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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 166: 30 Plus Years To Wait

I am outraged. I am disgusted and I am really angry. How can a monster who was sentenced to die some 30 years ago still be alive and living on death row? I mean how much pain as Americans do we expect a family to endure? Have you been following the case this week in California where a death row inmates' execution was stayed ... wait for it ... because the lethal injection may not be "right".

Okay yeah I'm sure the two young girls aged 14 and 15 who he raped and then one that he murdered -- by strangling her with her own shoe lace -- didn't have the "right" methods of death applied to them either. I mean are you kidding? I think I'm going to throw up.

His last victim, a 15 year old girl from Riverside, California named Susan Jordan, walked her two younger siblings to school, then was walking herself to High School one early morning back in 1980. A piece of garbage grabbed her, raped her, removed her shoelace from her own shoe, and strangled her in a dirt field. I need you all to breathe, and pause for the gruesome, heinous crime that this was.

And as if that wasn't enough, he then called her family and taunted them by saying, "your daughter Susan won't be coming home from school today."

What sick mother fucker does this and lives for 30 more years because the State believes it isn't the right fucking lethal drug to kill the bastard?

Can you sense my outrage? I hope so because it is shameful and we should all be angry.

Look, do I believe that there are innocent people in prison, yes. Do I believe that mistakes can be made and death is final, yes. Do I believe that God maybe should have the only right to take a life, maybe. But there is no wavering on this case. The DNA, the evidence is rock solid. This bastard murdered a young girl while out on parole from prison from raping another girl. There's no mistake here.

California voters voted for the Death Penalty and it's criminal that it's not applied. Instead your tax dollars have fed this monster three meals a day for 30 years. You've paid for his medical needs, his dental needs, anything he needed.

I have been obsessing over this young woman. How afraid she must have been during her final moments on earth. If she were alive, she would be just 4 years younger then me, 45. Maybe she would have gone to college. Maybe she would have discovered a cure for cancer. Maybe she'd be my friend. Had children. Worked toward peace around the world. Cared for her elderly parents.

The possibilities of her life have never been fulfilled because some disgusting person felt that his needs were worthy of her life. And you want me to feel sorry that the lethal injection may be a little painful? Just stop it ... All I can think about is her family waiting 30 years for the nightmare to maybe be over. But is it ever over? Their daughter is DEAD and they were robbed of her life.

End this nightmare.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 165: 12 Miles

Oh my gosh, I thought I wouldn't make it today! I have not run a long distance since the Disneyland Half Marathon 4 weeks ago. And keep in mind I had only run 13 miles once in my life and that was on race day.

Today is Wednesday, long run day on my training schedule. Melody and I met at 7 a.m. at the beach determined to get my running miles moving up.

It was hot, I was winded and it wasn't pretty that's for sure (not the beach, my running!). So as I write this I sit on ice packs again on my ass, and I've got blisters on my feet, and everything aches. But nobody said it would be easy to train for a marathon. I mean if it was, more people would be running.

I was inspired by a fellow runner today ... we asked her how many miles she was doing this morning and she said "20" ... she runs the Chicago Marathon in two weeks and this was her last big run before race day. I thought, wow, 20 miles, will I ever be able to do that?!

As I've said before, one mile at a time, baby! Run Robyn Run!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 164: An Old Friend

Tonight I attended a fundraiser for West Hollywood City Council member Abbe Land. Abbe is not only a terrific public official but she has been a great supporter of mine for years and throughout my campaign for office. She is up for reelection next March 2011 and I wanted to join her at her kick off campaign event. All was good there.

As I was leaving the venue on Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood I ran right into my dear, dear, wonderful friend Igor. If you remember, Igor is the "man" from my old stomping joint, Orsini's Ristorante on Pico. He now runs his own joint up on Sunset called Isla.
I had my, "I Lost but am Endorsing Paul Party" at Isla..." Many of you attended that shin-dig. Bittersweet event.

Well this man has been so good to me for so many years I could not pass up a chance to join Igor for one drink up at his place ... so there I was ... sitting at his bar reminiscing about the old times, asking where the years had gone, catching up on family, work and his business. Ah, such comfort...
Sometimes it's the people you see least, but have made indelible impacts on your life, that you feel the most comfortable with and the most excited to spend time with...

Who will join me to go visit Igor up at ISLA in the next week or so... I didn't get enough of an Igor fix! Let's go!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 163: The College Application

My niece, Olivia, came over tonight for us to edit her college application essay. Whew! Happy I'm not in college anymore or applying to school! It's exhausting compiling all your accomplishments and attempting to present them in a clever way so your essay will stand out among thousands of essays college admissions counselors review. Such competition!

But this is the time of year where thousands of senior high school students are busy putting their applications together. It's either a very exciting time for the student or a very anxiety ridden time causing a lot of stress in a family. Students are nervously narrowing down their college wish list, fine tuning their essay, taking a few extra rigorous courses to bump up their GPA, all in an effort to strengthen their chances of being admitted.

You have to have a game plan and a solid strategy to play this game. Yes a strategy for applying to college. And even with the best of everything - application, essay, GPA, SAT score, there is no guarantee that your student will be accepted to their dream university. Such is life.

