RV Trip Part Two, Fun Facts and a Surprise Ending

OK, now that we got all the repairs, hospital visits, and other nonsense from my last blog out of the way, I want to let you know about the good parts of the trip, Fun Facts and a surprise to both of us.

Rocky Mountain High

We drove through the twisty, turny Rocky Mountains to Grand Lake, Co. I now get it when I hear Rocky Mountain high, and it is not weed-related. The altitude changes everything from your capacity to breathe and walk simultaneously to pressure in your sinuses from the thin air. (Self-diagnosis)

Well, for some it may be weed related – mitch and I were just trying to breathe.

I wore my Buffalo Bills sneakers, and Mitch and I both sported our Bill’s hats. Everywhere we walked, we were greeted with, “Go Bills!” (that was still when we were playing well!) In fact, everywhere we travel, we bond with Bills’ fans!

Grand Lake was an artsy town with plenty of shops (YAY!) and views (YAY!), ice cream!, turquoise, cool people and Buffalo Bills fans.

Fun Fact: Grand Lake

Formed by glaciers less than 12,000 years ago, Grand Lake is most famous for being the largest and deepest of all the natural lakes in Colorado, covering more than 500 acres and plunging almost 400 feet deep. OK, the deep end of a pool is maybe 6 feet maybe a bit more! Add 394 feet to that! It has history dating back to the mining boom and wild west!

Grand Lake– Mitch and the lake look good,


On October 1st, we landed in Aspen to watch the Bills game, celebrate my birthday, STAY IN A HOTEL and shopping! So many women looked like tall models! As Mitch’s grandmother used to say, “they were all dolled up!” While I schlepped around in my Bills gear…

No Comment!

You can tell by Mitch’s face that he was not onboard with the gift I wanted – At least it could upgrade my Bill’s outfit

Fun Fact Aspen

Aspen records about 300 days of sunshine, annually. In contrast one site indicates my region near Buffalo, NY gets an average of 155 sunny days per year. Aspen is located 7,945 Feet above sea level so the weather in Winter can drop to a chilly 0°F. Buffalo’s temperatures can drop to 0°F without climbing to 7,945 feet! (We boast 600 Feet above sea level)

Black Canyon National Park

Our next stop was Black Canyon National Park at Gunnison (Colorado). Yes, I write these names down. Mitch memorizes everything, and I am busy taking notes of all our locations.  My friends Stacie and Tami always teased me about my notetaking (Maybe that’s why I became a writer?), but it is how I process information.

Fun Fact Black Canyon NP

Black Canyon gets its name because some parts of the gorge receive only 33 total minutes of sunlight per day. It is the least-visited national park in Colorado, and one of the lesser visited parks overall. (Not sure why, it’s beautiful to see.)

AND The Biggest Interesting but NOT FUN Fact – If you visit the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park  you’ll notice they do not shy away from the word “death” on more than one page. For every activity taking place anywhere within the canyon (kayaking, climbing, backpacking), the NPS is very upfront that you’re taking on a risky endeavor. But this caution of the dangers regarding anything deep within the canyon is nothing new. I AM GLAD I READ THAT AFTER VISITING THE PARK!


Have you heard of the Great Sand Dune National Park? It combines the beach without water and ski slopes without snow! Mitch and I rented sleds, and we surfed down the hills. 

Mitch was braver than me, as you can see from the video.

Fun Fact Great Sand Dunes

Why is there all this sand in the middle of the mountains? Glad you asked. (The dunes were formed by the right combinations of wind, water, and sediment. Creeks and streams brought large amounts of sediment and sand into the valley. The wind then blew the sand toward the bend in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, where opposing storm winds helped squeeze the sand into the tall dunes you see today) I Wish I had written that explanation, but Google did a great job! For more information, click here.


On October 8th, we watched a Bills game in the RV campground laundromat in Taos, New Mexico.


Next, we went to Taos Pueblo, a community that is 1,000 years old. The Pueblo is made entirely from adobe. There are still 150 people who live in the Pueblo full-time. Their ancestors lived in this area before Columbus discovered America. The rich history and stories told by our tour guide were enlightening. 

Fun Facts About Taos

An ongoing low-frequency noise, audible only to some, is thought to originate somewhere near this town and is consequently sometimes known as the Taos Hum. Those who have heard the Hum usually hear it west of Taos near Tres Orejas. The Taos Hum was featured on the TV show Unsolved Mysteries, and it was also briefly mentioned in an episode of The X-Files.

Not surprising, we did not hear the hum. Mitch can’t hear me when I am sitting right nest to him so I had low expectations for the humming sound.


