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Friday, December 31, 2010

Day 258: Make Today Count

Wow, the last day of a decade. When you reflect back on the year, are you happy with what you've accomplished? Disappointed that you didn't keep your resolutions? Pleased with where you are in life? Well, today's the day to take stock in your life, your relationships, your work, your community and decide what you want to change, keep the same, or improve upon.

Some people don't like making New Year's resolutions, maybe because they never stick with them! Others like to goal-set. Making goals and commitments is a plan that works for them. Everyone has their own style.

A few goals I have set for 2011 include:

1) Organizing my computer (What a disaster my filing system is on my computer!)

2) Catch up on my photo albums (I cherish my pictures and believe they chronicle the years of my life & family... I feel so damn behind!)

3) Read more (I love the feeling of being wrapped up in a great story, I miss that feeling and want to experience it more often in the New Year)

4) Continue my running (I've been training for the Los Angeles Marathon in March 2011 and I've stuck to this goal, it's so close now I can't give up!)

5) Launch my new Website (Wait to you see this gem, it's beautiful! Look for a launch announcement in the next week!)

Whatever your style is, at a minimum commit to living your life with passion and purpose.
My greatest wish for us all in the New Year .... May 2011 bring the world abundance peace.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 257: We Can Do It

Geraldine Hoff Doyle, the inspiration for "Rosie the Riveter," has died at the age of 86.

Rosie's story began in the 1940s, when the 17-year-old Doyle was working at a metal factory in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A visiting United Press International photographer snapped a picture of her on the job. The image was then used by artist J. Howard Miller for the "We Can Do It!" poster, released during World War II.

As the Washington Post writes, "For millions of Americans throughout the decades since World War II, the stunning brunette in the red and white polka-dot bandanna was Rosie the Riveter."

A later "Rosie the Riveter" interpretation, done by Norman Rockwell, was featured on the Saturday Evening Post in 1943. Ultimately, the idea of "Rosie the Riveter" came to represent all female factory workers at the time.

But for decades, Doyle had no idea that her likeness was used on the original poster.

The New York Times writes:
Mrs. Doyle was unaware of the poster's existence until 1982, when, while thumbing through a magazine, she saw a photograph of it and recognized herself. Her daughter said that the face on the poster was her mother's, but that the muscles were not.
"She didn't have big, muscular arms," [her daughter Stephanie] Gregg said. "She was 5-foot-10 and very slender. She was a glamour girl. The arched eyebrows, the beautiful lips, the shape of the face -- that's her."

According to the Wall Street Journal, Doyle quit after just one week at the factory where her picture was made famous. "She later married a dentist and raised a family in Lansing, Mich.," the Journal reports.

Doyle is survived by five children, 18 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. But in addition to these family survivors, Rosie is survived by the millions of women for whom she spoke for, unknowingly perhaps, but just the same, she spoke to our mission of "Yes, We Can" And indeed we can!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 256: Are We Tired Yet?

Whew, you have to be a pro to handle the Holiday Season! My goodness, so much for "down time" ... I feel like I'm running, yet I really haven't been hitting the pavement!

It's been parties, dinners, shopping, talking and going, going .... all fun, but hey this bod ain't as young as it used to be and I'm feelin' it!

Maybe it's all the champagne? or Wine? or Martini's ... yeah that might be playing a role in my exhaustion (ya think so?).

Anyway we had a lovely dinner tonight with Brian's ACN team member and ACN mentor Mark Weinstock and his adorable wife Lori. I've talked about hubby Brian's new business venture, ACN, and Mark is the person who introduced Brian to this opportunity more then one year ago and it's taken off ever since.

Let's hope it continues to be successful for the Simon's and the Weinstock's and all the others who are engaged and workin' it! Mostly because I'm going to need a long, expensive vacation after the Holiday's!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 255: More Family

For those of you who know me well, you know I have a very blended family. The entire mishpuka is quite complicated and requires a detailed chart to truly follow.

I remember when the boys were young and I'd have to explain all the marriages, divorces, his children, her children, their children stories. Oh my goodness, kudos to me and my hubby and boys for being so cool and understanding to the entire clan.

Pictured here are all 6 grand kids with Papa Jack. L-R: Esme (11), Jack, Spencer (15), Zoe (19), Olivia (17), Harrison (15), and Brandon (19).

