Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms who love and advocate and put one foot in front of the other to care for their children with special needs.

In My Shoes
Vickie, Noa and Jess sharing a moment!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the new Moms who are just beginning this adventure.

1982 – Before I knew

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms who get up each morning and make the world a better place for their children.

Happy Mother’s Day to Moms whose children are all grown up and left the nest. (We never really let go!)


Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms who are doing this on their own.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the people who make your Mothering easier and share the love of your children

Thinking of those who want to be Moms.

Thinking of Moms who have lost their children

Thinking of children who have lost their Moms

Thinking of my Mom – this is my third Mother’s Day without you

Happy Mother's Day
Missing You Every Day


Funny Replies – what YOU forgot!

I am thrilled to report that Mitch and I are not the only forgetful people in the universe! In my last blog, You Forgot What?” I told of an embarrassing story about forgetting our Hungarian Vizsla, and little did I know that many of my readers have similar stories. How comforting to know that we are either not losing our minds or, at a minimum, EVERYBODY is losing their minds simultaneously. What YOU forgot – Part 2


  1. Long story, but I left my 16-year-old, son at a rest stop in North Carolina on our way back to New York! We laugh about it all the time (he is 22 now). Gotta role with what punches you get!
  2. When D. was little, we packed his suitcase for a vacation and noticed when we arrived, we never took his bag… At least we Did remember to take D!!! Hehe


  1. T writes: the worst I did was when we flew to Florida and forgot the condo keys. We had to get a hotel room across the street from the condo and get a key from the office the next day. I remembered as we were driving our rental and almost there. Now, I have a checklist of EVERYTHING we need and must do before we winter in Fl.
  1. My husband and I just did something similar. We go to Mexico every winter. 30+ years. we got everything set up, nephew moved in our home to care for our pups, etc. (We do this every year just to reiterate) As the transport van is rounding the corner to United Airlines. Husband says, “Do you have the passports or do I?” You can figure out the ending. Neither of us did. You can forget many things when going to Mexico, but you can’t forget the passports. The point is, it happens!!!

Vizsla DOGS

  1. I picked up my Vizsla and German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) from doggie daycare only to realize halfway home that it was not my Vizsla. I was in a hurry and grabbed both dogs without looking closely. They jumped in the car together like they always do with the Vizsla jumping into the front seat. When I was driving home, I looked the dog in the face and realized it was not my girl. My GSP didn’t seem to care who came home with us!
  2. I was taking our Vizsla girl to the vet, and my husband was going to put her in the car. I was on a conference call in the car, late for the vet appointment, and took off. My husband kept calling me, and I kept ignoring the call since I was already in a call, of course complaining to the people on the call about my husband knowing I was in a call and him continuing to call me. At a light, I looked at one of the texts he sent me and checked the crate in the backseat; of course, no dog. Everyone on the conference call got a good laugh about who in the world would forget the dog when going to the vet.
  3. I don’t remember who it was, but I heard of a handler showing up at a dog show with the wrong Vizsla. They couldn’t fake it because they had the wrong personal equipment for entry. There are also stories about handlers having a car full of dogs and still missing one of the entered dogs. So do NOT feel bad because you probably have a LOT of company
  4. Similar story here. I had two Vizslas (littermates). One had to go to the vet for a post-op checkup, and my mum loaded up the wrong dog (fortunately, I noticed before we set off). It would have been interesting to explain why the dog who had four teeth removed spontaneously had a complete set again!

If you have any fun forgetting stories, please add them to the comments!

If You haven’t already purchased, Raising Jess: A Story of Hope – Please consider a copy for yourself, a friend, a teacher, a therapist, a mom, a sibling, a book lover…you can purchase it at all major online retailers.

Amazon link and Barnes & Noble Link.

Excellent Article about Raising Jess

You Forgot What? Gus the Dog’s Tail (Tale)

It’s taken a year to write this embarrassing tail (yes, pun intended). At first, my husband Mitch and I didn’t want to tell anyone for fear we were losing our minds. “You forgot what?” 