When Brandon applied to college we were able to narrow the choices down to where he could play baseball and receive a scholarship. This helped with the process. However, being a collegiate athlete is no easy task once the kids get to the school and start playing sports at the college level. It's an entirely different game at that level.

Well my darling niece Olivia has a stellar application based on her years of community service. She has given her time and energy to so many worthy causes over the years. She is a trained teen counselor at Teen Line, a peer-to-peer crisis call in center for teens to call and talk about their problems. She is a counselor and mentor with Camp Harmony, a camp for underprivileged children. She has worked with Best Buddies, an organization focused on intellectually challenged children. The list goes on and on so do the hours she gave of herself above and beyond her academics.

Surely one or more of the University's she is applying to will see her gift for giving and that will be her winning entrance ticket! Good luck to all the College bound Seniors!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 162: Running With The Dolphins

Took a beautiful early morning run at the beach today and was greeted by an exciting treat! I'm running along and look over and there are dolphins jumping in the ocean. What a sight! Just beautiful! And not just one or two dolphins, some 10 graceful dolphins leaping from the water.

Many of us forget that we live next to one of the most beautiful beach's in the world here in Southern California. One of the perks of my son's Harrison & Spencer attending Palisades High School is that we get to drive on Pacific Coast Highway everyday and take in the gorgeous coastline. One of the perks of me taking up running has also been enjoying our beaches as that's my favorite place to run.

There's something very peaceful about an early run on the beach with the ocean and fresh air joining you the entire length of your run. And taking in the coastline and it's beauty is just very invigorating. Seeing the dolphins this morning really made me happy ... graceful, free, and a beautiful pleasure to take in for us humans.

If you haven't visited the beach in awhile... go take a walk, a run, or a bike ride and breathe in the air and view the beauty of the ocean!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 161: Damn The Packaging!

I don't know about you, but I am finding it more challenging everyday to just open what should be simple and easy packages! Why do manufacturers have to seal up their products as if they need to be stored for eternity?

I get so frustrated that I usually end up taking a knife to the wrapped too tight package and stabbing it with knife wounds just to prey the damn thing open! What's up with that!?

If you have the sligest arthritis in your hands, forget about it! There's no way you'd be able to open a jar of jam, or plastic containers holding lunch meet or cheese... I have strong hands and I still can't get the things open. Why oh why do these products have to be sealed so tight?

I'm calling all manufacturing companies and their product packaging departments to hear me... loosen up on the air tight, suction tight packaging so us normal folks who are busy running around can actually use your products without a battle trying to get the items opened!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 160: I'm A Celebrity Among the Neighborhood Children

Tonight Brian and I were getting in the car to attend a dinner party at our friend's Debbie & Bruce Spector's house. As I was waiting for hubby Brian to pull the car up my neighbors from down the street -- father & son-- came walking down the street, most likely on their way to Shabbat services. I was greeted with the biggest "Hi Robyn!". Warms my heart every time the neighborhood children walk by and say hello to me by name!

I'm convinced the children were more excited about my political run then most adults (as evident by the vote count ... if only the kids could have voted!). To the children I'm a bit of a celebrity ... they saw my name on lawn signs littered throughout the community and thought that was so cool! They loved my Green Smart Car with "Vote Smart... Vote for Robyn" plastered on the sides, and of course they love visiting me for my always stocked candy drawers in the kitchen! It's the simple things that brings a smile to a child's face.

One of the sweetest feelings for me is when my doorbell rings and I'm greeted with hugs and smiles by the neighborhood kids. When I ask "do you want some candy," there is a resounding "yes" and a bolt toward my kitchen. For those that know me well, you know that I always have an abundance of candy for all my guests! Does my soul really good to know that the kids in the 'hood think so highly of me! (Or just really love that I offer them sweets!)

So among the children in Beverlywood, I'm not only known as the Halloween lady, or the candy lady, but also the lady that ran for some crazy public office!

Honestly I like children more than most adults I come across, especially those I met on the campaign trail. Children love you as long as you smile at them and show them some love. They don't judge or snarl or spread nasty rumors about you ... they are honest and raw and it's so refreshing to be in their company.

So I love it when my doorbell rings and behind the door is an adorable child with a big smile saying Hi Robyn! Warms my heart every time!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 159: A Son's Love

Just when you feel as if your children don't appreciate all you do for them ... a beautiful reminder comes along to let you know that all your years of making them a priority, made a difference...

All the endless cooking,
And all the endless cleaning,
All the endless times at the park,
And all the times you sat in the dark,
That is love.

When you read me stories, by my bed at night,
It was nothing short of a beautiful sight,
And even when I was having a rough day,
I was able to see, that everything, would be okay,
That is love.

Not only she, but he as well,
You were there every time I fell,
Every hit I got and every pitch I made,
You were constantly there, in the giant crowd,
No matter what, always proud,
That is love.

That is love; it makes us rise above,
Stronger than ever,
Without us, there's no one better,
I love you both as you do me,
I love you Mom and Dad,
You and me will gladly be,family forever...
Because that is love.

