I have a good story. I share for many reasons. One being for me to remember. To remember and learn.

I’ve been blessed by many of these stories, but this one was probably the first to rock my foundation, my core. It let me see something bigger than myself. It let me understand the “butterfly effect.” It let me understand quantum physics. But only to forget them.

I don’t know why these memories are fleeting. I don’t know why the lesson learned from them has to be repeated over and over. Why I don’t remember them. Why I don’t master them. 

So I will write this one down now for me and for you. 

“If you have knowledge let others light their candle by it.”

Those fortune cookies are wise!

The setting: South Africa 2001, cape town to be specific. South Africa remains my favorite of all the countries I’ve been to. I’ve been to 50 and plan to go to 50 more. The minute I got there, I felt this connection. I tried to move there twice but never followed through. Never followed through, but it was and is, I would imagine, special.

It was 2001 and I was traveling on Semester at Sea and a group of us went to a township. For those unfamiliar with what a township is or the history of South Africa in general, I encourage you to learn more, but I will just briefly sum up the basics below.

South Africa has a tumultuous history, like most African countries it shares the commonalities of being conquered and colonized (Dutch, UK) and then left to fend for itself as “itself.” But it didn’t know what itself is. Prior to colonization, there were 100s of different people’s/communities/cultures of people. They drew a border that never existed before. They were arbitrarily grouped together by a colonizer and they shared something in common, they were “lesser.” They all had “less” value. And when the slavery ended they were left to find what “they” stand for, who is in “charge,” which is the “right” culture, even what was the “right” language. Who will be in charge and in the case of South Africa, there was a white upper class that still controlled the majority of money and property.

You most likely have heard of the Apartheid era (1948-1994). An era during our lifetime. An era that ended less that 10 years before the time I visited. During this time Racist legislation dominated. I guess it was like visiting the US right after the Civil Rights movement.

But enough history. 

All you really need to know is that there is extreme poverty and many people live in makeshift villages called townships. These townships are all made of Africans. There is no electricity. No running water. Homes are made of corrugated metal from the shipping containers that they salvage from dumps. There are dozens of townships. I tried to find the exact number, but it is unknown as a township may be being created right now. But to give you an idea of these squat like villages the populations can range from the hundreds to millions. In Cape Town they range in the hundred thousands (200,000-300,000)

I went to one of these townships. I wish I could tell you the one, but they all look alike. Just these sprawling piles of metal, with garbage. I walked its streets. This is not the normal thing to do when on “vacation”/ “safari” two of the biggest reasons you go to/through Cape Town. It does not look like the Victoria Waterfront, which is where you will stay and visit if you go.

I walked the “Streets” of the townships and I played with the children who were infatuated with us. We had cameras. This was exciting technology and boy did they want to smile. They loved the idea of pictures. It’s like they wanted to be remembered. And it was in the time of film so you had to think twice, but of course, I took anyone’s picture that asked until I ran out of film.

And soccer was everywhere. All the children were playing soccer. Many without shoes. Many without proper clothes. And they smiled. Gap toothed smiles at us. 

One of us brought an inflatable globe. We inflated it and showed it to the children. We brought it as a ball, to play. I believe we bought it as a beach ball when we were in the Seychelle islands prior. The children (and adults) couldn’t get over it. It became clear that they had never seen a globe. We showed them where we came from and where they lived. They asked how we got to them. How that was possible over all of that blue. We told them that we came by ship.

I was only 20 during this trip. I remember the dichotomy of it all. The poles. The darkness and the lightness. The laugher among that extreme poverty. All of these people living in dirt, but yet so proud and so happy to show us it all. I share some photos here. I’m so happy that these survived the fire. I had these in my apartment in NYC.

Jenna is with me in this one. I think it was her globe.


It is now 2006 and my parents decided we should go on safari. It was a dream of my father and me. My brother and mom were not too excited, but I think looking back on it, they can only have fond memories.

 It was fancy. Very different from my last visit to Africa. We were flying first class. We were staying at all the top game reserves and our first stop was Cape Town. We stayed at the Victoria Waterfront. It was gorgeous. It even had a Gucci.

Prior to leaving for this trip, I requested we visit a “township.” My father called the travel agent to request this. She said she didn’t recommend it and that she had never planned one before, but she would look into it. And she got us a “tour.”

