As we prepare to celebrate the Jewish New Year 5784, Rosh Hashana, I am grateful we are together. I am re-posting a blog from 2020 or for those of us who work with the Jewish Calendar 5781. We have come a long way, Baby!
Celebrating Rosh Hashana at a Drive-In Theater. The English year is 2020. The new Jewish Year, 5781, started this week. The year has been weird, horrific and unforgettable, but it has also achieved some positives.
We are fortunate to have my in-laws, Marty and Norma, staying with us this month. Their local social life makes me look like a homebody. They love coming back to Buffalo to see family and friends. There is only one small problem….Today’s Short Blog is About A Seinfeld Moment.
Mrs. Seinfeld, I Am Begging You, Turn On The Air!
Do you remember the episode when Jerry and Elaine were visiting his parents in Florida? Yes, it’s the one where Jerry’s parents keep the air temperature at a sweltering degree and are perfectly comfortable. Meanwhile, Elaine is passing out from the heat.
The first time I walked into Developmental Disability Awareness Day (DDDAY) as a parent and new professional was at the beginning of this century, maybe in 2001. I didn’t know what to expect and was overcome by all the latest discoveries. On August 1, 2023, I returned to the 35th Annual DDDAY as their keynote speaker. Join me through this heartfelt journey from curious parent and budding professional to retired expert and author in 2003. The day was extraordinary, but four key moments resonated with me.
DDDAY is an event where families, self-advocates, professionals, artists, presenters, and performers (ok, you get the picture, a whole lot of people) gather to celebrate, educate, advocate, network, and learn. I have heard that our local gathering held at the Niagara Falls Convention Center is the largest event of this kind in the nation.
Our daughter Jessica, who needs assistance with all daily life skills, was still living at home in the early aughts of 2000, when I first visited DDDAY. She moved into a group home in 2007. Jess was born in 1982, and by 2001, inspired by my desire to learn so I could advocate for Jess, I received my master’s in special education and launched my career in the field.
Dear Vickala, is a letter to high-school Vickie– Hey there, younger self! – Vickala was an occasional nickname. Life’s going to throw curveballs (good and challenging) at you. Laugh at your mistakes, find joy in the little things, and never underestimate the power of love and humor. This started as an assignment in a writing group – and I thought I would share it with you.
Finding the Right Fit, From Inclusion and Beyond: A New Day Program for Jessica after 20 Years. This is our daughter Jessica’s story and the narrative for many adults who require assistance with all daily living skills and have a severe intellectual disability.
Finding the Right Fit
I find it bewildering how we seem to lose the dedicated funding and energy invested in including individuals like Jess in public schools once they reach age 21. Typically, opportunities for Jess and her peers in adulthood confine them to self-contained classrooms, with most activities being exclusionary. Finding the right fit after an inclusive public-school education is difficult.
If you have read my blogs, you know I hate to fly, but sometimes you just have to get on that plane. Father’s Day was one of those days. From Buffalo to Fort Lauderdale on a bumpy, turbulent ride. I was one of the three people on the plane still wearing a mask. My dad’s car service waited for me as I exited the airport. But Never Have I Ever….
In a world where compassion and understanding can make all the difference, alumna Vickie Rubin stands tall as a beacon of hope for families navigating the challenges of raising children with special needs. Rubin’s unwavering dedication to her daughter Jessica, who was born with a rare chromosome deletion, has transformed her into an advocate, educator, and source of inspiration for families. Read More here
I am unsure if this is an insult or an opinion – help me here. The big question in our house is whether my writing is an expensive hobby or work. Its a big He Says/She Says.
Mitch is my biggest booster (these are good boosters, not Covid boosters), an enthusiastic fan, and a devoted reader of everything I write.
Yet, when we talk about my daily efforts in book promotion and blogging, he believes this is a hobby because I do not receive a steady paycheck. To fellow Indy authors, it’s tough to make money in this business, so if you are writing a book to support your family, please have a Plan B!
WHAT! A HOBBY! ARGH! I spend every day working – I even call it work. Yes, I love it! It fulfills me and keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. Yes, it keeps my 65-year-old brain active (bonus points for that alone!). Yes, I retired from my “real job” six years ago. But c’mon,….
I drove to Starbucks the other day and waited in a long line of cars. My need for coffee was stronger than my impatience.
At one point, I was looking at my phone (ok, maybe more than one point), and I got a beep from the impatient person behind me. It was raining and cold, another typical spring day – the continuous dreary weather wearing on all of us.
