Wednesday, June 23, 2010

OMG! Amazing!

"oh my god, oh my god, oh my god" were the words coming out of my mouth right before I jumped out of a plane! Yes, I Nancy Sol, jumped out of a plane today. Of course, I was tied to an expert plane jumper, Carlos, who technically pushed me out of the plane. eh, minor detail.

This was my day to celebrate my brother's birthday, my brother's life. What better way than to repeat one of his actual birthday experiences he did for himself many years ago. What better way than to find a way to be closer to him in the heavens above. What better way than to be liberated, free, and flying!

This experience was exhilarating, scary, amazing, queasy, and emotional.
The adrenaline rush was nothing in comparison to the view.
I was in awe of the earth's horizon from this perspective
I was amazed with the view of the little world beneath me
Spectacular, breathtaking, and amazing!
The drizzle of cold rain hitting my face was so refreshing and totally cool
The everglades, marshland, and miles and miles of land were amazing. oh wait, I used that word already. Yes, amazing was all I could say all day about this adventure.

The most "amazing" part of this experience was Robin's message to me. I was hoping I would get one and I sure did. If you know me, you know I have this happy thing for rainbows. They can just turn my frown upside down, they lift my spirits, they're magical and beautiful and breathtaking every time. On my drive down to the place, I saw a rainbow, on the plane heading up I saw a rainbow, and most amazingly, on my decent down to earth I saw a special rainbow, Robin's message(s) to me. It was a rainbow halo; an enormous, rounded, no end, no pot of gold, full circular rainbow right beneath us. It was horizontal to the surface. It was NOT surrounded by a source of light (which is where you usually find rainbow halos). I'm not a physicist or scientist, but I can only assume that someone from down below would have seen this rainbow as the typical arched rainbow, while from above the earth's horizon, it's actually viewed in its entirety as a full circle. So maybe seeking the end of the rainbow would be like a dog chasing their tail. Maybe the pot of gold is not at the end of the rainbow, but the rainbow itself! And maybe if you're lucky, you'll see a rainbow in it's complete circular form one day. It was amazing!

So here's to you my brother, Cheers to your 40th birthday!

(click to enlarge)

...and check out the quick 1 minute video, click here


Dear Robin,

today you would be 40
6 years older than me
12 years older than Philippe

I could only dream of where you'd be, who you'd be with, or what you would be doing now...but in my reality I can tell you exactly who, where, and what you still are to me:

you are my brother and my friend
you are always in my heart and on my mind
you give me hope and light through my dark days
you inspire me to live NOW
your life transformed into this amazing gift to me, messages and all
you are an amazing uncle to Mathew, he holds a special place for you in his heart that even I can't describe. you have captured something with him in four small years that he will never forget or let go of
you are admired, cherished, appreciated, loved, and oh so missed! long as I live, every breath i take, you will be here on this earth in the depths of my heart and soul (Mathew's too). Your are with me in my every move, decision, action, and fumble I make. I can hear you laugh and it's still contagious. I can hear you mentoring me too. I see you every day.

And on this day, I make this promise to you for as long as I shall live: I will celebrate your life always! And for your birthday every year I will celebrate with/for you by doing something 'special' in your honor! HBD ROBIN!

I thank you!
I love you!

till we meet again big bro!
your baby sis,

P.S. To my blog readers: So as you are probably reading this, I am in the midst of celebrating his birthday. Stay tuned for my next post to find out what I'm doing/did. Now, let's just hope I can be as creative and daring for the years to come. ooooh, so exciting, can't wait to share!!!! :)

This was us celebrating my 25th birthday a long time of my most cherished pictures

Friday, June 18, 2010

here's to you, my beautiful mind

after more than a year on and off, mostly off, hiatus from any sort of gym, sport, exercise, i'm finally back! In my whole life, this has been the only time I've let myself go from these things (with many supposed valid excuses). I used to consider myself an athlete before this. Now, not so much! But after playing softball last weekend with my brother's friends, I realized that 'once an athlete, always an athlete' albeit an out of shape athlete. It is Friday and I must reluctantly admit that some muscles are still sore. I am getting back in shape if for nothing more than to give back to my mind.

