand seducing her valley
she squirms in delight and excretes in desire
their hunger reaching full capacity
it's only a matter of time
they meet for momentary kisses
she unbuckles to move in closer
nibbles on his ear
while her hand wanders over his enticing body
she finds a firm package waiting for her, wanting her
the moment intensifies
it's warm and inviting
enraptured in the moment
forgetting the world around
they reach their destination
with adrenaline coursing through their veins
without letting a moment pass by
they begin the climb to ecstasy
two lovers
exploring each other
discovering new senses
intoxicated by passion
leaving them with an erotic day of blissful euphoria...

days later, the adrenaline rush is still kicking in with cravings and wet dreams for more.


~sol

BPPV

My eyes are not just the window to my soul, but the window to my inner ears.

The ENG testing I had today measures my normal and involuntary rapid eye movements to find the problems in how the inner ear, brain, or nerves connecting them work. Essentially, they have to intentionally make you feel dizzy to get a reading of your eye movement. UGH! So today, I was intentionally dizzy and nauseous for testing purposes. I'm still not feeling on steady ground.

So the reason behind this testing, I never mentioned previously...

Two weeks ago, I had an extremely bad case of vertigo, complete with the loss of balance, nausea, and vomiting. It lasted almost 5 hours and slowly tapered down for the whole week following. After two ENT visits, hearing tests, MRI, and now ENG (oh and lots of $$$) later, I am "unofficially" diagnosed with BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo). Treatment is surprisingly physical therapy. I will also be looking into acupuncture.

Did I mention that nausea and vomiting are the worst symptoms EVER!?!?!

Before I go, let me leave you with today's date:
11.11 - Three months later...Robin, you are never far from my thoughts and always in my heart! ♥

Monday, November 2, 2009

My Bookmark

Mathew found my bookmark this morning on my nightstand. I finished reading my book last night so it was laying in plain view. My bookmark is a laminated wallet-size picture of my brother Robin and me. When I asked Mathew why he took it, he said he liked the picture. I asked him who was in the picture. He proceeds to say with sadness in his eyes:

Mama and Uncle Robin
Robin is not with us anymore
I miss him so much
He's in my heart today
(then corrects himself...)
He's in my heart everyday

my sentiments exactly!



We miss you Robin SO MUCH!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Buddhist Prayers

This morning, I wrote a status update on my facebook account that said "wishing.hoping.praying." A religious friend commented that prayers should be first. My response is this blog:


Like a Buddhist, I believe in prayer as a form of meditation, the idea for enlightenment through contemplation and insight. I do not believe in prayers for worship. I suppose the difference for me is that I prefer looking within than to some external source. I prefer compassion over fear; insights over ignorance; guidance over contradictions. A Buddhist prayer is like embracing the universe, conversing with it, then cultivating it within. I was born and raised Jewish. Today, I would say I am spiritually religious. I arrogantly believe that I have strong faith, compassion, and spirituality that needs no organized religion.

so when someone tells me that prayer should be first, yes I get a little defensive...
I pray, meditate everyday.
It just may not be to the same god, jesus, or other worshiping idol you pray to.


"Buddhist prayer is a practice to awaken our inherent inner capacities of strength, compassion, and wisdom, rather than to petition external forces based on fear, idolizing, and worldly and/or heavenly gain. Buddhist prayer is a form of meditation; it is a practice of inner reconditioning. Buddhist prayer replaces the negative with the virtuous, and points us to the blessings of life."

"For Buddhists,...prayer inspires our hearts towards wisdom and compassion for others and ourselves."

What's more, it can a function as a form of self-talking or self-therapy in which one mentally talks through a problem, or talks through it aloud, in the hope that some new insight will come or a better decision can be made. Prayer therefore frequently has the function of being part of a decision-making process."
- G.R. Lewis


Buddhist prayers are a form of meditation. Meditation is a technique intended to transcend the cognitive and thinking process (a working progress for me). Meditation instructions vary, but ultimately they are to sit quietly and focus on your breath or a repetitive chant. It is said, that regular practice cultivates wisdom and compassion and leads to awareness and letting go, "so that one can experience the mind's underlying innate qualities of bliss, equanimity, and the peace that surpasses understanding."

I read a story once about Mother Teresa and how she was asked what she said when she prays: "I don't say anything, I just listen." She was then asked what was it that God says to her. Mother Teresa replied "God doesn't say anything, he just listens too." This is a perfect example of transcending thoughts. Isn't this the ultimate purpose of all prayers and medication in all religions?


I suppose I can carry on and on about this...like I always do on this subject. But I'd like to end it with a specific meditation chant I learned and use, the four immeasurables, a series of four virtues used as a chant in meditation to cultivate those very virtues:

May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness; (loving-kindness)
May all be free from sorrow and the causes of sorrow; (compassion)
May all never be separated from the sacred happiness which is sorrowless; (sympathetic joy)
And may all live in equanimity, without too much attachment and too much aversion,
And live believing in the equality of all that lives. (equanimity)

a short version:
~~may i be well, may i be safe, may i be happy, and may i be peaceful~~
This chant should be directed first toward oneself, then to family, friends, strangers, enemies, and all beings.

~~may i be well, may i be safe, may i be happy, and may i be peaceful~~
~~may i be well, may i be safe, may i be happy, and may i be peaceful~~
~~may i be well, may i be safe, may i be happy, and may i be peaceful~~
~~may i be well, may i be safe, may i be happy, and may i be peaceful~~
~~may i be well, may i be safe, may i be happy, and may i be peaceful~~

Monday, October 19, 2009

What I Want

An old poem
April, 1996

What I Want

What I want contradicts what I want
Or maybe what I want is just ever-changing
Or is it just a dream that I dream?
Or maybe what I want is just
O U T - O F - R E A C H ! ! !


~sol

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wild Thing

After much debate and contemplation, I think I will take Mathew to see this movie after all...Can't wait! :)

Inside all of us is a...
WILD THING





Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another. His mother called him "WILD THING!" and Max said "I'LL EAT YOU UP!" so he was sent to bed without eating anything. That very night in Max's room a forest grew and grew- and grew until his ceiling hung with vines and the walls became the world all around and an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for Max and he sailed off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the wild things are. And when he came to the place where the wild things are they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws- till Max said "BE STILL!" and tamed them with a magic trick of staring into their yellow eyes without blinking once and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all and made him king of all wild things. "And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!" "Now stop!" Max said and sent the wild things off to bed without their supper. And Max the king of all wild things was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all. Then all around from far away across the world he smelled good things to eat so he gave up being king of where the wild things are. But the wild things cried, "Oh please don't go- we'll eat you up- we love you so!" And Max said, "No!" The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws but Max stepped into his private boat and waved good-bye and sailed back over a year and in and out of weeks and through a day and into the night of his very own room where he found his supper waiting for him- and it was still hot.



Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Your Hands

I heard this song on So You Think You Can Dance, New Orleans audition...and I just had to share. The lyrics, the melody, the voice...so beautiful, so inspiring. I fell in love with it the minute it started. I love it!

I don't consider myself a religious person, although I am passionately spiritual and deeply faithful. For me religion, it's personal. And to me, this song is about never leaving your faith even when your world is crashing down. Believe that everything is the way it's meant to be and that you are where you are supposed to be. Have, hold, and keep faith in your God.


take a listen...




Your Hands
by JJ Heller

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

Your hands
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave You when...

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave...
I never leave Your hands


Before I go, I'll leave you with this quote:
"May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith..." -St. Theresa's prayer

i see you

i see you

i see you
and what i see amazes me
through your deep brown eyes, i see your passionate heart
so deep with compassion and love
i see you

beyond your glittery smile, i see a white glowing aura
so endlessly giving and nurturing
i see you

from the whisper of your words, i see a treasure
so spiritually connected and a gifted soul
i see you

surrounded by your arms, i see a friend
so generous and forever loyal
i see you

in the strength in your arms, i see a fighter
so courageous and brave, a hero to most
i see you

inside the chair you sit in, i see a remarkable person
so authentic and real, unwavering
i see you

and above it all,
i see you
i see you

i see you Camile!




your soul sister, your kindred spirit
with all my love,
~ nancy sol

Friday, October 2, 2009

Top 10 Things I Can't Live Without

Top 10 Things I Can't Live Without


10. my job
it affords me the ability to live my life and have the 9 other things I can't live without

9. iPhone
my lifeline to the world...since I like being alone it keeps me connected while still being alone

8. TiVo
a time to unwind and numb my mind without commercials (occasionally it kick starts my mind instead)

7. mother nature's earthly possessions
an everyday reminder that life is beautiful

6. chocolate
chocolate satisfies (need I say more)

5. music
inspires me, moves me, and heals me

4. books
keep me dreaming, hoping, and always wanting more

3. traveling
the only thing worth spending my hard earned money on
to explore, discover, adventure, and live

2. faithful friends and family
to give and receive support and love

and as if you couldn't guess what my #1 one thing I can't live without is:


1. Mathew
the light and energy source of my life



Wednesday, September 30, 2009

4 and 33

Last night, Mathew asked if he can see my tattoo again (it was peeking out of my shirt). When I moved the strap down, that wasn't enough...he wanted to see it all. After staring at it for a while, he says, "look the flower is falling down here." Perfect! The tattoo artist, Nicole, did such a remarkable job that even my almost 4 year old son can see the tattoo in motion. Awesome! Exactly what I wanted. After he was done scoping it out, he asked if he could get a tattoo. I told him someday when you are a lot older. He then says, "older like a Mama!" I smiled and said, "Yes, older like a Mama!"



The perception of age changes with age. Mathew looks at me and thinks 'my mom is OLD!' But when he hits his thirties, he won't be singing that same tune. What constitutes old anyway? Is it relative to your health, state of mind, or based on a number? All of the above? If age is really just a number, why do we still judge people based on their age, why are discounts given to senior citizens, why do kids under 12 get all sorts of free stuff, why are movies rated by age, why are toys given age appropriate labels, why can women over 60 get pregnant, why do some bald in their 20's, why do we all mature at different ages (if at all, in some cases), why do athletes retire in their 30's, and why is my mom on facebook? Obviously, age is not just a number, it's a number and a whole lot more.

Sometimes I feel old and other times I feel young, footloose, and fancy-free! Check out this old blog: Top 10 Reasons Why I Feel Old - 2 years later and that list still fits!

Next week, Mathew is turning 4 on the 4th and I'm turning 33 on the 8th. Happy Birthday to us!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

everyday

what once seemed unlikely
considering a memory like mine
fear of forgetting
or letting the days go by
I am now certain
without a doubt
till the very end
my memory will not give out
with peace in my heart
it's easy to say
Robin, I will
think of you everyday


~sol

Friday, September 25, 2009

Closer to Love

This song

...brings me back to the phone call...that literally dropped me to my knees

...brings me closer to love

...brings me closer to spirituality

....brings me closer to Robin

Closer to Love
by Mat Kearney

She got the call today, one out of the grey
And when the smoke cleared, it took her breath away
She said she didn’t believe ‘it could happen to me’
I guess we’re all one phone call from our knees
We’re gonna get there soon

If every building falls, and all the stars fade
We’ll still be singing this song, the one they can’t take away
Gonna get there soon, she’s gonna be there too
Cryin’ in her room, prayin’ “Lord come through”
We’re gonna get there soon

Oh it’s your light; oh it’s your way
You pull me out of the dark, just to shoulder the weight
Cryin’ out now, from so far away
You pull me closer to love, closer to love

Meet me once again, down off Lake Michigan
Where we could feel the storm blowin’
Down with the wind
And don’t apologize for all the tears you’ve cried
You’ve been way too strong now for all your life
I’m gonna get there soon, you’re gonna be there too
Cryin’ in your room, prayin’ “Lord come through”
We’re gonna get there soon

...
You pull me closer to love


My Grief

It's been 44 days since you died, Robin. And tonight, my grief strikes hardest. Who would think a stupid TV show would instigate the endless supply of tears. Season Premiere of Grey's Anatomy, 2 hour episode. I don't remember if this is one of the shows you watched. I do remember you liked Private Practice, which was sort of a spin off from Grey's. So maybe you did like Grey's. Anyway, this episode was about grief.

Today, I spoke to our cousin Joe and he asked me a unique question that is sticking out now…he wondered if anyone was asking ‘me’ how I was doing. And truth be told, I don’t believe so or maybe I didn’t listen for it. I guess I didn’t feel like I needed to be asked. I’m focusing on all the lives around me who are grieving. I’m being strong. And I really take on to that role naturally, instinctively. And I know that a lot of my pain, tears, and sorrow have been for the empathy and sympathy of others’ grief. My sporadic moments have been just that, sporadic and fleeting. Where is my grief for ME? I wondered why I haven’t broken down and lost myself yet. I wondered if I was so heartless as to not have loved you enough to feel the pain and suffering a sister should feel from losing her older brother so suddenly and unexpectedly. Tonight I grieve and I ache and I can’t stop crying. I’m alone. I turned to writing to you, because I can't call you. And this is the only way I know that helps my process.

