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WOW, it has been a long time since we have been in Southern California in September. However, due to our 3 month plan of visiting our kids and grandson Isaac, this year we ended up there mid-September to mid-October.  This is exciting because it meant that we were with our family for the Jewish Holidays and that Steve and I could attend the Light the Night Walk – the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s annual 5K walk.

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I Brought the LTN Walk to Angel Stadium 16 Years Ago

This is the walk that I started at Angel’s Stadium 16 years ago. I was the Campaign Manager and I took it from a $10,000 walk to a $250,000 walk in just three years!! It now raises over $1,000,000!! It is said that this is a legacy that I left to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Something that I worked very hard for and  I am very proud of.

Mike Hunter’s Team – supporting a family team that started with me 16 years ago. Mike Hunter lost his battle with cancer when he was just 32 years old. I met Barbara, his mom and Vicki, his sister 16 years ago when I was the Campaign Manager of the Light the Night Walk. They shared their touching family story about Mike’s diagnosis, treatment and passing. I wanted to help them by doing something that would give them a way to have a positive impact on others and keep Mike’s memory alive. I asked them if they would like Mike to be the Light the Night “Memorial Honoree”. Both Barbara and Vicki jumped at the opportunity and for the three years that I was Campaign Manager, Mike was the Memorial Honoree. They became volunteers on my committee. Their family has done the walk every year since. They just celebrated their 17th year doing the walk. They have created a large team that raises a lot of money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, helping to fund research and support patient’s needs. They also have Mike’s Teams in other states walking and raising funds. I worked with LLS National 16 years ago to get Mike’s Team to become the first Light the Night National Family Team in the country.

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Steve and I Surprised Them and Walked With Their Team This Year

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Steve, Barbara, Maxine and Vicki

 

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Our Friends Harriet & Ben Joined Us Too. They Were Also Volunteers On My Walk Committee. It Was a Special Night For Us All

Each walker carried a Lighted Chinese Lantern throughout the walk – A White one if you are a Survivor or a Patient, A Red one if you are a Supporter, and A Gold one if you are walking in Memory of someone.

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As a Survivor, I Carried a White Lantern

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We Also Surprised Our Friends Van & Virginia Who Were Volunteers on My Walk Committee. All Six of Us Are Cancer Survivors – Virginia, Maxine, Van, Harriet & Steve

This year there was a Survivors’ Circle where all of us gathered before the walk began to turn on the lights in our Chinese Lantern together and acknowledge the amazing survival rate for blood cancers. It was a very moving moment and I experienced a flood of emotion run through me as I reflected on how long we have been cancer survivors – Steve is 31 years and I am 17 years. Also you realize that you are not alone in this fight to find a cure and beat cancer.  You are doing it together.

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The Survivors’ Circle. A Very Emotional Moment for Many of Us

For me the walk was emotional, inspirational and empowering, as I reminisced about what I created here 16 years ago and how much it has grown in attendance, money raised and awareness of blood cancers.

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I Was Excited to See What I Had Created Here 16 Years Ago and How Much it Has Grown in Attendance, Money Raised and Awareness of Blood Cancers

I started the walk here at Angels Stadium 16 Years Ago and it is still going as strong!!

Here’s to finding a cure!!

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Maxine and Harriet – Survivors

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Our UK Visit

It had been nine months since we had visited our friends and relatives in England. We were going to have a very busy schedule.

We began this adventure by visiting our friends Jemma, Kevin and Sienna in a quaint village in Greater Manchester called Marple.

This was our first introduction to Sienna who had just turned 7 months old.

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Maxine with Sienna

We spent two days with them, walking into the village of Marple Bridge through a beautiful park and stopping along the way for a delicious lunch at a cozy restaurant overlooking the river.

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A Scenic Walking Path Through the Village

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Our Friends Jemma, Kevin & Sienna

The next day we visited Lyme House Park & Garden where Pride and Prejudice was filmed.

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Entrance to Lyme House Park & Garden

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The Grounds are Beautiful

Everywhere I looked was a photo opportunity.

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A Maze of Beauty

The last stop of the day was at Kevin’s parents’ house where we were welcomed with a cup of tea and biscuits, and some very interesting conversations with the whole family.

