Collective memories Day 28

Today’s blog is a collection of memories that I hold like leaves pressed between the pages of a book. They are more beautiful with age, and yet as fragile as a leaf’s brittle edges after years of safe keeping until they flutter from a page onto this keyboard.
Here goes:
1. When I was about two or three years old I remember us standing, (you holding me), up against mom and dad’s bedroom window and I waved as they drove off for the evening. You set me down and I cried. Puddles of tears running down my little pink cheeks. “Rachel, you don’t need to shed big fat crocodile tears, they’ll be home in a few hours.” I think I was sad about them being gone, yes., but yet, I think I was more upset about not being included, haha. I hated being the little one who couldn’t do this or that because I was too young and too small. I felt left out. L.O.L., I know…hindsight is twenty-twenty as dad says!
2. When I was about four years old I discovered an active interest in science. I would pull earth worms up from underneath rocks in the garden, I collected them in mom’s old Tupperware containers.  I supplied them with grass and sandbox sand and I placed them in our clubhouse. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I would forget about them and rediscover them days later, poor earth worms.  Secondly along these scientific lines, I would concoct fascinating experiments in the bathroom. My beaker was a Dixie cup, my stirring rod a q-tip, and my variables: water, toothpaste, baby powder and sometimes your bathroom items hidden inside of drawers beneath the sink. I’d stir, stir, and stir some more, and I’d wait to see how much powder I could get to slip below the surface, aha! Suddenly you would knock or rather, pound on the door, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THERE RACHEL? DID YOU FALL IN THE TOILET?!” Maybe that’s why the toilet would get clogged suddenly. Sorry dad….
3. We shared the coolest club house around. I must say. It was pretty fabulous! Inside it was decorated with my scribbles and later my love declarations with my first boy friend, awww young love….I think one of my favorite finds as a youngster in that clubhouse were the giant carpenter pencils we used to scribble on the walls. I hope that whoever bought the house from mom and dad in 1999 had children. I hope they enjoyed and or still enjoy that magical, imaginative, and fun play house dad built. Who knew that we’d be all grown up and still love that house, even more so now!
4. Three words: BOARDS ON DOORS
I’ll never forget when I was about eight and I tried to put the board on the front french double doors. I luckily balanced it correctly and did not take out the chandelier dangling from the tall ceilings height above said door. “Phew,” but let’s just say, I may or may not have accidentally dropped it through those two posts or pegs a time or two. The first time I tried to explain to a friend what it was, it was just too complicated for me to express. Upon further reflection now, I get it, I totally understand the boards on the doors. As a young kid, it seemed like, oh, ok that’s what we do, doesn’t your family board their doors? Haha. Well…you know, mom was ahead of her time. Early alarm system, talk about built-in security!
5. Mouse.
One word, super short, five letters, one syllable, and yet, it can summon up some of the most unprecedented responses from a human being. I shall never forget the shriek of fear echoing through the garage, into the house, and down the hallway. Remember how we kept the dog food in giant garbage can bins in the garage? Yeah…well…you encountered what was probably a shrew. I later met the same fowl in the garage area, only I found it’s number two sprinkled about in the vita bone cookie box and amongst the shelving around that area. I gotta say, “I’m not into mice.” Our poor neighbor Grandin had the privilege of removing said mouse once it became trapped on a sticky live trap. Dad was out-of-town, mom and I tried to be really responsible and take care of it with rubber gloves. Try as we might, we could not get past the rubber gloves and squealing sounds as we took steps closer toward it. I screeched, cried and laughed, and mom did as well. It was a mess to say the least, and dear Grandin swooped in with a laugh and a dust pan. What would we ever have done without him?
6. Now I know you say that you are not a runner. But hear this and you might retract your previous statement… 🙂
I believe I was age seven, you a young seventeen. I was playing on mom and dad’s bed with, “My Little Ponies.” I would make them gallop across the desert, i.e. carpeted area, and up the mountains, i.e. long hanging curtains that blocked out both the Anchorage frosty winter and kept in the heat. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of hair, jeans, and a long skid across the cul-de-sac. Yep, that blur was you my dear sister. I’ve never seen someone run as fast on ice as I saw that day. You ran so fast between the houses, up our street, across the circle, and into our driveway. I’m pretty sure that was probably one of the best cardio moments of your life. Why all this running other people are wondering?  I know you must be recalling at this present moment Debbie, the one word I have: moose.
Ok, now people, you need to understand that moose are not sweet, they are not friendly, and they are not our friends. They are wild animals that roam down from the mountains in search of food and unfortunately, they bed down in yards especially yards without fences. HOWEVER, they do occasionally cross over fences too, but that’s another story, never mind, anyway…. (Into the Woods reference…:) ) Needless to say, a gigantic bull moose was in the backyard of Mrs. Bell, our piano teacher’s yard. It stood up, you saw it above the snow bank, you fled, the rest is history. Thank heavens it had the sense enough to just ignore the small teenager that approached it. We had too many close calls with these mammals. There are countless stories we could share at a later date, right Debbie?!
Have a wonderful day! Enjoy the moose-less streets of H.K. but watch out for those mini-busses and fancy cars, crazy drivers in the land of H.K. roam quite free. I love you! xoxo.
Pretty tulips for you! It’s beginning to feel like spring time! 😉

Obsessions of the 80’s and early 90’s through the present 2000’s because of you…. Day 21

Here is a list of inherited obsessions you originated and I carefully crafted after you:

(Well most of them that is! Thank you very much dear sister.)

