Tag Archives: community

Time To Cry Tuesday – Chicken Redux

Last year I wrote about ‘The Chicken”. If you don’t want to click back, I will make it short. When you live in a close-knit community and find yourself in times of need, people come out in a big way.

We tend to like to feed. I think outside the comfort piece, the idea of removing the hassle of the nightly meal for a family that already has too much on its proverbial plate makes sending in dinners seem like the right thing to do.

So basically, you love to make the chicken… receiving the chicken? Not so much.

This week we had two families in one close group of friends in need… of ‘chicken’. All I can say is that I sent out one email and within 24 hours there were six nightly home-cooked meals and a waiting list for one family and a Magic Bullet smoothie maker for the other, who for health reasons needed to puree, so to speak.

24 hours.

AND there were calls from more who wanted to help and text chains and emails and such an overwhelming sense of what community is, that it took my breath away… yet again. I never cease to stand in awe of what this means; how lucky we all to have each other; to try to imagine what my life would be like without this.

I cannot.


To have 2 dear friends in surgery on the same day is quite unnerving. There is not enough chicken in the universe that makes you feel like you are doing enough to ease the pain.

Until you stop an realize that you can’t. You can only love them. And their spouses. And their amazing kids and even their dogs. And be there for them the best way you know how when they get to the other side. Because they are the family you choose.

I am happy to report that both are doing as well as they can. And we want to let them both know:

There is plenty of chicken where that came from. Just say the word.

Because that is what we do.

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Time To Cry Tuesday – You Don’t Want the Chicken

I live in a wonderful community, one where people come out of the woodwork to rise to the occasion and come to the aid of anyone in need. I have been on both sides of this practice and let me tell you, being the receiver of this kindness is a lot more difficult.

When a family is in a crisis of any kind – usually health or loss – our community springs into action and gets things done… in a big way. Dinners are sent in, carpools are covered, birthday gifts are wrapped and rides to parties and after school activities are covered. This army of giving jumps into action at a moment’s notice and no one bats an eye at getting the job done.

I have a friend who is currently in this place right now. We have the best job of all, we get to dog sit during the day while she goes to work. Talk about reciprocal giving! (for those who are not regular readers, we lost our dog a month ago and cannot get used to a dogless house). She and I were sitting in my kitchen yesterday talking about how overwhelming it is to receive such kindness. My first thought was about the chicken dinner on Friday nights. In the Jewish faith, a friday night – or Shabbat dinner, usually showcases a chicken. Jews feed for comfort and there is nothing more comforting than a roast chicken dinner.

As she voiced how difficult it is to take in all this kindness when you are a relatively private and self sufficient family, it came to me…

You don’t want to be the one that gets the chicken!

Giving the chicken is cool. Making the chicken is wonderful. Dropping off the chicken feels so good because there is so little you can do to help someone close to you who is suffering. But GETTING the chicken? Oy, that is the ultimate admission that you are in a time of need; a time of crisis.

I am thinking that the damn chicken might have been the thing that broke me in my darkest hours.

Anyone else get that?

But in all seriousness, there is never a day that goes by that I am not grateful for what this town has shown it can do for its own; and making it look so easy in the process. It is a very special place indeed.

FYI, this family has used a wonderful website called lotsahelpinghands to help manage their needs. I urge you to check this out, while I hope that you never need to use it. Their tagline is ‘Create Community’; in our case it is simply ‘Enhance Community’.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – Share Our Strength


This week’s installment of Time to Cry Tuesday is about kids helping kids. 

Through a wonderful organization, my neighbor’s kids organized a mega bake sale this weekend. While other kids were swimming, riding bikes or going to the beach, this group decided to make a difference. 

Share Our Strength is committed to end child hunger. Their latest program is the Great American Bake Sale. Presented by Domino and C&H sugars, 100% of the funds raised from this national campaign go towards feeding kids. The most rewarding part is that the funds stay local, supporting after school and summer feeding programs. 

Professionally, being involved in designing turn-key programs in the past, I am impressed with how comprehensive the program is. They supply all sorts of materials to make the bake sales a success.

As a community member, and a mom, I am touched by the commitment of these kids to help those who are in need. 

To quote my fave new Dave Matthews song:

Funny the way it is
If you think about it
Somebody’s going hungry
And someone else is eating out

These kids get that big time. And not only do they get it, they are doing something about it! 


Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog.

For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone

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Time to Cry Tuesday – Sitting Shiksa

sitting-shiksa2No, there is not a typo in that headline. Keep reading and you will see what I mean.

This past week one of my dearest friends – my wife of sorts –  lost her dad. She and I are known somewhat as the Lucy and Ethel of our community. Our antics are legendary (in our minds, anyway). The following is an adaptation of an email that I sent to our friends:

After a long period of compromised health, my friend’s dad cried uncle and died peacefully. Unfortunately, she was away on vacation with her daughter and had to return quickly to make arrangements. As you can imagine this has been a very difficult time for her. But I am happy to report her sense of humor and love of life is fully intact. Read on.