Don't ever underestimate the power of parenting or the importance of the work you perform. There is no greater bond then the love between child and parent. My 19 year old son, Brandon wrote this poem in his college creative writing course.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 158: Fall Fashion Confusion

Calling all my fashion sisters, I need some guidance here!

Okay my lady gal pals, I'm so confused about this Fall's fashion! As we usher in the first day of Fall today, I'm seeing more and more styles splashed in fashion magazines, catalogs and of course stores! But I'm not getting it. I am usually a really good fashionista -- always have been -- I mean heck Suzanne was my mother and nobody could out-dress her. She had impeccable taste and style in her wardrobe. She passed that gene on to her three daughters who are all super fashionistas. We may have different styles, but we are always pulled together!

While I know that eggplant, light grey and green are hot color palates for your wardrobe this season, and of course boots, boots and more boots are a must. And yes I know the military jacket, and fur, lots of faux fur, along with leopard print on anything from shoes to apparel or handbags, are all must-haves ... I'm just not getting how these pieces collectively work? Is it just me or what? And what's with the big wide belts over bulky sweaters? That can't possibly be a good fashion look for more full figured women like myself, can it be?

I'm trying to get my fashion groove on as the season has changed, but I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with what is offered. I am not a fan of leggings as a substitute for pants... they are not flattering on most women and they look like you are either wearing your exercise clothing or a pair of tights... I say put a skirt or a pair of pants on!

So I have my leopard dress for the season, thanks to gal pal Lori Soll and her beautiful Ecetera clothing line, and I have a light grey leather jacket, but then what? I'm going to try those big belts, even though I'm really not a belt person. I am, however, a huge accessory gal, which you all know... I love big chunky costume jewelry, especially big rings... the more bling the better, but always tasteful!

I love bright colors so the purple/eggplant shade will work for me as will the green. I love handbags, I mean I am the gal that changes her handbag daily to coordinate with my outfit... I know how crazy huh, but I just love handbags!

So as I flip through the countless catalogs I receive, and cruise through the stores, I need some direction on how to pull this Fall's fashion together? I love dresses, I love the 50s era fashion, I love broaches, designer handbags, lots of jewelry ... love the look of Tory Burch, and of course Chanel, but also wear a lot of INC, the clothing line exclusively at Bloomingdale's and Macy's. So if you have suggestions, will you please send them along with pictures of how to pull it all off!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 157: Running Sprints

Yes, I'm sore. I'm sore almost daily from intense workouts. I keep asking, "when will I not be in pain?" Well it's been more than one year and I'm still pushing. Today was sprint running. Suicides as they are called. Have you ever run a suicide? Oh my gosh. You want to increase your running time and your strength, give these babies a try!

Had to pull out the ice for my rear today to get some relief. Tomorrow will be strengthening meaning lots of push-ups, planks, and lunges. Ouch. I can already feel the burning in my behind.

So you ask why do I keep pushing with these intense workouts? Well, the answer is I want to be strong. I want to be mentally strong and physically strong.

I can't turn the clock back and I intend to preserve what I've got. So yes I'm sore, tired, and know I'll have a grueling workout tomorrow, then a long beach run on Friday. It never really ends. But I have a goal, I have a plan and I have an intention. So the only way to accomplish this is to work hard even if that means working through the soreness and the pain. So keep it comin', I'm ready!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 156: A Race in Delaware

You say why should I care about a Senate race in the state of Delaware? You may even say where is Delaware? But if you have followed the news in recent days you are well aware that Delaware has been turned upside down politically.

Both candidates who made it past their primary and are now in a General Election in November, could not be farther apart from one another. And here's why it should matter to you.

I met Chris Coons tonight at an event hosted for his Delaware Senate campaign here in Los Angeles. You say why would I have attended an event for a senate candidate from Delaware? Well his opponent is a Tea Party Republican woman, endorsed by Sarah Palin (do I need to say more?) who believes we should have prayer in school, believes we should teach abstinence to our students, as well as creationism, believes being gay is a genetically immoral behavior, is anti-choice ... shall I continue or are you sick enough?

While I rarely dabble in National politics - for two reasons - One, I am a local political gal ... I want to have a say and influence on the issues that directly impact my daily life and I feel more empowered being involved locally. And second, National politics is expensive. But on Friday I received a phone call from candidate Chris Coons. Yes, a personal phone call inviting me to tonight's event and sharing with me why this race mattered to me - a woman here in Los Angeles. I have to tell you I was impressed.

Impressed that he took the time to make a call to me -- a low profile pisher donor and as a former candidate impressed that he was reaching out beyond his home state for well needed resources. Since his opponent won her Republican nomination one week ago she has raised a whopping 2 million dollars on line. So yes he needs the resources badly! So his personal call weighed heavy on me. And so did what was at stake if he lost.

A woman who would have a vote on all the issues I care deeply about could be elected to the US Senate and I couldn't allow that to happen. This woman wants to deny people the right to marry whomever they chose to; deny us the right to make our own family planning decisions; implement prayer in the classroom; and deny our children correct sex education while promoting abstinence as a sex education lesson plan.

So for many reasons that I care deeply about, I ventured out on a Monday night to support a man who is incredibly impressive - for his intelligence, his passion for the issues I care about, his poise and his commitment to help both Delaware residents, and all Americans get their lives back on track. I'm hoping you'll join with me to support Chris Coons -- anyway you can.

