Tag Archives: Grandparents

Loosing My Hair + A Raw Banana Split Smoothie (together that’s just yum)

18 Jun

One day, in 2006, I was at my desk at work in Chicago, loving life and having fun when I got a phone call from my Dad. It’s rare that my dad calls me in the middle of the work day so I picked up to say “hi”. As soon as he said ‘hi’ back I knew something was up. He had that thing in his voice that lets me know that what he’s about to say is no joke. And, what he said was, unfortunately, no joke. He had called to tell me that his father, my Caw Caw, had died. It was sudden. He was dancing when it happened as he had gotten into ballroom dancing late in life. (He was also an avid cake-maker and took mile long walks every morning. He was amazing). Regardless, it was shocking and I wasn’t prepared. It just so happened to be the week of Thanksgiving and I had plans to drive to Louisville, KY with my cousins that week anyway, but unfortunately, the trip wouldn’t be as lighthearted as expected.

The thing is, I don’t have horrid memories of that week. In fact, I have some really lovely ones. I remember driving with my cousin, Mike, and his wonderful girlfriend (now wife), Dana and my dog, Ted, through a blizzard in order to get to Kentucky. I remember pulling into a Burger King in the midst of that snow storm to get something to eat (this is B. K. — Before Kosher). I remember asking if I could bring Ted in there so he could stay warm and I also remember feeding him chicken fries (sorry Ted) under the table. I remember joking with my step-mother about something that we thought was so funny it’s possible I may have tinkled my pants a little (I’m known to do this from time to time. I own it. What can I say? I’m a hardcore giggler). However, apparently, the stress of that week was more intense than I realized because several weeks later, while at the salon, my stylist noticed something. I had a few bald spots; spots that weren’t there 6 weeks before. This led me to make an appointment with a dermatologist, who subsequently diagnosed me with Alopecia Areata. Alopecia Areata is a common immune disorder that results in the loss of hair in various parts of the body, not just the head. However, for me, it’s the head. My mom, being the incredibly supportive mom that she is, found out everything she could about Alopecia. She also invested in all sorts of hair-growth products to help me get back on track.

Me with My Dad, Grandma Viv and Caw Caw circa 1988

Me with My Dad, Grandma Viv and Caw Caw circa 1988

The irony of an autoimmune disorder is that it gets exacerbated by stress. My dermatologist suspected that the stress of my grandfather’s death kicked my Alopecia into high gear. She told me I would need to be vigilante about my stress levels for the rest of my life while also keeping a close eye on my scalp to make sure I don’t have any bald spots. There’s really nothing I can do if there is one. It’s more like an indication to take a deep breath and slow down. Here’s the thing though, that’s like, really really really hard. I’ve been noticing a lot of hair loss lately and the even greater irony is, of course, that this stresses me out. It’s been really bad lately so I took this week off and have plans to get out of town for two days with a very dear friend. I’m so blessed with a wonderful family, fulfilling job, a creative outlet in my cooking and this blog, but it’s been hard to balance it all and I’m not sure I’ve been good at destressing lately. Part of that de-stressing also involves eating healthy and exercising. I’m also trying to be conscious of eating foods that supposedly help build healthy skin and hair. A lot of research shows that omegas and all those good fats are great for building healthy skin and hair and since it’s summer time and I’ve recently fallen back in love with my Vitamix again (shalom lover), I’m been getting those happy omegas through delicious smoothies. I’m also trying to balance sugar intake while still giving a little, ‘What’s up’ to my sweet tooth so there have been a lot of trial and errors with the sweet smoothie. Below is my ultimate, most favorite recipe so far. You don’t have to have a Vitamix to make — any blender will do. Enjoy!

Sweet Decadence

Sweet Decadence

Raw Banana Split Smoothie

Ingredients

1 Ripe Banana
1/2 Cup, Frozen Strawberries
3 Tbsp, Raw Cocoa Nibs
1/4 Cup, Raw Walnuts*
1 Cup, Almond Milk
1 Tsp, Vanilla Extract
Chia Seeds

Getting Started

Getting Started

This is Getting Good

This is Getting Good

How?

Combine all ingredients into your blender and blend away! I was a naughty girl and topped mine off with some whipped cream but come on guys, it was organic! And I topped it with chia seeds! And raw cocoa nibs! That’s super healthy, right?!

*If you are someone who does not like texture in your smoothies, feel free to omit the walnuts.