Mitch and I were in Great Valley, a town near Ellicottville, NY. Our plan was to meet our son Alex and DIL Joyce with grandson Griff at a dog meet-up party. This wasn’t an ordinary party; it was very exclusive.

Continue reading “You Forgot What? Gus the Dog’s Tail (Tale)”

Another Skier in the Family

When I was 15, I learned to ski. I realized this weekend that I have been skiing for 49 years. One would think that I would be faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall moguls in a single bound. Nah, I am just happy that I get down the mountain in one piece. But I did find one superpower in skiing, the connection with family. And now there is another skier in our family!

Another Skier
Brady Getting Ready to ski at Holiday Valley, Ellicottville, NY

In the 1970s, my dad decided that he would learn to ski, and thus downhill skiing became our household sport. Well, golf was truly my parents’ sport but I rebelled against that boring game. Back to Skiing – We were only 4-hours from the steep vertical heights of Killington in the Vermont slopes. Mom would hang in the lodge (I hope I thanked her for doing that all those years), and my brother, dad, and I would traverse the mountains.

You Want Me to Ski That Mountain?!

Continue reading “Another Skier in the Family”

Did Motherhood Really All Start with Chickenpox?

Spoiler Alert – This is Chapter 1 of My Memoir: Raising Jess: A Story of Hope


(Rubin writes with clarity and thoughtful introspection, making for a truly enlightening read.” Kirkus Review)

On April 11, 1982, Easter Sunday, I was twenty-four years old and had chickenpox. And I was about to deliver my first child. ( Raising Jess: Did Motherhood really all start with Chickenpox?)

For a week, I  complained to my doctor about a rash. For a week, he replied, “The baby is settling. Do not worry;” or, “Just put some lotion on. It must be dry skin.” I was naïve, pregnant, unaware, and truly wanted to believe it was nothing. And then my water broke.

We arrived at the local hospital and I told a few doctors about my rash. Each physician dismissed my concern. Finally, an astute nurse (probably an experienced mother) said that my rash looked like chickenpox. My mind went into overdrive, racing with anxious thoughts. How could this be? I was in labor, and I was twenty-four years old. Didn’t I already have all the childhood diseases?

Continue reading “Did Motherhood Really All Start with Chickenpox?”

My Friend Leslie

Yesterday, our community and I lost a brave, brilliant, adventurous, philanthropic, kind-hearted, outdoorsy, warm, beautiful inside and outside friend.

Leslie was one of those people who soared above the rest. May her memory be a blessing and may she rest in peace.

Back to my scheduled blog next week – this week is for reflection and thoughts of Leslie and her family.

Hoarders of Memories

In 2017, I started packing and cleaning it was almost one year before we planned to move. We were ready to say goodbye to the house with the lovely trees and not-so-lovely Fall leaves on the grass. Our endless seasonal battle. Goodbye to a house that was too big for two adults and 2 dogs. Time to downsize or better phrased “Rightsize.” This is a story of keeping our beloved things or the tale: Hoarders of Memories.

Where is this Stuff Coming From?

Twelve months after I started slowly, leisurely packing, you would never know the effort because there was still so much stuff. I secretly wondered if cosmic energy was quickly replenishing my treasures each night. Our friends would sneer and say you and Mitch just can’t throw anything out, and you genuinely have “that much stuff!”

Continue reading “Hoarders of Memories”

Courage: Aunt Carol’s Story

I received the news that Aunt Carol died peacefully early Saturday morning. The date was January 22, 2022; she was 94. Her story of courage and triumph throughout her life will inspire you; she inspired me. Although Aunt Carol said we cannot choose the path our lives take, I believe she did choose her way. She chose strength and hope rather than the road of despair brought on by the tragedy of losing her young daughter Debbie-Jo in 1959 and her eldest daughter Kathy in 2021 (z”l).


I grew up living next door (I used to think the words were next store) to my dad’s sister, Aunt Carol, Uncle Milt, and cousins Kathy, Lisa and Lori. The subURBAN myth in my young mind was that our grandparents didn’t want to drive all over Long Island to visit each week. Two houses went up for sale and, my family and my aunt’s family grabbed the deal. My childhood memory also recalls that grandpa gave a sizeable down payment on both houses in Westbury, NY; he always liked to get his way!