In hindsight (I do my best thinking in hindsight)…I realized that Robin, you would be the person. I would have called you tonight. You were the first person I called the night I made the decision to give Harley up for adoption. You were the only one that understood that kind of heartache. You comforted me more than you know. Seriously, who knows me better than you? With the least amount of words spoken, we understood each other. No one in the family listened to me better than you did. No one in the family can relate to some of the family drama I went through. No one in the family, opened up to me like you did. And here I am, grieving and you are the one person who could understand me, and I can't call you. You would be the one who would ask me “How’re you holdin’ up Nance?” I can hear your voice asking me this. I can’t pick up the phone to hear you tell me “everything will be fine.” “You know how mom and dad are, just give them time” These are your words. I didn’t appreciate you here in life, alive, next to me, a phone call away…I MISS YOU SO MUCH IT HURTS! Tonight, it hurts the most...!

I think of you every day. I can easily talk about you and reminisce about you. I love talking about you. I love talking about you with your friends Anthony and German. I have a picture of you in my office, car, wallet, fridge, and bedroom. I think of you when deciding on adventurous ideas. My tattoo is so inspirational to me. I try to take in and absorb a little of you in me. I have no idea why this is hitting me so hard tonight…but I’m kind of relieved that I am finally breaking down. I guess it was only a matter of time and I can only assume this won’t be the last time either.

Robin, you have always been there for me, even when I didn’t see it. And I see it now. You always were and still are here for me. Your 11:11 signs are still appearing frequently…I saw one yesterday after mom and I went to visit you at the cemetery. So thank you for giving me your signs to remind me that you are still here for me and with me. I love you bro! Help me get through the night…so I can smile again thinking of you!

Oh by the way, are you getting our balloons in heaven? Mathew sends messages with them and Mom seems to really treasure this new idea, this tradition for you. I love it too! I want you to know that you will always be here with me, remembered, honored, and cherished for as long as I shall live. I promise you! Rest peacefully my dear brother, till we meet again...

you're #1 sister,
nancy

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Parents

As time goes by, I see my parents slowly moving forward...
little by little, step by step.
I see them struggle and yet balance each other in their new lifelong process.
Their suffering is unimaginable, incomprehensible.
I find no words to describe or understand their loss.
My heart breaks for them over and over again.
They will never be the same again.
My parents, forever brokenhearted.
And...that's okay.

They smile with weeping, hollow eyes.
They laugh with a drowning sound.
They speak with a melancholy tone.
They hug with heavy arms.
They live and breathe with a broken heart.
And...that's okay.

Their pain will subside but never fade.
Their heart will feel joy but never be whole.
Their lives will go on but never fully.
And...that's okay.

I will forever celebrate the memory of my brother Robin.
I will forever ache for my parents unfathomable heartache.
And...that's okay.


Mom, Dad
I love you.
I will always be here for you.
I will hold your hand and journey with you through this process.
I will cry with you and I will listen to you.
I will melt away the numbness in your soul.
I will soften the edges around your jagged hole.
I will light the way out of the darkness in your heart.
This journey will never end and your heart will never be whole again.
And…that’s okay.
Robin will forever be missed and never forgotten.
And I hope you find comfort in knowing you are not alone.

Mom, Dad,
I love you!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Suffering

I had some family members in town from Montreal last week and we had some deep conversations about life, death, and religion. One of our biggest discussion and debate was about my firm belief in that "everything happens for a reason" and that life is beautiful even with all its suffering. We need to see the beauty within and all around.

And today, I read an article on Stephen Colbert in the Rolling Stones magazine. I want to paraphrase and quote Colbert from one of his answers, since it plays into some of my recent discussions with my family and friends. It was like Colbert picked my brain and added a new element to what I was so desperately trying to explain to my family. It's a feeling that's inexplicable and illogical, but also sublime and spiritual.

One should be grateful for suffering.
No one doesn't suffer.
The level at which you are aware of your own humanity is the same level at which you can "accept with open eyes, your suffering." - Colbert
"To be grateful for your suffering is to be grateful for your humanity" -Colbert

There are times through my grieving process (for the loss of my brother Robin) that I feel heartless. There's a part of me that wonders if I've grasped the reality and magnitude of my situation. Am I in denial? It's a strange feeling to be "okay" with death, especially when no one around you seems to be. It's weird to feel "okay" when you've just lost your big brother. It doesn't feel normal to feel "okay" with your current and recent situation. Don't get me wrong, I miss my brother and wish he was here with me right now. My heart still feels pain and suffering. But something inside of me (heart, mind, faith or all of it) also tells me that this is life, this is all part of life. And in every experience of suffering there is also beauty. To me, life is beautiful. I see beauty in it all; the pain and suffering, the love and joy, it's simply beautiful. Life and all its wonder, it is truly amazing! And when I read Colbert's words "to be grateful for your suffering is to be grateful for your humanity" it made me feel normal again, human. Without sounding superior, I now understand that the"okay" feelings are a true testament to my strengths in my personal faith, humanity, and love. I accept suffering. I take suffering and find beauty in it to live on. I know I am a very compassionate, deeply emotional person and at the same time I am balanced, rational, and passionately spiritual.

Furthermore, I want to point out that Stephen Colbert is a practicing catholic. I point this out because it doesn't matter what religion you are, faith is all the same, whether it comes from your bible, psalms, or self-help books. For me, when I read the word "suffering" my immediate thought turned to the words of Buddhist teachings. I even mentioned recently in my blog Tattoo This, that all life is suffering and one must simply give in to the suffering and let go. Through this letting go the suffering ends and people can achieve enlightenment. It's hard to deny after every life altering experience I go through, I find my answers in the words of the Buddhist teachings. Maybe, Buddhism, is for me after all.

While I'm on the topic of Buddhism, I want to end this blog briefly talking about the The Four Noble Truths. This is one of the main teachings and the essence of the Buddhist path in relation to suffering. It has enlightened me and guided me through some many hard times in my life...

