Posted by Ilana Angel
I was in San Francisco last weekend to celebrate the Englishman’s birthday. His oldest daughter lives there while going to University, so we schlepped up to spend a couple of nights and have a nice birthday dinner. We had all three of our kids with us and it was a great visit. It was a little chilly, very crowded, and loads of fun. A wonderful time with my family.
On Saturday we went to the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building. We had lunch and walked for miles. When we were exhausted we hopped on a bus and headed to the hotel. I was sitting next to the Englishman when we saw a woman get on with 3 kids. I offered our seats to the kids but they wanted to stand. The woman, who I assumed was their mother, thanked me.
They were speaking in Spanish and the little boy was right in front of me. He was absolutely gorgeous. He had longish sandy blonde hair with green eyes and a smile that is going to make women soon one day. He was a divine looking boy and I said to his mother he was a beautiful child. She told me she was the babysitter not the mom.
She said he was not only gorgeous, but a really sweet kid. She was so proud of him that it was very touching. Then the boy and me got to talking about his day. They had been to the aquarium and we chatted about turtles and the stuff you could touch in the water. He was open and funny and super smart. He let me know he was 6, and he had a girlfriend.
I was talking to him while I glanced at my own son across the aisle and it was an interesting moment because I could remember when my own son was 6. He was similar to this boy and I cannot believe he is now almost 17. It was one of those moments where as I looked at my teenage son, I suddenly saw him as a little boy and it was odd but wonderful.
The little boy was wearing a necklace he had made and he proudly showed it off. The Englishman was chatting with him also and we both thought he was a great kid. The boy then asked me if I was married to the Englishman. I told him he was my friend and we were not married. He glanced at the Englishman, then turned to me and looked me straight in the eye.
With conviction and seriousness, he cocked his head then said, “Can I get your number?” Now, I understand he was only 6, but let’s be clear, it made my day. We got to our stop and needed to get off the bus so I simply smiled at him and told him that I thought he was fabulous. It was such a sincere and honest moment that I could not stop smiling.
As the Englishman and I gathered up our kids, I heard the little boy shout out, “What about your number?” I turned around and he was staring at me. I walked over, shared a smile with the babysitter, told him my name was Ilana, and said it was a pleasure to have met him. He then let me know his name was Ilan. It was a surprise to learn we shared a name.
Ilan is the male version of Ilana and it turns out his father is an Israeli like me. We both marveled at the fact that we shared a name. I told him we shared a great name and he told me he was happy he met me. I shook his hand, told him to have a great day, and told him I was flattered he asked for my number, but I was visiting and had to go home.
He shook my hand again and I said goodbye. As I walked away I turned around and he yelled “Bye Ilana” to which I shouted back “Bye Ilan!” It was a wonderful exchange and I will remember it always. Children are remarkable human beings and I am proud to have raised mine to be a wonderful young man. Ilan reminded me to keep the faith.
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August 27, 2012 | 12:07 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I spent the weekend in San Francisco with the Englishman and our kids. It was his birthday, and with his oldest daughter there attending university, we headed up so we could celebrate together. Our kids all get along in a marvelous way and I am truly blessed because I love his children. They are remarkable young women and I think of them as not only his children, but my friends. This blog was written by my Englishman’s oldest daughter.
I have lived in San Francisco for over four years. Moving to Northern California after growing up in LA for the first seventeen years of my life was just what I needed. A real breath of fresh air. Everyone was friendly, down to earth, and accepting. I don’t have enough fingers to count the lifelong friends that I have made in this incredibly diverse city.
On the contrary, I can count on two fingers the times I have experienced uncomfortable confrontations fueled purely by racial tension, and the unnecessary rift this causes between people. They say terrible things happen globally and on a daily basis, but the only time it hits home is when it happens at home with the people you love most in the world.
Today I experienced something that made me feel angry and helpless, but mostly sad. I was walking along the Fisherman’s Wharf with my father, his girlfriend, her son, and my little sister. It was Saturday so it was absolutely teeming with people, and we were all packed like sardines walking on the sidewalk. All of a sudden I realized I bumped into a gold man.
This man had painted himself and his clothing entirely gold. He was one of those busquers who make their living performing on the street. He was very, very tall and was wheeling along a cart (gold), which contained some of his belongings (gold) and his boom-box (yes, gold). The gold man was clearly in a hurry. He was also African-American.
After bumping into him I immediately apologized and said “Excuse me”, at which point my sister tripped over his boom box. She also said “Excuse me”. I felt bad I had knocked into him and so IU said sorry. I did not apologize because I am white, privileged, or live above the poverty line. I apologized because he is a human being, and deserves respect.
I have been fortunate enough to be raised with manners, to have compassion for all people, and to admit when I have made a mistake. That is why I said “Excuse me”, but I may as well have said “Damn you and your gold boom box to hell!” To say this man was infuriated would be an understatement. He started calling my sister stupid.