As I've often said, having this much family is both a blessing and a burden! There are lots of relationships to maintain & manage, but it is well worth the effort. Tonight was pure blessing! For the first time in a really, really long time, we gathered all four Ritter children, their respective others, and all six of the grandchildren. What a gathering. Papa Jack was so happy to have all his kids & grand kids assembled together for some holiday cheer.

It's crazy to think how we have all grown over the years... Jonathan Ritter is 28 now, Josh Ritter 31. Both are attorney's, just like Dad. Johnny in private practice, Josh a District Attorney.

Pictured here, me, Jack, the patient & lovely Pam Ritter, Johnny, Michele and Josh.

With so much family, you never really feel alone in the world that is for sure! It was a great evening ... you have to create the memories to have memories is what I always say. If you don't make an effort to connect with those that you love, then it doesn't happen and then the years will go by ... I'm so happy we all connected tonight.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 254: The "Other" Simon's

Today is Miss Rebecca's birthday. Rebecca Simon was my campaign manager for my city council race in 2009.

For those of you who know me well, you know that she became much more to me then the manager of my political campaign. In addition to becoming a trusted ally and confidant, she has also become like a daughter to hubby Brian and I and a sister to my boys.

Pictured here is Rebecca's family from L-R: Me, Brian, Birthday girl Rebecca, grandma, brother David, Mom Joan and Dad Craig Simon.

If you are lucky enough in life to meet special people along your journey who leave indelible marks on your heart, than you are blessed. I am blessed to have Rebecca in my life.

She comes from a beautiful family, the "other" Simon's and tonight they generously invited us to join them for a birthday celebration for Rebecca.

I feel blessed that our two families have merged, surely one of the best byproducts of my campaign. We shared a special journey in my life, and have continued to work on projects and share one another's lives way past Election Day.

A solid friend is a gift to be treasured. We feel like we received a gorgeous trinket with Rebecca... thank you to Joan & Craig Simon for sharing your beautiful daughter with us Simon's.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day 253: Holidays Sushi Style

Today is the "day-after" the big Christmas of 2010. While most people were hitting the malls to return presents, us Simon's continued our holiday food-a-thon enjoying another day of indulgence & family. After catching up on the past few weeks of episodes of Desperate Housewives, the gang checked out a new Sushi place. We are big sushi fans in this house.

We were down one teenager, Spencer, who was at a friend's, I think he was tired of his family (hee-hee), but the other two teenagers Harrison & Brandon were happy as can be, as evident from this brotherly love photo!
Then we came home and watched the movie Inception, which I had never seen. Hmm, I believe I have to watch it again. I'm not sure if it was the Saki, or the movie, but I was confused! Didn't matter though as it was a great way to spend the "day-after" day!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Day 252: HO HO HO

Whatever faith you follow, whatever traditions you preserve, whatever meals you prepare ... may your home and table be filled with people you love and may this day fill your heart with forgiveness, peace and gratefulness.

From the big man in the red suit,
Have a Merry, Merry!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 251: Christmas Eve Tradition

We are so grateful to be invited year after year to our neighbors home to celebrate Christmas Eve. Since we are Jewish, we don't go to Church and the day doesn't hold any religious significance for us, but just the same it is a day to celebrate with family & friends. I mean really anything for a party, right?

So good friends Suzanne & Rudy Freeman open up their lovely home every Christmas Eve and have a party full of great food & friends. I mean what could be easier then walking across the street!? It's so great to gather at this yearly event and to see how the children grow from year to year. Those Freeman children are some of the most delicious kids around and watching them play with their cousins and friends is enough of a present for all of us!

And their party wouldn't be complete without the traditional White Elephant gift exchange which always ensures great laughter! The Simon's had a great time and love the Freeman's for hosting every year!

And the fun just keeps coming!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 250: More Holiday Cheer

The Holidays are in full swing now, that's for sure. Thank goodness I took a nice run at the beach this morning! An absolutely glorious day! The rain does that in Los Angeles.... it clears out all the smog and ick that build up here in our air. The beach was magnificent. Clear, crisp, gorgeous. Melody (my running trainer) and I even did our stretching out on the sand.... just beautiful.