When we got to South Africa we took our chauffeur from the tour company and went to a township. We were greeted by the “mayor.” He was cheerful and walked us around his township with pride. I wish I could say it looked vastly different than 5 years ago. That there was progress, but I saw very little. I did see a sense of community building. The mental pieces of these makeshift homes had numbers on them, they now had “addresses.” These people could receive mail, but beyond that, it looked the same.

And just like last time, the children came running and they held our hands. Sadly most of these pictures burned so I can’t share.

I told our guide that I had been to a township before. He asked which one. I was embarrassed that I didn’t know. I don’t think any of us knew the name. It was just a “nameless” place of people living in filth. Cities have names. Organized city planning has names. Names of streets, names of Avenues. And how do you say, “it looked just like this one?” That would be like meeting someone from China and saying, “Hey I know someone from China. His name is Henry Chu. Do you know him?”

At the end of the tour, he took us to HIS home. It was the only home with running water in the village. The goal was to show us that it was possible and we could help (donations). But I just sat with my mouth wide open. I walked out. Then I walked back in. Then I walked out, in, out, in. I guess this was my way of “pinching myself.” Real?! Am I here right now?

There in the mayor’s “house” (2 rooms made of corrugated metal) hanging where a chandelier would be, where even just a light bulb should be, a place of honor, was an inflatable globe. 

I asked him where he got it. None of my family knows this story. I bet they may think its an odd question. Why am I asking him about an inflatable globe when he is speaking about life, the need of water.

He tells me he has had it for a few years now. His son traded it with his cousin who got it from “shipmates.” People who came on a boat and showed them the world. 

This happened. This happened.


Now let’s do math. 

What are the odds that I would end up at the same township 5 years later? There are dozens in Cape Town. 

What are the odds within this township I would run into the one person out of 200.000+ people that has ownership of this globe?

The unlpottable, the data that does not match the set. The things we often brush off as “coincidences.” 

Lately many of you have been sending me quotes. Sending me truths that you have learned. Truths that you think I would like. And I DO. I like. 

Here’s one:

“Coincidences are God’s way of remaining invincible” – Albert Einstein

What if

I’ve been thinking a lot about why all the “cutting.” 

The cutting each other down. 

Why we spend our days fighting each other? Why we divide, instead of collide? Why we see only how we are different? When we are very much all the same. All just trying to LIVE and I mean that in every way that word commands. Health is the obvious one, but also, being able to pay our rent, participate in activities that bring us joy, have a meaningful life, etc. 

And especially given our power of what we can do when we are a “we.”

But instead, we spend our days fighting. Fighting against your neighbor. Your ally.

Your ally

We use our powers on silly things like quinoa pasta.

And then we begin fighting each other as we splinter, the “white pasta” movement.

We have made our ally (moms and dads raising children the best we can) our enemy. We do this through various vehicles of pain. It includes minor things such as gossip.

But in the bigger world, it comes in all forms from gossip to murder, even mass murder.

And this one memory keeps popping up in my head.

I apologize for sharing something so specific and I wish NO ONE harm by this post. But I believe this experience is a prime example of the splintering of humanity into fractions. So many “uses” and so many “theys.” Seeing the other as the “enemy,” when in the end we all want the same exacg thing. 

And I can only speak to what I’ve experienced, my “known.”

My example revolves around Charlottesville; the demonstrations of hate, the senseless death of a young woman.

If you recall, Charlottesville happened right before the start of the school year. It was August. I was horrified as I know you were too. Horrified by the chants. Horrified by its message.

It answered some hard questions for me that I remember spending my teens trying to understand.  I never understood how the Holocaust could happen. How there could be MILLIONS of bystanders?

And here were masses, marching. Marching down the streets in Charlottesville.

They had no hoods. They showed their faces. They stood united. United in fractions.

I use fractions purposely as they are such a SMALL fraction. They really are, but yet they unite and they like the biggest piece of the pie.

Ahhh. That’s how it happens, when you make allies. When you make numbers. When you feel validated by another. Even hate has power in numbers and can show its face.

And we were going into the school year with this cloud on humanity.

I wrote leadership immediately. Adamant that Avenues will address this moment in history. We should condemn these attacks. We are the WORLD school.  I even forwarded other school’s emails to leadership. I volunteered to take the first stab at writing the letter. We were told no. 

