How Do You Live Your Dash?

We are back from our extremely emotional trip to NY.  Flying up for the funeral of our 43 year old niece, Lori, was definitely the hardest trip we ever made.  Thanks to my big sister and brother-in-law for taking fantastic care of us in every way.

We learned a lot about life on this trip.  Lori was a big ball of love and in return, was loved by everyone.  There was no way of telling how many people showed up to honor her and pay their respects to her family, because there were people everywhere you turned.  The stories were all the same.  Her thoughtfulness and willingness to extend herself to anyone that needed a hand, was the constant thread in each story shared.   One woman told us the story about how she had come from Japan about 10 years ago and her son, who spoke very little English, was in pre-school with the twins.  The woman who had no met friends yet, was diagnosed with cancer.  Lori stepped right up offering to transport her son and do whatever she could to help the woman with her son.  The woman came to the funeral to let her family know that Lori made her a better person.  Everyone who’s life was touched by Lori expressed that same sentiment.

Lori lived her life.  She made each day count.  She worked hard at home and at work.  She volunteered at school, at baseball and at Girl Scouts.  She took care of her dad (my brother) when he was living in her and her family’s home and dying of pancreatic cancer.   She was a great wife, sister, aunt, cousin, niece and friend.  She loved her animals,  Candy Crush, going to the movies on Friday nights, playing pool, watching the fights.  She loved the Rock.  I wish she had gotten to meet him.  She loved her huge extended family but nothing held a torch to the love she had for her twins, who she tried very hard to have and worked so hard to help them become the beautiful young adults they are today.

At the funeral, a poem that many of us have heard before was recited.  It’s worth repeating.

My niece only lived 43 years, but her dash was extraordinary.

Thank you so much to everyone who was so kind, generous and loving these past 10 days.   Your kind words, hugs, texts, messages, donations, help with the house and work…all mean so much to me and our family.

We did a lot in NYC in honor of Lori and the dash.  We walked everywhere in that amazing city and saw things we never saw before.  Today, it is back to work and continuing to work the dash.

I hope you will read that poem and work on your own dash.

A very happy birthday to Jolene, Jolene who we love to pieces and who definitely knows how to live each day to it’s fullest.   Keep living the dash, Jolene and enjoy your day!






RIP Sam Simon, Writer, Director, Producer and HERO!

RIP Sam Simon, co-creator of the amazing “Simpsons.”  While the name Matt Groening is rather well know, it was along with James L. Brooks and Simon, that the Simpsons came alive.  Though Simon left the show in 1993, he held onto an executive producer title that earned him tens of millions of dollars a year.

Wanting to distance himself from television, Simon found his calling in philanthropy.  In 2002 he created the Sam Simon Foundation.  On six acres, in Malibu, stray and abused dogs are rescued and retrained.  In 2011 he expanded his efforts to include the Feeding Families program, which delivers vegan food to 200 needy families a day!

Diagnosed with colon cancer in 2012 and given 3-6 months to live, Simon donated the bulk of his fortune to his charities.  “Everything the Sam Simon Foundation does is supposed to help dogs and people.  The truth is, I have more money than I’m interested in spending.  Everyone in my family is taken care of.  And I enjoy this,” Simon told the Hollywood Reporter in 2013.

Simon passed away on Sunday at 59 years old but clearly his legacies will continue to amuse, entertain and most importantly contribute to the betterment of people and dogs each and every day.   While this family has always been a huge fan of the Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, I came to love the show even more after learning about Simon’s Foundation after his diagnosis.  RIP Mr. Simon and thank you for your amazing contributions to our planet.

A Sweet New Year

For months I was in that pensive,reading, learning, quiet mode and now….I am not!  Must be the change in seasons.  Not only did my cat fall into fall yesterday, but I took a mini fall as well.  Thankfully, it was only a little trip and I, like Roxy, was fine!  From here on in, I think we will call it AUTUMN!

