Archive for July, 2011

The Finality of Loss

I wish that death was a celebration of a life well-lived, instead of the mournful process that it is.  Somehow, I wish I could feel joy and gratitude when someone passes, rather than the infinite sadness and loss that is typical. My Great Aunt Shirley passed away on Monday, after a two-year battle with stomach cancer.  She was 86 and lived a long, often-hard life.

At 86 years old and as sick as she was, her passing was definitely in the natural order of things and it’s certainly not a tragedy by any means.  But she was my last biological link to my maternal grandmother (who died long before I was born) and while my grandfather re-married and his second wife of over 25 years is most certainly my beloved Grandma,  Aunt Shirley  took on the role of a second grandmother and so this isn’t just the loss of some obscure relative. This hurts.

I’m starting to understand the appeal of religions that tote the belief in an afterlife or reincarnation or some variation thereof.  It’s a comforting thought, certainly, only I’m having trouble really, truly buying into it all. I was raised Jewish by way of Buddism, Sufism and Quakerism and therefore, don’t really believe in much of anything other than science and nature.  But a part of me wants to believe, so so badly.  I find myself wishing that yes, Aunt Shirley is finally reunited with her beloved sister and all those in our family who have already passed on but deep down, I struggle with putting true faith into that idea.

So, instead, I wish that death was a celebration of life.  I wish our culture revered death instead of reviled it.  Perhaps,  instead of being immobilized by the painful finality of loss, we could somehow manage to find beauty and glory in the final journey of our lives.

Until I find a way to do that, I’ll just be sitting here, contemplating the life and times of my dear, crazy Great Aunt Shirley.


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My friend whose wedding we attended in Italy is also having a New York City reception next Tuesday.  Whoohoo for more parties! While we already took the couple out to dinner in Oslo as their wedding gift (by some strange coincidence, they were honeymooning in Scandinavia at the same time we were visiting our friends in Norway, so we all got to meet up for dinner, super-duper fun), I am loathe to show up at a party empty-handed.

I wanted to keep it relatively inexpensive (since, ya know, we just flew out to Italy for their wedding and all) but make it  heartfelt, rather than give them a colander or whatever.

Enter the classic ‘Framing of the Invitation’ with my own little twist.  Since my friend used a starfish motif on all her paper goods, this was the perfect opportunity to put to use all the shells I collected while walking along the beach during our time in Italy.

I bought a white frame with a matte from Pottery Barn.   Pottery Barn’s wooden frames are  almost always 20% off at the store near me (I should know because it’s only 7 blocks away.  DANGEROUS!) but of course, today I had no such luck.  Harrumph.

Still, $25 later and I had a beautiful 5 x 7 frame and matte, ready for action.

I used double-sided tape to attach the invitation to the outside of the matte, so the pretty silver edging wouldn’t be lost.

Then I dug around in my jar of shells for some that were relatively flat and in the coral color scheme of the wedding.

It took me a while to get a layout I was pleased with (and by a while, I mean 10 minutes, I’m an underachiever) but I finally worked it out.

I love an excuse to bust out my glue gun, especially now that my own wedding’s long gone and I have no reason to create mediocre crafts anymore, so I whipped that bad boy out and hot-glued all the shells and sea glass to the matte board.

About 10 minutes (and much to my astonishment) zero burned fingers later, everything was dried and I put it all together,  securing the back of the frame.  Here it is, in all it’s seashell glory…

Huzzah, am wedding-crafting goddess!

Haha, no, I am kidding with that above comment but I am pretty pleased with how it turned out (because I’m so not crafty like most of y’all are) and for $25, it certainly didn’t break the bank.

Hopefully my friend and her husband will like it. After a solid 20 minutes spent on this project, this crafting goddess is hungry and will now be crafting a sandwich, stat. Cheers!


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Empire State of Mind

I’m about a day late and dollar short to be jumping on this bandwagon but I couldn’t let the momentous occasion of New York legalizing gay marriage go by without some cheering and some tearing (up.)

New York, I am bursting with pride and so happy.  Happy, happy, happy, happy.  I really did not know if I would ever witness this in my lifetime but it happened and it now feels astonishing that just weeks ago, marriage was only recognized between a man and a woman.

I keep seeing photos like this that make my heart stop and I start to cry before I can speak…

Source via AP

Source via AP

Source via AP

Source via AP

We can only hope that many more states will soon follow suit and I am so happy that this absurd violation of human rights has finally been rectified.

To all the newlyweds out there, congratulations and best wishes on your MARRIAGE!

PS- For more glorious photos, check these out

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Yup, I’m back! And ready to to do it.  What’s up there, kiddos? Didja miss me?

I know it’s been a long-ass time since I posted anything here but when I started blogging, I made a personal decision never to apologize for an absence so while I’m not saying ‘Sorry’ or anything, just know that there were a few good reasons for my hiatus.  Sometimes life just gives you a kick in the nuts when you’re not looking and I was on the ground, doubled over, gasping for air for a quite a while.

But now I’ve caught my breath and looking forward to posting again.  Plus, I just got home from an obscenely fun-filled three weeks in Italy, Norway and Britain and will definitely be rehashing the trip.  Just to tide you all over, here’s a few of my favorite shots from our travels…

Before the rehearsal dinner for the wedding we attended in the Puglia region of Italy

Vino and snacks in Rodi Garganico

Fishing in the Oslo fjord (this photo was taken at about 11:30 pm!)

City of Bergen, UNESCO World Heritage Site

Indian food on Brick Lane in London

The last month has been a strange juxtaposition of  awesome and awful,  smooshed together in some unexpected ways.  I’m sorry I’m being so vague about things but I’m not ready to talk about anything yet.  Maybe I will sometime in the future (or maybe not, I haven’t decided yet.)

Anyways, I’ve also seriously got to get my running sh*t together because there’s only 10 weeks until the Chicago Marathon and all the wine-drinking and gelato/cheese-eating the past three weeks has not helped my endurance (unless we’re talking about my stomach capacity, in which case I definitely fall under the ‘winner’ category.)

So cheers to my return to the US, to bouncing back from a hard fall and running through it all.  I an back, baby!


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