BUT BUT BUT. Before you get upset. I did 100% agree in the end on this decision. I agreed. I asked for the WHY and it was answered. There was reasoning. It was not arbitrary, but sound. The question back was when do we “stop” commenting. When do we “stop.” Should we comment when Trump talks about the home origins of many of our faculty as rapists? Should the school talk about Syria on a daily basis? If we start commenting, when do we finish? Is it really the school’s place to be the “position” in the world? And is this what we should be spending our time on? Should we be fighting the world or preparing our students to navigate and solve it? 

All fair. I supported the decision.

But…before I understood/ accepted the why we had a faculty meeting of the bigger leadership (all heads of “departments” etc) and a faculty member got vocal and angry about us not publishing something. She said that by not publishing we were agreeing. Our silence was a message to our community, a quiet acceptance. I was nodding along the whole way. That made sense to me too.

And then she said this: “There is no one person on the leadership team that is equipped to understand this. Not one and she pointed at us. She pointed at the “they,” the division heads and head of school. She said this as an African American woman and pointed to non-African Americans. 

I went home sick to my stomach. I was so upset by this. So upset that this was the way we started the year. So upset that our faculty was in so much pain and I was hurt too.  I wanted to stand up next to her, but she gave me no space to join her. She was clear that it was about color and who am I a woman of white privilege to jump in. So I sat quiet.  

But I went to find her the next day.

I told her how I agreed with what she said, but gave her feedback that she is hurting her cause. She gave me no space to join her. She gave none of us space to join her. Instead of uniting us, all as humans to condemn this attack, It became “us” versus “them.”

She was quiet. So of course, I kept talking. I know no other way. Silence makes me uncomfortable. I need to fill it.

 I told her that I am Jewish and that among all the hateful chants was one: “Jews will not replace us.” That this is an attack on all of us. I then listed the other profiles on the leadership team that have an “other” label (gay, Asian, etc) attached to their identity. She sat quiet the entire time. 

And she said…

And she said…

“Is this where you lecture me about the Holocaust.” 

I will never forget it. 

I will never forget it.

And for the first time, I was speechless. I was quiet. I left.

I was so hurt. So so hurt. 

And it’s not until this NOW I understand why.

It wasn’t because I was Jewish and this was an antisemitic toned comment and I was angry on behalf of the Jews. It wasn’t that the school didn’t acknowledge it properly what had transpired. It even isn’t the HR investigation that looked into it and part of that was seeing if I am “targeting” faculty of color (yes that was what happened). And it even wasn’t that this type of woman was in power in our school, in an important position. 

I was most upset that we sought the same thing, but yet she chose to fight me. How she was willing to hurt humanity to help HER humanity. How she saw me as so different. She saw me as a white blonde woman who had the privilege to go to schools like Dalton and Duke. And she’s right I am all those things, but can’t we work together?

What if we could?

Could we learn from the “hate?” As they seem very well organized. They stood in numbers united. 

What if we could be a mass of people with targeted unifying goals?

What if…

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Dear Dad,

I heard you are having a hard time with this all. 

And now I know after speaking to you.

I know that it makes you question everything that you ever believed to be true. How can a man (and woman) who committed their entire lives to the greater community, like yourselves, have such curses on their home (literally and figuratively)?

My parents home burned down in the early 2000’s. And my brother and I have had tough roads.

I too am grappling with this, but Mom tells me the hardest for you was seeing Jacob, without hair. It was a moment for you and you worry about how he is feeling about it.

I get it.

So let me alleviate that one thing. I can do that for you as you have always tried to alleviate things for me. Coming to pick me off the floor, flooded in tears.

Up until now, I’ve answered this hair question (through mom) that he has yet to look in a mirror. It’s pretty remarkable and not obvious to us, adults. 

When your 5, why do you have reason to look in the mirror? Or maybe that’s a boy thing? I don’t have any girls, so maybe this was not the case when raising me. I recall liking to dance in mirrors…so maybe this is a boy thing? Or maybe it’s a Jacob thing? But either way he has no interests in such vain pursuits. None. 

It has no purpose for him. Unlike watching inappropriate movies of battles. That he derives great pleasure from!