These are brief explanations to the best of my ability (I'm not an expert on the Buddhist teachings). And surely, more reading and understanding is involved to grasp the true meaning of the Four Noble Truths. And in my opinion, is a lifelong journey. So here's a glimpse:

1) The Nature of Suffering
The very essence of life is suffering. Nothing lasts forever, even happiness. And as pessimistic and depressing as that sounds, it is truth. This truth is part of a strategy or therapy to find the solution to the basic problems in life.

2) The Origin of Suffering
The reason for our suffering comes essentially from our minds. Our main problem is our delusions (of one's self) and attachments (of objects). Because delusions and attachments are transient, their loss is inevitable, thus suffering will necessarily follow. With every negative action (karma) we do, we create a potential for negative experiences.

3) The cessation of suffering is attainable
Suffering and the causes of suffering are dependent on the state of our own mind, so if we can change our own mind, we can also eliminate suffering. The reasons we do actions that cause ourselves and others harm come from our delusions and attachments.

4) The path to the cessation of suffering
If we can control our body and mind in a way that we help others instead of doing them harm, and generating wisdom in our own mind, we can end our suffering and problems.

"Only with great spiritual attainment can we then see through this delusion and see things as they really are."

One should feel happiness, compassion, love and joyous effort when practicing the Four Noble Truths.


Before I go, let me leave you with a simple quote:
"Smile and accept" -Mother Teresa

~sol

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mathew Lines - Part Deux

I've written a blog before with a list of Mathew Lines. The difference now is that these phrases/lines are his own concoctions, derived from shows, school, people, and placed in a unique and proper context. I like to say my child is brilliant...but I know, I'm biased! So here are some more of my favorite Mathew lines from the last few months:

i don't like ugly things; i like pretty things, like you!
you can be my girlfriend and I will be your boyfriend
you're the bestest mom I ever had
i want to take care of things with you
i want to take care of you
you make my heart happy
i missed you so much
i was dreaming about you last night
so, how was your day today?
You are the bestest mom I ever had
i love you to the moon and back
i love you to infinity and beyond
i love you more
i love your hair
I like your skirt (he compliments my outfits, earrings, and more)
i need another hug
i need some more huggins (combination of luvin and hugs)
Mama, I love you

can it really get any better than this?

~sol

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Heart to Soul

Robin,
From my heart to your soul...




see blog: "tattoo this"

Mathew (my almost 4 year old son) says after seeing my tattoo: "Whoa! Cool!" Mama says: "Did you see the little bird?" Mathew's response: "I don't think it's little!" - lol...gotta love it! :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

11:11

what is with 11:11?

Almost everyday (more than once a day) since Robin passed away I see 11:11 everywhere. I'm not exaggerating or kidding. I noticed it several times in my car, or in bed when putting my book down. I could even be sleeping for a while and need to go the bathroom and it's exactly 11:11 on my alarm clock. Or I just turn my head to peak at the time at exactly 11:11. Or like last night, I'm watching TV and turn the guide on to check the time, I swear 11:11. I've heard people refer to 11:11 as the time one should make a wish, but nothing more. It's happening so often to me in such a short time frame, during a tumultuous time in my life, I had to research this freakish phenomenon that I was having.

In my initial google search, I yielded thousands of different explanations and theories discussing this phenomenon, from math equations to divine acts of god. Apparently, this is a really common experience, I'm not that special. In my research, here are some explanations about seeing 11:11 on digital clocks.

* It represents a positive connection and a gateway to the mysteries of the universe and beyond.
* It is related to the concept of synchronicity.
* It means that it's eleven minutes past 11:00. Anything else is superstition.
* A movie once said that hells gates opened at that time
* It means someone is thinking of you.
* It's supposed to be the sign of an angel
* Those who experience 11:11 are "light workers" being called to a higher calling in their lives.
* It's a beneficial act of Divine Intervention telling you to take a good look around you
* It's confirmation that one's spiritual/awakening journey is right on track.
* It means there are exactly 49 minutes left in the day
* And too many others, I had to stop reading...

Like religion, there are many interpretations or non-beliefs and only you can decide for yourself which meanings/symbolism comforts you most.

Maybe it is just coincidence, but I'm not a believer in coincidence. “Coincidence is god's way of staying anonymous.” I believe this phenomenon that is occurring to me at this present moment in my life is a spiritual message or intuition. I've been asking Robin to appear in my dreams every night...and he never does. I ask myself why not?

***okay, something literally just dawned on me***

As I'm typing this blog, I just remembered something. I don't need to search any longer to find my answer to "what's with the 11:11?" Wow! Divine wow! I'm astonished yet not surprised! What you are about to read may come off as cuckoo or concocted; it's not. I'm actually crying as this moment just hit me...


okay a little background information first:
I used to wonder when I was younger if my lost loved ones, especially my Aunt Lilianne could ever show me a "sign" from after life; a physical sign. Well, I never got any but the idea of signs from the after life never escaped my spiritual dreams of possibilities.

The idea of these "signs" and "after life" came back to me recently (for obvious reasons) while driving in my car. I tend to do some great thinking in my car alone. The song "Calling All Angels" by Train comes on the radio (which is odd that I was even listening to the radio cause I rarely ever do). I sang, but it really was a form of communication: "show me a sign" Robin..."to let me know you're here." I remember singing this song with such passion and hope...I was really bolting out those words for Robin to hear. So maybe he heard me? It sounds so ridiculous, even to me as I'm typing this. Seriously?! But it's hard for me to think it's just coincidence, especially since this blog was actually going in a different direction before this memory and realization hit me.

Robin (who by the way, passed away on the 11th) is showing me a sign (11:11) to let me know he's here, as I asked. He never came to me in my dreams cause he was already here.

So now the only thing left to wonder is...am I just engaging in some subconscious self-fulfilling prophecy? Call me crazy, cause I believe it's Robin showing me a sign!

Robin, I see the sign. Thank you! :)
I love you and I'm smiling!!



Calling All Angels
by Train

I need a sign to let me know you're here
All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere
I need to know that things are gonna look up
'Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup

And I'm calling all angels
I'm calling all you angels

I won't give up if you dont give up

I need a sign to let me know you're here
'Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear
I want a reason for the way things have to be
I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me


~sol

Friday, September 4, 2009

Letter to Robin

Dear Robin,

I regret not spending more time with you
I always thought there’d be a next time...

I regret not appreciating you more
I took you for granted…

I regret not calling you every time I thought to
I always thought we’d just talk later…

I regret not being there for you or doing more for you
I figured you didn’t need me, not realizing I needed you…

I regret not taking more pictures together
I always thought there'd be another occasion...

