Summer Birthdays: Remembering My Nanny

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My beautiful Nanny, 1999

I didn’t do a July 4th post… I tried, I couldn’t do it. I kept putting stuff together and bursting into tears, nothing felt right and I just couldn’t get into the spirit. July 4th we always celebrated my grandmothers birthday–her birthday was July 3rd. She started the tradition years ago with a lobster bake and my aunt has continued the tradition–a promise she made my grandmother before she passed away in 2008.

So this last Wednesday would have been my grandmothers birthday, and I can’t call her that… I never called her that. I called her Nanny. She was the best Nanny in the world. She was beautiful, she was effusive and she lived adventurously. She was proud of her family and she made you feel loved yet she also could give a kick in the ass when it was needed.

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A Dance With My Father

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The sad news about Valerie Harper‘s diagnosis has me reflecting about my father. He also had a brain cancer, however the time between his diagnosis and his passing was approximately eleven weeks. I don’t know if we were profoundly lucky or if were really short-changed because of that compressed timeframe…probably a bit of both.

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Giving Back: Gift Shopping for Good

20120804-205603.jpgI hate to admit it but a hefty shopping trip is often times my cardio for the day–hey, don’t judge lest you be judged. I do live in the city so walking 40 blocks with 4-5 bags in tow is no easy feat, so I can get an elevated heart rate and break a sweat especially in the August heat but recently I’ve been hit with a wave of gratitude that has me looking for more ways to give back and it’s so much more fun to do so when it involves something you enjoy. For me, it’s shopping and gift-giving.

Here are some ways to do both while also giving to others in need.

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A Birthday (Crab) Bash

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When I was a kid, my father began a very cool tradition for my birthday. I’m a July baby, which made me a Cancer–the sign associated with the crab–so every year we would go to a restaurant, called Sidewalkers, where they served a Maryland-style crab-bash. If you don’t know what a Maryland-style crab-bash is, you’re missing out. Basically you sit at a table covered with brown paper, then they dump a whole bunch of seasoned crabs in the center of a table (bibs are recommended). You are armed with a mallet, cracker and small fork and then you go at it.

The last time I celebrated my birthday in this way was 1997. It was the last time my Dad was alive for my birthday. I was 22. The morning after that celebration–about twelve hours later–he had a seizure caused by a brain tumor that he didn’t know he had and he passed away just eleven weeks later. It was the last celebration I had with him before everything changed and was the end of my birthday crab-bash tradition. That was fifteen years ago.

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