Posted by Ilana Angel
It has been a long year and as I look back on it, there is laughter and tears. I am looking forward to 2013 with hope. I believe this is going to be a year of transition in terms of my work, adjustment in terms of my being a mother, and tranquility in terms of my relationship.
My work is changing because the blogs have taken on a life of their own. There are exciting things happening for me and while I cannot talk about them just yet, it is going to be terrific and I cannot wait for the ride to start, and to take you all on it with me.
The next year will mark my son becoming a senior, applying to college, and placing one foot firmly out of my door as he gets ready to jump into his adult life. I am excited for him but heartbroken for me. I don't know how to live my life without him with me everyday.
It has been him and me for so long that I feel like each breath I take is for both of us. Just the thought of him going away to university makes my chest hurt. Each time he takes the car my eye twitches. I love this boy and the adjustments will be hard but joyous.
I am in love. True authentic, exciting, painful, mysterious, scary, educational, confusing, heart soaring love. I have not been here for as long as I can remember, and in a lot of ways, not sure I have even ever been here before. It is a wonderful place to be.
My Englishman brings me peace and allows me to live my life with a level of tranquility that is felt by both my son and me. His children make me a better woman, his love for my child makes me a better mother, and his affection for me makes me a better human being.
As wonderful as the year has been, I am ready for it to end. I am ready for a new beginning. A clean canvas that will allow me to paint in bold colors and wide strokes. This blog is one of my greatest blessings and for that I thank all of you for reading.
You come here everyday to hear my voice and it matters to me. You matter to me. I hope you all have a happy and healthy new year that is full of peace, love, health, happiness, joy, and laughter. Be kind to yourselves and be kind to each other.
Happy New Year to you all from London.
Be happy, be safe, and keep the faith.
I am ringing in the new year in London with my son, the Englishman, his daughters, and entire family.
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. . .
11.29.13 at 1:56 pm | My nest will never empty as my son will always be. . .
11.28.13 at 7:59 am | Think. Laugh. Cry.
11.26.13 at 7:06 am | God places love where we don't always see it.
11.30.13 at 10:42 am | "The only correct actions are those that demand. . . (531)
9.15.13 at 3:14 pm | I love you Russell Brand. (285)
7.25.11 at 5:38 pm | We need more Jews! (284)
December 28, 2012 | 4:40 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
This is a very entertaining family. By entertaining of course I mean totally blog worthy. The Englishman has a lovely father, who has a delightful girlfriend. His mother is divine and she has a charming boyfriend. The brother below him may be my new favorite human being, and the youngest brother is hilarious, his wife is adorable, their three kids are delicious.
By delicious of course I mean these boys should have their own reality show. They are 12, 9 & 6, very cute, and have accents so thick that after four days I am now able to understand every third word they say. The oldest one tells me he is blamed for everything, the middle one says nobody listens to him, and the youngest one is spoiled because he is the baby.
They fight hard, laugh harder, and are insanely protective of each other. They remind me of my two sisters and myself when we were young. I am the middle child so I am somewhat partial to the middle boy. I would never say it to them of course, but I may slip him an extra 50 in Monopoly money when I am the banker. These kids are hilarious and I am in love.
Their parents are lovely. They are young, have been together since they were 15 and 19, and have a great love affair. They are very cute. By cute of course I mean I would watch a show about them too. They have three boys, and their house is madness. The really good kind of madness that makes mothers wish they had more kids and kids wish they had more siblings.
Sidebar: The wife asked her husband to empty the dishwasher and he said no. I told him that only when he could pass a watermelon out of his bum could he refuse to empty the dishwasher. He informed me that women were allowed to vote, which was real progress, and that should be enough. He also said women milk pregnancy and their periods for sympathy.
He looks like my Englishman, has a wicked sense of humor, and I know he was simply trying to push my buttons, but I’m writing about it because there are some who know his true identity and I want them to know what he said. This man that we all love, is a husband who won’t empty the dishwasher and thinks childbirth is a piece of cake and does not hurt that much.
In four days we have settled into a sibling rivalry that I love. He gets a thrill from pushing my buttons and his banter with the Englishman is perfection. When they reminisce about childhood shenanigans and who is to blame for things, it is hilarious. He feels like my brother, both literally and figuratively because he reminds me so much of my own little brother.
The Englishman’s other brother has a wonderful worldview. He talks to everyone he meets, and makes friends everywhere he goes. He gives money to people who ask for help, and finds humor in most things. He shares a sense of humor with his brothers, looks just like them, joins in the family storytelling, and is truly a remarkable human being.
He is the middle brother and to hear him speak of my Englishman is very special. He loves him in a profound way and of all the family I think he misses him the most. He looks at my Englishman with pure love, takes joy out of everything he says, laughs at the same things, and is still waiting for his brother to move back to England, 32 years after he left.