I regret criticizing you for not having ambition
I never thought I’d have to regret those words…I realize now you lived ambitiously in the moment and I lived ambitiously in the planning. Neither were wrong, we were just both different. I admire the life you led and will remember to live passionately in the now, like you. I wish I learned that when you were here with me rather than because you’re gone.

I regret not giving you a hug or taking the time with you at the gas station when we last saw each other. I was in such a rush to get home…I never thought it would be the last time I’d see you. I know we hugged and kissed 10 minutes before that at the restaurant…

I wish we had more time together…
I wish Mathew had more time with you…
I wish you were the one giving him the life lessons of “mental toughness” like you did for me.

I hate that I can’t hug you anymore.
I’m scared that I will forget your voice and the sound of your laughter.
I have yet to see you in my dreams, but I know you are always with me…

I miss you so much Robin!
Know that you are always on my mind!
Please watch over us…we need you still!

Oh and by the way, I’m getting this awesome new tattoo on Tuesday right before I visit you again for the one month services. I can’t wait for you to see it! It will honor you and your beautiful life. It will remind me that you’re always watching over us. It will be a constant expression of your life, my lessons learned from you and a reminder to live life more like you did…you will always be a part of me, Robin. I promise you will live on through me...

I love you!
Your one and only sister,
Nancy

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Who You'd Be Today

"Who You'd Be Today"
By Kenny Chesney

Sunny days seem to hurt the most.
I wear the pain like a heavy coat.
I feel you everywhere I go.
I see your smile, I see your face,
I hear you laughin' in the rain.
I still can't believe you're gone.

It ain't fair: you died too young,
Like the story that had just begun,
But death tore the pages all away.
God knows how I miss you,
All the hell that I've been through,
Just knowin' no-one could take your place.
An' sometimes I wonder,
Who'd you be today?

Would you see the world? Would you chase your dreams?
Settle down with a family,
I wonder what would you name your babies?
Some days the sky's so blue,
I feel like I can talk to you,
An' I know it might sound crazy.

It ain't fair: you died too young,
Like the story that had just begun,
But death tore the pages all away.
God knows how I miss you,
All the hell that I've been through,
Just knowin' no-one could take your place.
An' sometimes I wonder,
Who you'd be today?

Today, today, today.
Today, today, today.

Sunny days seem to hurt the most.
I wear the pain like a heavy coat.
The only thing that gives me hope,
Is I know I'll see you again some day.

Some day, some day, some day.



The only thing that gives me hope, Is I know I'll see you again some day.
I love you Robin!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Inside My Head

My little brother, Philippe, turned 27 this weekend. He had plans months ago to go on a 3-day cruise to the Bahamas with all his closest friends. But after our brother Robin passed away, he debated whether to go or not. I told him he should go and just take it in at his own pace. Robin would never hold any of us back from a moment like this and he would want us to live life. I know that if I were the one up above, I would wish my family to continue living fully and happily! Philippe went on the cruise for his birthday.

Less than a week before the cruise, sitting at my parents house, some of us saw a commercial for an airfare to the Bahamas for $19. My cousin, Mu (Muriel) and I contemplated the idea to go and surprise Philippe! I was very skeptical at first. And even after booking the trip, I was still unsure of my heart's desire to go. I can now appreciate fully my brothers initial apprehension. So I did what any sane person would do, I spoke to my dead brother, Robin. And I remembered the words I shared with Philippe. And eventually, excitement was building and doubts were being overturned.

So Mu and I flew into the Bahamas Saturday morning and set off to make our surprise. We spotted my brother sitting casually at Senor Frogs, hanging out with his friends. When finally, the bartender hands him a tequila shot and says it's from that girl over there (pointing to me). Looking over to the "girl", my brother's face when recognition sunk in, was priceless! The weekend was fun, fun, fun. A total mental escape.

Back to reality. Back inside my head. Since I've returned, I am working through some sad emotions and feelings of guilt. I'm crying in my brief moments of alone time...in the car, at my desk, in my bed. I can't tell you why I even begin to cry. I just do. I am diving even deeper inside my head. It's in solitude when I reflect most (maybe some might say I reflect too much, but it's me and I embrace it). Losing my big brother Robin will be a lifelong process. I accept that this is all just part of it. Everyday, I concentrate on remembering my brother's voice and laughter. I don't want to lose that memory ever. Inside my head, today is a day full of emotions and pensive thoughts.

Before I go, I want to post a passage my friend shared with me this morning. It released a stream of tears and even a smile. It's from one of my favorite books. And I am so glad he shared this with me in this context...thank you Andrew:

"When you look up at the sky at night, since I shall be living on one of them, for you it will be as if all the stars were laughing. You and only you will have stars that can laugh. And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be happy to have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And from time to time you will open your window, just for the pleasure of it....and your friends will be astonished to see you laughing whilst gazing at the sky."

-The Fox (from "The Little Prince" by Antoine De Saint Exupery)


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tattoo This

My next tattoo will be a red-capped robin slightly looking down as he is perched on a cherry blossom tree, located on the back of my left shoulder.

Red-capped Robin
The reason I chose this bird is simple, first for its name. Then, I selected this particular type for its physique; short and stocky, like my brother Robin. Then, the color red; as I said before, if I were to associate Robin with a color, it would be red. The bird also has a unique feature of a red looking cap, hence the name red-capped robin. My brother always wore hats. Therefore, this bird will represent my brother Robin looking down watching over us.

Cherry Blossom Tree
The reason I chose a cherry blossom tree is for its Japanese symbolism and how it ties deeply with the fundamental teachings of Buddhism (read my old blog Is Buddhism for me?). Here are some clippings from various web sites paraphrased to give you an understanding of the Japanese symbolism and connection to the Buddhist teachings:

The Japanese feel that the cherry blossom represent life in that life is something of great beauty yet it is very quick and passing and in the end is full of suffering also. For the Japanese, it is a reminder to live life fully and in the now. This concept ties in very deeply with the fundamental teachings of Buddhism. According to the Buddhist tradition, the breathtaking but brief beauty of the blossoms symbolizes the transient nature of life as well. And that all life is suffering and one must simply give in to the suffering and let go. Through this letting go the suffering ends and people can achieve enlightenment.