The only reason you have to look in a mirror is for others. Looks only have value if you have a a definition of beauty. Something to align to. It reminds me when you once told me that skin whiteners were the number one selling beauty product in Asia. Remember for my paper on macroeconomics? Probably still is the number one selling product. But that isn’t because having whiter skin helps them in any strategic way (or sadly maybe it does). At its core its about aligning our perceptions or their perceptions of our perceptions of what constitutes “beauty.” 

So Jacob has no reason to look in a mirror and doesn’t. 

Until today. 

I parked his stroller in front of a mirror. Not just a mirror, but an over 20 feet fall mirror. I wasn’t even thinking nor saw it. I was just thinking of getting the stroller closest to Jacob so he had to walk the least amount of steps with his tubes.

And he looked. It was hard not to. It was right in front of him. 

He asked “Am I getting bald?” And a few of us who were witness said “your getting handsomer.”

 And that was it. He went back to playing batman.

His metric of what is beauty if built on perceptions. We get to decide what those perceptions are. 

Handsome. That is what we decided.

So your fear has happened and again Jacob came out victorious. Again and again he takes his situation in stride. Again and again he lays in a confined hospital room for 12 hours days and never asks why he can’t go outside. 

He complains little. He feels crappy, but complains little. He is amazing.

I know “trust” right now is hard, but I know one thing I know is you trust me. As I do in you. So I need you to trust. I need you to remember the contract we wrote the other day, not the words, but the color of it. I need you all in. Not just in doing stuff, but believing in stuff. Believe in Jacob. Believe in me.


We have an additional family member. We actually have many. Every nanny/ housekeeper, etc has run back to our family. Some have even volunteered to quit their jobs and donate their time. One refuses to let us pay her and she is living with us. And some of these we have fired.

I can’t imagine this is the norm, but it is in our norm. Every person who has cared for my children is my sister/brother and I treat them as such. I’ve always treated them with kindness and the ultimate respect, trust. Just like a teacher.

Trust is hard for a lot of you. 

I watch it daily. And I get it. There are some TERRIBLE stories filling our heads, but if you look at the data, not the news, you will see an opposite story. A narrative of a world (and I use “world…as OUR world, USA), just getting safer. Trusting those who care about your children and showing them that you do, pays off. sometimes this person was exactly what your child needed. Sometimes they can show you things. You know it takes a village right? So why are we trying to do it alone? Or just our way?

Trust is a big problem we all need to overcome. 

But I’m learning that trusting people, pays forward. Look at what love. Our family needed help and they just ran. 
“KK” is a Buddhist. She is a pretty remarkable woman. She lives her creed. She is without wants. She lives for the greater purpose that is not valued in any currency. She talks about cleansing me of bad “thoughts” bad “wishes.” I believe she is talking about karma.

Karma = the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.

She asked me to think about all the people that may have wished me harm so she can cleanse me.

And if anything can help my son, I will do it. Tell me to stand on my head and bawk like a chicken. DONE. 

So I took this task seriously. I started listing them in my head. I was listing and listing.

Listing and listing. 

I think there are people who have wished me harm at some point in my life for a variety of reasons. Do you feel the same?

I wish there was a way to collect this data. Do all of us moms and dads suffering over hardship of the innocent (example: sick child) have “bad karma?” Wouldn’t that be an interesting thing to study.

I even counted one DEATH THREAT.  Yes, I have even received a threat, a death threat against me and my children. That happened once. Do you think that parent was asked to leave? Nope. I actually think I was concerned I was going to be fired. 

I have read anonymous surveys where people say horrible unkind things, “parent surveys.” The biggest blow “Abby Brody is the female version of Trump.” I cried over that one…for about a week.

That one felt really low. Sorry Republican friends. This is not an attack on his policies (which I do NOT agree with. We can debate that), but rather it felt like an attack on my character, which I think we can ALL agree is not Trump’s best asset (pun intended as he doesn’t seem to actually have any real assets! OMG! Double pun. “real assets” Real estate assets…okay maybe I’m pushing it, but I crack myself up. 

I digress…

Back to the bad karma.

I’ve had to say hard things to parents. Hard things that they don’t want to hear. 

