Posted by Ilana Angel
Wade Belak, one of my favorite hockey players, died today in Toronto. He was married with two young daughters, and only 35 years old. The cause of death is unknown at this time, and while many are speculating that he killed himself, it does not matter how he died, only that he’s gone.
He was an aggressive player on the ice, and a funny and charming man out of the game. He once went 143 games without a goal, and when he finally got one, the entire Maple Leafs team went on the ice to celebrate with him. It was a very cool moment in Toronto hockey.
Hockey is a magical sport. It requires stamina, skill, bravery and heart. It is an exciting game to watch, and I have had more hockey crushes than I can remember. Hockey is important in Canada and happily you can take the girl out of Canada, but you can’t take hockey out of her heart.
I love this game and I loved watching Wade play. I send my condolences to his wife Jennifer, and their two little girls, Andie and Alex. He may not have been the most famous player, or the best, but he was a good guy who loved the game. Rest in peace Wade and we will keep the faith.
12.19.13 at 2:57 am | My son has a free schlepping service.
12.12.13 at 8:05 am | Well played my son. Well played.
12.11.13 at 6:58 am | I watch in awe and stare with envy at these. . .
12.5.13 at 3:16 pm | Heaven has received a blessing today.
12.3.13 at 3:05 pm | Every time I go into the kitchen I half expect to. . .
11.30.13 at 10:42 am | "The only correct actions are those that demand. . .
9.15.13 at 3:14 pm | I love you Russell Brand. (461)
12.12.13 at 8:05 am | Well played my son. Well played. (401)
7.25.11 at 5:38 pm | We need more Jews! (267)
August 31, 2011 | 12:06 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I wrote a while back about a man named Dave who wrote me 4 times on an online dating site with the same message. It was so sad that it became funny, and after I wrote back to a couple of his emails telling him I appreciated the interest but did not feel we were a match, I gave up and just stopped replying.
I just got another email from Dave, but get this, it was from another dating site. The best part is that he sent me the exact same email. Not one single word was different. Not one! I have the same pictures and profile on both sites so there is no way he could not know he was writing to the same person. Dear Lord.
I have now blocked Dave from contacting me on both of these sites. Thank God I am able to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, but come on. How much of this can one girl take? How much can anyone who dates online take? How many losers do you come in contact with before you get a good one? I’m due for some luck.
A man on JDate wrote me this week and he looks normal in his profile, which means he’s probably a freak. That’s how I role. I get written to by the normal looking ones who end up being odd, married, drunks, who need to schedule dates with the help of a parole officer. So when he wrote, and appeared to be “normal”, I blew him off.
His profile said he wanted to have kids one day, and since I’m done birthing babies, I wrote him back and let him know that while he seemed lovely and I liked his note, we were not compatible. I figured that was that, but he wrote back. He said that at 45, he was open to having a kid, or not, and really just wanted to be happy.
He was both sincere and sarcastic, which we all know I’m a sucker for. I was not going to write him back because my experience has been that if a man says he is unsure about having a baby, he really wants one, and that’s not happening for me, so why bother? I had figured it all out in my head when my son came into the room.
He looked at the man’s profile and commented that he was probably a nice guy because he had a nice looking dog. I told my son that I was not interested and started to ramble off why, when he told me I was full of crap. He said that my dismissing this guy based on what I thought he was saying was not nice and he expected more of me.
My 15 year old child scolded me on my dating, and said that if I really wanted to find love, I needed to stop thinking, and start listening. We ended up having a very interesting conversation about love, what it means, and why it’s important to have it. He is a very wise child and I learn something from him each and every day.
Let me share a story. When my dad Robert, of blessed memory, got cancer, my son and I went up to see him as often as we could. On one visit, we were sitting on my sister’s porch and my dad was talking to my son about planes. He gave him a helicopter game and my son said to my dad that he would need to come teach him at our house.
My father started to cry. He was suffering from the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer was ravaging his body, and he knew he would never make another trip to our home in Los Angeles. He looked at my son and told him he looked forward to it. My son, who was 5, stood up, hugged my dad, and told him he loved him.