My poor, beautiful mind. While she's always there for me unconditionally, I've beaten, tortured, strained, neglected, and abandoned her. My mind so quiet of her needs, yet so vocal for mine. My mind craves for those holes in space when your mind escapes reality and your abilities increase exponentially, something called being "in the zone" - personally, it's the best mental state one can ever be in! She misses the stress release and the animalistic intensity. She yearns for the calmness and the peaceful exhaustion. She shall be taken care of again...starting with a round of racquetball today.


Oh beautiful mind, how I have let you down. Due to the year of neglect, I have failed to keep my body in shape to withstand a simple game of racquetball. After a 10 minute warm up on the treadmill and a barely 10 minute start on the court, I pulled my right quad muscle. I was unable to give you the escape you so deserve. This will not deter me. I need you now more than ever. Just hold on a little longer, my dear mind, you will have your moment of zen soon, so help me!

Time to stock up on tiger balm!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mental Toughness

I learned "mental toughness" the hard way. I suppose that's one of the best ways to learn it. What does mental toughness mean to you?

To me, my first time hearing of these words was from my big brother, Robin. He used it as an excuse to beat, bang, squish, twist, punch, pull and hold me down. Six years older and built like a rock, he would mostly make me cry, at which point, he would say that he was teaching me "mental toughness." You can say my lessons of mental toughness were no fun, for me at least. As I got older, I punched, pinched, twisted, and kicked back, usually only to get the same back just harder, and more tears. And as time kept passing, I got tougher and tougher. I blocked, thwarted, and outplayed him. My mental toughness was flourishing. who'd a thunk it? Not I, that's for sure. Looking back, cause we all know hindsight is 20/20, all our rough housing really developed my inner, mental strengths. I give him lots of credit for the unknowing, disguised lessons of mental toughness, unless it was his plan all along. Hmm...

33 years later, I am mentally tough! I've used my mental toughness skills as an athlete, wife, ex-wife, employee, supervisor, mother, etc... While I wouldn't say I have a hard life by any means, on the contrary, I would say "life is good" partly due to my mental toughness! It's this toughness that gets you through any kind of crappy life moments, of which I've had quite a few in the last few years...not complaining!

So in thinking of how I've used mental toughness to get me through my life's crappy moments, I started plotting a timeline in my head, which then lead to a draft play by play of the last few years on paper. I decided to add the good and the not so good to show the true time line, not just the crappy moments. So in the near future, look for a blog title "the crap line of my life" which ironically starts after the best day of my life, my son's birth!

So anyhoot, I found this quote today, which gave me the inspiration for this blog. This is exactly how Mental Toughness would be defined by my brother Robin and I thank him again, for another major, life changing, ever lasting, life lesson learned!

"It takes more courage to reveal insecurities than to hide them, more strength to relate to people than to dominate them, more 'manhood' to abide by thought-out principles rather than blind reflex. Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles and an immature mind."

Side note: My brother, Robin, passed away Tuesday, August 11th, 2009. The Friday night before he passed away, he was talking to our aunt about me, not sure in what context. And he told her to tell me these two words and that I would know what he was talking about. When she told me the story, she couldn't even remember the two words he had told her. When she said it was two words, I blurted out "mental toughness." She said "YES! that's it!" Mental toughness was "our thing." I never realized how popular it was; in books, sports articles, fitness tips, tests, quotes, and more. ...So maybe my brother knew what he was doing all along?!