I get it. My own kid had to leave Avenues. He wasn’t thriving there and I know that every child has different needs. Don’t think this was an easy thing for me. I may “know better” than most parents about the importance in finding the educational setting your child will thrive in. It’s about finding YOUR school, but still it sucked. I loved Avenues. Poured my time and soul into it and Benno wouldn’t be a benefactor of it. 

But I get it now more than ever. 

When we got his news. I wasn’t too kind to the doctors that told me. I screamed in their faces. I screamed. I’ve been at the end of that scream so many times over such smaller things, but there is no such thing as small when it comes to your child. Everything feels BIG because they are so small. 

And now I think a lot about karma. 

I think about the power of other’s to alter your life. Not sure where I land on it. Just sharing what I’m thinking about right now. I’m thinking about how we cut each other down instead of filling each other up.

Especially women.

I’ve never understood this. Women can be so vicious. They reek of jealousy and have the maternal instincts to kill. So basically they are capable of killing anything that comes in the path of their child. With no concern of lion attacks, they have replaced that with not getting into the robotics time slot they wanted.

Hey that energy has to go somewhere!

But can it go to something that matters?

But can we try harder?

I’m trying harder. I will do better next time I meet with you. I’ll listen more. I’ll gossip less. I will be present instead of thinking this is the twelfth meeting of the day. I will customize to your needs by being more aware of those needs.

In return…can you be kinder? Can you not cast harm?

It’s just bad karma.


You all pushed. Do something for you for your “birthday.” It will be good for you.  So I did. I left the hospital and did something for me.

I went to class.

I enrolled in school. I’m going to go every Tuesday night.


Back at home.

Steve came with me. He wanted to come. This was not an easy thing to pull off. Jacob while on Chemo needs a lot of support, but we pulled it off. Both of us in one place at the same time. Steve sat still for 2 hours. Listening to a lecture. This is not usually something he is capable of. Steve sat! He wasn’t even shaking his leg and checking his phone as he does in parent-teacher conferences or I imagine him doing in his “Monday meetings.” Always waiting to leave. To get to his colored blocks on his schedule. To do. Not to sit.

But, my Steve, was calm and listened for two hours. 

I know it may seem like an odd birthday choice.

After sitting/living in a hospital for weeks, I choose my first two hours with my husband to be a lecture. Sitting all day to sit again. Taking class, which for most people is the opposite of fun. Not attempting to go out for dinner, go workout, get my nails done or at least a drink date with my husband. Instead, I used this precious time to go to class.

Well…it’s my birthday and I can learn if I want to.

And it was exactly what I wanted to do. Learn. Learn on my birthday.

I went to the class that I always thought about taking but never did. It was a topic that I got a glimpse of once in my late 20’s, but then abandoned, like most things in life that don’t fit perfectly into your schedule. Life was too busy for such things. 

So I took “that” class. that one thing you always wanted to know but never gave the time for. Maybe its a pottery class for you? A rock climbing class? Quantum physics? French? I went to my version of that.

And I really enjoyed sitting in a room with strangers. All strangers with one thing in common, we all came to learn. We all came to question.

No one knew my story. Just another “kid” in a backpack.

I learned a lot in the class, but like all good classes, it wasn’t from the front of the room, it was from the sides of it.

I think learning is just as much about the who than the what is being taught, or even the why. This is a big statement for me. Even contradicting.

I’ve spent my entire career focusing on the why. Understanding the WHY is the basis of all learning. You can talk all about the right angles (the “what) to a student all day long. Until you are blue in the face. Some will entertain you and listen, take notes, and will regurgitate that information for you in some test or paper a week later, but they will never learn it.

Mastery only can happen when the WHY comes first. If you don’t tell someone the reason what they are learning, it has no meaning. We are all driven by desire, a desire to fulfill our needs and if we can’t understand how it benefits us, then we just go into robot mode and take notes to preoccupy the mind, and for some of you, you just shut down and fill your heads with more exciting visions. Some people call you ADD.

But I’m rethinking this whole idea. I still agree the WHY is important, but the WHO may go first.

The teacher is the ultimate who, but Sally and Jim can who sit next to you can also play an essential role, if not equal in some ways. Don’t get me wrong, the teacher is paramount. A good teacher is important to learning. However, every good teacher knows that the magic of learning is within the whole group. The community built of strangers. The group of random kids that become “starfish” or “Group 504.” The very act of creating the community is learning in itself.