This is an excerpt for an article that I hope to get in a national magazine, a companion essay to my Memoir, Raising Jess. The topic- Inclusion for Jess, what was it all for? What did we Hope?
For those of you who have read the book and blogs, you know that our daughter Jess age 41, participates in many community, and other inclusive activities. During high school Jess partook in most school events from prom to theater events.
Before we get too technical, I am admittedly talking about my clothes closet! Staying organized is not my strong suit (maybe pun intended), as many of my readers, friends, family, and the universe know.
My name is Vickie Rubin, and I need to be more organized! There I said it; let’s move on.
For our new Passover tradition
Nobody needed to audition.
Age and ability were the only precondition
To rise to this position.
The questions at the seder consist of four
Happening Before the meal and the Maror.
The honor was handed down to Noa and Brady
Age 3 and 7, no longer called the baby.
Noa recited question one for the group
Flawless adorable Hebrew, we all gave a whoop!
Next came Brady sounding like a fluent Rabbi
When both kids were done, we were flying high
Griffin read the English translation
Our pride and joy reached pure elation.
Great Grandparents Monroe, Marty and Norma attended through Zoom
To hear their great-grandchildren, quiet the room.
A new tradition,
An old tradition,
A new direction for our group
An old direction, a generational loop
Our vacation in the Florida Keys began on a Wednesday. On Thursday, an x-ray confirmed I had Pneumonia! After the last 3 years of avoiding Covid on Vacation, I never thought of pneumonia! Yes, it’s a beautiful place to recover, but I do not recommend Pneumonia on Vacation!
Mom, gone since 2020, Was Very Present this Past Week.
It’s not that my husband Mitch will ever say,
This is how it is because I did it My Way,
But the implication is always there,
He marches to his own drum without a care.
On the flip side is me, saying, "Ahem or Hey!
"That’s not right because it’s not My Way!"
Going head-to-head is really unwise,
The secret to our union is compromise.
That all sounds good in this little poem,
But not so easy in our home.
So I sit in his boat, counting the hours till we dock,
He agrees to go out to dinner, although he'd rather not.
He tells me to pack my gear for our upcoming trip to the keys,
My gear is just sneakers, as he packs rods, reels, and all equipment he can squeeze.
I pack 10 pairs of shoes; he needs boat shoes and one other pair,
We are very different, and both of us are aware,
That Respect, Love, and Friendship will make it work out,
There will be struggles, without a doubt,
The best scenario is when you both can say
Well, this worked out, We Did It My Way!
Tomorrow will be 14 years since Flight 3407 crashed.
It was February 12, 2009. As Mitch and I drowsily watched the 11:00 PM news in bed, light snow was falling. Suddenly, we awoke with a jolt! The newscaster just announced that Flight 3407, a plane originating from Newark, had crashed in Clarence, near Buffalo, NY. Clarence was less than ten miles from our home…. so close to the airport… so very close to the airport.
Who Was on That Flight?
Our hearts and minds raced over the thoughts of the passengers and crew. Did we know anybody who was traveling? Who was on that Flight? We are a connected community with WAY less than 6 degrees of separation.
The news showed family members waiting for word from their loved ones at the airport. Mitch and I would not know additional details that evening. We eventually fell into a fitful sleep.
The morning news was grim. Every passenger and crew member on the flight perished. Tragically, the plane crashed into a family home. The wife and daughter were able to escape but not the husband. He lost his life watching TV in his home when Flight 3407 crashed on his house. The neighbors’ homes to the right and the left were spared.
I was in my office that morning when I received a call.” Did you hear about Susan Wehle? She was on flight 3407.” Shock and disbelief consumed my mind and body.
“I can’t go to school without my nails done,” shouts Noa. “And I need a dress for today!” Is this a high school student? College? No, it’s my three-year-old granddaughter’s morning requests. I babysit once a week, also known as Formal Tuesdays with Nana. Where did Noa’s fashion sense come from? Is it generational?
It’s a typical Tuesday, and Noa and I were hanging around the house. She was in her formal black-tie dress and I in sweats and a tee-shirt. She decides my outfit will not do, and I must dress up for the occasion. Rummaging through my closet, I find an old sparkly gown from decades ago. I quickly dress up, and together we take what appears to be prom photos in front of the fireplace.
We were leaving on our “Big Trip,” mile one of 8000 plus other miles. My husband Mitch is not a fan of books on tape, but he agreed to listen to the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman as we began our adventure. The five languages of love are words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts. This story is about The Gift.