With all the eating and drinking I've been consuming, I was happy to have a good sweat. Tonight was once again another celebratory dinner at one of my favorite throw-backs, The Buggy Whip. Yummy. If you have never experienced this place, I highly recommend you make it a priority in 2011. If you enjoy a cast of characters to dine with, great surf & turf, red leather booths, then this is your spot. Peter, the piano player was on fire with his Christmas music, and a good time was had by all. Tomorrow brings more fun I'm sure!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 249: Another Family Feast

Tonight we hosted a dinner with friends & family to celebrate some holiday cheer. I gotta hand it to my son Harrison who made from scratch, delicious ginger & carrot soup, and roasted a pork shoulder roast ... oh my goodness, so yummy! I made my mother's mashed potatoes and our favorite vegetable, brussel sprouts. Wow! What a dinner.

Pictured here is college boy Brandon with his Papa Joe.

I sipped my yummy champagne and Brian poured delicious wine for all. We had 12 teenagers and one pre-teen (our niece Esme).... can you imagine the energy in the house with all these teens. I of course LOVED it!

Pictured here are my gorgeous nieces Olivia (17), Esme (11) and Zoe (19)

I love the house being full of friends & family, especially the kids.... and I love entertaining. I spent days decorating the house to make it festive and it brings me great pleasure to have a warm and cozy home.

Pictured here are three of my favorite boys Son Harrison, good friend Ryan, and good friend Griffin. Love these boys!

And below is a picture of good friend Justin Ruder mowing on a yummy lamb chop that Harrison made for appetizers!

Between last night's dinner at Lawry's and tonight's beautiful party at home, it's beginning to feel like the holidays for me! And I'm lovin' it!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 248: The Lawry's Tradition

Ah, our yearly visit to the famed Lawry's Restaurant for holiday prime rib! Yummy! I have been going to Lawry's since I was a child with my family for the delicious meal & festivities at this time of the year. Hubby Brian and I have continued the tradition with our boy's and it is a treat they always look forward to!

Pictured here is me (the proud Mama) with two of her cubs, Harrison & Spencer Simon (both 15 years old).

If you have never visited this Los Angeles landmark, and you are a healthy eater, then I highly recommend putting it on your things to accomplish in 2011. Especially if you are a carnivore like us Simon's. The food is always scrumptious and the Singing Carolers are always special.

A few years ago dear gal pal Suzee Markowitz and her son Brandon joined our yearly tradition for the feast.

Pictured here are Suzee and her handsome son Brandon.

And pictured here is me with my son Brandon .... these two boys, now 19 years old were born the same day and share the same name!

Pictured here is my son Brandon and his friend beautiful Kalli, who took all the lovely photos for us!

If you ever doubt that your children may not care or treasure the family traditions you have created, don't, because they do care. I've written about this before ... your children do care about traditions, consistency, things they can depend on and look forward to. This special family dinner at Lawry's during the Holidays is one of those memories. We love sharing the tradition with good friends Suzee & Brandon.

Pictured here is me and gal pal Suzee!

What a beautiful night full of great food, treasured friendships and blissful memories!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 247: Still Overwhelmed

Running, going, doing, smiling, bitching, driving, shopping, cooking, food shopping ... that's all I can muster to say today!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 246: Too Exhausted

Too exhausted to write anything! Long day full of parties & fun .... more later about the day!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 245: 'Tis The Season

Ah, the parties have begun! The glitter, glamour and gorging! Yikes! I just hope I can keep my head on straight managing the social calendar, the clothes, the family, the commitments.... it's a crazy time!

Last night we attended a beautiful party at Diane & Leslie's, tonight we'll be at the Spector's annual festivities and it keeps goin' ... Hope you are enjoying some cheer with good friends & family.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 244: My Baking Experience

For those of you who know me, you know I am capable of many terrific things -- however, baking is not one of them! I can cook and get dinner on the table, and it's pretty tasty too, but please don't ever ask me to bake. You have to follow the recipe and have exact ingredients, way too much focus for me.Bold

Well if you read my Blog Post #239 you know I was invited to a charming Cookie Exchange Party by gal pal Ruthie Bailey. Now I adore this women and her family, but yesterday morning as I was baking the cookies in advance of attending the party, I was cursing her name! I don't know what the hell happened. Gal pal Jill Offer and I made the delicious dough for my molasses cookies together, and she's a pro. I was left to bake them and I failed miserably! Not sure if I over cooked, undercooked, or what, but when they were finished in the oven they resembled nothing of a cookie!

Sure enough all the lovely ladies at Ruthie's 11th Annual Cookie Exchange party, baked delicious and beautifully decorated holiday treats. I felt like a looser. Oh well not the first time I've lost something!