Bring It On

Bring It On

Reflection Eternal

4 Apr
Paw Paw

Paw Paw

This past week has brought on a lot of reflection.  Sure, it was Passover and I couldn’t help but think that this time last year I was pregnant and now I’ve got an 8 month old and boy, how time flies.  But with Passover comes my grandfather, my mom’s father’s, yarteitz, the anniversary of his death.  Paw Paw passed away on the last day of Passover two years ago.  My mom likes to light-heartedly joke that he passed away on the last day of Passover so no one will forget the anniversary of his death.  But to  live 31 years with grandparents is a blessing so, quite obviously, we would never forget regardless.  When Paw Paw was in hospice, I was able to spend some alone time with him.  He wasn’t conscious and it was near the end but I made a promise to him that my husband and I would name our first born after him, which we did.  Siona, the feminine version of Sion or Tzion (Zion, a term synonymous to Jerusalem.  Paw Paw’s Hebrew name was Yisrael), was born about a year and a half after Paw Paw passed away.  My poor Southern family could not quite wrap their accents around the name, Siona.  So much so that for about an hour, my brother thought her name was Fiona (this story will go down in family folklore).  Oh how my brother and sister-in-law smiled and nodded and indulged me when they thought her name was Fiona.  It was very, “Ohhh, um, how nice” but in their heads I’m pretty sure they were thinking, “What the h*ll!?  What’s a Southern Jewish baby girl doing with the name Fiona?!”.

Paw Paw and my husband embracing on our wedding day

Paw Paw and my husband embracing on our wedding day

My cousin, Ayelet, walking our grandparents down the aisle at our wedding

My cousin, Ayelet, walking our grandparents down the aisle at our wedding

In the mix of Passover and my grandfather’s yarzeit is my birthday.  Talk about a mixture of emotions.  Yowsa.  I’m two days away from 33.   I can’t believe how much time has flown by.  I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since my Bat Mitzvah! I can’t believe Siona is closer to 1 then not.  It’s all so surreal.   But anyway, what I really wanted to do for this post is to share the speech I gave at Siona’s Simchat Bat.  We were blessed to have so many friends and family present to celebrate her birth so I wanted to explain, on the day we celebrated her arrival, my relationship with not only my Paw Paw, but also my father’s father.  I worry that my kid won’t know how lucky she is to come from such a diverse background; that she won’t fully realize how her cultural background shaped who I am and how grateful I am for it.

Getting some love from Paw Paw and Grandma

Getting some love from Paw Paw and Grandma

This is the original speech.  Please excuse typos.  It was written to help with the whole ‘public speaking while emotional’ thing. 

As many of you know, I come from an inter religious background, it’s the only way you could explain a 5’10” Jewish girl named Whitney Dyan Lacefield, now Fisch. As a kid it was a bit hard having one parent who was one religion and the other another but as an adult I’ve come to truly value the dichotomy that is my background and no one quit emphasizes this than my two grandfathers My Ca Ca, my dad’s dad, represents that Southern side of me that I’m so proud of. He was one of the kindest men I’ve ever met. He was always active, whether tending to his tomatoes or making or building something; you couldn’t slow him down. He said thing like “daggumit” and dagnabit when he was upset. When he died my brother inherited his shot guns, like any good Southern grandson would do. He passed in 2005 and if you think a week has gone by since when I haven’t thought of him or his wife, my grandma Viv, you’d be very wrong. The other side of me is quite obviously my Jewish side and no one represents this part of me than my Paw Paw, whom Siona is named after. I don’t know who my paw paw was as a young man or a father but as a grandfather he was lovely. My paw paw is the reason I fell in love with music and theater. He’s the reason my first celebrity crush wasn’t some boy found on teen beat magazine but Mandy Patinkin (he’d shown Sunday in the Park with George in 1987 and I was hooked). He’s the reason I had any connection or interest in Israel way before I finally went when I was 20. He indulged my love of dining out and cultivated by love of live theater. He loved teasing us grandkids with little jokes and then following up with, “would I kid you”? Most importantly, he loved family. When he got into framing and wallpapered the house in Louisville with beautifully frames pictures of relatives—-some lost  in the Holocaust, others still with us today, thank Gd, I think each of us grandchildren learned a lesson in informal education. How could you not want to know the stories of all those people posing in the frame? As much as we joke about paw paw’s talent for telling and retelling a story, I am most grateful for the familial history I now take with me and will share with Siona one day, Gd willing. I was 31 when my paw paw passed.  To get to spend 31 years with a grandparent is a blessing, to get to spend any time with a grandparent is a blessing. It’s an honor to carry on paw paw’s spirit within our little family. Thank you.

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