Paths our Lives Take
Grandpa Leo (z”l) (Aunt Carol’s and my Dad’s, Dad), Vickie (left), Cousins Lisa (center), and Lori
Paths our Lives Take
Cousins Kathy, Lori and Lisa with me (second to the left)

A lifetime of memories with my aunt flood my mind, from traveling to Florida with them as a kid (when I liked the bumpy plane rides) to sharing holiday tables and the joy of family. One such piece of advice from the early 1970s was “Don’t sit in the sun because it will give you wrinkles!” Excellent advice that I ignored and later found that life and the sun gave me wrinkles. I also think she told me not to smoke because it will stunt my growth – it was an easier time back then. If only smoking caused a case of shortness.

Below is an inspiring passage demonstrating courage after loss, that Aunt Carol wrote many years ago.  

Aunt Carol’s Story – In Her Words.

We cannot choose the path that our lives take. We can only learn to deal with the adversities and to enjoy the pleasure that life does bring. Debbie-Jo Sirota was born on March 2, 1955. She was a very peaceful child. She was born 3 weeks early and surprised everyone. As an infant, she loved to sleep, and I felt guilty waking her up for her feedings. She loved to eat as all my girls did. She loved her older sister Kathie and always followed her around.

On September 18, 1959, we suffered the accidental loss of Debbie-Jo: she was run over by an ice cream truck. Kathie was with her when this happened and witnessed the accident firsthand. If we chose to dwell on this horrible tragedy, we would have sacrificed Kathie’s life as well. I tried to believe that G-d had a master plan and that if I had faith and courage, we would all pull through this ordeal and be able to function as a family as normally as possible.

Ten months later, we experienced a miracle when I gave birth to twin daughters, Lori and Lisa. They were 6 weeks premature and very sick. I believe Debbie-Jo helped pull them through their difficult health issues and helped shape them into the outstanding human beings that they are. 

You never forget a loved one that is gone: you find a new place for her. I cannot imagine a life without my children and grandchildren. It is humbling to think that 5 out of my 7 grandchildren would not have been born had this tragedy not happened. I can say that I try to enjoy every day, be thankful for what I have, and not dwell on what I no longer have. “ (Five great-grandchildren were born after this was written)


Aunt Carol struggled with increasing illness over the final years. But her final gift to her family was her last week of life. Her daughter, Lisa, a physician whom I have spoken of in previous blogs didn’t leave her side. Other close family members were also at Carol’s bedside. Lisa is the rock for the entire family and demonstrated her compassionate, empathetic skilled medical talent with both her parents. Lisa documented the transformation of her mother’s last week of life. The change in Aunt Carol’s skin, her peaceful face, and the acceptance of love and care. I was able to see this transformation through photos without Lisa saying a word. Aunt Carol let family members and her devoted assistant Barbara know, that she was OK. It was her time.

May Your Memory be a Blessing

We celebrated Aunt Carol’s life on Wednesday, thanks to the genius of Zoom, I was able to attend. The eulogies and outpour of love were extraordinary. Grandchildren sharing the unique relationship they had – each felt special and truly beloved by their grandmother. Aunt Carol and my Uncle Milt (both of beloved memory), and married almost 70 years, cherished family above all else. This is a lesson that I have taken to heart.

Paths our Lives Take
Glamour Shot of Aunt Carol and Uncle Milt

Especially touching for me was the eulogy given by Carol’s baby brother – my 91-year-old father.

Paths our Lives Take
Aunt Carol and Her Baby Brother Monroe and Me and My Baby Brother, Keith


Aunt Carol had the courage to continue life. She taught health and physical education for 35 years and continued to live a healthy, active life into her 90s. She was my substitute gym teacher at Salisbury Elementary School.  I remember one day in the gym working on the rings that were attached to large ropes.  I was the only one who was able to do a flip and my classmates insisted it was because my aunt was the teacher and not my incredible skill! Really!