But it didn't matter once I arrived, as Ruthie's house was full of holiday cheer and spirits. She served a beautiful & delicious lunch and all the gals shared their cookie cooking stories ... it was a beautiful way to spend a holiday afternoon. And what a lovely idea to gather all your gal pals together for some holiday sweets!!

This all being said though, being the competitive person I am, if I make the guest list for next year, you can bet I'll be coming with the best damn cookies! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 243: Celebrating Our Victories

Tonight I attended the Annual NWPC Holiday Party! As I have written about many times before on my Blog, the National Women's Political Caucus is an organization near and dear to my heart & my politics. I have served on the Board for a dozen years and continue to participate. Tonight was our signature Holiday event where members have an opportunity to mingle with other like-minded, politically savvy people as well as elected officials.

I was happy to have big sis Michele, niece Zoe and little bro Josh Ritter join me at tonight's festivities. This year was a very successful one for NWPCs endorsed candidates. We sent many women to the State Assembly including my very own State assembly woman Holly J. Mitchell. It feels good to continue working toward our goal of 50/50 by 2020, (50% representation by women in all branchs of government) however, there is still much work to be accomplished.

That's why I continue to recruit, encourage and support women to consider running and serving in public office. This week I was proud to help announce the candidacy of dear gal pal Marisa Perez, who is running for City Council in the city of Lakewood. The Election is in March and this is her first political run. I will be profiling Marisa on my Blog over the months leading up to Election Day and I hope you will consider supporting her. To learn more about Marisa, please visit her website at

And to learn more about the wonderful work performed by NWPC LA Westside, please visit our site at

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 242: My Aching Feet, No More

Hallelujah! I ran today with my brand new orthotics and what a difference. As I have been writing about for months, I have been experiencing excruciating pain on the bottom of my feet when running long distances. I'm fine up to about 6 miles then after that it was unbearable. I'd have to stop and sit down and massage my feet to alleviate the pain, and then get back up and continue my running. I knew that without some type of relief I was never going to be able to run a full marathon.

Thank goodness for Dr. Noreen Oswell from The Foot Center ( ! She fitted me for orthotics and off I went! It was actually scary how much better my feet felt. I only hope it continues with each run and that we have finally found a resolution to my poor, aching feet!

Now if I can just find some relief in my aching back and tushy! The pain in my ass and tightening in my lower back was unbearable today. I was doing great for a good maybe 8 miles then the pain became intolerable and I had to walk/run and then eventually just walk the remaining miles. Very frustrating and depressing.

Will this pain ever end!?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 241: 24 Hours

What I Accomplished in 24 Hours

Drafted & emailed to 75 media outlets a Press Release announcing gal pal Marisa Perez' candidacy for Lakewood City Council *Ran 7 miles *Worried about Bailey (our gorgeous Golden Retriever of 9 years) while he underwent surgery for a growth that had to be biopsied * Attended niece Esme's musical Broadway performance * Wrote Letter of Recommendation for gal pal Candace * Visited the podiatrist * Picked up custom orthodics* Grocery shopped at Trader Joe's *Packed 2 lunches * Cooked breakfast & dinner * Celebrated boys making Palisades Charter High School Baseball team * Sent Good Luck note to college boy for finals* Picked up and dropped off teenage sons Harrison & Spencer from school in the Palisades * Took son Spencer to physical therapy * Made coffee for hubby Brian * Washed dishes * Folded laundry * Got gas in the Cadillac * Went to the bank * Posted to my Birthday Blog * Made Holiday reservations * Made dental appointments for boy's * Had eyebrows waxed & colored * Spoke to numerous people on the phone * Wrote & responded to numerous emails * Sent multiple texts *Picked up college boy from airport .... and I question why I'm always tired!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 240: Beaches, Babies, Beautiful

I ran today on the bike path at the beach this morning. Oh my gosh, such a magnificent day. Sun was shining, sky was blue and I couldn't help but be grateful that we lived in sunny California! As you watch news reports of the blizzards and dangerous weather conditions pounding the country, it was hard to imagine, as all I saw were miles of sunshine and coastline.

Running is hard enough, but when the scenic route is this beautiful it does make the pain of the run much more palatable. I ran a little later then normal this morning so there was a different vibe at the beach. And because it was a very unseasonable warm day, there were many more people out and about than usual.