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Kevin’s Wonderful Family

We had such a good time with everyone, however it was time to say good-bye to our friends in Marple and hello to our friends in Lincoln, where Steve and I used to live. We had a three-hour drive through some beautiful scenery, especially crossing the Pennines.

Lincoln still feels like home and we had a wonderful time catching up with many friends that we met for lunch and dinner over the four and a half days that we were there.

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Our Lincoln Friends Pat & Peter

We went to our favorite cafes, restaurants and shops, and I was able to squeeze in a pedicure at my favorite spa salon. We had a bit of rain but also some sunshine every day. It always feels good to visit Lincoln.

Our main reason for this visit to England was to attend my cousin Brad’s son, Alex’s wedding party in Sheffield. Alex and Lia were married in Greece last month with the immediate family in attendance. In order to have their family and friends at the wedding party, they held it locally, in Sheffield.

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The Happy Couple Alex & Lia

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Cutting the Cake

Since they wore their wedding clothes, did some speeches and had a wedding cake, it felt like we were at the wedding, not just the party.

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Steve & I With the Bride & Groom

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 Cousins Brad, Maxine & Alicia

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Cousins Warren, Carrie & Ben

It was a wonderful event. We got to see relatives that we had not seen since last year and reconnect with others.

During the four days that we were in Sheffield, we stayed with my cousins Brad, Max and Lissie.

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Our Cousins Walking Group at the Cafe

We always look forward to the long walks every day, exploring the surrounding areas. This time we went to Forge Dam, Linacre Reservoir and Eccelsall Woods. Of course we stopped at fabulous little cafés for tea and scones, and for Sunday lunch at a great pub. We had lots of family time with our cousins, which is what we enjoy most when we visit England.

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Sunday Lunch was Yummy

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A Walk Through the Woods

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We Had to Walk Across the Stones to Continue the Trail

We arrived at our next stop, Stratford-Upon-Avon, in time for lunch. We stayed with our friends Kath & Tony in the village Shottery, adjacent to Stratford-Upon-Avon. We settled in and had a cup of tea and a homemade sweet, just what we needed to walk into town and have a look around.

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Our Friend Kath Welcoming Us to the Village

This is Shakespeare Country so we enjoyed strolling among the character buildings. We saw the house that Shakespeare lived in as well as the Ann Hathaway house.

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Amazing Building for Costa Coffee

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Another Character Building 

Along the way we saw a beautiful thatched house in their neighborhood.

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Such a Beautiful Thatched House

We walked back into town on the following day. We had warm weather and plenty of sunshine so we walked through the whole town and along the Avon River. We met a couple who owned a narrow boat that they lived on year-round. We started talking with them and they invited us on-board for a tour. It is pretty amazing how they can fit all of the things they need in it and call it a house. It is inspiring to learn how little we really need to be comfortable.

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New Friends Made Along the Way

With most of the two-week adventure behind us, we drove to Gloucester Cathedral, where we met up with our American friends Marcy and Mark from Southern California.

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American Girlfriends Meet in England

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Lunch with Mark & Marcy

Marcy is the conductor of an amazing orchestra (as well as a violinist herself). We had arranged to see and hear Marcy’s Musique Sur La Mer youth orchestra perform.

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Wonderful Young Musicians 

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Steve & I with Mathew, the Youngest Musician and his Mom

We heard them perform in Southern California just a few weeks earlier. After the performance we followed their coach to the Cotswolds for some sightseeing including the obligatory pot of tea and a scone – you are never too far from a café in England as they like their tea and scones.

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Having Fun in the Rain at the Cotswolds 

We joined the group for a moving farewell dinner. The orchestra was heading back to California the next morning and we had to say good-bye and head to our hotel in Wales.

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St Pierre Marriott Hotel & Country Club

It was a very scenic drive from the Cotswold’s to our hotel in Chepstow, Wales. It was full of green fields, trees and sheep grazing as well as a long bridge that we drove over to get from England to Wales. It was a welcome sight to finally arrive at our hotel –   St. Pierre Marriott Hotel & Country Club.

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The Oldest Buildings Date from the 16th Century

We had time to relax and reflect on this amazing two week visit to the UK. The following day we were on our way to Stansted Airport in London to fly back to our home in the South of France. Back to the sunshine and hot weather for now.