He was cruel to her for absolutely no reason. I tried to explain to him that she was a child and it was an accident, but he didn’t care to let it go. He went on cussing out my fifteen year old sister. She stood there in shock not sure what to do, but scared. My father was not scared and immediately sprung into action to protect us.
Then my father got involved and I had to stand in between a large gold man and my father because 1.) It was my father’s birthday and 2.) I could tell that this man had hate and rage inside of him, and although I would have loved to see him be put in his place, it would have been unsafe for everyone involved and therefore not worth it.
When Goldie continued to scream at my sister I called him an asshole. Not the coolest thing to do, but it needed to be done. He then proceeded to scream, “SO NOW WE’RE GONNA BRING RACE INTO THIS?”. I was shocked by his reaction but my Dad did not skip a beat and yelled out, “YEAH! Because we really HATE gold people!”
As I stood in between these two men, swearing at Goldie and holding back my father, I felt incredibly sad. Sad I was using profanity in front of the people who had formed around us, and sad that the man painted in gold felt the need to take his anger and hate out on two young women. The entire scene was sad and had nothing to do with race.
I don’t know what this man’s life has been like. It could have been horrible, filled with abuse, abandonment, and everything in between. But does having a traumatic past condone disgusting behavior? Does having a hard life give someone an excuse to randomly throw race into an argument in order for that person to justify their hateful actions?
Maybe he grew up with privilege and his anger had nothing to do with his history and everything to do with the fact that he was simply an asshole. As for me, did my being a white woman calling the gold street performer, who happened to be African American, an asshole, constitute any type of racial slur? No. It had absolutely nothing to do with race.
The anger within the gold man made me sad. The strength of my father to stand up for us made me happy. My coming to the aid of my little sister with no fear made me proud. This man has a chip on his shoulder and probably will for the duration of his life, so I feel sad not only about what happened, but for this angry and hurtful man.
I’m thankful that no one was hurt. I will pray for him and others like him, because in doing so I am “keeping the faith”.
August 20, 2012 | 1:02 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
Thank you all for your inquiries about my Englishman. We are still together and doing great. He is a remarkable man and has shown me a kindness that I have never known. He is funny and charming, has a killer accent, and is not anyone I would ever have imagined myself dating.
He is very different from me in a lot of ways, and eerily similar in others. We are building a future together that includes our wonderful children, dreams, trust, and lots of laughter. I’m scared and nervous to love this deeply, but your support has made it easier for me.
I am a 46 year old divorced mother and to hear from so many of you who are walking the same path gives me great comfort. We are all stumbling forward and I learn from your mistakes and your fearlessness. Thank you for not only reading about my journey, but sharing yours.
I am back in LA from vacation in Canada and when the Englishman picked my son and me up at the airport I felt a sense of relief and melted into his arms. I did not know I would miss him so much, or him me. I was a little surprised, until I got home and saw my cat Fiddles.
She really, really missed me. She was annoyed for the first 10 minutes I was home and sat far away, glaring at me for leaving her without so much as a note. When she relaxed a little she warmed up, after about an hour, it was a love fest. She followed me around like a puppy.
She wants to not just sit with me, but on me. She is talking to me nonstop, telling me all about the week I was away. It is the funniest and sweetest thing I have ever seen. I can actually feel her telling me that she missed me and loves me. I hope she understand it was mutual.
When I went to Starbucks this morning it broke my heart to leave her and I almost took her with me. I was about to become a cat lady who carts her cat around in a carrier, which is pathetic. I actually looked for the carrier! In the end I promised her I’d be right back and ran out.
When I got to Starbucks, I was thrilled to learn that my order was not forget in my absence. They know my drink before I order it and it is awesome. As I left with my deliciousness, I noticed a woman at the counter putting about 100 Equal packets into her purse.
There was no fear or embarrassment, just some good old fashioned stealing. I watched in awe as she then took some sugar, a few stir sticks, and I believe thought about taking the milk and putting it in her purse. It was quite remarkable and I found myself intrigued by her.
She was a nice looking woman in her 50’s and was wearing really nice shoes. I’m sure she was much more than just a thief. I wanted so much to talk to her as I felt she probably had good stories, but in the end I just watched her walk out and headed to my car.
She went into the donut shop next door to do some more shopping, and I came home to my cat, who was waiting at the front door like a good puppy. I am constantly reminded that my life is blessed and you readers are part of why. I have genuine affection and appreciation for you.
I am getting back into the routine of being home. Getting my son ready to start school, planning a birthday surprise for the Englishman, and trying to move forward without fear or hesitation. Thank you for reading, inspiring me to never give up, and always keep the faith.