To learn more about the candidate I am supporting, visit:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 155: A Tough Night's Sleep

Well, we are not sure about our new mattress. In our effort to get a firmer more supportive mattress, we may have gone overboard. Our new mattress feels more like a cement slab then a comfy support for your body.

If you have not purchased a mattress in many years, like most people as they should be good for some ten years, then you are in for a shock with all the choices.
So there hubby Brian and I were lying on bed after bed. Laying on our right, then our left side, then our back and finally on our tummy all in an effort to determine if the mattress was a good fit for us.

We both agreed we wanted a firm, supportive bed because we just have not been sleeping well and since our mattress was ten plus years old, we agreed that it was time to lend our back some more support. Hmm, not sure if we have accomplished our goal or not. It's been four night's now, and it still feels rock hard, but we are going to give it some more time.

There's nothing better then a solid good night's rest, and the older you get and the more you physically push your body, the more you crave a cozy supportive mattress to sleep on. We will see... keep you posted.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 154: A Time to Reflect

Spent the day at Temple today in observance of Yom Kippur. The holiest of the Jewish Holidays. A day to repent, to atone your sins, a time to commit to being a better person. Beautiful music, inspiring sermon, surrounded by family and friends. A day of reflection. A day to ponder where your life is at and where you are headed. Lots of decisions to be made. Perhaps some big changes.

Then had a scrumptious break-fast at our lovely friend's home. Lori & Steve Soll have been dear family friends for more years than I can remember. We shared their wedding together, the birth of their two sons together, and have spent countless family holidays in one another's company. Isn't that what it's about? Being in the company of those you love.

As you set your gaols for the coming year, remember to share your time wisely and spend it with those you cherish and love.

May you all be inscribed in the Book of Life.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 153: Being A Better Person

Tonight at sundown begins the Jewish Holiday Yom Kippur. A time to reflect, forgive, atone and to ask the boss upstairs for another chance. It is also a 24 hour period where many faithful fast. It is a somber day intended for us followers to not focus on ourselves, our bodies, or our appearance, but to really give pause to the greater world and to make a deep conscious decision to be a better person the following year.

That's a pretty big "ask". While we all can say we are going to be nicer to our co-workers, our friends, our family members (even the one's that drive us crazy), and that we are going to be more patient, more forgiving and kind to everyone we encounter, the truth is that it's not an easy task... it's something you have to really want and really make an effort to strive to accomplish.

So tomorrow when I'm observing the day at services, I will be praying for the strength to be a better person. And I hope all of you will join me so we can work toward a kinder and more tolerant community and world.

Shana Tovah

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 152: California's Attorney General's Race

Okay I know you are all going crazy with the abundance of political ads airing now for California's Governor's race and the Senate race. Lots of money being spent by all the candidates, whether by them personally like Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, or by independent groups such as unions and organizations who are bankrolling ads for Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer.

But one race equally important to California is the Attorney General race. You say what? You didn't know there was a race for this office! Well, Jerry Brown, our current AG is running for Governor and will be vacating the top gun's spot for California. Do you know who the two candidates are running for this top legal and law enforcement position in the state of California? You should, as this person dictates a lot in your life!

I am supporting San Fransisco District Attorney Kamala Harris. I had the chance to finally meet this woman who I had heard so much about. I attended an event in her honor this week and wow I was dazzled and quite smitten when I left.

There were so many stories she shared that motivated me to support her, but one really stood out. As my children returned to school this week in Los Angeles along with some 700,000 other students, attendance is a priority for teachers, principals, and administrators. These education leaders recognize that attendance is paramount to receiving a quality education. All students should be going to class daily, but they don't. Truancy is an enormous issue in LA and throughout the state. Statistics prove that truant children have a lower graduation rate then those students who attend school regularly, and truant students are more inclined to dabble in illegal behavior while skipping classes.

And then once those students fail to graduate, their job prospects are slim to nothing making a life of crime more attractive. There is a direct correlation between education and crime. Truancy, a very serious issue that has grave consequences for our future should not be taken lightly. Ms. Harris authored legislation that makes parents accountable for their children. If your kid is truant you will be fined or arrested.

Right on is what I say! Of course there are many circumstances that lead to a child's absence, but she took a bold move to make parents accountable. Thank goodness. This is the kind of leadership we need. She absolutely has my vote in November. I hope you will consider joining me and cast your vote for this terrific leader! To learn more about this very accomplished and talented woman visit

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 151: A New Mattress

After 10 years and lots of hours spent sleeping on the same mattress we have traded in our old one for a new one! Talk about a FIRM mattress... wow... were we sleeping on a soft pillow or is this new mattress just so firm? Well I'll let you know tomorrow after our first night's sleep tonight!

Sleep becomes more and more important the older we become and both hubby and I were complaining of not receiving a quality night's sleep. We attributed this to the old mattress.

So I'll keep you posted if our new bed aids in a good night's rest!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 150: Birthday Bliss

We celebrated my friend Melody's Birthday tonight! It's wonderful to honor your friends and to shower them with special attention. So gal pal Rebecca Simon, my sister Michele, and the birthday gal had a fun night out...