My father was hugging my child and this delicious little boy, who was so young, and so desperately in love with his Grandpa Bob, told him that he would keep the game forever and when he came to heaven, he would bring it and they could play it together then. He kissed my dad, kissed me, and ran off to play with his cousins.
I sat quietly with my dad on the porch and we both marveled at what my son had said. My dad told me my son had the wisdom of Solomon and that I must never throw away the game, even if it was broken, so they could play it together one day. That visit was the last time I saw my dad. He passed away before I was able to get home again.
What is the connection between the story of my dad, and this man I was blowing off because I thought I knew what he was thinking based on a few words on a lame dating site? There is a connection between this man and my last visit with my dad that only this man will understand. It’s really quite lovely and my son forced me see it.
I won’t spell out the connection now because it would give away who he was to people who know him and I figure since he is going to be my friend, I will hold off on outing him so early in The Jewish Journal. Plus, as much as I am going to take my kid’s advice and think positive, he could still be one of the weird ones and it might piss him off.
I am going to meet this man for a drink tomorrow night and I’m looking forward to it. Love connection or not does not matter, because there is a connection between him, his dog, my son, and my dad that is comforting. I would never have spoken to this man had it not been for my kid kicking me in my closed off and cynical ass.
I’ve had horrible dates with men that based on their online dating profiles, I thought I would totally dig. Could it be that I will have a great date with someone whose profile I did not think was compatible with mine? Did it take a 15 year old to teach me the rules of online dating? It’s all a crapshoot so why assume anything about anyone?
My son gave me the best dating advice ever when he said, “Stop thinking Mom. Instead of worrying about opening your heart, open your mind.” He has the wisdom of Solomon, which I’ve always known and find myself thankful today that my dad knew too. I miss my dad, adore my son, and have loved a broken helicopter for 10 years.
I like to think that after my date I will have a new friend. My son will say that’s cynical, but it’s not. Great love can happen between friends and so rather than look for love, looking for a friend might be the better way to go. Of course he could read my blog and it may be over before it even begins. All I can do is not think too much, and keep the faith.
August 29, 2011 | 8:42 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I was home all weekend with a sinus infection and bronchitis. I can’t breathe, have a horrible cough, and I could have spent all day in bed. My son was great and took care of his dear old mom. He did his homework, checked on me throughout the day, and made me lots of tea with honey.
I dozed off early Sunday afternoon and when I woke up I actually felt a little better, and asked my son if he wanted to do something fun since he’d been studying Shakespeare all weekend. I figured I had enough energy to maybe sit in a movie. Instead of a movie, all he wanted to do was drive.
This is my new reality. My kid wants to drive every minute of every day. He has his permit, is taking lessons, and every waking moment is about getting in the car. He moves in slow motion when I ask him to put his clothes in the hamper, but he was The Flash when I said I would go driving.
I have never seen a kid get ready to go out so quickly. He was up and sitting by the front door waiting for me before I even finished telling him we could go. It would be fun I thought to myself. A relaxing Sunday drive around town with my baby. What could be better?
My son did great. He is a good driver and I am very proud of him. I told my son he was great and he told me I was a Howler Monkey. He said he thought it was funny how uptight I was, and that my screaming was right out of an Animal Planet special on wild monkeys on Asia.
How odd that I seem to have blocked that part out. I was certain we had had a nice Sunday drive, but he seems to think it was a lot of me screaming, and him thinking I was a Howler monkey. I know I’m not feeling 100%, but still, wouldn’t I remember the screaming?
We made it home safely, as I knew we would. He did great, and we planned for him to drive himself to school in the morning. We had a nice dinner, watched the VMA show, and listened to him recite some Shakespeare. I woke up this morning to find him waiting by the front door.
This kid is all about the driving. It was cute and so my day began in the car with my son. I decided to do a little experiment. I took my phone, set it to record a conversation and placed it in the cup holder between the two front seats of my car. We were off and I was on monkey watch.