This has been one busy and interesting week.  It is truly the roller coaster we call life.  Celebration on Monday…funeral on Tuesday (which really ALWAYS should be a celebration of one’s life!)  Aunt Pearl had a great life filled with friends, family and a lot of love.  It was nice to be together with family, and remember her so fondly.  The rabbi had many beautiful sentiments and there were a lot of lesson in his service.  As he talked about a time to plant and a time to uproot, etc., I really wanted to sing (those that know me, know most things make me want to sing).  I also laughed because my blog title, yesterday, was TURN TURN TURN.  If you don’t get that connection, you are too young to know the song!  On a serious note, though, his words about being able to dance again, smile again and find joy again, made me sad for those that just can’t seem to do that and are stuck in the misery of past experiences. One life…no dress rehearsals…we owe it not just to ourselves, but also to our loved ones to be happy and embrace each new day.

Today is more celebrating with a photographer meeting Charlotte for photos for the story they are planning to put in this Sunday’s Miami Herald.  I hate speaking to reporters but this was ALL about Charlotte and SilverSneakers, so all good!

Tonight begins Rosh Hashana aka the Jewish New Year.  For Mitch and I, life has changed an awful lot with family so far away, including our kids.  While we have never really practiced our religion, we always enjoyed having family and friends over for holidays.  Wishing our whole family a very happy new year!  We will be happy to see all of our kids over the next week and half!   YAY!!!!!!

My friend Shelli always says “friends are the family we choose for ourselves.”–or something close to that.  Thank you Shelli and Al for inviting us to be with your family tonight.  We appreciate and when I saw this comic I had to share….

Have a very happy hump day, and to all a sweet new year.  May we all have peace in our hearts, in our homes and in the world!  Much love……


In Memory and in Honor……….

As we spend time remembering all that were lost in the tragedies of 9/11 and give thanks to all of those that worked so diligently in the rescue attempts, let us not forget our canine heroes who did not chose their career paths.  They were certainly amongst the unknown heroes.  Let us remember it all, but let our remembering lead us to a place of compassion.  Hard to believe it’s 13 years.  Time is a crazy concept……..

A search and rescue dog at the World Trade Cen...
A search and rescue dog at the World Trade Center site after the attacks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Memorial Day 2014

As we head to the beaches, the parks, the pools and the BBQs, let us remember…

And just a few hours after I posted this, Mitch called me in to see Kip Jacoby’s mom on the Today Show.  Though I don’t recall if I ever met her or not, I think about her and Kip’s family often… Kip called our house a lot back in his magnet school days with Derek.  I certainly remember him to be focused and persistent!  RIP Sgt.

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Army Sgt. Kip A. Jacoby

Died June 28, 2005 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

21, of Pompano Beach, Fla.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.; killed June 28 when an MH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed while ferrying personnel to a battle against militants in eastern Afghanistan.

You Can Spread Peace and Joy Today

A Moment's Peace
A Moment’s Peace (Photo credit: failing_angel)

“Allow yourself to be a torch and allow the flame of our torch to be transmitted to other torches.  Practicing like that, you can help peace and joy grow in the entire world.”

–Thich Nhat Hanh

I will always be a messenger of peace and can’t ever imagine believing in violence no matter what.  So sad to read the small caption under the picture of Kip Jacoby in today’s newspaper.  Kip went to school with Derek.  He enlisted after school and was killed 9 years ago during “Operation Eduring Freedom.”  The caption under his (the above) picture today read “Mom misses you.”  And forever my heart will break for this woman I never met, because that’s how moms roll.

Let’s light our torches and spread peace and joy wherever we go.  It’s so much better than the alternatives.

And on Vegan Feast Thursday, Still More…

Having decided to dedicate this week’s entries to quotes from the Art of Racing in The Rain AND this being Vegan Feast Thursday, I thought I would share with those that have not read the book an important fact.  This book was written not in first “person,” but instead in first “dog.”  I found it amazingly comforting and thought provoking to read things from a dog’s perspective.  If you have been reading all week, you already know that it was my dear friend Fredda, who turned me on to this fabulous book, and sadly, along with the rest of the world, I lost Fredda this week when she lost her UNBELIEVABLY courageous battle with AML (leukemia).  This week I am paying tribute to her life, through quotes from the book.