Another symbolic representation of the cherry blossom tree that I uncovered today, is that for the Japanese, the cherry blossom is often used symbolically or idealistically to represent the true way of a Samurai. The Samurai never know when they are going to die and instead of worrying about death they have to live their life to the fullest and be fully prepared to die an early death. They felt that if you were not prepared to die then you could not fully live. So a Cherry blossom that has fallen from the tree is often symbolic of a Samurai who has died early in battle. In fact one of the saying that was common for the Samurai was today is a good day to die. It is not that they had a death wish at all it was more of a life wish. They knew their life was rough and dangerous and that it would end in a sudden death. In fact it was more honorable to end in death during a battle then to live to an old age. So like the Cherry blossom with its short yet beautiful life the Samurai lived in the same way.

Based on the Samurai story, I was thinking to add one cherry blossom flower on my lower, lower back...right under the tree branches…to represent my fallen brother. (too much? maybe.)

So anyway, as you can see, this tattoo will not only symbolize my brother Robin, but represents his lifestyle, my lessons learned from him, and a reminder for me to live life fully and in the now. Life is transient.

I will be visiting a new tattoo parlor tomorrow in hopes that they will be able to create a beautiful tattoo based on my vision. Wish me luck!

~sol

Monday, August 24, 2009

Balloons for Robin

Today, I went to visit my brother Robin.

In my hand was a red balloon. I didn't choose red because of the song or the movie...I chose red for two other reasons: if I were to associate Robin with a color, it would be red, plus, I wanted to see the balloon as long as I could before it faded into heaven.

While sitting there by my brother's side, I told him my wishes, my wants, my regrets, and all the would haves and could haves. And that with this balloon, I was letting them all go, or at least I would try. And while I was crying with my head down in my lap, balloon in hand, I felt Robin telling me "don't cry." It wasn't like I heard his voice in my head or his image appeared. It wasn't even like he was specifically telling me this. It was just a feeling that came over me...don't cry. So, I stopped crying and started smiling. So, it was time to let go. I stood up and released the balloon. I stayed there with Robin until the balloon was engulfed by the clouds and I could not see it anymore (which took a surprisingly long time). It left me with a smile on my face (and a sore neck).

Last night, I spoke to Mathew about giving balloons to Robin in heaven. He loved the idea. I think it's helping him understand the concept of heaven and Robin not being with us anymore. I also believe this will be a great way for my 3 year old son to "communicate" to his uncle Robin and keep him alive in our hearts forever, and for me as well. I will make this our tradition...for every birthday (his and ours), for every party, holiday, visit to the cemetery, or even to let him know we are thinking of him just because, we will release a balloon into heaven for Robin.

Robin, I love you!
Here's your first balloon!









Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's personal.

What religion are you?

Me...oh, it's personal.

But for the sake of blogging, let me try to vaguely explain...

I have a relationship with God. My faith in God is personal. I prefer to not be labeled or classified in a religious group. My faith is not fear-based or money driven. It's not based on contradictions or hypocrisy. There's no temple or church. There's no superstition or magic. It's simple and pure. I have faith. I have morals and ethics. I am spiritual. I pray. My belief and faith system is a way of life, not an organized system based on scriptures or rituals. I simply believe in God (as it is defined by me). No one can judge me, criticize me, make me feel guilty or bad. The bottom line is that it's just between me and him and no one else.

In this passing week of sitting shiva for the loss of my brother Robin, I've come to appreciate my personal relationship with God even more. I realized that I truly believe in God wholeheartedly. And I stand by my belief that everything happens for a reason. I don't dismiss that this idea can be questioned or even false in the end. That's why for me, it's personal. I respect and appreciate the rituals and beliefs of others, knowing fully it sometimes contradicts my own. I know this faith of mine will be tested and pushed to the limits beyond imaginable (as it has done so already). I know I will question things and wonder why. But I understand that my faith and relationship is an ever-evolving path of enlightenment. I can now stand firmly grounded and believe that my personal relationship with God is honorable and virtuous. And some may not understand it, nor do I ask them to...because in the end it is just between me and God.

It's personal.

~sol

Mathew's Angel

While picking Mathew up from school after seven long sad days, I assumed he forgot about our last hour together on Tuesday, August 11th. I was wrong.

Our last hour together was bothersome for both of us. Mathew was napping when I got the call that woke him up to the sounds of my disbelief. I can't imagine what he was thinking or feeling in this moment. He was immediately concerned with me and gave me some "luvin!" When he asked what was wrong, the only thing I could tell him (without thought or planning) was that Robin was "hurt." And after some tears, hugs, and pacing, I told him that I needed to go see Robin and take care of some things. "But I want to take care of things with you," he would say. Or "Mama, do you need some juice?" You can see he wanted to take care of me. When his father came to pick him up, he did not want to leave me, nor did I want him to. He is my main source of light, energy, and happiness. It was a difficult hour between the two of us, to say the least. After he left with his dad, I rushed down to Miami...

* 7 days later*

Heading home after sitting shiva, I didn't really know what to expect from Mathew. His dad said that he missed me and asked for me a lot. I didn't know if he remembered much of what happened on Tuesday or not. When I did see him, he was purely happy to see me. He talked to me about school (I missed his first day of school on Monday), his new friends and teachers, and so forth. And when the excitement passed, he calmly asked if Robin was still hurt. Taken by surprise, I explained to him simply that Robin passed away.

*Yesterday*

By now, we have talked about Robin on several different occasions. And I've delved into it a little deeper. He asked to make a card for Robin last night (which made me think he really didn't understand). I've purchased a few books for him, which he is not ready to explore. I tried a couple times to read them to him...and he's just not ready. I figured he doesn't understand. Again, I was wrong. He just understands in his own way.

*Today*

This morning he says to me:
"Can we pick up Harley and Robin and bring them to Mimi and Papa's house?"

Mathew's understanding of death is of course minimal. His closest experience is losing our dog Harley, and we got to say good-bye and take pictures before we gave him up for adoption. This is quite a different experience, but nonetheless, I do believe he understands (again in his own way). I believe Mathew understands that he is gone and that we won't see him again, he just doesn't understand what gone is or why. As time passes, he will learn and grow with this experience. And I will keep Robin's memories alive forever.

