Category Archives: family

butterscotch ginger

My hands are cold.

I set up shop on the terrace this afternoon and have been working outside ever since, wrapped in a blanket over my clothes.

Finn has been running around the deck, jumping in and out of the planters as if he were training for the Cat Olympics. He gave me a minor heart attack when he dashed across the corrugated roof of the pergola, attempting to launch himself to the next deck.

My writing exercises are much enjoyable when there’s a proper table and/or desk for me to work from. And right now that outpost is outside, either on the terrace or in a coffee shop.

I’ve been writing and researching, all day. Snippets of copy for the company blog, keeping up with my daily blog posts here. Outlining projects for my clients paid and barter. Reading articles to keep my mind alight for critical thinking and analysis.mug.

Finn jumps from the stairs to the table, walks across the laptop keyboard to stake his claim. Almost like a lion on the sub-Saharan desert searching for a palm tree to escape the brutal sun. Except it’s a dining room table covered with books, newspapers and a coffee mug.

It’s time for another cup, a special roast from Supercrown Coffee: Guatemala El Apiario, delicate with butterscotch undertones.

Butterscotch, almost the same color as Finn’s coat. My ginger flame point Siamese has made his move to a cooler location. He settles in with his back to the mirror, a gaze thrown over his shoulder eyeing his reflection.

When he’s calm and chill, he’s almost regal. My Scottish knight of Brooklyn.

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Finnegan meets the cat in the mirror, @prez13


That Six-Letter Word

Fact: Women in the U.S. have a 1 in 8 (or about 12%) lifetime risk of getting breast cancer. This means that for every 8 women in the U.S. who live to be age 85, 1 will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.

Early detection is the first step in prevention and treatment. And that is why the waiting room at NYU Langone Medical is full at 9AM on a Tuesday. It is my annual diagnostic mammogram screening, and I pray that the radiology report comes back clean.

I know a handful of women in my life who have had breast cancer and survived. One had a double mastectomy before she turned 30; the second, a lumpectomy in her 40s; and the third, a scare in her 50s.

Cancer is the six-letter word no one wants to hear from their doctor, the word no one likes to say out loud. Because like those furry creatures from Gremlins, the word multiplies the minute it’s enunciated. No one speaks about cancer until they do. It’s still taboo until it happens to someone you love, someone they love, someone they know, someone they knew.

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Flower bud @juchjn – Pixaby 2017

My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer in March 1999. Chemo. Radiation. All those toxic chemicals killing the bad cells and the good cells, weakening her immune system, making it extremely difficult for a frail 71-year old woman to prepare for battle. We lost her the following January.

Seventeen years later, I lose count thinking of friends and family who have been diagnosed. For every one person who survives, there is one who does not.

I pray for them all.

Benefits of a Mammogram Screening


Gogel-Mogel: raw eggs and sugar

I wake with the sun and start a new day. Double fisting with a berry smoothie and a mug of hot coffee, filled with glee at working outside again.

It’s Easter week and like every lead up to a holiday, I find myself reminiscing about my family. Today I think of Nonna Rosa, my Sicilian grandmother, my mom’s mom.  I have a craving for raw egg and sugar — a treat she would feed me when I was a young child.

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The adult in me questions the raw egg. Is it even safe to eat?

I Google the combination and learn a thing or two. Like its name: Gogel-Mogel, it makes me smile, although there aren’t enough vowels to make that remotely Italian. And of course, it’s not. It’s Yiddish, and its origin is a Central and Eastern European dessert made from raw egg, sugar, and flavoring (honey, vanilla, rum). Nonna would add espresso to mine.

I learn that the Gogel-Mogel is often prepared as a transition food for babies moving from a cereal diet to one that includes eggs and other soft foods. It has also been used as a home remedy for treating colds or the flu, particularly chest colds and laryngitis.

I wish I knew this last week.

 


in remembrance

most days are filled with something
but today I am struggling.
you never know what will affect you, how it will affect you until it affects you.

experience a loss of life,
a very long well-lived life;
and then remember that life on the first day of spring.

thoughts are like dandelions
seeding one memory and then another
stirring a pot that has finally settled

people grieve in so many different ways
judgment solitude quiet reflection sadness regret
the living honor the dead through stories

today I wish I had the strength for the stories:
it’s who I am, what I do, it’s my language.
it’s taken me such a long time to get here, to this day

I don’t want to, cannot be derailed
I tend to the grief in my own way,
sending strength and love outward.

(c) March 2017


right here, next to me

There are some days, even now nearly four years since my Dad died when I find myself thinking he is still alive. It is a fleeting moment, lasting thirty seconds or less. It lingers in the air like smoke from a snuffed out candle.

Sunday morning, not quite 2AM, an evening in with the muses talking about life and friendship, death and spirituality, family and friends. Monica and Suzie fall in and out of sleep, their voices a rolling canon of sighs punctuated by snores from our favorite pug, Jello. It’s a midnight symphony at ebb+flow headquarters.

A few minutes later, the third uberPOOL passenger in a white Elantra, I find myself zigzagging from one side of Brooklyn to the other, the sickening sweet air freshener pungent in the front seat. This road travelled is like a driving race course with every pothole and speedbump a replacment for the orange cones.

Opening the door, I am greeted with a famished hello from Finn.

In the bathroom, I change out of my street clothes into PJs, running the water to brush my teeth. The door is slightly ajar. In the white noise and ambient sounds, I almost hear my Dad shuffling down the hallway.

When we shared the same space we had this instituionalized ritual where he would ‘find me’ on his way to the washroom just as I was returning from a night out on the town. Nonchalantly, he would ask how my night was, and in this moment, I hear him asking about these friends of mine whom he has never met, and how they are doing.

I can hear the shadow of his breath, the early morning scratchiness in his voice, as if he were standing right here, next to me.