Santa Fe was our following stop. Ironically, friends of ours, whom we rarely get to find a date to meet when home, were visiting Santa Fe on the same day. So we had dinner with friends and laughed that we had to go to Santa Fe to finally get together!

Fun Fact Santa Fe

Santa Fe was made the capital of New Mexico in 1610. It is the oldest state capital in the United States. It is also the highest capital in the United States at 7,199 feet above sea level. I bet you thought I was going to mention cannabis again….


We met our friends from Western New York (not the Santa Fe couple) who parked behind our RV at 5:45 AM –  We were all ready to witness the Dawn Patrol– The balloons were bright, and their fire in the basket belly was vibrating on and off. A beautiful glow of color and anticipation filled the field. Little did I know that this was the appetizer of what was to come next.

Once the sun rose, we witnessed the Mass Ascension. Believe me, when I first heard this, I thought it may be a religious thing. And, I guess, in a way, it was! 

The balloons launch in two waves. The launch directors, also known as zebras because of their black-and-white-striped outfits, serve as the traffic cops.

Witnessing all the balloons taking off, colors galore, belly fires blazing, and the crowd in awe. It felt godly to watch this spectacular ascension into the sky. 

A question I was asked over and over. Did you go up for a ride? The answer is No. Would I have considered it? Maybe. This event is for watching, but if you are looking for a thrilling ride, Rainbow Ryders is the authorized company that can provide that bucket list checkoff.


I did not go up for a ride but was tempted!

JUST Pretending! I Did NOT go UP, UP and AWAY!

Nobody is going for rides during the event.

But I did get to pretend by standing in a basket with a pilot!

Since I couldn’t go up and away in a balloon, I settled for a bungee trampoline jump! 

I asked before I went on if I was the oldest person to jump. Oddly, I was not. There are older, crazier people than me – willing to break bones for a thrill.


A Surprise Ending (or Beginning)

When we got home, we decided it was time for a change. Although we loved being on the road and seeing our country, we also realized it was time to move on from an RV to a smaller ride. Instead of a 24-foot rig, we bought a 13-foot hot rod. It has no bathrooms, no beds, and doesn’t even have a spot for my backpack. But it has a stick shift and a convertible roof!

Fun Fact

Mitch and I have wanted a Mazda Miata for 30 years, but it was never the right time. Two weeks ago, we walked into the dealer, not intending to buy a car. The salesperson, Garfield, was not pushy, but he was good! He let us in on a secret: they just received a 2013 Club Miata with a hard top convertible roof and only 8,000 miles.

It happened quickly and we were thrilled with our new ride. The best part is that Jessica can easily get into and out of the car with only a pivot and turn. Of course, she needed full assistance to enter and Decar like Deplane- is that a word- but it was remarkably easy! She loves being my co-pilot and so far has not tried to grab the stick shift from me…..yet….


What a ride this has been – literally!

Thankful For You

I am thankful for my blog readers, and wish you all a Happy and Healthy and Meaningful Thanksgiving

For inspiring stories about Raising a Child with a Rare Chromosome Deletion, check out the 3-time award-winning memoir  Raising Jess: A Story of Hope!


My First Pair of Fancy Shoes- Thanks, Mom

I know, I know, I have talked about purses in my blog. Yes, it’s shallow but still fun, right? However, I never spoke about My First Pair of Fancy Shoes. When my mom passed away in February 2020 my father and I had the hard task of going through all her clothes and belongings. And I found a surprising revelation.

I’m not sure where I got this desire to have designer anything; my mom was not into these kinds of purses and thought it was a big waste of money. (True Words)

The Beginning of the RV End: I Want to Go Home!

I admit that I was ready to abandon our trip four times before finally convincing my husband, Mitch. MAYDAY! When pushed to a point, I can be very persuasive or, as Mitch may say, annoyingly relentless. But I was DONE! This is the tale of the beginning of the end of our RV trip and KanVan our RV.

The First Time I Wanted to Go Home

September 27, 2023, we started off driving straight to Colorado.  Thirteen hours on day one to Iowa. My Apple Watch was on high alert, yelling at me using messages.  What happened to your 12K steps?  What are you doing?  Aren’t you standing? What’s going on?  How do you explain sitting for endless hours driving to a watch? I should have ignored the messages.  Was this an omen of things to come?

September 28, our water pump failed , and we were fortunate to find a genius with poor-fitting pants to modify the pump with an external on/off switch. Will not be able to use the shower for the duration of the trip. Let me clarify that, we will not be able to shower in the RV for the remainder of the trip. The repair company was extraordinary and didn’t charge us for all the time spent working on our rig. We continued the drive and arrived in Colorado at 7:45 P.M. Mountain Time, but my stomach was still on 9:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Mitch does not need to eat at regular times; no problem for him to eat dinner at 10 p.m. and then go to sleep!