She will be going to Arizona for a first memorial service on Sunday and then to Boston on March 3rd where she and her brother will have his ashes buried next to her mom, hopefully in an ‘uneventful’ ceremony. Not a chance! (note: as with all families there is the predicted drama that is hard to avoid)

As her life is here in NY now, we know that there are many that want to pay their respects to her since she is always there for everyone else. Only our dear friend, in her grief, could call me this morning with this novel and frankly hysterical request. Let me share our conversation:

Friend: Hi, it’s me again. I decided you are right and I need to do something here.

Me: That’s great, what did you have in mind?

Friend: I think I would like to ‘Sit Shiksa’!

Me: That could be the funniest thing I have ever heard.

Friend: Oh and tell people to forget the boxes of cake, bring wine and have a drink with me to celebrate my dad’s life.

For those who are not ‘of the tribe’, when someone dies in the Jewish religion we sit Shiva. Shiva meaning ‘seven’ in Hebrew, we receive guests in our home to pay their respects for 7(ish) days. (it’s complicated)

Figuring that 7 days of guests would surely put her husband in a psych unit, sitting Shiksa will be an afternoon ordeal. Shiksa, on the other hand, means ‘woman who is not a Jew’. Of course we all know that our friend is a Jew by association by now as she has been to more Bar Mitzvot and Shiva calls than most Jews by birth.

Please join their family, not to mourn, but celebrate the life of the man who fathered our dear friend. One hell of a guy and a man who always loved a good party. He will surely be there with us.

If you have friends of mixed marriages, or live in a diverse community, pass this on. There are few that hear it who cannot relate.

Here is to my dear friend, who can truly make lemonade out of ANY situation in life. And who always keeps me laughing, even through her tears. When she married our dear friend, she married us too. And she has been a hell of a good sport about it for the past 20 years. We love you babe. May your grieving be cathartic and know we will love you forever.

Sitting on my desk is a framed piece you gave me years ago:

Friends are the family you choose.

I choose you!

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog.

For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – I don’t know and you don’t know


There are times in our lives when we are profoundly touched by another person even though we have never met them. Sadly, sometimes they are already gone and we have lost the opportunity.

I have a friend in my community who I am very fond of. We do not know each other all that well but have been friends for a long time and our husbands are btff (best tennis friends forever). She and her family emanate an infectious warmth and hospitality. Being in their home one feels instantly comfortable and engaged. Their circle of friends is equally embracing. We always leave their house feeling as if we have had a full experience. Does that make sense? I hope so.

This past weekend we attended a memorial service for her mom who passed away suddenly last month. This particular congregation has a beautiful custom of creating a booklet of readings for its life cycle events. Friends and family members read from this booklet and helped paint a picture of this vibrant woman.

During the service my friend spoke about the mom she had lost. Theirs was a tender relationship, one that every mother and daughter hopes to have. Her loss was very painful to witness, yet being there I felt the greatest honor she could give her mother was to share who she was with those who did not know her. 

She told a story about going back to her mom’s home to sort through the pieces of her life. The most precious things she found were two post-it notes. Her mom had a habit of scribbling down thoughts and sticking them around her home. (a woman after my own heart as I have a bulletin board filled with such things over my desk). One of the notes said it all for me:

You don’t know and I don’t know.

How perfect is that? Pretty much says it all. We can worry and ruminate. We can plan and organize. We can strive and learn and try to control it all. But in the end, you don’t know and I don’t know.

I am sorry I never had the pleasure to meet this fine woman, but in some ways I suppose I have.

To my dear friend, may your grief be tempered with the knowledge that you were loved fully by a mother who adored you. And may your wonderful boys, or shall I say young men, give you the strength and support you need during this terribly sad time.

And may I say, it was an honor to ‘know’ your mom.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at Mid-Century Modern Moms and at 50-Something Moms Blog.

For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Time to Cry Tuesday

Wow, Tuesday again? Jeez, I could cry but I don’t have….

Ok, that was lame. Sorry.

I thought a lot about what belonged here this week. Since the last TtCT I have spent a lot of time with family and community for the Jewish holidays. This time of year leaves us Jews all sorts of reflective.

I could have written about the moving sermons given by our clergy (fabulous, actually). Or some of the touching moments with my family. Or how hard it is to have a holiday without our dear sweet Jana-girl. (there we all go, tears are starting). 

But there was one incident that stood out this week for me. I have already shared it with a few of you so if you want to go get a cup of coffee now and come back tomorrow I will understand.

On Yom Kippur evening I was near the entrance of the synagogue greeting congregants. (Over-volunteer job #10,000: Synagogue Board Member). An elderly gentleman that I have known for many years came into the lobby with his tie undone. He has not been well for the past few years yet he always makes the effort to attend services. He looked agitated and was asking if we had seen his friend who he asked for by name. With kindess and grace a man I was standing with gently guided this man off to the side and offered to help him with his tie. He had a calming way of helping him with the dignity and compassion that he deserved.

The beautiful thing about this story is that the helper was not someone I would have expected this from. This was a genuine gesture of caring that was so in the spirit of the holiday that it took my breath away. Just a simple act of kindness that made all the difference to someone who has suffered so much.

People will surprise you.

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