So Far Away

Our grandson Isaac is 9 months old already. Time really flies when you are so far away (almost 6000 miles away) from your grandson, especially the first year of his life. They grow so quickly in that first year.

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Our Precious Little Grandson Isaac

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Bubbie and Isaac ~ Play Time

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Bath Time ~ Papa and Isaac 

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Papa, Bubbie and Isaac Celebrating New Year’s Eve

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My Boys ~ Joshua, Steve, Jonathan, and Isaac

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Feed Me ~ Isaac’s First Taste of Baby Food

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Bubbie Feeding Isaac His First Baby Food

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Isaac Rolled Over to Play ~ Now He is Crawling All Over The Place

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Mommy And Isaac

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Daddy And Isaac

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Uncle Joshua, Aunt Lupe and Isaac Celebrating New Year’s Eve

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Our Family ~ We Love When We Are All Together 

It’s times like this that I feel so far away from our grandson Isaac (and our kids):

Since we saw him two months ago, he is now sitting up on his own, crawling all over the place, has begun to eat table food, listens to music and beats in sync to the rhythm, and a variety of other amazing things.

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Happy Birthday Bubbie ~ The Best Present I Got on My Birthday ~  This Photo of My Baby Doll Isaac

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Just After We Left ~ Isaac Sitting on His Own

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Isaac Singing to the Music

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Isaac Has Grown So Much in the Two Months Since We Saw Him

Fortunately my daughter-in-law Liz sends me short videos of all of these milestones, and Jonathan makes sure that we Skype regularly.

I am grateful and thankful for today’s technology – Skype, WhatsApp, telephone with unlimited free calls to the USA, email and all the rest; however it does not take the place of  real hugs and kisses and face to face talking and singing songs and reading stories together, and especially rocking him to sleep in my arms.

We were there when Isaac was born June 18, 2016 and for the first seven weeks of his life. Then we were away for three months (seemed so long), and then we were with them for two full months and all of the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve into the middle of January. But now we will have been away for four months (feels really a long time) until we are with them again for five weeks (we will be celebrating Isaac’s first birthday!!) Where has the time gone? Thank goodness for all of the technology as it has allowed us to keep up with Isaac’s every move while he is growing up in front of us (on a screen).

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Jonathan, Liz and Isaac ~ Their Own Little Family

Both Steve and I have decided that we do not want to have more than 3 months in between our visits to see our grandson Isaac and our kids, so we will be going back at least three times a year and having them come to visit us in South of France once a year. That is a plan that we can live with for now.

WOW – It is December and we are at the beach here in Southern California!

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The Hermosa Beach Pier

Steve and I are at Hermosa Beach walking on the pier enjoying watching the waves roll up against the sand and taking pictures of the many seagulls flying around us. The sun is shining, it is warm with a windy breeze.

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A Seagull Flying Into the Breeze

It is rare but there are only a few people on the pier and the beach today which makes it so nice and relaxing. Part of that is due to the windy breeze and the other is that many people are at work. That is what being retired is – going places when everyone else is at work.

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Not Camera Shy

Although in the “City” – Los Angeles with millions of people and cars, that doesn’t always hold true, places and streets and freeways are still crowded and full. But today we are lucky and we have the pier and the beach to ourselves at least for a few hours.

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Putting Up the Hermosa Beach Christmas Tree

We stopped to watch city workers put up the community Christmas tree at the top of the pier. They will also put up a large Chanukah menorah  just across from the tree.

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Seagulls Watching Us Eat Lunch

I packed a lunch for us to eat on one of the benches on the pier allowing us to take in the sunshine, the beach life and to watch the waves roll in and out against the sand.

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Watching the Waves Roll In

We are enjoying the warm weather 22ºC / 73°F. Due to the breezy wind advisory, there were no surfers out today and we saw the airplanes flying a different course out of LAX airport. The air was so clean that it made me feel light headed and happy. I love the beach and the weather in Southern California in December.

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The Surf Crashes into the Beach

It was another picture-perfect beautiful day in Southern California – 82°F / 28°C.