Pictured here are the "girls" out celebrating...

Birthday's, I have often written about on my blog, are a time for reflection. Was the past year what I wanted it to be? What do I want for the coming year? What goals do I want to set for myself? What do I want to accomplish for the next year? Who do I want to spend time with?

The last one is very important. The older we get the less time and patience we have to be in the company of people who don't offer any value to our lives. We become more selective about who we chose to spend time with. We really evaluate our relationships and whether we are getting out of them what we put in.

One of my goals for this 49th year leading up to 50 was to spend time only with people who value me and my friendship. I believe this is a good policy for us all to adopt. Be in the company of those you love and cherish and celebrate at every opportunity you have!

Pictured here are Melody and Robyn celebrating another year for Miss Mel!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 149: First Day of 10th Grade

Today was the first day of 10th grade for Harrison & Spencer at Palisades High School. Wow, already 10th grade for my two babies. Brandon began his second year of college a few weeks ago... still can't believe that either!

As is tradition in the Simon house - since the boys began pre-school - we have been taking a picture of them on their first day of school in the same spot in front of our house. Oh my gosh how they have grown over the years.

Pictured above are all three of my scrumptious boys from L-R, Spencer, Brandon, and Harrison... photo taken on Harrison & Spencer's first day of Kindergarten at Canfield Avenue Elementary and Brandon's first day of 3rd grade at Westwood Charter Elementary School! Oh the memories!

So my boys joined some 700,000 students today across Los Angeles -- some entering Kindergarten others entering Senior year -- all beginning the year with a fresh start ... a chance to have a productive, healthy, and fun new year in school.

Parents across the district were scrambling today with logistical concerns ... some buses have been halted due to budget cuts so there's the transportation issue ... there's the "what to pack for lunch" question as the lunch lines are way too long to stand in during a very brief lunch period ... there's a new bus route to take home from school, the new time schedule, the new baseball schedule... all honors and AP courses ... it's going to be a rigorous year with challenges, but no doubt incredible rewards as well.

Pictured here are my 15 year old teenagers Spencer & Harrison on the first day of 10th grade (today) ... in the same spot in our front yard on Canfield Avenue ... the only home they have ever known!

So we kicked off the day easy-peasy... boys rise early, get ready, eat a hearty breakfast and out the door they go ... pick up was a breeze and a stop once again by Office Depot for more school supplies... dinner, homework... we are back to the grind already on the first day!

Oye, it's gonna be a long year!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 148: A Double Header

Ah, after a 6 week hiatus today we sprung back into High School baseball with a double header no less! So let's see ... I was at the baseball field for 7 and a half hours today ... wow, and I wonder where the time goes!

Given that the boys were off for these past few weeks I gotta say they played very well. Both Harrison & Spencer pitched beautifully, like real pros and Spencer had a a great hit which should have taken him just to first base, but because of errors on the opposing team he got all the way to third base. Granted it was Spencer running. That kid has wheels like nobodies business.

It was great to see all the parents after our brief break. There were mixed feelings and conversations among the parents about school starting tomorrow. Some parents were looking forward to getting their children back into a routine while others were dreading the grueling grind of up early, early bus drop offs, crazy studying & homework and of course high school sports which really do take over a family's home life.

I'm ambivalent. Part of me looks forward to the boys having a routine and learning, yet there is something great about not driving in traffic across town to get to class on time (we are NEVER late) and watching them labor over their school homework for hours. I never remember school being this difficult or challenging. Their classes are insane and now entering 10th grade they have AP classes (Advance Placement courses) which are college level courses. We never had this offered to us in 10th grade!

So my boys along with 600,000 plus students will return to school tomorrow. All their parents are laboring over the same logistical issues... LAUSD is the largest school district in the country and tomorrow these students return to school.

If you are wondering whether your morning commute to the office will be impacted, the answer is yes!

Happy Back to School Los Angeles students! May the year be productive and successful for you and your families!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 147: We Will Never Forget

As the country takes a few somber minutes to honor those that perished on September 11, 2001, I too take a deep breathe and a moment of reflection to remember all the innocent lives lost on that tragic American day.

I think of all the men and women serving around the world to defend our rights to be educated, to practice our faith, to vote, to have a democracy to live in ...
God Bless them all ... and God Bless America...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 146: Dinner With My Niece

Every once in awhile your schedule opens up a window of opportunity. You can seize the moment or not. I of course always want to jump at the opportunity to have one-on-one time with any of my children -- my boys, my nieces, or nephews ... I consider them all my "children" ... it's a chance to connect with this special person in your life without other distractions.

Tonight I had the honor to spend time with my beautiful niece Olivia Bernstein. What a rock star this young woman is ... poised, smart, sensitive, beautiful ... I mean what else would you want to be at 17 years old? She is the entire package, that's for sure!

So her Mom, my sister Michele, is out of town, as is my hubby, her Uncle Brian... Big boy is at college and twin 15 year old sons, her cousins attended the Palisades High School Football game tonight, so I had the rare night to myself and I chose to be with my sweet niece, Miss Olivia as I call her.