August 18, 2012 | 8:41 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
Chicago based reality television blogger Lynn Hudson has passed away. She was a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and beloved member of the blogosphere. Lynn passed away on her 49th birthday and the loss is shocking. My heart is broken for her child and husband.
Lynn was an outspoken writer who never hesitated to share her opinion. She had a loyal and dedicated following, and while our differences were many, we were also in agreement on more things than our fans would be willing to believe. She was a woman of great conviction.
Passionate about her family and the shows she loved to blog about, I have been touched by her passing and was unsure what I should say since Lynn and I were well-documented adversaries, not friends. After much reflection, I would like to simply say I’m sorry.
I am sorry Lynn passed away so young. Sorry her son has lost his mother, her husband has lost his wife, and her fans have lost her voice. Like her or not, her opinion was important to many and I am sorry our differences seemed more important than our similarities.
I would like to send my condolences to Lynn Hudson’s family, friends, and fans. Reality television has lost a member of its family. May she rest in peace and may God bless her family. Lynn’s passing reminds us that life is precious and we must keep the faith.
August 16, 2012 | 5:51 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I left the home of my mother and sister yesterday and my heart is broken. Saying goodbye to my mother is crushing and I can hardly breathe. It is painful to live so far from her. When my mother left Israel with her young family, my grandmother saw them off and my mother vividly remembers waving bye to her mom from the car. She told her mom she would see her soon but she never did. Her mother passed away before she made it back to Israel. I think of that each time I leave my mother.
Living in another country feels like a world away. We are in different time zones and that alone makes me feel farther away. I wish I could get in my car and drive over for coffee whenever I wanted to see or hug her. My older sister Roni is an amazing person. She took care of my Dad when he was sick because the rest of us lived in other cities, and she lives with my mother now. She is kind and never complains, even though her life carries the weight of many things. She is a wonderful mother, sister and daughter.
My mother, sister and I sobbed when I left their home. We were in full blown ugly cry. My mother was shaking and my sister was telling me to stay longer. It took over an hour to pull myself away and get in the car. As I drove off I looked back and saw my sister sitting on the stoop and I had to pull over and run back to hug her again. We then hugged and cried for another 20 minutes. I made her go inside so I could pull away without sobbing.
I am heading back to Toronto and will be leaving for LA on Friday. My visit was short and I look forward to coming back and bringing my Englishman to meet my family. I feel like I have cried everyday, which makes sense since I have. It is a joy to be here with my son and as sad as I am to leave my mom, tomorrow I will spend time with my brother. He is my hero so I am excited. My departure is coming fast so I’m going to buy tissue and keep the faith.
August 15, 2012 | 10:15 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
Today I went to visit my Dad. It was very emotional and painful. I miss him every single day and my heart is broken that he is gone. I see him in my son, and in myself, but the ache of his passing has gotten deeper with time. With each accomplishment of my child, each tear of my mother, each moment of fear, sorrow, happiness, joy, loneliness, pride, anger and peace that I have, I wish I could call my Dad and share it.
My Dad was a wonderful human being. He was funny, smart, charming, entertaining, and kind. He made mistakes in his life, like we all do, but in the end he was inherently good. He was my Dad, friend, cheerleader, and therapist. He was a great listener and always knew what to say to make things better. He was the perfect Grandfather and he is missed very much. Everyone loved my Dad, Mr. Robert Angel.
I sat with him today for the first time in a long time. I told him about my life now, ten years after his passing. He was always very proud of me and I was happy to talk with him. I spoke of my son, my work, my Englishman, my fears, hopes, dreams, and stress. We spoke of my joy, my accomplishments, and my failures. My life is blessed and I owe it all to my Dad. He is the reason I am able to live the life I do.
Twenty three years ago I was the victim of a violent crime. I spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital, and in and out of court, and my father stood by me every single day. He was with me to hell and back and never let me go, even though there were times I begged him too. He held my hand and led me to joy when I was certain I would not find happiness again. He was my knight in shining armor and he slayed my dragons.
As I sat with my Dad I was overcome with love and anger. Love for a man I adored, and anger that he is gone. I never got to see my Dad grow old. He was a young 63 when he passed and that is not fair. He had four grandchildren when he died, and has eight now. They all speak of Grandpa Bob often, even the ones that never got to meet him. He is the head of our family and he always be. Always and forever.
My heart is broken today. Being with my father has been lovely but the timing is sad. I spent time with him on the same day I am leaving my mother and sister and I fear it might be too much for me to handle. For now I will say goodbye to my Dad, wipe my tears, and try to recover before I tackle saying goodbye to my two favorite ladies. I am praying I make it through today. Praying and keeping the faith.