He drove, I was impressed, he went off to school, and I drove home. I just got in, made a cup of tea, and sat down to listen to the recording. I had thought to post it, but I am simply too embarrassed so you will have to trust me when I say, I sounded like a Howler monkey.
I said “Oh my God”, 8 times. I said “Slow down”, 5 times. I said, “Be carful”, 4 times, and told him “I love you”, 3 times. All things you would expect to hear in the car of a young driver practicing with their mom. The difference here was the tone in which I shared with my child.
If you close your eyes, and imagine that monkeys can speak, I actually sound like a howler monkey. It is a high-pitched note that is more common in an opera than my everyday life. If I were on American Idol, Jennifer Lopez would call me “pitchy”. I cannot believe it is actually me.
It would be funny if it were any other parent than me. I am screeching and my kid is just driving, not really listening to me. If we were able to hear him through my monkey impersonation, I am certain we would hear him laughing at me, and calling me a crazy monkey under his breath.
My son is amazing and I am blessed that he is an animal lover with a soft spot for monkeys. I am picking up my son after school today and he will want to drive us home. I am going to work hard to turn off my inner monkey, believe in my kid, and put my energy into keeping the faith.
August 26, 2011 | 8:29 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
Ryan Torok, a great writer here at the Jewish Journal, wrote a story today about WHOLE FOODS and the rumors that the company is boycotting items from Israel. It’s based on some blogs by some conservative chick in Detroit, and you can read her take on Whole Foods through Ryan’s article.
I shop at Whole Foods on a regular and frequent basis, so I found Ryan’s article to be quite interesting. It sounds to me like this Debbie woman in Detroit has issues, and is going out of her way to discredit Whole Foods, based on an ad campaign they did in support of Ramadan.
I am of the opinion that Whole Foods does not have an issue with selling products from Israel. Ryan spoke with Libba Letton from Whole Foods and while I’m not sure she was clear on the difference between kosher items and items from Israel, I believe Whole Foods is cool with Israel.
I on the other hand, have decided to boycott Israeli men. I love Israel, and I love men, but I simply cannot handle another Israeli man saying “Tanks God”. Seriously, listen to Israeli men and you will find that they say it often. “How are you?”, “Tanks God, everything is good”. THANK God! THANK God! I am unable to date an Israeli for this reason alone.
I spoke to a lovely Israeli man today, and as we were talking he crossed that invisible line and said, “Tanks God”. It was over before it even began. I got a sharp pain in my lower back and I was done. It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard, or a screaming baby on a red-eye flight to New York, or sitting next to a guy with gas at the movies.
I like an Israeli accent. My mother has a thick one and we talk every, single day, so I’m sure my issues are with this one point. “Tanks God” is a deal breaker for me. A French man can say “Sank God” and there is no problem, so I must assume it’s an Israeli thing. I might get blacklisted in Detroit for my admission, but oh well, I’m sticking to it.
There are a lot of troubling things happening in the world when it comes to hatred of Israel and Jews, and I don’t think Whole Foods makes the list of top ten worst offenders. I will go there tomorrow and get me some Israeli olive oil, just because I can. Tanks God there is one just up the street. Shabbat Shalom Whole Foods. This too shall pass, just keep the faith.
August 25, 2011 | 10:06 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I spent Thursday afternoon with my son at the DMV. It was exciting and scary, and yes, since you asked, I cried. When he passed the test he went through the entire room and high fived everyone. It was really fantastic and I was so proud of him. Watching this child grow up is my greatest joy.
He will be great behind the wheel, and I am not worried about his driving. It’s everyone else that freaks me out. He is responsible and I am happy for him to have this new independence. As nervous as this right of passage makes me, it is a baby step towards adulthood and my letting go.
My boy and I went out for a little celebration and headed home. I am trying to knock out a flu bug before it fully kicks in so I went to rest. Between the insane heat, the excitement of the day, and not feeling great, I dozed off. My son came to wake me up and looked very sad and upset.
He let me know that a 17 year old girl who many of his friends know, killed herself. All the kids were talking about it on Facebook, and apparently her friends were told in school today that she took her own life. I looked at her picture and I could not stop crying. She was so lovely.