Mourners from all across the country spoke of Carol’s impact on their lives and the community.   Carol and her husband Milt devoted their time and resources to JAFCO. and other meaningful charities. Carol’s  grandson Jeff wrote, “Thousands and thousands of lives were improved (if not saved) because of *their work with JAFCO.”   They received the  Lifetime Achievement Award for their contributions. Aunt Carol and Uncle Milt chose a path of philanthropy, community engagement, leadership, and family. They choose life – We can all learn a lot from their story.

 I will never forget you, Aunt Carol; I just found a new place for you in my heart.  


You can purchase my book Raising Jess A Story of Hope on this site or through Amazon and other retail outlets.

Nursing Jess & A Heart-to-Heart-

I read a memoir called Raising a Rare Girl and, the author, Heather Lanier spoke about the difficulty she experienced nursing her infant daughter. The author later discovered her daughter, like our daughter,  had a rare chromosome deletion.  Memories of my experience nursing Jessica rushed back in waves. I understood what it was like to nurse an infant with disabilities,  the frustration of needing-wanting to naturally nourish my firstborn child, and the inability to do so without intervention. What was I doing wrong?  Why wasn’t it working?

When Jessica was born, we didn’t know that she had a diagnosis.  She was our teeny first baby. She came home from the hospital weighing less than five pounds, yet she was born near her due date. We called her peanut at the time.

Continue reading “Nursing Jess & A Heart-to-Heart-“

A Year Later- Covid, Covid Everywhere- A POSITIVE Story

It’s A Year Later, and Covid is still rampant in our family. And I feel like a Covid-Magnet. This is the fourth time I have had direct exposure in 6 weeks. Is it me? Covid, Covid Everywhere, A Positive Story!

Two family members were infected for the second time. The younger one recovered from a mild case about 3-months ago, and his current Covid infection is different and more challenging.

The irony is on a lot of our friend’s lips. The family who supposedly did everything to stay safe is now working on the second round of Covid cases.

Continue reading “A Year Later- Covid, Covid Everywhere- A POSITIVE Story”

From Autism to Rare Disease: One Family’s Journey to an Unexpected Diagnosis

By: Jo Ashline

(I hope Jo’s important story about her son’s diagnosis from Autism to a Rare Disease will enlighten you as it did me. -Vickie)

He had just turned two when he was diagnosed with Autism.

It was 2004, and Autism was rarely discussed in the pediatrician’s office. Still, Andrew’s missed milestones had begun piling up. His doctor was no longer able to ignore what was right in front of him: A child unable to speak or play with his toys or point to airplanes in the sky. A child who had lost what few vowels and consonants he had managed to string together before his first birthday.

Continue reading “From Autism to Rare Disease: One Family’s Journey to an Unexpected Diagnosis”

RV Arrogance-Part 2- (Wo)Man Makes Travel Plans…

When Mitch and I met, we talked about traveling across the country. This trip was conceived over 42 years ago. It’s not like we discussed it each week for 42 years, tweaking our plans to perfection while charting our journey. But it was in the back of our minds….one day we will…

Man Makes Plans….

Continue reading “RV Arrogance-Part 2- (Wo)Man Makes Travel Plans…”

RV Arrogance

I’m not sure if this is an actual term, but there is a definite level of RV Arrogance in our KanVan RV.  It appears that Mitch is the Captain, and I am the ..Er….Hmmm… passenger of the Captain.

As I am writing this, we have traveled from Buffalo to Asheville, Alpharetta, and Alabama to Mississippi to Louisiana to Texas, and I think I have clocked 4-5 hours behind the wheel. Not even enough to get a KanVan license if there were one to achieve.

Continue reading “RV Arrogance”

In My Shoes

I hate to fly. It scares me. The last time I was on a plane was 632 days ago. Flying during Covid adds to the stress. It’s possible that I love the RV because I don’t need to get on a plane. But sometimes you must down the alcohol (which you can’t do on Southwest anymore – so I need to pregame!) and enter the aircraft right foot first. I was headed to the In My Shoes event!

Continue reading “In My Shoes”

Meet KanVan -Rolling with the Rubin’s

The day we received our truck camper, I wrote a blog called Camper Envy and Size Matters.  We were owners for less than one day, and already I was lusting for the RV -TV, bathroom, and shower.

