Archive | February 2013

The Moving Blues

bluesThis week is my husband’s final week in town. Next week begins his new beginning in Detroit but the beginning of my family’s long drawn out departure from Rochester as we yet again become transplants.

The sentence I have repeated hundreds of times to well-meaning family, friends, and acquaintances is finally here:

“Craig moves in March, I stay through June.”  ‘

March is tomorrow.

As the move to Detroit moves closer, uncertainty clogs my brain and there are daily reminders that we are leaving Rochester. We know what we have here, we don’t know what we are getting there. It’s that simple.

But then my nine-year-old taught me a valuable lesson. However small, finding one certainty, one thing that will be a known each day might make this whole transplant thing a bit easier.

On a drive to school the other day, my youngest declared he did not like his current room. It was boring.

And he might be right on this one. His room was never intended to be a kids’ bedroom but a spare guest bedroom. It remains the same since we moved in 13 years ago, way before he was a glimmer in our eye.

It is beige.  It is very plain.

But (AND PAY ATTENTION POTENTIAL HOME BUYERS) it is brightly lit, private, and has its own bathroom and a huge closet.

He continued to petition his case for a more exciting room in our future unknown home from the back seat.

“My room is really boring, mom, so I am excited to get a new room when we move that is NOT beige. And I want my room to be blue.”

“But there are so many kinds of blues, how will you know which one to pick?” I asked from the front seat.

“I don’t want aquamarine, or turquoise, or teal. Just original, plain blue. Like the blue in a Crayola box, the kind with only 8 crayons.”

And there you have it. One bit of certainty in this very uncertain time.

My son’s new room in our new house in our new town

will be


New State, New Life: Transplantednorth needs a new name

Thank, you, WordPress, for your latest daily prompt: All About Me.

It was the impetus that got me thinking: Once I move to Detroit, the name of my blog will be outdated.

When I started this blog about three years ago, I named it Transplantednorth because that’s how I felt. Even after nine years of moving from the New York Metro Area to Rochester, I still felt somewhat on the outside, still very much a transplant.

Now, (as we native New Yorkers say)  whadaya know? Just as I’m feeling grounded and rooted, it’s time to move, to transplant, yet again! (Yay.)

So, this is where you come in. And you get to vote.

When I move, what shall I name my blog:


I’m waiting with bated breath for your vote OR other suggestions!


Photo Challenge: Home

Hmmm. Home. The WordPress photo challenge: Home could not have come at a better time in my life, a more doubtful time in my life.

After all, I started this blog, transplantednorth, feeling like a transplant who was uprooted from my hometown. It’s only now, as my family prepares to move again, am I understanding that I have been home for quite sometime in Rochester.

What is home?

Is it where you grew up?

Is it where your kids grew up?

Is it wherever you happen to lay your head down at night?

this is a good home. The new owners will be very lucky.

this is a good home. The new owners will be very lucky.

This is a photo of our current home, in all its Rochester snow-covered glory.

But it won’t be our home for much longer.

I don’t know what my new home will look like.

I don’t yet know nor can I visualize the surrounding neighborhood or town of the home of our very near future.

So folks, I guess you can say my blog will become a bit more bleak from here on in as we start to say goodbye to all my kids know as home.

I am hoping to pick up again, to be more cheerful and a return to my more optimistic self once in Detroit






This is Part Three of my Helping Out series. When I was down in NY helping out Sandy victims, I got the word of the horrible shooting and fire in my current hometown. This blog post reports on what people can do when they set out to do good in the face of evil, the story of thousands of dollars raised for the victims of the West Webster Fire Department and their families. Kudos to the organizers of this raffle, who pulled together dozens of prizes to raffle off in a matter of weeks. In the end, they passed their goal and presented the West Webster Fire Department with a check for $14,000.

Rochester Artisans

WWFD 12-24-12

As local readers know, it all started on December 24, 2012, when a mentally ill criminal set a house on fire, then opened fire on first responders, killing two West Webster firefighters and seriously wounding two other firefighters, plus an off-duty police officer. Firefighters were unable to attend to the fire, so ultimately 7 houses burned to the ground. Making this unbelievable event even more tough to swallow was that it happened 10 days after the massacre in Newtown, CT, where 27 people were murdered, 20 of whom were children. (In both incidences, the gunmen took their own lives.)

Deputy Sheriff Wally MacDonald was moved to do something to help these families, something more than drop money in one of the many “boot drives” that sprouted. He decided that his business, Empire Academy could make a donation. Wally thought maybe he’d hold a raffle with a few more donations and…

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If you have a child approaching Bar/Bat Mitzvah age, some Inspiration from Space


The astronauts from the ill-fated Columbia Space Shuttle. 10 years ago, Ilan Ramon was the first Israeli in space, and he had to take this Torah scroll with him.

My latest student sat before me sullen. Sad even. Completely disengaged. The chid complained of a headache, even a stomachache and could NOT find the strength to sing.

The child had not a chance to review the sentences given to it to study months ago. The child’s iPod had also mysteriously stopped working, so he/she could not listen to the melodies of the chanting either.

I get it.

To many emerging young Jewish adults, studying for one’s B’nei Mitzvah may not be your thing. You’ve got a life, for gosh’s sake! That life is full with homework and friends and sports and has nothing to do with chanting a strange language in a building you hardly go to!