  1. The color red, it looks good on both of us, what can I say?
  2. Lips: it started with that pink lip phone, continued onto any clothing, lipstick, purse, or shoe with a lip print. In fact I purchased lip blocked shoes in HK with you! haha!
  3. Hedgehogs: Now THIS is your obsession alone, but I indulge and purchase items for you of any hedgehog relate-ability.
  4. Dolphins: Another copy. “What your favorite animal Rachel?” “Dolphin!” “Why is that?” “Well….it’s my sister’s too!” (Insert giant grin here. 🙂 lol.) circa age 8-11.
  5. Red backpacks: I owned say, 3 of them, I think there is one buried in the closet some where. Shhh, don’t tell.
  6. Jeans: Me=bell bottoms, You=tapered leg, we both love jeans, what more can I say?!
  7. Socks: Mom started it. End scene.
  8. Drawing symbols after I sign my name on any letter to family or friend. I must insert the following: a heart, Star of David, music note, smiley face, flower, and sometimes a tear drop.
  9. Stickers: see previous blog if feeling confused.
  10. Judy Blume: Thank you mom!
  11. Laura Ingles Wilder: Thank you mom, x3!
  12. All of a Kind Family: Thank you mom, x4!
  13. Noel Streatfeild: T.Y.M.!x5!
  14. Swing dancing: copied beginning in 1998, took lessons for two years with friends at a Fred Astaire studio along with some tango and ballroom; then 1999, seeing you dance at the Crystal and Andy too, who knew?! 🙂
  15. Thai food: thank you, I like it very much now…. Not the first time in 1995, but what can I say, crocodile tears were real with those hot pepper flakes in that soup!
  16. Piano: TYM and Dad x6.
  17. Driving: That was all you in 2002, thank you for being EVER so patient and teaching me. I check all three mirrors EVERY time I switch lanes and back up, 2x’s.
  18. Portland: All you. ❤
  19. Sign Language: I ❤ you.
  20. Blue, turquoise, and anything boutique-y type of fabric.
  21. Saying, “Groovy!” When I really mean cool.
  22. Not saying,”Like, or sorry,” and paying close attention to when I slip back into previous language habits, thank you for this keen eye to detail.
  23. Learning how to use iPads, technology, and other varieties of this nature.
  24. Introducing me to the one and only, Sarah McLachlan.
  25. Seeing Savage Garden as my first concert in Seattle. Trying to win tickets to it while visiting you in Vancouver with Mom and Laurie and her kiddos. 🙂
  26. Learning how to navigate traffic on any given bridge and maintain speed. This goes along with #17. As well as knowing how to change: radio, cd, brake, gears, and air-conditioning without taking my eyes OFF of the road.
  27. Circumnavigating the world of resumes, cover letters, and interviews with practice and an editors eye.
  28. Being brave enough to start a blog, case in point.
  29. Airedales: all things airedales, all the time, and bringing Ari into my life in 1994. Eternally grateful for this and my furry faced best friend for 14 years.
  30. Anything sister related goes without saying: I love because of you!

The list could quite possibly continue on and on, however I felt that capping it was necessary for this occasion. Just know how grateful I am to you for sharing so many wonderful things over the years. I am eternally indebted to my big sister for sharing her loves in life and her love in general!  Have a stellar major day! xoxo.


Alef, Bet, Vet, Day 20

When you are a young child, who teaches you information? Who guides you along the way? Your parents, or guardians, yes, yes of course, well one would hope that they do. However, your siblings provide the examples.

Watch a child, any young baby, or toddler when they are amongst other people. They are fascinated by the alternative human beings beyond those in their small niche. They are most intrigued by other young people. They can distinguish between adult and child. Their stares and interest are paired with a hard wiring in the brain that encourages them to try to emulate the behavior they see. This is the learning process folks.

My guide was Debbie. Now I realize I have already touched on this subject a bit in previous blogs, but this topic of learning is different.

Debbie taught Hebrew classes at our synagogue in her late high school and early college years. I loved it. I can still see you walking down Temple Beth Shalom’s hallways with a giant Hebrew alphabet board and a bag of books slung over your shoulder. You sang the alef, bet, vet, with my kindergarten class, I’m not sure if you remember.

My teacher was Joy Grisan. I loved her. I felt special in her class and I enjoyed her story telling and art projects combined into one.  I can fondly recall the story of baby Moses in the reeds. We used pipe cleaners to fashion our tiny Moses baby and made itty-bitty baskets to hold him within.  I can see the tiny dixie cups filled with grape juice for snack time.  Our mom was the executive Hebrew School coordinator and long time volunteer for years.  Sunday school was a familiar affair.

Correct me if I’m wrong, I mean, I was little, but I think Joy took you under her wing and showed you some ideas, lessons, and helped you organize yourself as a traveling Hebrew teacher. I know that this was one of your part-time jobs in Bellingham during your first few years of college, or maybe it was all four years. Your days at Temple Beth Shalom helped shape your abilities as a teacher. Early classroom management, choral reading, and literacy skills were being fostered under your tutelage.

I used to sing the Alef, Bet, Vet, with you along with Debbie Friedman’s music. I loved those times in the van with you. Singing was always my favorite and still is. Go figure… 🙂


Sharing in this same experience of Jewish culture with life in Hong Kong was so important to me this past fall. I am grateful for the Shorashim experience we had together. I loved it. Every minute of sitting with you and Declan. I loved how he’d look up at me and see if I was singing along too. He was adorable. I loved sitting in services and being given the gift of a community experience to question the Torah and think together. This is one of the most important things, I believe about our culture. The ability to question and have a shared learning with other people. It all goes back to education, and the connectivity of all of this with music.

I love you Debbie! Have a Happy Monday of vacation. xoxo.