The truck camper introduced us to this way of life for less than one year, four exciting trips. We (more me) knew we needed to move on if we ( more I ) would travel long distances. We loved our little Northstar truck camper and became extremely Covid-Creative (hmm, should I add that word to the Urban Dictionary? Is it already there?) But Mitch and I decided to say goodbye to the camper and hello to indoor plumbing! Meet KanVan our new RV Winnebago EKKO.

Continue reading “Meet KanVan -Rolling with the Rubin’s”

Our  Most Bizarre Car Story

It’s coming up on our 42nd anniversary! Do you remember last year? We have gone through many cars, but one car stands out as the Most Bizarre Car Story.

Mitch and I  met at the University of Miami (the Florida one).  I was in the lobby of our dorm with my roommate Tami, when a friend I knew from Long Island introduced me to a  long-haired dude named Mitch from Buffalo.  Tami and I said a quick “Hi” and fled to the elevator.

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Can I Interest You in Some WATER?

Drinking enough WATER has become a full-time job. Who knew how hard it would be to keep up with the recommended daily intake?

As per Mayo Clinic and other sources, the recommended amounts are:

· About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men

· About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

When I read the statistics above, I decided to buy a giant jug on amazon – little did I know, it was a men’s jug – not that they advertised it as such, but the container was 128 oz. 

Continue reading “Can I Interest You in Some WATER?”

Never Forget 1 5 9 3 6 0

Gail and I are connected; her people know my people. And we keep finding more links – Through our 6 degrees of separation, I have kept up with Gail’s story. Several weeks ago, I received a text from a friend about an unbelievable occurrence that happened to Gail. I think this is one you will Never Forget.

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Happy 90 1/2, Dad

It was Dad’s first time flying without Mom. First time flying since the virus. Dad told me he felt like an old man. Happy 90 1/2 Birthday, Dad!

Before I could say, “You’re not old!” Even though I sometimes feel old at 63, Dad went on to explain. As soon as he got on the line for security at the airport, the young guard asked him if he had any metal parts in his body. Dad proudly said, “No.” The security officer looked him over and then explained to Dad what he meant by metal parts in the body. As if Dad didn’t understand the question rather than the security person not understanding the answer. After Dad explained that he did have metal parts again, the security guard “yes’d” him and still put him through the x-ray machine for Tin Men.

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Raising Jess: A Story of Hope

Four years in the making, my Memoir Raising Jess a Story of Hope is finally available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble . Thank you to everyone for all the love, hope, support, and encouragement. Especially my (late) mother, who told/nagged/motivated me to write a book for 20 years.


Currently, the book is available in paperback ($16.95) and hardcover ($31.95) on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I will resend links when the E-Book is ready on Amazon, Barnes, Google play, and Itunes.

Continue reading “Raising Jess: A Story of Hope”


Mitch and I watch a show ALONE,  together. Yes, that is a confusing sentence.  What I mean is that Mitch and I are together, and we watch the History channel series, ALONE

We started the series during COVID.  We both enjoy the show, enjoy watching it together, and talking about the episodes.  Mitch will frequently turn to me and say, “I Love that you like this show! But why do you like it?”  It’s a fair question.

Continue reading “ALONE”

Dear Noa, A Nana Lesson about Special Needs and Love

Dear Noa, This is a lesson about Special Needs and Love.

You were born in September of 2019 before we knew that a Pandemic was looming just around the bend. What a strange time to be an infant.  It took a long time for you to meet Aunty Jess. Aunty Jess is different from anybody you have encountered.

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My Award-Winning Vegetarian Chili Recipe

Each year, before Covid, in the small resort town of Ellicottville, NY, a Texas Chili Party rounded out the summer festivities. Every participant brought their award-worthy chili creation. You may think Texas Chili includes a lot of meat, and for the most part, it does. But I am a vegetarian and decided to enter the contest with a Vegetarian Chili. 

It was a risk, but what the heck? What is the worst that could happen?

Continue reading “My Award-Winning Vegetarian Chili Recipe”