A teaching method that sums this up is the “Harkness” table where students sit in a circle instead of at rows or group tables. A circle has no beginning nor end. There is no obvious seat for the “teacher” and thus you all become teachers. Your peers will teach you just as much as the one with the “answers.” The questions from your peers will be most likely the impactful ones. The things you were thinking but didn’t know you were thinking. As my dear friend and incredible educator, David Dunbar, calls the DKDK zone. The zone where you learn what you didn’t know you didn’t know.That happened to me twice last night. Someone asking a question that I didn’t even know I had.

 The learning happens in the center, center of that circle. The learning happens when the collective group focuses on one thing. The power of that moment.

So I sat down in that room next to strangers of all walks of life. Different sizes and different shapes. I sat next to a man who lost both of his parents and two siblings to cancer. One could say this is a coincidence, but I’m keeping track…I’ve written down every random person I have been placed next to recently. All of the strangers that I meet to get things for Jacob (pizza, waffle fries, you name it) and I learn their stories. I don’t ask for them, with the exception of twice. But its as if they know they need to tell me something. And it’s not about me. It’s about them and THEN they tell me something a bit special that is hard to put into words. As each has been so unique. So different.

And then someone walked into the room. Someone I know, but not really. Not a close friend, we have only met once, but I have spent time with his wife. Both being people I’ve always respected from afar. Someone trying to make the world a better place. And this acquaintance and I are only connected through Jacob. Totally random, but not random.

That is what I’m finding. I’m finding the totally random, not random.

I’m learning that there are no such things as coincidences. And that is a hard pill to swallow. Especially when you have two family members diagnosed with rare cancers in one family. It is a BIG and chocking pill. And I’m still chocking on it.

But these acts are confirming.

They are certaining. That’s not a word. I know, but it is now.

I am taking “certain” and making it move. 

I am making it a verb, because it is an active process. 


This is very much still on!

Thinking about next year a lot. Thinking about living my best life. 

Scratch that.

I was living my best life, now I’m going to lead OUR best life.

There’s a difference there. 

I’ve been planning my 40th birthday. I’ve been planning it for over a year now, way before living in the “future now.” Before Steve got sick. Way before Jacob got sick.

It is SO planned (but yet unplanned as there is nothing more authentic than what I’ve planned).

I had written the below last March. my plan was to send this in an email in August. I even created an attached PDF. You know that most learners need visuals.

And I write this to ALL of you. ANYONE READING. You are ALL invited. Stranger too. 

Original email below…

Dear XXXX,

A year ago, I fulfilled a dream of mine. I went to burning man to see the installation art. I went for the art, but left with much more. I now return for the community, which I hope includes you. 

A bit of my story. 

Going to burning man for the first time, I had no idea what I was walking into and also how badly I needed it. With everything going on in the world and spending my life dedicated to our youth, I was spinning by the destructive policies and actions of the adults running the world. I was unsure if humanity was innately good. It was hard to run a school discussing quinoa pasta with type A parents when you saw the bigger picture burn. I was miserable. I was unsure if I could make impact with my expertise and passion. I had just left what I thought was my dream job. I was lost. 

What I got? Hope!  I left burning man with an optimistic view of what can be. I saw humankind at its best. Yes… Many of them are at their best on drugs dancing with wild abandonment, but that feels trivial to the bigger message of the event. It’s bigger than drugs and music. You will be transformed or at least in bewilderment that something like this exists. It will shake your very foundation.

For my 40th birthday and our 10th wedding anniversary we will return to burning man. We are inviting you to join. This is the gift I wish to share with my friends. I wish for everyone on Earth to experience something this transformative.  If you are looking for something, even if you can’t name it, consider this a sign and join us. 

Please know that we expect 90% of you to pass on this opportunity. And you have good reason to.  We recognize it may not be the best choice given the precious little time we have for vacation nor how you would want to spend that time. It is not a beach vacation at a luxury resort (by any means) nor will you make memories with your children. You may come out a better father or mother though. However, if there is a smidge of curiosity, I promise you this- you won’t regret it. It is that incredible. 