I usually stop for water and a bathroom break at the Annenberg Center at the beach, have you visited there yet? Oh my goodness what a treasure that her estate donated to Angeleno's. If you have not gone yet or taken the family, put it on your list of places to visit. Anyway, it's next door to Back on the Beach restaurant and there is a darling play area in the sand for the little tykes. It was full of Mommies and babies today. The sun will do that ... parents want to get the kids out of the house when it's this gorgeous outside.

I couldn't help but look at all the scrumptious children, from little tiny ones to toddlers. What a flashback I had. There are days where I feel like it was a million years ago that my three sons played in the sand and on the swings, and then other days I feel like it was just yesterday.

Depending on my mood I can either have a moment of sadness that those years are gone, or a moment of happiness that I relished those days and now have older more independent children. I always feel like telling the young mom's to soak up the moment ... that the joy of these days, raising your babies is priceless and should not be viewed or experienced as a burden, but rather as a privilege.

I felt privileged too. That I was able to run, that my body allowed me to and that I had the strength to take this glorious run. That the sun was shining. That my three boys are healthy. That I have raised them to be respectful young men. For a moment I wished I could travel back in time and be sitting in the sand building sand castles and giggling with the boys.... but it's pretty cool to enjoy them as teenagers too ... no matter what age your children are, every day with them is a gift.

Thank you darling babies for putting a smile on my face. Babies have a way of reminding us how precious and fragile life is ... if you have a chance to sit at the park or go to the beach and watch the babies play, I promise you will feel at peace and be reminded that there are miracles in this chaotic world we live in.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 239: Baking Molassas Cookies

I was invited to a Holiday Cookie Exchange Party. Lovely idea and I adore the host, fabulous friend Ruthie Bailey, but there's one problem ... I don't bake! Never been one for exact measurements and as you bakers know, you've to follow the recipe.

So what does a gal do? She calls gal pal, baker extraordinaire for help! Jill Offer is one of the best bakers around! So today I hit the store to buy my ingredients and then to her house to learn how to bake yummy Molasses cookies. I need to bring 6 dozen home baked cookies and was told that Ruthie can tell if they are store bought.... so no way was I going to try to pull that off!

So there I was pouring sugar, flour, molasses, and ginger into a huge Kitchen Aide mixer and making homemade dough! Tasted delicious and I can't wait to bake them and present them at the party!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 238: Another 10K Completed

This morning I ran in the Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run. It's a race that's been around for 33 years! It brings out people of all levels of fitness along with dogs, babies in strollers, Santa Claus costumes, elves, Mrs. Claus, all very festive & fun.

Pictured here are me, Melody, and a fabulous woman Nina who I met on my run. She liked my pace and ran the entire race with me.... which was great because she kept me motivated!

My friend and athletic trainer Melody Roset ran the short race too, but she is so much faster then I am so we didn't run together. A 10k is 6.2 miles. Not really a lot when you are training for a marathon which is 26.2 miles, but just the same it is still tough to get your butt up at 5 a.m. and be at the start line at 7:30 and run for more than an hour! I mean did you do that today!?

I'm proud to report that I shaved 10 minutes off my race time since the last 10k I ran in Brentwood in the Spring with hubby Brian. Ten minutes is a really great improvement so I'm proud about that!

Of course though I'm sore. Still can't beat the extreme pain in my buttocks and lower back. Since it was just 6 miles my feet did just great so that was good.... but as I write this post I am in a lot of pain! I just hope my body holds up till March when I'll run the Los Angeles Marathon. Some days I think how the hell am I going to run so many miles. And then I remember there was a time I couldn't even run one mile, and now I've completed one 5k race, two 10k races, and a half marathon (13.1). So I'm on track... now it's Martini time!

Run Robyn Run!

PS If you want to get fit and learn to run races, contact Melody at Mako Training

Preparing for the Race

Crazy weekend ahead. Hubby Brian is out of town stumping for his new business ACN. He's in San Diego attending a conference with his ACN colleagues. Go ACN TEAM! I'm in total prep mode for tomorrow morning's 10k Santa Monica Venice Christmas Race.

The teenagers play football after school in the Palisades on most Friday's so I headed out there late today to round one of them up while the other one spent the night at a friend's house. They both have to leave very early Saturday morning to head to Palmdale (more then an hour away) where they each have double-header baseball games.
So today was a lot of prep, coordinating and juggling schedules so everyone gets where they need to be in the morning. Especially because I too was leaving at 6 a.m. and the big man Brian is out of town. So what happens with these races, and games and plans becomes much more then the day of as we have a lot of moving parts with family members all traveling in different directions. I'm exhausted from all the planning.

