instant gratification

December 13, 2010


i had quite an afternoon the other day.  facebook, the great social organizer, put me in touch with a high school classmate.  i found out that she had lost her teenage son, Michael, to a rare aggressive pediatric cancer in 2008.  as my daughter turned 16 and i walk my own path from patient to survivor, i reached out to give my belated condolences. 

michael was given one wish by “Make a Wish” foundation and he chose to use the money to buy age-appropriate electronics and then he gave them away to other pediatric cancer patients.    he formed the “Mikey’s Way” foundation and since his passing, his mom and dad have continued this work.  mike knew that many families cannot afford these items on top of their health care costs.  he also understood, all too well, that pediatric cancer patients spend an extraordinary amount of time laying around and the ‘leapsters’ to the netbooks to the nintendos to the portable DVD players help them cope with all the tedious hours of waiting during treatments, doctor’s appointments and hospital visits. 

 I had the very special opportunity to be at Maimonides Pediatric Cancer Center last week as Mikey’s Way gave away these electronics to over 25 pediatric cancer patients.  So simple in its conception and execution…Mike’s parents shop at stores (Mike’s dad told me that he IS that guy 1st in line at 4am waiting at ‘Best Buy” for the super-special deals on electronics!), then arrive with their own large rolling cart filled to the brim.  each child (and we saw them from age 2 to age 22) got a choice of age-appropriate gear and got to make their own choice.  Additional movies and games and batteries were supplied with each piece.  i wish i could say that i was of some help but truly, i just stood there and smiled.  if you thought being a cancer patient was sad, well, you never saw the kids i saw that day…and their parents. 

i acknowledge that foundations and charities are essential to helping out people with medical challenges in their lives.  but i also know the frustration with giving to them…they become expanding behemoth multi-armed well-intentioned monsters.  here was help in its most simple organized and helpful form.   donation buys product; product given to patient. 

Here are two ways to get your own instant gratification: 

1st:  Think about a donation.  You can read about Mike and Mikey’s Way here (donation widget on the main front page at top): 

2nd:  Mikey’s Way is up for a Pepsi $50,000 grant and all you need to do is CLICK!  Click your mouse once every day until December 31st to vote for them so that they can keep doing this wonderful work.  Click!  So simple.  So much good!  YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.   

 Here’s the link:  

I hope you bookmark the site and click once a day until the end of 2010 to help 2011 be a good year for a lot of needy kids. 

 Happy Holidays!   (Click!)  



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getting out of my own way

December 8, 2010


for some unkown bingey reason, i have purchased 2 pairs of black (what else) boots over the past 2 weeks and both of them make (my feet) look like i could kick someone’s ass pretty hard.  one pair are the penultimate italian over-the-knee leather with 2 rows of studded straps across the ankle and the other are ankle-high chic-motorcycle scruffed leather booties with super solid wide heels …the kind of boot you actually consider taking on some trip with you because they are so sturdy.  aside from the excess purchases (and, yes, they were both sale, discount or a combo of both) i wonder what is propelling me to want this ‘don’t mess with me’ look. 

i think the duplicate purchases are definitely me clutching about the ‘i want it now; i might not have later’ and it’s no mystery (i say now, post purchase) that yesterday’s very public passing of elizabeth edwards was upsetting to me in a general ‘oh shit…it comes back’ kind of way.  (upsetting too as i thought she seemed quite the honorable kind and strong woman.)  and the mri is tomorrow – a convoluted affair where i have to start at 34th street at my surgeon’s office so that her ex-oncologist nurse can install the heplock/iv into the acceptable left arm with it’s perpetually teeny veins that play hide and seek for the less-talented or less-experienced needlestickers out there and then, bundled up, hop in a taxi up to 84th street to my radiologist’s office to wait for my turn in the big mri machine.  must remember:  pepcid complete for laying flat on my stomach for the 40 minutes of loud clicking, banging and whirling noises in the tube. 

i went to help out with – although i did no helping – i just stood there and smiled – at an old high school friend’s ‘event’ where they handed out electronics to pediatric cancer patients – every one of which made your heart sing and break at the same time.  it just seems like i hear the word cancer no less than 79 times a day and more and more i feel closed in by it.  how to escape unscathed?  oh wait…i guess the horse left that barn a while ago. 

and, lastly, i think i’m trying to remind myself that i should kick my own very lazy ass into getting back to exercise…i’ve been much much much too indulgent and can’t seem to start back.  i always want the timing to be ‘just right’ but i should know better.  that isn’t possible. 

so….kicking my own ass.  i will take these boots and be done buying and start doing.  no more excuses. 


December 5, 2010


i am the mother of a 16 year old today.  what a ride.  she’s so much her own person and cannot be denied.  goofy and smart and clear in her need to laugh and care in the world.   full of possibilities and purpose and full of wanting to be 12 again.  i guess it’s all in your perspective.  2 cakes (over 2 days) and a platter of cottage cheese latkes (always her request … and a good delivery system for sour cream) later, we are celebrating the birthday week (she’d claim the birthday month) and i alternate between wanting to clutch her close and beaming with pride as she navigates herself solo. 

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