Our journey was beginning; we would be in a 24-foot home for 51 days. I might as well learn some relationship tips, although, after 43 years, I would hope we knew this stuff.
The book was interesting, and one of the main tenets we both acknowledge from the chapters was how one communicates and perceives love. If your partner doesn’t understand your mode of communication, then all hell breaks loose.
I originally wrote the post below when the Blizzard was beginning. As I re-read the blog, I knew I needed to edit and add more about the realities of this historic event. Sixteen are dead! This is a deadly storm. The county believes there will be more tragedies as the days move on.
There are stories of women giving birth in their homes without any resources. People who need dialysis and can’t leave their houses. Fires and health emergencies when first responders are unable to get to the emergency. In Buffalo, even the Rescureres needed rescuing.
There is a Facebook group created to help those who are in need. There are already 60,000 members!
This blog is my opinion only. I know my husband Mitch, navigator, driver of most miles, and cleaner of everything disgusting- including ALL BUGS and a trip planner may not agree with my reflections. But in true Vickie’s Views, here is the Inside Scoop about RV Life!
First off, RV miles are like dog years. “How many miles left?” I ask Mitch, my driver. “Only 80 miles left,” he repeats for the nth time. I reply, “Is that 80 miles in SUV time or 80 miles in RV time?”
It just takes longer; the RV is bigger than a car, it carries a lot of weight and is taller than the average vehicle. Another factor is that Mitch is obsessed with gas mileage. This is a touchy topic for non-RVers because getting 15 miles to the gallon is considered a win in our rig! An environmentalist may disagree, but that is for another blog. Mitch insists on driving EXACTLY 64 miles per hour regardless that the highway is allowing 75 or 80 MPH. “64 is the optimal speed for gas conservation. ” Can everyone repeat that mantra again and again?
Hence, sometimes our mileage feels like dog years instead of real-time.
Did you ever have a moment when you felt a powerful Connection to something larger than what you can see? Your mind and body are attuned to the surroundings, the moment, and the vaster view of a spiritual juncture. This short story is about friendship, connection, and a united decision.
It was Rosh Hashana, and we were almost 2000 miles from home and family. Our location was Bozeman, Montana. I googled “Temple In Bozeman,” expecting google to laugh at me and say, “your kidding, right?”. To our surprise, there was a Temple. But that wasn’t the only Surprising Revelation!
45 years ago, Mitch bought a VW bus. He was thrilled to own it, and we planned to go on a semi-hippie cross-country trip during the summer of 1977. (Hey, Dad, if you are reading this, did I ever mention this plan to you and Mom? LOL) The VW bus had a shag carpet with no seats in the back. Leather fringe separated the front seating and the back sleeping. That’s about it for amenities.
Was I REALLY OK with this? Both of us attended the University of Miami (Florida), and we planned to take off on our adventure after the Spring semester. Mitch picked me up from the airport in his VW bus the summer before our trip. I frequently flew the LaGuardia to Buffalo route during our summers at home. We drove partway to his house when I asked if I could drive the cute VW with the adorable stick shift and clutch.
The wedding at our home is in 2 weeks. The family is coming into town. But who should arrive first? COVID! AGAIN! After numerous exposures, I was avoided like the Positive family members, think Pariah. Math played an important role in the days post-exposure to Covid. Inquiring minds want to know about Covid Math plus a Wedding.
Covid math. Let’s see, on August 9th, I was exposed, so this is day one of a five-day period where I could become Covid positive. Start the clock! On August 11th, I spent the day with family only to find an unnamed husband-person was positive. Exposure number two, and now my five days start again. On August 12th, I picked up my grandson from camp and played outdoor football. The next day he is positive, and my Covid Math starts again.
But wait, there is more – On August 13th, I drive my in-laws to the airport after spending the previous day and evening with them at my home, only to find out that one of them is positive. Is this really happening? Do I need to redo the Math again? What day is this? Where is my calculator?
Last January, my husband Mitch sent out Airbnb options to our family for the summer Family Vacation. Six adults and three children under six together for one week in July. Talk about too many cooks in the kitchen! Every house Mitch suggested was greeted with six differing opinions. Out of frustration, we picked a house on Lake Wallenpaupack for our Family Vacation that at least one of us (Mitch) agreed to and moved on.
By the way, it took me months to remember the name of where we were going….and then more time to pronounce it – It helped that an old episode of The Office ” BOOZE CRUISE” was located at Lake Wallenpaupack – here is the pronunciation as demonstrated.