Got to get to bed so I can get up before the sun and start all over again!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 236: Visiting the Dentist

So today was my teeth cleaning appointment. Never something one looks forward to, yet, I am a regular customer... going 3 times per year. Yeah I know, sounds like a lot, but you can never be too careful with your teeth, gums and dental hygiene.

One of my goals when I started my Birthday Blog was to commit to flossing daily. Proudly I have stayed true to this goal (well maybe I missed a few days here & there) and it does make a difference.

When I meet someone new for the first time, I always notice a person's skin and their teeth. Nothing beats a beautiful pearly white smile. And nothing ruins your impression of someone then when they grin and you see discolored, crooked and unkept teeth. Ewe!

So off I went to get my shine going on my teeth. I also make sure all three sons & hubby Brian visit a minimum of twice a year and sometimes even three times. Now that teenagers Harrison & Spencer have their braces off it's so beautiful to look at their groomed and white teeth.

So if you are dreading making that dental appointment or continuously putting it off, I encourage you to make the call and get your tush in the dental chair!

Your smile will love you for it!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 235: The Driving Process

Can't believe I made appointments today for teenagers Harrison & Spencer to take their written driver's license exam for next month! Yikes, it has just crept up on me that on January 21st they will be 15 and a half (the age you apply for your learner's permit).

I remember when Brandon was approaching this age and thinking, how can I have a son old enough to be driving? And now he's a sophomore in college and will turn 20 in two months! He'll be leaving the teenage years... oh my gosh.

I've written it so many times before in my Blog posts, time is precious, the years do fly by ... and certain milestones cast the light even brighter... such as the right of passage of turning 16 in California and getting your driver's license.

At least with Brandon I only had one driver to worry about at a time.... can't imagine how this is going to work with two at the same time! The other night I had Harrison drive with me and Spencer drove with Brian, I guess we will truly have to tag team on this adventure!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 234: A Gracious Mother & Leader

"The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. There are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful & precious. And for that I am grateful." -Elizabeth Edwards

I share with the rest of the Nation the great sadness that we have lost Elizabeth Edwards today.

Maybe I was so fond of her because she was a dedicated mother and married to her law school sweetheart. Maybe I had a soft spot for her courageous behavior because she lived with breast cancer. Maybe I just was drawn to her commitment to her family because she buried her 16 year old son when he was killed in an auto accident. Maybe I loved her strength and dignity when confronted with so much adversity.

I have been married a long time. I know people make mistakes and have flaws. I recognize none of us are perfect. I will never forget Ms. Edwards saying, "John is a very good man, who did a very bad thing." She was raw, honest and the truth is John loved her in a way many of us will never experience.

My heart aches for her three beautiful children today. Losing your mother when you are young is criminal. And Elizabeth having lost her son, was just an awful punishment that none of us should ever have to endure.

I loved Elizabeth's resilience, and her lovely grace. I also loved her compassion as a political booster. Her brains, her wit, and courage will always be traits I admire. I feel like I lost a friend today, and I have never met Elizabeth.

May she find solace in reconnecting with her son Wade in heaven, and peace that her body does not have to fight anymore.

Thank you Elizabeth for showing women how to be a beautiful leader, mother, sister, friend and champion.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 233: Ah, The Holidays

The hustle & bustle, running & wrapping, schlepping & cooking, planning & coordinating.... it's all wonderful and it's all too much! As I have written many times before on my Blog, I love this time of the year, starting with Thanksgiving, but it is a lot of work when you are a bit of a perfectionist.

I do care that I get my decorations up on time. I do care that special family meals are prepared to honor the Holiday spirit. I do want to give the "right" gifts to people I care about. I do want to make plans with friends & family to celebrate. If all of these things didn't matter to me, the holidays sure would be easier, but then I wouldn't be me. I like that I care about making sure everything is perfect. It does matter to me. I just wish I had more hours in a day!

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 232: Happy Hanukkah

Tonight we celebrated the 5th night of Hanukkah at Cheri & Marty's house. It was a beautiful evening spent with dear family & terrific friends. Very warm & cozy. The food was delicious with brisket & latka's, and the kids all enjoyed their Hanukkah treats.

Here's our beautiful niece Gabriella Figueroa lighting the Hanukkah candles on the menorah with Cheri, our gracious host, watching!