For me, Robin is Mathew's angel now. I don't know if Jewish people believe in Guardian Angels, or even if I ever did, but I do now. Maybe this is just a way to give me comfort and peace or to keep his memory alive, I don't know. But I will constantly look to Robin for help, guidance and protection for Mathew. And I believe, that Robin will be watching over him, like a guardian angel.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Getting Up

Yesterday morning was the end of sitting shiva, which is called "getting up." It concluded early in the morning and was the hardest part of shiva for me. After morning temple services, we all met up at the cemetery. I arrived early and found myself slowing treading towards Robin. It was a hot day with a breeze coming from the east. The first thing I notice, when I stand at the bottom of Robin's gravesite, is that it is now covered in fresh, moist sod, not yet woven into the soils of earth. The next thing I notice is the vision of a cross defined by the space between the newly placed sod. Interesting. I was definitely solid at the moment, firmly grounded, able to speak calmly to new arrivals, and capable of not shedding a tear while seeing others' tears fall. After the few close friends and immediate family arrived, it was time to start the ceremony of prayers.

My parents, Philippe and I are positioned on the south side; the Rabbi on the west side (the bottom side), and all others completely around...supporting, praying, loving my brother Robin. During this short ceremony of prayers, I lost focus and battled my ability to stand firmly (figuratively). I tried to re-gain focus by escaping reality for a moment. I tuned out the Rabbi's voice and stared catatonicly at his feet. He was wearing a pair of worn out black loafers with a gold chain-like accent at the top. It had a loop and a twist in it. His black pants had cuffs and were just the right length for him. The left pant leg was laying over the golden accent on his left shoe. I couldn't tell you what shirt he was wearing, or if he was wearing a hat or sunglasses. I just looked at his feet. But when that stopped working and the nose started dripping, I focused up, higher up, as if to feel my brother's presence or to see a light of hope. The light blue sky was inviting to the eyes and the gliding white clouds were peaceful. The leaves on the trees were swaying and shimmying. The wind was soft on my skin. And again, I couldn't hold my focus. The sounds around me were too powerful to leave the physical reality of it all. And in the end, when the Rabbi said: use this time to ask Robin for forgiveness (for things we did/didn't do, said/didn't say) and to leave it buried with him...no one could retain their composure. This was the hardest moment for all of us. I internalized my regrets and wishes, my solid turned to mush. Shiva is over. Walking the path down the cemetery aisles, it hits me...the strongest feeling of loneliness ever. I am encountered by many hugs and the "I'm sorry's" and the "stay strong" clich├ęs...and all I want to do is run, run far away and run alone...maybe just to cry...to cry the heaviest tears I've ever known. Instead I sulked like a child; half trying to hide, half looking like I was begging for someone's attention. While feeling horribly empty, I wanted to be alone yet wanted a hug. While feeling rage and envy, I still wanted to be alone yet I needed a shoulder. While feeling all that I was and wasn't feeling, I did and didn't want to be alone. Disoriented, emotional, overwhelmed, spaced out, scared, broken, hurt, pitiful, confused...inside my heart, I was alone. Shiva was over, it was now time to slowly emerge back into society...without my brother Robin. alone.

The sitting shiva experience was __________ (fill in any positive or negative adjective of your liking, it would apply). At this point, I am ready for the next step... I am ready to jump into the hectic world of my work. I am ready for some normalcy in my life. I am ready.

One thing though, I am left needing one good, sulky, lonely, heavy down pouring tears of pain. In the end, I discovered sitting shiva just deferred my grief and pain to a later unknown date. I will definitely revisit my brother and do this all over again someday soon, for myself...alone!

In the meantime, on to happy memories and happy thoughts...
back to reality...

Robin, I love you!
forever in my heart
xoxo



Before I go, let me make one thing clear:
NEVER EVER ask "How are you?" to someone who is mourning.
seriously ridiculous!

Monday, August 17, 2009

RIP

We may not understand why you left this earth so soon, or why you left before we were ready to say good-bye, but little by little, we begin to remember not just that you died, but that you lived. And that your life gave us memories too beautiful to forget.




rest in heavenly peace robin
gosh, how I miss you terribly so!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Carpe Diem

Robin, my dear brother Robin, lived his life to the fullest. He lived for the day and grabbed life by its horns. He may not have had savings or retirement plans, he may not have had the big picture in mind, but he never missed an opportunity to explore the world and live life. He lived it in extreme too. What an amazing life he lived! I'd like to take from him a phrase that he didn't necessarily use to define his life, but looking back, these words defined his lifestyle:

Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero – "seize the day and place no trust in tomorrow"

Robin's adventures were plenty and extraordinary. Many have lived longer lives and have not nearly experienced half of what he did. Here in no particular order is a list of his crazy, awesome adventures, each one carrying a multitude of memories and in most cases in multiple instances...

deep sea fishing
shark fishing
bass fishing
swimming with sting rays
swimming with dolphins
poker tournaments
dealing blackjack
mardi gras
fantasy fest
times square new years eve/day 98-99
skiing
snowboarding
jumped from helicopters - snowboarding
europe travels
bungee jumping
skydiving
lobster diving
boar hunting
boar hunting by hand (knife)
deer and gator hunting
gun shooting and collection
motorcycle madness
pyrotechnic wannabe
night clubbing
ice hockey league
swimming in competitions all over the world
water polo meets
macabbi youth games


his attendance to various sporting events:
world cup finals match in barcelona
world series marlins game 7 walk off win
nba finals
nhl finals
ncaa orange bowl championship

The list is not nearly complete, I will be back to continue adding...
For those that knew Robin and have a new adventure to add, please share the stories and even the pictures too!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sitting Shiva

In Judaism, Shiva is the week-long period of grief and mourning for the immediate family. The process of following the shiva rituals is called sitting shiva. I won't go into the the details of the rituals, but if you are interested...look it up.

This is my first time sitting shiva and it is for my dear brother, Robin. Before, I had a perception of shiva to be a depressing experience. While no one wants to sit shiva, I didn't want to the way I don't "want" to fast for Yom Kippur. I have formed personal opinions and views on religion and sitting shiva was not on my list of traditions I needed or wanted to follow (and not because it involves death). I just don't like the idea of sitting in a house full of mourners (granted I would be one myself). I didn't want to be in a state of constant grief for seven straight days, day in, day out. I am comfortable with death. I am comfortable with my faith. I am confident and believe in "the heart of life is good" and "everything happens for a reason" outlook. But sitting shiva, I always believed would make it harder for me to feel my own feelings, to find my own peace with "my" loss. I would be lost in the grievance of others. I didn't want to experience the pain of others while suffering myself. To see another suffer causes a severe reaction of sympathetic suffering. How would I be able to mourn myself? I like being alone. I like feeling and processing on my own time. It's difficult to witness or even fathom my mother's loss in her eyes. It breaks my heart to know my father's heart is not whole. It troubles me to see my little brother lose his best friend and only brother. How do you bear the pain of all those around you and still find the strength to hold on yourself?