And what does all this Hebrew mean that I can barely read and hardly understand?

And how am I going to find the time to study?

When it comes to hunkering down and preparing for one’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah, many obstacles can get in the way. In a recent post on the Jewish culture blog Kveller, a rabbinical student even honestly put it out there: why put your kid through the motions of having this Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony if it is devoid of meaning, when a small percentage of Jewish adults even volunteer to read from the Torah after they reach that milestone day.

Here is why.

Like it or not, kid, you are the next link in this 5,000 year chain that cannot be broken.

Last night, after my student left and after dinner and dishes, I watched a PBS special: Space Shuttle Columbia: A mission of Hope,  about the 10th anniversary of the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster. What made it all the more tragic was it was the first time an Israeli, Ilan Ramon, son of Holocaust survivors, took a trip to space.

And on this unique mission to space that bonded this unique multicultural team of astronauts was

a tiny Torah.

A Torah that survived the Holocaust.

A Torah that had been used to prepare a boy for his Bar Mitzvah in the hell of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. A boy that survived and grew to be an old man living in Israel still in possession of this tiny scroll.

A Torah that, when Ilan Ramon heard of its story, he knew it had to accompany him in space.

For all of the Jewish people.

I’m not going to retell the story here. I won’t do it justice. But if you can, watch with your family Mission of Hope, and you will understand the Big Picture of why joining the Jewish community as a fully participating adult is an incredibly precious honor.

If that’s not inspiration enough, then look at this photo below:


this is a recent picture of men, Holocaust survivors, who never got to be Bar Mitzvah boys. Until today.

Now, stop kvetching, stop whining, and go study.

The Blessing of Better

tra la la feedle dee dee have a heart-shaped balloon!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged.

Then again, it’s been a while since I’ve stayed up past 7 p.m.

Unlike in previous years, where February was our sick month, someone one way or the other in my house was sick from December 31 all the way through January 28.

It started with New Year’s Eve.

My daughter was coughing and sneezing. Then her head ached. I could not find the working thermometer (that expensive Braun ear thermometer I purchased when the kids were babies fell into an open toilet bowl and as a result was thrown away years ago), but with my keen sensory skills, I would say she had about 101.

She knew that her planned sleep-over invitees would not be happening, but please can everyone just come over and she would stay upstairs?

After all, New Year’s Eve 2012 put the close on the last full year we would spend in this house. Everything from now on would be the last, including our last New Year’s Eve get together with our local Rochester friends.

But with flu in the house, I completely understood why everyone stayed away.

All the champagne, cheese, chips, dips, and finger food appetizers (including Mac & Cheese balls! I mean, can anything sound more tempting than Mac & Cheese balls??) I purchased for a small New Year’s get together would have to wait for another time.

My daughter’s flu-like symptoms lasted into the first week of school. As soon as she was better and returned, it was my oldest son who missed a week of school with a sore throat, a seal-like cough, and a headache that wouldn’t quit.

Finally, my youngest was the next victim of the flu and was out for nearly a week. A high fever and a bad cough were the symptoms of his misery.

I have to admit that he DID briefly return to school one evening, thanks to the magic of Advil, to perform in his chorus concert.

The show must go on, right? And again, it is one of his first and last concerts in our current hometown.

Next, it was my turn.

I often encourage my children to take turns in sharing things. This was a turn I would rather have been left out of.

My flu symptoms – both occasions, were  sandwiched with the mother of all sinus infections.

I had completely lost my sense of smell for about a week. Do you know how much pleasure the human being gets from their sense of smell?


The aroma of coffee, of fresh herbs, steaming soup, freshly baked bread,  lavender-scented candles and vanilla scented body lotion completely evaded me.

A whole head of garlic? In desperation, I cut one in half and inhaled.

NOTHING was getting through my schnozzola. Nothing.

I suspect that even if I had to change a diaper, I would be spared the stench.

“Inhale some red pepper flakes!” My son dared me.  “It will be painful, but it WILL clear you right out!”

I turned down his dare. I may have been desperate, but I’m not a 14-year-old boy.

When my fever went away, and thanks to some more OTC drugs, 100 cups of tea, and my new favorite toy (a Homedics humidifier) my sinuses cleared and I was feeling better.

But the tiredness and the cough only lifted completely in the last 48 hours.

After a month of being sick (and mind you, I know the flu is NOTHING in the face of other serious illnesses,)  there is the blessing of


People’s first response when you are sick is always “Feel better!”

So, if you are sick with this year’s miserable flu, and you are reading this, I sincerely wish that you feel better.

You will get better soon. When your head is congested and you can’t even smell the strongest head of raw garlic, know that soon you WILL FEEL BETTER!

Not tomorrow, but soon you, will be better.

Better in the way that you can stay up past 6:30.

Better in the way where you can return to work with renewed energy and without the guilt of knowing you are infecting your co-workers.

Better in the way that you can return to exercising and actually feel energized and not exhausted.

But in the meantime, I leave you this song from The Hostile Hospital, a book in the kids cult classic books, Book the Eighth in  A Series of Unfortunate Events  by Lemony Snicket:

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