Mitch’s face says it all!

The second Time I Wanted to Go Home

On October 3, five days into our trip, we lost all electricity. We found another repair shop, but they could not fix the RV. All hotels were booked we had no lights, heat, refrigerator, outlets, or water. We bought ice for our cooler and hoped all our food from the refrigerator would keep. It was cool that night and we slept in our clothes with three blankets; it was surprisingly comfortable, in the middle of nowhere, until Mitch woke up with Afib -!!!AHHH – His symptoms only lasted two hours and he is on meds to reduce the risk of stroke; BUT all I kept thinking was, OMG! How would I get help if needed – it was unsafe to drive in the area at night. I had an occasional bar on my phone, so perhaps an SOS call would work!. Thankfully he was feeling better in two hours. The next morning, I told my dad that Mom visited me from above and said, ” What the F@#$ are you doing? Go Home!

Whatever gets you through the night!


Mitch insisted we don’t need luxuries! My reply was when did electric outlets and water become a luxury?

Cross-Country Trip

On October 4, we survived the night and returned to town, where we found an electric genius to work on our RV.  He was able to get our lights and refrigerator to work.  We still did not have use of outlets; therefore, we had no microwave, or ability to charge the laptop, and no air conditioner.  But at least we had our refrigerator, some water, and lights.  I bought a French press for coffee and boiled water on our gas stove. We bought inverters for the cab cigarette lighter ports (old school), and we could charge phones and iPads using the inverter. By the way, this genius also would not take any money for his work; all he wanted was beer.


The Third Time I wanted to Go Home

October 9 – We spoke to the dealer about all the issues and determined we would drop off the RV on the way home. We continued to Santa Fe, and it was hotel night! We typically stay in a hotel once a week, typically centered around a Bills Game and good reception. But this was an exception. We finally got to the INN, and Mitch turned left into their parking lot!  BANG, SCRATCH! WHOA!

There was an overhang on the roof’s eave – no warning – and we (he) gashed the side of the RV.  I insisted to Mitch that the universe was telling us to go home! Mitch spent most of the day doing repairs and did a fantastic job. And, we are continuing….

UH OH!!!!
WOW! Mitch, I am impressed!

The Fourth Time I Wanted to Go Home

Our next stop was an RV park with five stars!  We pulled in and I thought Mitch was joking.  It looked like a junkyard in the middle of nowhere.  The gentleman who lived at the lot heard me talking and said, “You sound like a New Yorker; I can tell by your attitude.”


We paid him and pulled into our spot (the only RV there), and I told Mitch that we were out of here!!!!!  Once again, it took a while to convince him…but I found another RV lot, and we left. 

Mitch got really sick that evening.  Food Poisoning?  Stomach Bug?

Trying Not to Catch This Bug!

But after 24 hours, he was lethargic and needed to go to the ER to rehydrate! The ER was in Winslow, Arizona. Think Eagle’s song.

I was not TAKING IT EASY in Winslow Arizona!

The facility was amazing, and the doctor, who lives in LA and works in Winslow eight days a month, was fabulous. She was concerned that Mitch had migraines since we had been traveling, so she ordered a CAT Scan of his brain. So yes, we went to the ER for stomach flu and ended up with a CAT scan of his brain. No brain bleeds!

BUT THAT IS WHEN I SAID ENOUGH! And so, these two wandering Jews headed home. Our RV went to its birthplace in the middle of the country to get fixed and brought back to life – factory-new!

Keeping it Real

This blog is for a bit of entertainment. I realize that the issues discussed above are a mere trifle compared to everything happening worldwide. But sometimes you need a bit of distraction…. My next blog will talk about all the wonderful sights we visited because we did see some great areas in our beautiful country.

For an inspiring stories about Raising a Child with a Rare Chromosome Deletion, check out my 3-time award-winning memoir,  Raising Jess: A Story of Hope! Five star ratings on Amazon!

I Stand with Israel

We are on an RV trip, so many weird, funny, not-so-funny, and beautiful events have happened. Yet, I can’t write.  Every time I put pen to paper, oh wait, that’s old school.  Every time I put my finger on the keyboard, I am overwhelmed with the sadness and horrific scenes from Israel, and I stop. My thoughts are with Israel. I stand with Israel.

Standing IN Israel

How can I retell a funny anecdote while bombs and terrorists are killing our brothers and sisters? I stand with Israel.