I have to say after sitting shiva for a few days now, I can say my perception of this ritual has changed. I may not be practicing and following all the rituals written in "the book," but there is something to be said about this process of mourning. I wish my son was old enough to be with me through this process. He is my hope and my light in life. To not have him with me, when I need his light most, is challenging. Yet, I happen to have found light and hope in this peculiar process. The immediate family are in the same house sitting shiva for seven days. Family and friends are visiting and surrounding you 24 hours a day for seven days. They are there for you in such big ways, even without anything being said or done. Some have flown from far away cities and countries. Some are here for fifteen minutes and others everyday. Friends you haven't spoken to in fifteen years surprise you with a sense of respect and honor by visiting you during your time of need. It's so comforting having a household full of noise, albeit it may be mostly the noise of hurt. Besides the seven day of grieving, I find it is most importantly the seven days of remembering. We are sifting through pictures, Facebook, and text messages. We are telling stories of the things he's done for one another. We are talking about the places he's seen, the crazy things he's done. We are rehashing childhood stories. We are even mentioning our regrets and wishes. Friends are telling stories we've never heard before. We are talking about Robin every day, every minute...his heart of gold. He is on our mind always. We cry, we laugh, we are sad and happy. We are living. We are moving through the common stages of grieving, together. I believe this will be a lifelong process, but sitting shiva helps us to begin our lives again.

So now, my only fear about sitting shiva is the reality of life afterward. These seven days are unrealistic and uncommon. It's not the normal days of our lives. What will my everyday life be without my brother Robin? I still don't know the answer to that. I'm still sitting shiva. What I do know, is that my life will still be filled with love and happiness and Robin will always be a part of that. He will always be with me and live through me. And no matter what happens after shiva, I know we will all be okay.


Robin, we all miss you terribly so. Please come back to me in my dreams. I want to see you again. I love you!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Robin Joseph Azoulay

At my brother's service on August 12, 2009, I spoke a few words. The idea of summing up my brother's life or trying to express what he meant to me in a few words seemed daunting. As soon I started writing, the words and tears flowed endlessly. It was agonizing and soothing at the same time. Even better still was sharing this with all of Robin's friends and family. It was such a pleasurable sight to see so many people in honor of Robin and in support for us. Thank you all for those that were there physically and in spirit! I'd like to share again my words to those that couldn't make it. I only hope these words comfort you as much as they have comforted me in writing and in speaking them.




First thank you everyone for coming and pouring your hearts out with me and my family. I'm not sure what to say, I just know I wanted to say something.

My brother, my older brother, Robin. We weren't always close, but that never really mattered. He was always there for me with his heart wide open. He was a natural giver and lover. To know him was to know love. Robin truly had a heart of gold. And even though his heart failed him yesterday, I know his heart and soul is still pouring and flowing with love for all of us. There is just no other like him in this world. He will live on through all of our hearts.

For me, the memories that keep flooding me are the moments of Robin as an uncle to my son, Mathew. Their time together was not nearly enough, yet he left a deep impression in his heart, as he did with all that knew him.

Robin,
In my dreams
I'll always see you soar above the sky
In my heart
There will always be a place for you
For all my life, I'll keep a part of you with me
And everywhere I am, there you'll be.
There you'll be!


~sol



this photo is resting with Robin...



rest in beautiful peace Robin...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Waxing or Shaving

I probably have put way too much thought into this imaginary debate in my head. I wax my legs, bikini, eyebrows, and lips (and once long ago underarms too). I am a fan of the waxing for many reasons, but I find that I have been questioning whether I should switch back to using the razor on my legs. I made the switch for my underarms over a year ago and now, the question is: should I switch from waxing to shaving my legs?

So let me have this mental debate on my blog:

Right off the bat, waxing is hassle free. It cuts back on your beautification process in the morning. The less I have to do in the morning, the better. And then, you don't have to wax again for another 4-6 weeks. And although the hair does grow back it doesn't feel stubbly or prickly at all. It grows back softer and has a long lasting, silky smooth feeling. Gotta love that! You also avoid the razor burns, cuts and nicks. Oh and another thing, hair growth diminishes over long time wax use.

So why should I change? Good question:

I think the most sucky thing about waxing is having long hair during the most inopportune times. For example, you are at about 3-4 weeks since your last wax. Your hair is growing in, enough so that you avoid wearing shorts and skirts, but not enough to schedule the next appointment. So while in that "in between" phase, your friends ask you to go to the beach, or even worse you go out with your friends wearing jeans, meet a hot guy at a bar, and well you can fill in the blanks on that one. The other annoying thing is finding the time for the wax appointments that are congruent with your wax lady. It's like scheduling your pap smear, you need to do it a month in advance or all the slots get filled.

And on a side note, I'm not sure which side "cost" should land on. I never did a cost comparison analysis, but it seems waxing would be more costly. Anyone that shaves want to weigh in on their cost?

So while the negative surely don't outweigh all the benefits to waxing, it does make me wonder why I don't just shave sometimes!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Advertisement

For those that knew me in my college dorm days, know that my walls were filled with Absolut magazine ads. I collected these ads for the simple reason that I loved the creative genius of their advertisement. I actually still have them all (just not on my walls). I also have two (yes, two not one) copies of the book: "Absolut Book, the Absolut Vodka Advertising Story." Thanks Denise! I eventually stopped collecting the ads while still appreciating the awesomeness of the Absolut ads.

Even their commercials as recent as the one I saw yesterday was awesome:
"Doing things differently leads to something exceptional"



Ten plus years later, I am only now starting to see another company match the level of creativeness in their advertisement. Of course, this is based on my own personal opinion and taste. And ironically, this company is also selling alcohol. The company I am referring to is Corona! Instead of collecting the magazine ads and tacking them on my walls, I figured I'd just share them on my blog. Plus, most of the ads I've seen have been on billboards.

Note how the ads say "Relax Responsibly" instead of "Drink Responsibly" - Genius! I love it!

Here are a few, in no particular order:






















Before I go, let me leave you with this:
I am MADD...a mother against drunk driving!
Support the MADD blog too.

If you must drink and drive, drink Pepsi.
Friends don't let friends drink and drive.

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