Let me be super clear that this is not a party but a personal journey. While Steve and I will make an itinerary with touching base points With a wedding Attend, There is no expectation to join anything (including the wedding!). The ultimate birthday gift to me, is you doing you! There is no such thing as time at burning man nor a place to be. Where you are is where you should be. 

As the saying goes: “the playa provides” by the end each of you will not only understand that phrase but speak to it personally.

This is a RSVP and commit type of event. That is why we are giving you a years notice. We need to know if you would like to join by September 1st to get your RV spot. You will share an RV, but have your own room (up to two in a room). 

Email Steve regarding questions about financial commitment ( 

For those brave enough to adventure with us, please know that I have loads of fun events to get you excited and ready over the next year. 

Attached is a infographic I made to address FAQs and talk event details leading up to the burn 

Let me be clear again… By no means should anyone come to this for me or for Steve. We know you love us and wouldn’t want to miss my bday and our vow renewal, but we don’t want you to come unless this is what you want to do. Do you!

Much love,


*This is very much STILL on!


You tell me today is my birthday. That it is July 16th.

Today I turn 39 years old. The secret is out! 

My age. 

This was once a closely guarded secret for a good decade. My age hurt my career. While everyone was trying to be/ look younger, I was always hoping to come off older. I even had the head of HR recommend wearing glasses. I guess glasses command respect. Maybe you get a zoomed in lens on life. And I was game, anything to keep the onslaught of complaints about not being ‘“old enough” or “good enough.” I actually did buy a pair of fake glasses. I looked in the mirror and knew this is “bullshit.” I’m going to wear glasses to make some parents feel more comfortable. I’ll let my work speak for itself.

Looking back…maybe I should have worn the glasses, lol.

Next year I turn 40 and I embrace my age. I embrace if it sounds “old” or if it sounds “young.” It just sounds right.

It brings me back to my last milestone birthday, 30.

I’ve always gone “first” with the majority of my friends. I’m the “oldest.” Just a few months older than all of you. My mother, not an educational researcher by training, but a follower of instinct knew that being the “youngest” (summer birthday) puts you at a real disadvantage in life, she held me back in Kindergarten. Smart lady! Thus, one of the oldest. I recall everyone freaking out about me turning 30, because it meant that they were next. Turning 30 meant we were not in our 20’s, youth officially over.

I, on the other hand, was SO excited to turn 30. I hated my 20’s. I had a rough ride. My 20’s were full of insecurities and painful losses. And here I am again…rooting for a decade change. This time I walk in with eyes wide open.

My 20’s taught me to value myself. In my 20’s I was a victim. And I use that word properly. I know what it implies. I was actually a victim of crimes of both the physical and mental.

I walked into my 30’s saying NEVER AGAIN. I will settle for nothing less than I deserved and will never allow myself to be a victim again. I started off with a bang I married Steve Brody when I was 30 years and 8 days old. A good man. A man that I deserved. I deserved the best.

I walked into my 30’s as a warrior. I walked with purpose and armor. I would RUN things. I would protect myself. I would be in CONTROL. And I accomplished more in my 30’s that some would accomplish in a lifetime, but it was on MY terms. It was for what I thought was best. It was based on research on science, but I think at times short sided. A lot can’t be explained by research and science…so I have learned. 

And its time to enter another decade soon and again I’m looking forward to it. I wish a year from now is NOW.

This decade too will be different. I’m walking in without a defense shield. I am relinquishing control for certainty. Certainty. No doubts. Certainty in chaos. Certainty is the exact opposite of anxiety. I will walk into my 40’s with that. Not sure how to get there yet, but I got a year or more. Time stands still over here. Days can become years.

And it will be a decade of abundance of love and health.

But I do KNOW one thing about this certainty that I have a year to find. This certainty does not come from within, it comes from connection. It comes from you. It comes from working with others, not trying to control others. When you let go…the world comes to you.

I am certain. 

Not convinced? Look at this.

Thank you for helping me close this decade.

With extreme gratitute,


Today is “one”

Today is day one.

That is how a month in my time works. There is no July 10th that will be followed by a July 11th. 

There is just a count. You just count. 1, 2. 3…

It gives you no idea of yesterday, there is no “name,” it is just time passing. You count time passing. 

Day 1 is the first day of chemo. Our months are, as with everything in this time, unpredictable. There is no standard 30 or 31 days, some can be short, some can be long. There is no way of telling. 