The Englishman’s father is handsome and charming. He is funny, sarcastic, witty, and clearly their father. They look the same, talk the same, and laugh the same. I was looking forward to hugging him and in the end it lived up to all my expectations. He is a warm man and when he tells me he loves me I close my eyes and hear my own father's voice.
The Englishman's mother is beautiful. Her eyes are big and blue and when I met her and she hugged me, I didn't want her to ever let me go. I hope my son loves me when he is as old as my Englishman, the way my Englishman loves her. When we sit to talk she holds my hand, she plays with my hair, and when he told her he loved me, she said she loved me too.
I love my family. Not because I have to, but because I choose to. It is now the same with the family of my Englishman. I love them. They have welcomed my son and me with open arms and open hearts. I feel safe with these people and when they tell me they want my Englishman to move back one day, I know should that day come, it will be wonderful for us.
My son would live here in a heartbeat and is looking at English universities as an option. The Englishman's kids would also absolutely love to live in England and so it is a real possibility that we would end up here one day. They are great people and it has been a pleasure spending this week with them. By pleasure of course I am not including what happened tonight.
I am still in shock and so it is difficult, but I will blog about it when I have recovered. Tonight I experienced a family ritual that will haunt me for years to come. I have never seen anything like it and not sure I can find the words to properly explain it. The way this family plays Monopoly is unlike any experience I have ever had. Ever. Seriously, ever.
I love Monopoly and grew up playing. I remember serious sibling rivalry when we played in my family as a kid. We don’t play as adults because the aggression and stress is too much for us now, but as crazy as my family was about this game, the Englishman’s family has us beat. Wait until you hear what they do. It is frightening so you’ll have to keep the faith.
December 26, 2012 | 5:31 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
After three months of talking, writing, and dreaming about it, we are finally in London. After nine months of dating, with never more than three consecutive nights together, the Englishman and I will be spending the next two weeks together. After almost seventeen years of my son and I being a party of two, we are joining a large family. After 46 years of searching for something, I finally realize nothing is missing and I can stop looking.
I have led a difficult but blessed life. From the time I was little I was looking for something. I never knew what it was exactly, but I was looking. When I knew what I was looking for, I would not give up until I found it, then change what I was looking or so I could keep searching. Whether it was love, faith, or a car key, I look until I find it, then look for something else. It is a good way to live, but in the end also exhausting.
I came to London looking, and as we landed my son held my hand and told me it was the best day of his whole life. I looked at my Englishman and was filled with joy. I like feeling calm and sadly it is elusive, but at that moment I was calm. As we walked through the airport, I held hands with this wonderful man, we watched the kids smiling and laughing, and I cried because I truly felt like I could relax and stop looking.
We were greeted at the airport by the Englishman’s youngest brother, his wife, and their three kids. While the three young boys were thrilled to see their uncle and cousins, they were wary of my son and me. It took about 15 minutes to get them to warm up and now it is love. We went to see my Englishman’s parents and seeing their faces as they saw their son was really special. They love him, you can see it, and it is heartbreaking but lovely.
I am the only one of the kids in my family to move to another country and after twenty years in America, my mother is still waiting for me to move home to Canada. They miss him as my parents miss me and I felt for them. As my son prepares to go off to college I will miss him in the same way. It changes how you parent your own kids when you can see your parents as a parent yourself. The love does not change. Ever.
I was nervous to meet his family, which was not surprising I suppose, but I am surprised by how much I love these people. Families are hard. There is history within a family and to come in as an outsider can be stressful and intimidating. At our age the Englishman and I have lived several lives and comparisons are going to be made by our families of the people we choose to bring into our lives. That is just human nature.
When you meet the family of a person that you love, there are insecurities that automatically come into play. Will they like me? Will they think I’m pretty? Will they think I’m good enough? Fun enough? Smart enough? Will they think back to an old love and believe she was a better match for the person they love? It plays with your heart, makes one sensitive, and can drive you a bit batty. I had all those feelings coming to England.
As I sat this afternoon in the home of the Englishman’s mother, I had clarity. We were on her couch, looking through albums of family pictures, and she was playing with my hair as I looked through photos. I looked around the room and felt like I had found something I didn’t even know I was looking for. I’m not sure if I was feeling luck, or love, but whatever it was, it made me close my eyes, breathe in deeply, and thank God.
I love this man and I love his family. I love them in a way that makes me know it is right, not question whether it is. I love them in a way that makes me feel safe, not insecure, happy not worried, peaceful not stressed. In loving this man I have found a family I love too. In watching this man and his family with my son, I see my remarkable son has also found something he was looking for. I see who I am in a different light than before.