I love the holidays mostly because it is a chance for family to connect and spend some festive time together. It's amazing to watch the children grow from year to year... all a little taller, smarter, and engaging.

Pictured here are sons Spencer, Harrison, Me and my niece Olivia.

There never seems to be enough time to visit with everyone... that's why we have to make a point to spend time with those we love and care about throughout the year, not just during the Holidays.

Pictured here is Papa Joe leading the Hanukkah prayers with the kids.

I missed college boy Brandon who doesn't return from school for winter break until next week, and niece Zoe who is also away at college. But we will celebrate with them when they get home.

We should feel blessed that we have family to share our holidays with, and have a plentiful table filled with good cheer. Hope you are having a festive and meaningful Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas, or whatever faith & traditions you observe!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 231: A Long Day

Wow, today was a long day. Hubby Brian and teenager Spencer headed out at around 7:30 a.m. this morning to drive to Malibu High School. Spencer had a game at 10:00, had to be there by 8:30 a.m.

I stayed back with Harrison and pal Justin Ruder. All three boys had to be at the park by 4:30 for a 6 p.m. game. In between Brian spent the day in Palmdale doing an ACN presentation and met me at Clover Park in Santa Monica for the 6 p.m. game. (ACN is Brian's second business, launched just about one year ago).

In between I of course was at the market doing a large grocery run (I feel like that's what I do a lot to keep this house stocked!)

We did not leave the park tonight until 10:00 p.m.! I mean the park lights went out. It was ridiculous. Overkill at its best. Boys played 9 innings instead of the usual 7 innings and then I guess coach was so pissed at how they performed he made these kids at night, in the cold, run so many sprints, it was making my eyes spin.

And as if that wasn't enough he decided to punish the Team Captains for not acting more "like leaders" and made them run MORE sprints. One of the Team Captain's is my son Spencer. By 10 p.m. he had clocked 10 hours of baseball. I mean really, that's just over the top even for a die hard baseball Mom like me. I mean I wasn't sure if the Coaches were trying to punish the parents as well!

So here it is 10 p.m. on Saturday night and of course it's Los Angeles so every restaurant suitable to take 5 teenage boys, in dirty uniforms, to eat at was closed. And of course they were starving ... having been at the park since 4:30.

Well, guess what, we ended up at Carrows on Ocean Park Avenue (it's opened until midnight in case you ever need a joint to eat at opened late). It's a coffee shop like Norm's or Coco's.

Can I tell you it was the best way to end a very long day of craziness watching these teenagers mow on steak and chocolate crepes for dinner at 10:30 at night. I was just grateful they served wine and happily had a glass!

Life is never boring with teenagers or baseball that's for sure!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 230: Updates on Tidbits

Several of you have asked me to follow up on some pending items that I have posted about on the Birthday Blog or to give more scoop about a particular topic.... so here we go ...

Yes, I am now talking to hubby Brian even though I wasn't post the scare of my life the other night .... (Read Blog Post Day 228)

The replaced Simon mattress is fabulous! So much better then the slab of cement we originally purchased. Brian and I are very grateful for our comfy snooze! (Read Blog Post Day 205)

The entire lower part of my body is in very bad pain from my fall the other day. I had a tough workout this morning, running suicides (sprints) and tonight I'm just damn sore all over. (Read Blog Post Day 229)

Kid sister Jennifer and beau Kevin sent us fresh farm cheese FedEx today from the countryside in New York! You may have read about it in my Blog .... We visited the farm on our trip to New York over Thanksgiving, Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, in Hudson, New York.
They sent us Hudson Valley Camembert Soft Ripened Cheese, made with fresh sheep and cow's milk! Can you imagine we received a box of fresh cheese all bundled and packed on ice packs! Delicious. (Read Blog Post Day 223)

And updates on painful matters going on in friends' lives. Since I wrote about some challenges friends were facing (Read Blog Post Day 207) unfortunately other very sad things have crept into the lives of people I love.
My dear friend & NWPC sister Terry Gibson buried her 18 year old grandson this week. He was a recipient of a heart transplant and didn't make it ... Just a young boy.... there's nothing you can say to a parent who buries a child or to their grandma... My prayers go out to Terry and her family.

Another family is faced with their daughter having major surgery next week to remove a tumor which has not been determined as malignant or benign. The waiting is a life sentence. Painful. Our prayers go out to this family as well.

And there are other very dear friends who are experiencing issues with their children that are very painful. All we can do is be there to listen, support and love. I send you all my love ...