It was so exciting to wake up this Thanksgiving morning and realize that we are here in Southern California to celebrate our precious grandson Isaac’s “First” Thanksgiving.

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Our Family

Once again Liz’s parents, Mark & Diane, spent hours preparing countless delicious dishes, and opened their home to the growing family. All five of Mark & Diane’s children, all five of their grandchildren – including our Isaac – Jonathan & Liz, Joshua & Lupe and Steve & I were gathered around the table for the Thanksgiving feast. All told, there were 20 of us sharing stories and laughing, while passing the serving bowls in countless directions, until everyone’s plates were loaded with fabulous home-cooked food.

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Mark and Diane with Isaac

It warms my heart and reminds me of how blessed we all are with our good health, our family, friends and love all around us.

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My Boys

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Jonathan and Isaac

It was our grandson Isaac’s and Liz’s nephew Elliott’s “First” Thanksgiving. They are only 5 weeks apart in age. Isaac is five months old and Elliott is six months old.  Landon is 3, Avery is 3 and Emelia is 1. So as you can imagine, there was a lot of activity going on in the house. I love the sounds of kids playing and laughing and the babies taking it all in. It was so much fun to watch the interaction between all of the cousins.

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Isaac, Elliott and Emelia

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The Five Cousins

That is what “Thanksgiving” is – a house filled with family, food and fun.

We have so much to be thankful for.

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Bubbie’s Boy

Be Grateful. Be Thankful.  Always…

It was a very Special and Happy Thanksgiving

Back in the USA

We are back in Southern California again to be with our kids and grandson Isaac, as well as our friends, for the holidays. The holidays will be so very special this year as we celebrate Isaac’s “First” holidays.

It is just a week ago that Steve & I left France and arrived in Los Angeles, California – our USA Home.  Our son Joshua picked us up at the airport and brought us back to his house – which is our home when we visit.

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A short time later Jonathan, Liz and Isaac met us at Joshua’s house and spent the afternoon and evening with us. Our precious grandson Isaac recognized us right away as soon as they brought him into the house and he began smiling and laughing and trying to talk by cooing with us.

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Liz handed him to me and he came right to me for lots of hugs and kisses. Then onto Papa for some attention.

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It was the best welcome home present we could ever ask for.

As Jonathan said, “All is right with the world now that our family is all together again.” I feel the same way.

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I am so looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with our whole family tomorrow. This will be Isaac’s “First” Thanksgiving.  Stay tuned for all of the details in my next blog.

Wishing all of you a very Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving.

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Halloween is one of my least favorite holidays of the year – however, it is a special day for me.  A celebration of life. My life. I am so thankful and grateful to be alive.

You see it was 16 years ago today that I heard those fearfully dreaded words, “You’ve got Cancer”. 16 Years Ago today since my Cancer Diagnosis.

Some may ask “Why is she celebrating the anniversary of her cancer diagnosis?”

Actually I am not celebrating the day of my diagnosis. What I am celebrating is “Being Alive”. Living with cancer. Surviving cancer. Beating cancer.

Celebrating  being alive and enjoying my life with my family – especially our new grandson Isaac. Living in South of France, Southern California and England and loving it.

As many of you know, I am a very positive person and I can find the positive in every situation, even living with cancer. No one ever wants a cancer diagnosis but I have found the gifts that it has brought into my life. Living in an attitude of gratitude, being grateful and thankful for all of the blessings in my life everyday – the gift of a new day, good health, my beautiful family, our many good friends around the world and the abundance and prosperity in our lives. Every day brings new friends into our lives as well as new opportunities to touch people’s lives in a positive way and make a difference in the world. Even if that means in our village, in our community or in other parts of the world.

There is no cure today for the type of cancer that I was diagnosed with, however there could be one tomorrow. So in the meantime, I continue to Live each day to the fullest, Love many people and Laugh a lot. I treasure every moment with my family and friends. I am thankful and grateful for all of the blessings in my life.

I am so happy I am alive!! The sun is shining, the sky is blue, it is a beautiful day and we will soon be home with our family and friends in Southern California for the holidays.

For those of you who do enjoy celebrating Halloween – Happy Halloween.

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Happy Halloween

“L’Chaim Tovim Ul’Shalom,” “For a Good Life, and for Peace.”

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