It’s an interesting way to live.

Not knowing days. 

Not knowing what tomorrow is going to be. 

Not being able to “plan.” Not to be able to look forward to that “weekend in Napa.” There is no countdown to something.

Only counting.

Counting to start over again.

When I think about this, I wonder if this is the “NOW?”

Am I living in that “NOW” that we are all supposed to be trying to achieve? Isn’t this THE hot thing right now? Living in the NOW? Living in the moment. Savoring the place you are in. Being present.

I’m into the concept. I’m into it. It’s putting down your phone and actually playing with your child.  It’s being present.

 I’ve tried to do this in your time. I never was successful. I was always go go go go. Always a quick text or email I had to send. Never fully with anyone. Even on vacation, Steve and I would plan our next vacation. How to do it better. Always thinking of tomorrow. Always wanting more. 

And here I am. In the now. Where I always wanted to be. Wanting nothing, but yet everything, health.

But I’m rethinking this NOW concept. 

I’m not abandoning it…just rethinking it.

Because what if the present is not livable?

What if the NOW is unbearable?

 And unrelatable? You feel alone. You feel like you are walking alone. Not many do understand what I’m going through, thank God. These are rare shoes. And of the unfortunate few, there are none in your exact shoes. No one has a Steve and a Benno. No one. 

This experience can feel that way. Isolating.

The unbearable part is bad, but the unrelateable part is the worst. 

Right? Being relatable is what gives things meaning. 

Hearing a good song is only as good as having someone to dance with it to. Singing happy birthday doesn’t have meaning without other’s ears to acknowledge it. Our sense of self, our sense of accomplishment is all only verified by others. 

And it’s a two-way street. Living in the now is not just about being present for yourself and having others verify your existence, but it’s also about being present for others and verifying theirs. It’s a win-win, if you will. 

So I’m working on living in the NOW here, in the unbearable and unrelateable.

I want to share my tricks. My secrets. Just as you taught me how to spike my child’s mac n cheese.

First, let’s address the unbearable part. 

I live in the future in the now. I visualize it. It’s a strange concept so just go with me on this for a bit.

I envision building legos with Jacob (while I’m actually doing it) with him on a beach. I envision us washing our hands for the 17th time in an hour at an outdoor music venue. I can even hear me say to him “port o potties are so disgusting. Here’s purell!”

I watch Steve cure cancer. Or together we pull our talents with him doing 99% of the lift and cure fucking cancer. I envision it clearly. This allows me to be “in it.” I can be fully there with Jacob.

I am creating my own now. 

And now to the unrelatable side.

This is it. You write. You connect. On your own terms and say whatever you want. Speak your truth. One thing about having a child with cancer, is you can say whatever the fuck you want. But speak your truth for the better GOOD. Speak your truth that will help others.

Verify their experiences. 

So today I count with you.

It’s”one” today. 

Level 11

Are you a Christopher Guest fan?

As in the screenwriter, composer, musician, director, and actor? The man behind Spinal Tap, Best in Show, and my personal favorite, Waiting For Guffman? If you’re not, you should be. The first 30 minutes of Waiting for Guffman is the best. Hands down. BEST.

I love mockumentaries. It’s two forms of the best entertainment together. Documentaries and comedy. The combination is just brilliant. Getting to have characters talk directly to camera and hearing their inner thoughts makes it feel authentic, and hysterical. Like the TV show, The Office. 

Turns out this is a genetic thing. Jacob loves The Office. We’re watching the entire show from season one. He thinks Michael is the best. “He makes funny voices.” I wonder how much he understands, but hey its something we can do together, but it does require a bottle of Tylenol.

Remember Christopher’s Guest’s first classic? Spinal Tap? Remember level 11? If not, get educated. Link provided. You can skip to time stamp 1:30 if you need to. Actually just do that. Life is busy and I appreciate you taking any time.

Go ahead. It’s only 15 secs after that.

Jacob is at a constant 11. 

It seems to be some side effect of the chemo. He is VERY VERY loud. SO LOUD.

So very very loud.

He is constantly screaming at me. Just a simple command like “Can I have water?” is a red alarm. The yelling and yelling! And the volume on our TV is at 100. 

Nope 101, its got that extra “hit.”