August 14, 2012 | 7:50 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
Yesterday I drove with my son from Toronto to Montreal. We blasted RUSH and Justin Bieber and I will tell you that both artists sound just a little better in Canada. We zoomed along the 401 and life was grand. I cried for the first hour after we left Toronto having left my brother. After I recovered I was settle into the time with my son.
My mother called me 5 times while we drove to see where we were. That was cute compared to my older sister who called me 12 times. By cute of course I mean a little annoying and very funny. We stopped about an hour outside of Montreal to get a drink and I called home to tell them I was going to be there soon. That is when I started crying again.
I have not seen my older sister since my son’s Bar Mitzvah 3 and a half years ago. We talk most days, but it has been a long time since I held her close. She may be the funniest person I know. She is kind and warm, has a nurturing heart, and will take the shirt off her back to give it to you if you give any indication that you like it in any way. She is lovely.
My sister asked me to call her when I was 10 minutes away but I decided to not call and just surprise her. As I pulled up to the house, there was my mother, waiting outside. I knew it would happen this way. The moment I told her I was an hour away, she went outside to wait for me incase I was off on the time it would take to get to her.
My son jumped out of the car to hug her and it was very sweet. I parked and when I got out of the car she was right there waiting for me. I held her close and she hung on tight to take it all in. She smelled my hair and touched my face so as to memorize it all so when I left she could remember. I did the same thing. I love her completely.
To sit at the kitchen table with my mom and sister is divine. We laugh, cry, go down memory lane, remember our childhood, and talk about my Dad. I woke up at 6 am local time and sat on the couch waiting for someone to wake up. I don’t want to waste a single minute that I am with them. My visit is very short and so seconds are important.
We are going to Old Montreal today for lunch and to stroll around. It will feel like we are in another country on holiday and I will cherish the memories of this day. Tonight I am taking everyone out for dinner and it will be wonderful. Tomorrow I am going to visit my Dad and I am nervous. I have not been to his grave in years, which is sad.
I am going to sit and talk with him. Tell him all about my son, assure him the family is okay, and that while we are sad and miss him, we are holding it together. I will laugh and cry. I will thank God for our time together and at the same time question why he needed to go. My father passed away when he was 63, which is tragic. I want him back.
I am going to be in Montreal for only 3 days which is silly, but I am grateful for the time. It is so hard when you work and have a life and family away from your family. I am blessed to have the time here, but wish it could be more. I love these people because they are family, but also because they are wonderful people. They are my heart.
I have cried three times today for no apparent reason. I looked at my sister making tea and I cried. I watched my nephew drive off to work and I cried. I watched my son laughing with my mother and I cried. It is very emotional to be here and my heart is breaking at the thought of leaving. It is so hard to not live close to my family. I miss so much.
Over twenty years ago I left Toronto for Los Angeles for holiday. I was only coming to spend the summer and now here I am, all these years later, with a family of my own, in a city far away from the people I love most in the world.. I may not return to Canada to live, but I must come more often. I am going to wipe my tears and keep the faith.
August 13, 2012 | 6:27 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I have been at the lake in Ontario for two days and have done nothing but eat, sleep and sit. I sit on the couch, sit on the porch, sit on the deck, and sit in the kitchen. I eat, nap, watch TV, and talk to whoever is around. I have colored, beaded, and played with Barbie. I have not done anything strenuous or stressful, yet I am exhausted. How is it possible that I am so tired when I have done nothing?
I am with my little brother and his family so I just follow him and the kids around and sit wherever they are. My baby brother is turning 41 but he is still my baby brother. He is a wonderful father and I know our Dad would be so very proud of him and his family. It has been a weekend of peace, reflection, and trying to relax. I am not good at sitting still, horrible at shutting down my brain, so its tough.
I am always thinking which inevitably leads to me worrying about something, so relaxation is elusive. The thing about being at the cottage though, is that the only thing to think about is what you will eat for your next meal and the only thing to worry about is whether or not you should get out of bed, so I am being forced to relax. I am rested but exhausted.
What is it about sleeping that makes me so tired? I slept for 8 hours last night which is unheard of for me, yet I feel like I could sleep for another 8. I have not used my phone except to speak with family and my Englishman. I am blogging from Canada but it does not feel like work as much as a simple pleasure. Writing is my favorite thing and writing from here is surprisingly relaxing.
I am driving back to Toronto and tomorrow will head to Montreal to see my mother. The simple thought of seeing her makes me cry. When I leave my brother I will cry too, so the next day will be less about relaxing and more about crying. Happy tears to be sure, but still sad to know I will have to say goodbye. I love my family very much and realize how much when I’m here.
A trip home is too emotional to qualify as a vacation. I may be on vacation from my regular life, but it’s not a holiday. I will laugh and cry in massive amounts, which takes an emotional toll, and I will spend most of the week thinking I should move back to be closer to them. In the end being with my family is what relaxes me so I will try to enjoy every second while keeping the faith.