In this story, the main character, Enzo (the dog) teaches us all incredible life lessons.  This morning I want to share a quote that will give us all pause to think about how we converse.  I know that rereading this quote, and sharing it, I am going to commit to work extra hard on being a better listener.  I think we can all relate to what Enzo expresses.  If you haven’t read the book, there is a thread that runs through it that suggests really good dogs come back as people.  I know I will always stop and look a little longer every time I see a Harley…I may or may not ever see my beautiful Blaze upon one, but I will smile every time I see (and hear) one and know he is always in my heart, as is my special friend, Fredda.

would be totally lost, and only because you had to tell me all about Pele. Learn to listen”
ENZO  via Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain

To all my animal loving friends, if you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it.  As for Fredda, she was a cat lady.  She had several of her own and spent a lot of time volunteering at a local, no kill, cat rescue.  For those that knew her and want to send a donation, her family has asked that you send it to FELINE FRIENDS at 165 NE 2nd Ave, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441.  If you are reading this blog via FaceBook and want more info about Fredda, or anything peace, fitness, and vegan living, please log in @ to find my full site.

Though I lost a friend, I find myself reconnecting with some old ones, and that is quite a gift.  Additionally, seeing  new babies born into the world reminds me of the circle of life.

Tonight I am off with my special friend, Rita, to see Deepak Chopra.  So excited and certain I will have much to share after listening to his incredible wisdom.

As I do every Thursday, I ask you to consider swapping out some animal protein at a meal or 2 today, and remembering that what’s good for the planet and the animals, is also really good for you!

More from the Art of Racing in the Rain

I thought, since there were so many great quotes from the book, I would share some more this week, in memory of Fredda, who taught me all about racing in the rain…

“To live every day as if it had been stolen from death, that is how I would like to live. To feel the joy of life, as she felt the joy of life. To separate oneself from the burden, the angst, the anguish that we all encounter every day. To say I am alive, I am wonderful, I am. I am. That is something to aspire to.”  

–Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain

Fredda will be laid to rest this afternoon at 4pm at the Boca Raton Funeral Home located at 19785 Hampton Dr. (Off of Kimberly, between 441 and Lyons).  For more info, or directions, call 561-852-4332.



The Art of Racing in the Rain…

A few years back, my friend Fredda brought me a book and insisted I read it.  The book is titled “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” and for anyone who loves animals, it is a must read.  When Mitch and I said goodbye to Blaze in late December, I was comforted knowing that he would be riding, or chasing Harleys eternally.  He lived to go walking and nothing trumped hearing a bike, in particular the hum of the Harley engine, and thanks to the book, I knew what he would find when he crossed over.

Yesterday the world lost Shirley Temple, and it also lost my friend, Fredda Weiss.  Anyone who knew her learned so much through her courage with the battles she fought, with class, dignity and even humor.  She called her hospital room in Miami, her suite and loved her view of the Biscayne Bay.

One of the hard parts of working with “seniors” is that I sometimes have to say good-bye to them.  The irony, here, is that Fredda was always my youngest SilverSneaker student, joining our class when she was only in her 50s.  We struck a quick friendship from the first time I met her in class, but everyone else adored her as well.  Her favorite CD at class was a compilation of Cher songs and I will continue to play it often in her memory and in her honor.  When we “walk in Memphis,” I know her soul will be walking, singing and dancing with us.

Rest in Peace, Freddastair.  I sign off this morning with a quote from the book (and encourage all dog owner to read it!)

“He died that day because his body had served its purpose. His soul had done what it came to do, learned what it came to learn, and then was free to leave.”
―     Garth Stein,     The Art of Racing in the Rain

Though you will be so missed by your family and friends, you are finally free, Fredda.  Much love always……………


The Master Blaster. RIP, Joe

If you have ever lifted a weight, drank a protein drink, read a bodybuilding magazine, sat on a weight bench, or watched an Arnold movie, you owe a debt of thanks to the “Master Blaster,”  Joe Weider.  His is a story of one scrawny weakling, “tired of putting his head down and walking away to avoid trouble,” transforming himself into the true father of bodybuilding.  “Skin and bones.  That is all I was.  I needed some muscle,” Weider is quoted as saying when talking about his own childhood transformation.

Joe Weider Strong Arm Bracelets (1971)
Joe Weider Strong Arm Bracelets (1971) (Photo credit: Dex1138)

But fit as he still was, no one lives forever.  The fitness world lost a great mentor, yesterday, when Weider passed away at 93, but his legacy will last till the end of time.  Thanks, Joe.  RIP.