We talked about her entering her senior year of school at Beverly Hills High School and how excited she is about this last year. We talked about her college applications, where she wants to attend, her first choice, her reach schools, her fall back campuses. All wonderful and exciting universities in terrific cities across the country.

Ah to be 17 again where you can have the adventure of college all over again.

What would you do if you had a chance to do it over? I recognize this is a loaded question!

So as we sat and talked about her life, her friends, her sisters, what she imagines and hopes for the next year and beyond, I was reminded of the circle of life. I can so clearly remember 17 and being in High School with her Mother, my sister, with Uncle Brian, my prom date, and how excited I was to be going away to college with best gal pal Jill who to this day is still a best gal pal.

Somethings will change along the adventure, but one thing is for sure and that's my love for Miss Olivia.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 145: May It Be A Sweet Year

Today is Rosh Hashanah. The holiday actually began at sundown last night. We kicked off the New Year with a sweet apples dipped in honey dinner with Aunt Michele & Uncle Michael, and cousins Esme and Olivia. We really missed Zoe and Brandon who are both off at college and Aunt Jennifer who is in New York and other family members that were not with us. (too many to list!)

At Rosh Hashanah we serve and eat a round Challah as opposed to the braided Challah eaten on Shabat. Do you know why this is? Because the round Challah signifies the circle of life. And this Holiday is about the circle of life and celebrating a fresh new beginning. It is a time for us to wash away bad feelings, thoughts, anger, resentment and start anew with our relationships and our life. (I recognize this is easier said then done!)

For those that know me well, and for those getting to know me better through my daily posts, you know that Fall is my favorite season of the four. I love when the cooler temperatures arrive and it's crisp outside. I love being able to light a fire to make the house cozy. I love the Autumn colors of burnt orange, brown and magenta. So when the Jewish New Year hits it's time for me to reflect on what the year has been about and what I'd like to have the New Year look like.

That requires a lot of self reflection and thought. Which relationships do I want to improve upon? Which relationships do I want to end as they are not healthy for me to be in or I don't get back what I give? How do I want to spend my time? With my children? With my partner? What professional work do I want to accomplish? How about personal goals. I've talked a lot about my running and my goals with respect to running a marathon. But what else? This is the time of year to wrap your head around such deep and meaningful questions.

So however you spend the Holiday... worshipping in synagogue, spending time with family and friends, being alone reflecting, I hope that you recommit to being the best person you can be... to continue helping others, and finding peace within yourself.

L'Shanah Tovah my friends ...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 144: The Annual Physical

Took the twin teenage boys for their annual physicals today. We have been patients of Dr. David Bluestone's since the boys have been born. It never fails that when I walk into his office I can still visualize myself schlepping there with two baby carriers, a baby in each, and Brandon the toddler shuffling along behind me. I would maneuver those boys like no bodies business.

Photo of Harrison & Spencer sleeping on Mama ...check out my t-shirt... it says VOTE ...

Nurse Laurie who has been with Dr. B for 35 years still remembers those days when I would come in for the boys visits. Every year now when I see her at the annual check-up she says how awesome and calm I was with those babies. Warms my heart every time I hear her tell me. Of course I remember the boys screaming getting their shots while I'd have to undress and redress them for their exams. Little did she know I was sweating like crazy and it was quite an act to keep three little boys happy while in a doctor's office.

Those are some of my fondness memories. I loved when Dr. B would say,"The boys look good Robyn. They have gained X amount of ounces and grown X amount of inches." Today's visit was measured in inches and pounds and you wonder where the hell did 15 years go?

I'm very clear on where all these years have gone. I have made a point of being present. Being present for all three of my sons. Giving up other activities or goals to be with them... and doing it happily with no resentment, no quilt. Because wisdom allows you to see that you have such a very short time with your children and then it's gone, so you better soak it up daily for as long as you can.

So as we made the annual trek to visit Dr. B I giggle thinking about how different the visits are now. Now the boys go into the room and see the doc on their own. I am no longer invited in because let's face it what 15 year old teenage boy wants his Mom around when his testicles are being examined! I mean really!

So as one son goes in I sit with the other, rubbing his back and remembering every year, every visit to the office that still has walls covered with endless photographs of babies including the three Simon boys... my heart gets warm, my eyes fill up but then they say something so funny that I laugh and I know I'll be okay... I mean it's not even my doctor's visit !

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 143: Celebrating Mid Century

Attended a gal pal's Mid Century Birthday celebration this evening. Fun, fun, fun! I have known Linda Fenton (used to be Grossman) since High School. She lives in the 'hood and we have a deep fondness for one another even though we don't spend that much time together. Between children, work and life that happens a lot with good people.

Linda and her adorable husband Mitch were great supporters of mine during my city council campaign. Mitch was so awesome ... he stood on the corner of Robertson & Pico Boulevards waving VOTE FOR ROBYN signs on Election Day. Only real friends show up to do that job!

So Linda turned 50 .. all the gals at the soiree were already 50 or like me will be celebrating this milestone birthday within months. We laughed, talked and drank probably too much tequila... but isn't that what you're suppose to do ... let lose, because you've reached a place in life where you should be very comfortable with who you are and where your life is at ... this being said that doesn't mean we are not all working on making ourselves better people. I suppose that's what my personal running goal is all about. About pushing my body and mind to do more, to be stronger. We can always work toward being better.