The kids were writing about how they had seen her the day before, and she looked fine. She was a beautiful girl and I cannot imagine the pain that causes a child to make this choice. My heart aches for her family and weeps for the milestones this precious child will not experience.
As I was celebrating with my child, another mother was devastated by the loss of hers. My son and I had a conversation about suicide, loss, depression, pain, sorrow and what life is like when things are dark. There is so much pressure on teenagers, and I learned a lot from our talk.
Being a teenager is hard. There is so much going on that it’s daunting. This tragic news has made me look at my child’s life and feel compassion for him. I need to give him credit for navigating his way through it all. He is defining himself and his worldview, and doing a great job.
To this dear child who took her own life, I wish you peace. To her parents, you are in my prayers. To my own child, I love you, I am proud of you, I get it, and you are doing great. Love your kids and teach them to love each other. Take time out of your weekend to keep the faith.
August 24, 2011 | 10:28 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
Match.com has agreed that they will start screening their members to ensure they are not sex offenders. While it is certainly a nice gesture, and one that will protect people, it is not going to make a tangible difference in how people date online. At the end of the day, people must be more careful when choosing who to date, whether they meet online or not.
This came about when Carole Markin was sexually assaulted after a date with Alan Paul Wurtzel, who she met on Match.com, and who is a convicted sex offender. Had Markin done a simple Google search of Wurtzel, she would have seen that he was a sex offender. It’s great that Match is going to run background checks, but we still need to be careful.
I don’t go out with anyone without knowing their last name, finding out where they work, and doing a Google search. It’s not a guarantee that I will be safe, nor does it give me a sense of false security, but it only takes a minute, and in the case of someone like Wurtzel, could protect me. Match is doing what all sites should do, but it’s not fool proof.
Do we ever know who are dating? People lie about their height and age, but people also lie about being a sex offender whether you meet them online, in a bar, at the grocery store, or in temple or church. Nobody is going to tell you they like long walks on the beach, red wine, and sexually assaulting women. Some lies transcend all types of dating. Important to note that just because someone is not in the sexual offenders database, does not mean they are not a sexual offender.
It is an industry changing decision for Match.com to take this step, and while eHarmony does it already, Match is the industry leader, and what they do, and don’t do, matters. This decision however, should not make anyone dating online feel any safer. Good for them for doing the right thing, but we need to meet them halfway and do our part.
Always meet people in a public place, and don’t invite them to your home. Find out their last name, and where they work. Do a Google search to see if any red flags come up. Search for them on Facebook and see if you know people in common. We live in a digital and connected time and to not use the resources available to us is stupid. Use the Internet to help you.
Dating is brutal. Meeting a complete stranger to hang out and have a drink is odd, and even if you spend hours on the phone, they are still a stranger. Know that. You have a responsibility to date responsibly. It’s all a crapshoot and in the end do we ever really know someone? I married a man and 5 years later divorced someone else. You really just never know.
The chances of meeting someone to share your life with are not great. I believe there is someone for everyone, and truly hope we get more than one shot at finding them, so if online dating helps my odds then I’m in. Although I doubt I will find my soulmate online, I will follow the example set by Match.com, and be careful, cautious, and proactive in my search. All we can really do is cross our fingers, try to be safe, pray, and keep the faith.
August 24, 2011 | 10:35 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
Mr. Strauss-Kahn became a free man yesterday when all sexual assault charges against him were dropped. We will never know what really happened, but as I said from the beginning, I don’t think he raped anyone. Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a pig and a pervert to be sure, but he is not a rapist, even though he will now always be thought of as one.
The judge ruled that although there was proof of a sexual encounter between DSK and his accuser, she was not credible, and there was no proof the sex was forced and not consensual. She has made false rape accusations in the past, which coupled with her ever-changing story about what happened with Strauss-Kahn, was enough to throw the case out.