Flying to Israel

If you have read my blog, you already know about my fear of flying. Yet, in 2008, I boarded a plane with 60 women from New York and flew to the Holy Land. (Yes, even in 2008 I wore a mask, thrombosis socks, and consumed a lot of medication to get on the flight, but I did it!)

Slept my way to Israel

The first thing we did was plant a tree. Planting a tree is a symbol of hope, love, and life that will last generations. So, somewhere in Yisrael is my contribution. I stand with Israel.

Music Therapy Becomes A Love Language (My View Buffalo News)

Music is our daughter Jessica’s love language. She speaks it fluently. Jess is 41 years old, nonverbal, and has a rare genetic deletion (1Q 43-44). She lives in a group home with five other women who have become family. (Article in Today’s My View )

Jacob is Jessica’s music therapist and part of a local creative arts group. Music therapy is an evidence-based practice that uses musical interventions to reach an individual’s unique goals. Think of speech, occupational and physical therapy all within a music class, and you have music therapy.

Jess and Jacob making a melody

Kay is one of our daughter’s housemates, and a few weeks ago, she let us know with a nod and a smile that she wanted to watch Jessica’s music session. Kay is in her mid-50s and nonverbal but can communicate with a picture board and head nods.

Jacob was singing to Jess, and he turned to Kay before singing the song’s last word. Kay immediately uttered a sound to complete the tune, and her glee and pride were enlightening. Jacob immediately recognized Kay’s love of music and was able to elicit additional singing with his therapeutic skills. After that session, Kay started taking weekly music therapy.

Jacob asked me when I first noticed Jess humming tunes. Oddly enough, I had no memory of the first time. However, my son Alex immediately reminded me that it was “Jeopardy!”

Many years ago, Jessica visited a respite home for one week. As we drove Jessica home, she started humming the “Jeopardy!” theme song. At first, Mitch and I were a bit astonished. Is this really “Jeopardy!”? Is Jess making up a tune that sounds exactly like “Jeopardy!”? We did not regularly watch “Jeopardy!”, so Jess did not learn the tune from us. I called the respite house and asked about their “Jeopardy!” viewing habits. The staff told me that the daily “Jeopardy!” theme resonated through their home.

Afterward, Jess and I started communicating through music, where I would hum the first line of a tune, and she would follow with the second line. A musical conversation! That was the beginning of what is now close to 30 tunes in Jessica’s repertoire — the beginning of Jessica developing her musical love language.

Several weeks later, I sat down to play the piano with Jessica. Kay indicated that it was her turn at the piano, and she wanted me to play with her. She pointed and vocalized until I received her message. We did a couple of simple songs because that’s all I can do, and her face lit up.

At the same time, another housemate was sitting with us and cheering for both Jessica and Kay. She enjoyed watching her friends discover music as much as they enjoyed creating music. The women are not just housemates; they are chosen family.

I was in awe of both Jessica’s and Kay’s talents and competency once they were given an avenue to express themselves.

When Jessica was first diagnosed with an intellectual disability, I mistakenly, as a new and inexperienced mom, thought it meant that she would stop learning new skills. She disproves that theory daily.

Once people meet Jessica or Kay, they often summarize what both women cannot do. I hope new acquaintances open their minds and hearts to see our daughter’s abilities, talents and intellect. I love that Jacob appreciates, values and encourages new skills and opportunities for his students. Music is Jessica’s love language, and we love that we can sing along with Jess.

Article In Buffalo News

For an inspiring stories about Raising a Child with a Rare Chromosome Deletion, check out 3-time award-winning memoir,  Raising Jess: A Story of Hope!

Who’s (Really) the Boss? Distinct Roles in Marriage

A year has passed since we took our Winnebago EKKO RV (KanVan) for a spin across the northern plains of America. We are planning another trip, and I am exhausted from all the work. Not my work; I basically do nothing. It’s mostly my husband Mitch who is in the trip-planning lead. As a result of Mitch working so hard, I had time to think about our distinct roles in marriage, from travel to our daughter’s special services and Who’s (Really) the Boss?

Watching Mitch plan and prepare is exhausting. He is an expert at navigating our roads across the country. On the other hand, in the RV, I am an expert at checking my phone, napping while he drives, checking my phone again , eating, and stopping to use our facilities, it’s a good thing our bathroom travels with us.

This is our dynamic. Mitch is our travel agent, booking agent, navigator, predominant driver, parker of RV into tight places, cleaner of all nasty hoses and cassette things, and pretty much everything else. What is my role? I am good at cleaning! I also do some laundry and cooking.