Nancy Heim Reskin hosted our beautiful gathering tonight in her perfectly decorated and manicured home in Beverly Hills. Nancy in her own right is a rock star. Beautiful, talented and an inspiration. Her husband Victor was also a superstar during my campaign. Showing up regularly to work our phone bank sessions, convincing voters why they should vote for Robyn. Again it takes a quality person and a good friend to give of their time like that.

For those that showed up, I will never foregt and never stop appreciating what you did for me. Thank you!

So Happy Mid-Century Birthday my friend Linda... It was wonderful to be in your company tonight and to celebrate. Mid Century looks pretty damn good!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 142: The Day After

Today is the day after the big run! I'm feeling great. My legs are sore, which is to be expected... and I'm still dealing with past blisters which have never completely healed, but all and all I feel terrific! Woke up early and have been on the run all day.

In reviewing my race time we calculated that I ran just shy of a 14 minute mile for 13 straight miles, which put me at the finish line in 3 hours, 1 minute. Sure I'd like to increase my time, but it's the distance that trips me up. I love to run super fast! Love to run sprints and shorter quicker distances, but for long distance runs I've got to pace myself so that I can sustain my energy to make it to the finish line. It would however be great to tighten that number up so that I can run the full marathon in March in a faster time. May add that to my goal list!

The race course began at the entrance to California Adventure Theme Park. The first 4 miles of the race took me through this theme park and then through Disneyland while Disney Characters cheered us runners on ... and keep in mind this race began at 6 a.m.! We ran out of Disneyland through Main Street and headed for the streets of Anaheim which were lined with Cheerleaders and school bands from a dozen or more local high Schools! So darling were all these young people to come out in uniform and cheer us on!

This was the Ferris Wheel in California Adventure all lit up with Mickey Mouse in the Center. This is what it looked like when we ran through the park!

Then we ran toward Honda Center and then we ran through the most amazing part of the run ... through Angel Stadium! We ran through the tunnel that all the athletes travel to enter the Stadium. We ran around the bases while the stands were again filled with spectators cheering us on. Family members had made signs for their loved one's wishing them Good Luck ! Little children were waving & cheering Go Mommy, Go Daddy as their folks ran by! It was very much a family and community event that gave you energy to keep going.

Running through Angel Stadium I of course could not stop thinking about two things. Both made me choke up as I was running in this beautiful stadium. One was thinking about the young pitcher Nick Adenhart just 22 years old who had his debut pitching night just a year ago at Angel Stadium only to end up dead later that night after being hit by a drunk driver. I could feel his families pain as I ran that Stadium. It gave me a painful sick feeling in my gut.

The other emotion I felt was visualizing my three sons as they take the field as pitchers and what that feeling must be like. When my son Brandon exits the bullpen and makes that sweet jog to the pitcher's mound while the stadium is packed with parents and adoring fans... what that sensation must be like... I tasted it for one sweet moment and I can see the attraction to this feeling.

That's how I felt when I ran across the finish line... pure exhilaration! The nerves were all gone, I just felt pure jubilation that I had made it... I had finished a very long goal and I was alive to share the memory!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 141: Hooray, I Finished My First Half Marathon!

I did it! I finished my first Half Marathon (13.1 miles)! I didn't get injured, didn't have a heart attack or other medical issue, didn't throw up and ran the heck out of that course! I completed the race in 3 hours, 1 minute which isn't too shabby considering I'm 49 years old and only took up running 6 months ago!

Thanks to my very supportive Hubby Brian for being at the finish line to capture this photo of me!

Wow! I can still remember huffing and puffing as I tried to make it one time around Rancho Park, which is only 2.2 miles. I was breathing so heavy that I truly thought I had a heart condition... I did not have the confidence that my heart would expand enough to allow me to run more. Now I can run around the park multiple times without even becoming winded. I mean can you imagine that! In 6 months I went from running Zero miles to running 13 miles in a half marathon.

No doubt this goal could not have been accomplished without my committed friend, running partner and athletic trainer Melody Roset. She pushed me and encouraged me that I could train my heart, my legs, my entire body for this race. And I did. Thank you my dear friend and awesome athlete Melody!

But these goals don't just happen, you gotta really want to make it across that finish line. I had a goal, I stayed focused, I trained hard and I competed hard. That's something to be proud of. Whatever we set our mind to do... whether it's a physical challenge such as running a marathon, or climbing a mountain, or strengthening our body, or finding a new more rewarding job, or bettering our personal relationships... no matter what your goal is, if you stay on the path toward that goal and you work hard, the benefits will pay off. I'm living proof of that!

And for all you naysayers who say, "I'm too old, I don't have the time, I'm busy" or whatever bullshit excuse you hold on to preventing you from getting fit... let me tell you.... there were 16,000 runners in this race. Did you hear me 16,000 people who trained and are committed enough to make a priority to get out there and run. They have jobs, they have children, they have ill parents they are caring for, they have it all, but 16,000 showed up. So stop making excuses and set your goals and go for it!