Seeing these two quotes from Vince Lombardi, legendary NFL coach, I believe he knew exactly what he was teaching me (being an avid NFL sports fan):

"Mental toughness is essential to success"

"Mental toughness is many things and rather difficult to explain. Its qualities are sacrifice and self-denial. Also, most importantly, it is combined with a perfectly disciplined will that refuses to give in. It's a state of mind-you could call it character in action."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

a parent's stomach

every parent knows what i'm talking about when:

your stomach empties like a dry, ancient volcano that rumbles under the surface threatening to scream a destructive explosion

your stomach grips onto your insides tightening, twisting, and pulling you into a bleak hole until the pain numbs

your broken heart that falls into this bottomless pit softly beats, knocks, ticks, and pumps while swiftly stealing your breath away

your stomach's torture is accompanied with the sleepless nights, the heart that breaks over and over, the endless supply of tears, and the constant, never ending worries and fears.

but on the flip side, there are far more moments in a parents life that stuffs your stomach, warms your insides, and comforts your heart.

but oh, what a parent's stomach goes through!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Message from Robin

My lil' brother and I went to Canada during the memorial day weekend. We were there to walk and celebrate in our cousin's wedding. Less than a year after my brother's death, should we be celebrating and rejoicing in other people's happiness? You see in the Jewish customs, mourning lasts for 12 months, and while regular activities in your life resume, you are not supposed to attend festive occasions, especially where music is played. For this reason, my parents did not attend the wedding. And after being there, I could see it would have been way too difficult for my parents. I didn't even realize how difficult it was going to be for me. I received many condolences from family and friends. I could sense that some people would look at me with sorrow and not know what to say. It was also difficult to see my aunts and uncles in a corner of the ballroom not acting themselves, not really belonging (they were in the 12 month mourning period for my grandmother, their mother). That was just a weird, constant reminder of sadness in place that didn't belong. Then, every time a cousin mentioned that this is the first time that every single cousin on my dad's side was together in the same place, all I could think of was "NO, Robin is missing!" Some probably realized what I was thinking, cause the impact of the comment disintegrated. Robin was mentioned in speeches and I know he was in everyone's hearts. This weekend, I was on a roller coaster ride of emotions.

Okay so on to the point of this blog:
Right after the ceremony, outside the ballroom, I congratulated my cousin Eric, the groom.
He tells me with such sincerity and love "Robin is with us." And it took everything in me to not break down and bawl like a baby. I stood to the side and just thought of what the evening would have been like if he was really here and not just in our hearts. He would be "the" cousin that everyone talked to, asked for advice. He would be wanted in everyone's pictures. He would have this huge ass smile on his face. He would probably be sweating too. He would have danced the traditional Hora dance and helped lift the bride and groom in the air while they were sitting on their chairs. He would have been taking a walk outside a lot to take in the cold fresh air. He would have been drinking hard liquor, like jack and coke. He would have been playing with the nephews. He would be laughing and smiling a lot. And as if Robin was inside my head, he sent me a message less than an hour later to tell me he was here doing all of that.

While we were all on the dance floor, dancing the Hora, I was taking random pictures. And then boom I noticed this one picture. I was turning the camera off, thinking "oh I'll delete this one," and in less time it's taking me to tell you this, I noticed Robin was in the picture. I turned the camera back on immediately and yes, it was Robin in the picture. I shivered with tears while standing in the middle of the dance floor. I couldn't figure out who the real person was. All I could see was Robin smiling, dancing, and with so much joy. I am not blind. And this was not the kind of thing when people think they see their exes or passed loved ones in everyone they see crossing the street. It's not like that. It was Robin! Actually, it was my little brother, Philippe, who in my opinion, they do not look anything alike. See evidence below.

(click pictures to enlarge)

This is my family. Robin is on the left. Philippe on the right. Different faces, noses, smile, chin, forehead, I mean just so different, right? Now look at this picture below from Philippe's wedding almost two years ago. Robin to the left. Philippe on the right. So different, not even similar. Hey, that's me with the red frames.

Now here is the picture from this past weekend. Robin on the left bottom corner, I mean it's really Philippe, but it's not.

To me, this picture was a message from Robin. He was letting me know "I am here with you, don't be sad." He was celebrating, smiling, laughing, and dancing with all of us. I mean look at his face in this picture. After the initial shock wore off and the message came in clear, I was so happy! It made my trip worthwhile in every way!

My dad found this quote on a cemetery bench and it goes perfectly with this picture:

when tomorrow starts without me,
don't think we're far apart.
for every time you think of me,
I'm right here in your heart.

If that's true, you are living in my heart! Not a single day goes by that you are not with me.
I love you and miss you tremendously!


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