After leaving the courthouse, DSK released the following statement: “I want to thank all the friends in France and in the United States who have believed in my innocence, and to the thousands of people who sent us their support personally and in writing. I am most deeply grateful to my wife and family who have gone through this ordeal with me. We will have nothing further to say about this matter and we look forward to returning to our home and resuming something of a more normal life.”
DSK was charged with a criminal sex act, attempted rape and sexual abuse. Would this case have been different had the word “rape” not been used? He did not rape her. There are many types of sexual assault and while I believe an assault did occur, rape is specific, and that the accuser’s legal council opted to use the word is surprising to me. They knew they were dealing a powerful man, and a woman with a history of lying, yet they stilled pulled the rape card. Bad choice if you ask me.
It is a sad fact that rape is a hard thing to prove, and that this case was handled this way is upsetting. I have strong views about rape and how it is both perceived and prosecuted. I was the victim of a violent crime 22 years ago and spent 2 years dealing with the medical and legal aftermath of my attack. I spent a great deal of time in the hospital, and in court, forced to defend myself, and I am offended when the word rape is not respected.
My attacker was convicted of rape, kidnapping, and forcible confinement. He was sent to prison, and not a day goes by that I am not proud of myself for fighting the good fight and not caving to the bullying, belittling, and embarrassment that comes with a trial. There was no grey area in my case and to be honest, I don’t think there is ever a grey area when it comes to rape. A sexual assault can be as violent and damaging as a rape, so use the word properly and perhaps more attackers will be convicted of assault.
I believe Dominique Straus-Kahn is a pig and a pervert. He is a powerful man who got away with a crime. Of that I am certain, just as I am certain he did not rape anyone. To the brave woman who came forward, I am sorry this ended as it did, and I hope you will be okay. To DSK, go home, keep it in your pants, and be careful because your luck will run out eventually.
To anyone who has been assaulted and not sure what to do, get help, take care of yourself, and go to the authorities. It is up to us as women to protect each other, and if a man assaults you, chances are he will assault someone else. My attacker raped 4 women before me, and nobody pressed charges. Be strong, believe in yourself, and know that you are worthy of justice. Know that. Know it, believe it, and keep the faith.
August 22, 2011 | 9:44 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I have received an email from a man on an online dating site, 3 times. Yes, the exact same email, for 3 straight days, from the same man. It reads: You look and sound terrific. I would love to meet and talk with you on the phone. Take care Dave. I have replied all 3 times with a polite note saying I am not interested, but wishing him the best with his search.
I have taken the time to reply differently each time, so as not to embarrass him, should he not realize he continues to contact the same person. Today, I got the dreaded but exciting notification from the online dating hell train, that I have received an email. I logged on with despair and excitement only to find that it was Dave. Again. That makes 4 days.
Upon seeing the email from Dave, I looked around to see what I could impale myself with. It was truly my first thought. Before I laughed, thought to myself he was a loser, or wondered if it was me who was the loser, I looked around to see what I could jab in my own hand. This is the reality of online dating. Finding love is secondary to not impaling myself.
If it weren’t so sad it would be hilarious. By sad of course I mean it’s not sad at all. It is completely hilarious. The only thing funnier than the desire to impale oneself, is the “success stories” section of this particular website, which I always tell myself I will avoid, only to end up reading the essays about how they had practically given up, only to find love.
So now I’ve been repulsed by Dave, annoyed by the happy couple, and just as I am about to impale myself with the letter opener I luckily found on my desk, I get an email from a man I recognized. I did not recognize him because I knew him, but rather because the photo he has posted is the same picture from a million years ago when I was first on this site.
I have not written back to him because I have a letter opener stuck through my hand, but I will. I will write him and let him know that while I appreciate both his kind note, and the interest, I do not think we are a match. I will wish him the best with his search. Note to self: when you stop bleeding, write the old man with the 10 year old picture and tell him no.
And so my ride on the online dating train ride to hell continues. My hopeless romantic side hopes the ER Doc who does the stitches in my hand is cute, and my logical side is thankful that in my moment of madness I remembered to stab my left hand, as I am right handed. Will Dave write me again tomorrow? I hope not, but just in case, I am keeping the faith.