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Remembering Covid Rosh Hashana at a Drive-in Theater

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.

Blowing the Shofar (Ram’s horn- but in this photo plastic toy) to bring in the New Year
ADDY sounds like a Shofar!!!!

A Seinfeld Moment

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.

Photo from Florida where it is always too warm!
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.

Developmental Disability Awareness Day- Four Key Moments

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.

The Original Five I Think Jess is getting impatient to stop the photos and start the presentation!

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.

Key Moment 1

Dear Vickala

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.

A Letter to Younger Me From Current Me

Finding the Right Fit, From Inclusion and Beyond:  A New Day Program for Jessica

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.   

Never Have I Ever…

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….

A Mother’s Journey of Hope and Advocacy

A Mother’s Journey of Hope and Advocacy | Thank you, University of Miami Alumni, for the article!

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

Vickie and Mitchel Rubin, B.B.A. ’79, with Jessica

Hobby or Work: He Says/She Says

I think Mitch is done with this conversation!

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.

He 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!

She Says

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,….

My View: There are Many Ways to Pay it Forward – If you can’t open article in the Buffalo News – this is a copy:

If you can’t open article in the Buffalo News – this is a copy:

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.

A Jolt

Finally, I reached the front of the drive-thru line and was able to place my order. Driving to the window to pay for my purchase, I received a jolt, and it wasn’t caffeine! The person in front of me just paid my bill, and I even ordered oatmeal with all the toppings!

This gesture was unexpected, and although I’ve heard about these pleasant surprises, I had yet to be a recipient.

After a few moments of elation, I offered to pay for the person (the impatient horn beeper) behind me. I was curious and asked the barista if this was a common reaction to an unexpected coffee line gift. She replied that I was the tenth person in a row to pay it forward, and she wondered how long it would continue.

The ripple of kindness was growing.

Our family witnesses kindness in others in many unique ways. Our daughter Jessica, age 41, has a rare chromosome deletion and needs assistance with all daily life skills. We rely not only on the skill and dedication of staff, but the goodwill of their acts.

Going the extra mile for our daughter when nobody is watching is true benevolence.

Direct Support Personnel (DSP)

We appreciate the dedication of direct support personnel (DSP) who take the time to get to know Jessica beyond the words in her file. Staff who stay after their shift so Jess can receive her medication when she arrives home from a family event. Staff who actively participate in home activities or relay fun stories about Jessica’s day.

There are staff that you know want to be there, and although it is their job, they enjoy our daughter and her housemates and show kindness in return. The same holds true for friends who visit Jessica unprompted by an event or reminder.

Today a friend gave me a bracelet with a logo that said, “Embrace the Difference.” The meaning of the beautiful emblem is kindness, acceptance and inclusion, no matter our differences. Karma? Whatever the vibe, I am grateful for the week of generosity and thoughtfulness.

Pay it forward – I remember telling my parents how grateful I was for everything they gave me and our family. I confessed that we would never be able to pay back their kindness, but made a vow to pay forward to our children. I hope we have lived up to their example.

Spreading the Good Word

And now, back to the coffee line and spreading the good word. I posted a photo of my coffee on social media with a summary of the act of kindness. Surprisingly, the response was extraordinary, with close to 1000 reactions. Comments range from thank you for “spreading some sunshine” to “way to put smiles on faces and make it a beautiful day.” Many spoke of their pay-it-forward experiences.

A small gesture of kindness can turn the day around. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone who reads this story today would do one thing to make somebody’s day?

I truly hope I was number ten in a line of hundreds of coffee lovers who paid it forward throughout that day.

Order Raising Jess A Story of Hope for yourself or as a gift today!

Mom and daughter - book cover
Raising Jess A Story of Hope

Inclusion for Jess: After 21

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.

What Happens at 21?

Out of The Closet (3 tricks)   


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.

New Tradition or A Tradition

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

Pneumonia on Vacation and Messages from Mom

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.

As a kid, I had pneumonia several times.

We Did It MY WAY

MY Way

We Did it MY Way

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!

Remembering Cantor Susan Wehle and the Passengers of Flight 3407

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. 

Sad Reality

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.

Remembering Susan Wehle
Cantor Susan’s Smile Says It All!

The Truth About Formal Tuesdays With Nana Is About To Be Revealed.

“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?

Tuesday's With Noa
Trendsetter – Each Nail Has A Different Color! Her Choice, Not Mine!

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.

Nana and Noa

Formal Tuesday's with Nana
Black Tie NOT Optional

The Gift

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.

Gosh, Darn, People Like YOU!

A Real Blizzard 2022

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!

Jessica and Her Housemates