When you reach that goal it feels so good! Now I'm off to train for the full Marathon in March, oye vey how am I going to double what I ran today!? It's a little scary to think about that, but I will do exactly what I did to get to 13 miles ... one mile at a time...
thank you to all the friends and family that have been supporting me through this journey. All your messages, texts, and emails on race day made me so happy!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 140: Thank you My Wellwishers

Thank you to all my well wishers who have sent supportive messages and left encouraging messages in advance of my first half marathon run tomorrow morning! I'm off to Anaheim shortly ... will be staying the night there with friends who are also running. The race starts at 6 a.m. and runners are encouraged to be at the start line by 5 a.m. so that's a very early morning wake up call!

I will be finished by 9 a.m. if I run on pace. I've trained for a 13 or 14 minute mile for 13 miles straight. Hopefully most of you will just be waking up by then or sipping your coffee in your pajamas with the morning paper! Goodness knows if I wasn't running in this race that's what I'd be doing on a Sunday morning on Labor Day Weekend!
Remind me again ... why did I make this personal challenge!?!

I will post photos and a briefing of my experience after the race ... let's hope I survive and finish in the time allotment... how embarrassing if I have to be swept up when the time allotment concludes! I just can't let that happen!

Thanks again for all your support through my running journey! Run Robyn Run!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 139: Is Labor Day Weekend the End to Summer?

Ahh, it's already Labor Day Weekend! Used to be the bookends marked the change of seasons -- Memorial Day kicked summer off, and Labor Day weekend was the end of lazy summer days... I suppose that still holds true. The children all return to school shortly. The Jewish Holidays are here. The catalogs arriving daily are advertising already for Halloween and Christmas decorations. Yikes. I really don't care for this transitional weekend.

Maybe because I don't want the kids to return to their grueling school schedule, which means my grueling schedule. Even though I worked on many exciting projects over the summer, it's different not having the burden of walking out the door at 7:10 a.m. with lunches packed and dressed for the day in order to get the boys to class on time and me to my work appointments on time. That will all end in less then 10 days when they head back to High School.

The school meetings, the baseball fundraising, the endless homework while trying to make family dinners a priority, the endless baseball games all over the county every weekend which I need to drive to ... yes September is here ...

I will be marking this Labor Day weekend by running in my first half marathon. That's 13.1 miles. The race starts at 6 a.m Sunday morning so that means waking by 3:30 or 4 a.m. to prepare for the race. If I survive this race, then I feel like I've labored just plenty in honor of the Holiday!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 138: Look Mom, No More Braces!

After years of shiny metal spoiling those beautiful smiles, today was the day that the pearly whites got to shine through! My 15 year old twin teenagers

Harrison & Spencer ....
had their braces removed !
Cause for Celebration I say!
Check out those smiles!

Years of schlepping to the orthodontist office is about to come to an end. Hallelujah! Tomorrow we will return for the boys to pick up their retainers and so there is still some work to be accomplished to keep these beautiful smiles straight, but finally the silver glitter is gone. Now Spencer can stop taking photos as if he is in a mug shot-- never showing his teeth in a photo!

If you know me well, you know I have a "thing" for nice teeth and a big smile. I believe that your skin and your teeth are really great indicators of a person's health, self image, and it is important that both are kept up! Needless to say braces were a must for all three of my boys!

After thousands of dollars and endless trips to the orthodontist I can proudly say I am so happy we handled the boys teeth. I can't wait for family photos now when my boys will actually show those smiles! A beautiful smile is priceless!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 137: Backpacks, Levi's, and Socks

All the essentials for starting 10th grade! You gotta have your jeans, and the correct length sock (who knew there were so many levels of men's athletic socks) and you gotta have a clean new backpack especially if the zipper on last year's is shredded to pieces... oh my goodness we have not even made it to Office Depot yet to stock up on school supplies! Yikes so much to prepare for before school even begins.

Well it is fitting that today is September 1st and the boys and I took a trek to the mall to buy Levi's, socks, t-shirts and new athletic shoes for their cross training & baseball practice which will kick in the first day! Yikes those boys are worked so hard.

For those of you who have children who attend Palisades High School or are familiar with the Pacific Palisades then you know all too well what Temescal's incline is like ... believe me I know as I train up that hill for my running and folks it is a bitch! Brutal, Brutal. And the boys run that thing like it's nobodies business.

Every September it is a ritual for all families with school aged children. Lists of school supplies issued by the teacher or school; new clothes and shoes; new backpacks; it is part of the "Back to School Regime."

I was thinking today as I sat in Macy's waiting for the boys to finish trying on their jeans, that I've been school shopping for 14 years. I figured from Kindergarten on ... and Brandon began Kindergarten at age 5 and now he is 19. So for 14 years I have made the pilgrimage to the stores to prepare my boys for the new school year. WOW. And they say Mom's don't do anything! Well those naysayers should spend the day with me as we have this ritual.

Buying all these supplies makes it feel real that school is around the corner for my boys. And it is ... first day is September 13th. The college boy started classes this week.

It's another year. Another season. Another grade. Another year closer to them leaving childhood. Damn can I just stop the clock!? Really, I'm not kidding!