I have always felt that any man who was with me was lucky. I am funny, smart, pretty, caring, kind, and generous. I have been hurt by love in the past and so I tend to leave my relationships before I am hurt. In my short time here I have come to understand that I am the lucky one. My Englishman is a wonderful human being and seeing him with his family, makes me thankful he is my family. We are lucky to be with each other.
I have no idea what the future holds, but I do know what love is, and this is it. I know I have been looking and that I will work hard to keep what I have found because it is too good to allow my fear, insecurities and history guide me away from it. I still think he is lucky, but London has shown me that so am I. I will blog tomorrow to share my adventures and introduce you to the characters in this family. Until then, keep the faith.
December 16, 2012 | 10:16 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I am leaving on Saturday for 2 weeks in London with my Englishman. We are taking my son and his two daughters to visit. We will be staying with his family and I am very excited. I have not been to England in fifteen years, and it is my son’s first trip to Europe. I am nervous but excited.
I am nervous about flying and meeting his family, but also because in the 10 months we have been dating we have not spent more than 3 consecutive nights together. We are not only traveling together for an extended period of time, but he is sharing his family with me.
The Englishman has two brothers in addition to his parents. I have spoken with all members of his family on the phone and I adore them. My Englishman is the oldest of three boys and the brothers are both lovely. His sister-in-law is adorable, and his nephews are delicious.
His mother calls me Darling and always takes my side when I tell her that her son cheats at cards. She tells him he is lucky to have me and it is sweet. She is a Jewish mother who loves her son and she is kind to me in a way I appreciate, being a Jewish mother myself.
Every conversation I have with his dad ends with him telling me, “God bless you”. I feel true love for his dad and I cannot wait to hug him. Having lost my own father, having a father figure in my life is something I am excited about in a way that I worry I cannot properly explain.
I love my Englishman for many reasons. I think he is handsome, smart, funny, kind, generous, and sexy. One of the sexiest things about him is how he is as a father. This man loves his children and puts them both first. He is his most attractive when he is kvelling over his daughters.
He respects them as people, loves them as a father should, and likes them because they are good people. He shows the same kindness to my son, and he is loved by both of us for it. I love the father side of my Englishman and I also love the father of my Englishman. I love him very much.
When I spoke with his dad this weekend he said he loved me. When I heard the words they caught my breath and I could hear my own father’s voice. It was a split second, but the closeness I felt to my dad through his dad was divine. To have him tell me he loved me, was very special.
Hugging this man will be a highlight of my trip because it will be as if I am hugging my own father. There is something special about a hug from your dad and I believe my dad will be there with me, in his beloved England, and he will hug me through the Englishman's dad.
It sounds odd I suppose, but the truth is that ten years Iater I am unable to wrap my head around the fact that my dad has passed away so if I can bring him back somehow through this hug, then I am going to do it. Even if it is just silliness I don't care. I am going to hug my dad through his.
I miss my dad every day and to be able to spend time with the father of the man I love is going to be great. We are building a life together and having a father in my life is something I miss. When I meet him for the first time I will hug him and hope I remember to let go at some point.
Meeting the Englishman’s family will bring me tremendous joy and I cannot wait to take him and his daughters to Canada to meet my family. I love family and with my son and I alone in Los Angeles, merging our families has brought me fulfillment in a way that brings me inner peace.
To my Englishman, I love you. To my Englishman’s father, please know when I hug you I am going to hang on a second longer than is necessary or appropriate. I will probably cry, because that is how I roll, so don’t be scared, just know your hug allows me to keep the faith.
December 15, 2012 | 8:17 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I am overwhelmed by what happened at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. My heart is broken and I cry at the senseless loss. I simply do not understand what happened and I am struggling. So many lives lost, so many lives shattered, so many questions will never be answered.
These families were lighting menorahs, decorating trees, and enjoying the holiday season. Life was being lived one evening, and the next morning everything is different. If I am feeling this kind of pain, what must it be like for these families? It all makes it hard for me to breathe.
For those who bear tonight the unbearable
burden of unimaginable grief,
who in their agony yell at the forces of fate...
For those who moan and those who faint,
for those who rage and those who pray,
we moan and pray along with them.
For tonight, those were our children too.
Dear God, May a legion of angels come upon the parents
and bring to them an otherworldly touch,
an otherworldly comfort and otherworldly sense that their children
are well, that they are safe with God,
and shall be with them always.
Give to those who grieve what no mortal force can give...
the touch of Your Hand upon their heart.
May all who are touched by this darkness be Lit by Your grace.
Please wipe away all tears, dear God. as only You can do.
-- Marianne Williamson
I don’t know what to do, or what to think. I am so sad. I take comfort in prayer, and my tears are a release, but my heart is broken in a way that is confusing. I am keeping these families, those babies, and their heroes in my prayers. The loss is staggering and one can only hope they take comfort in the love we send them. May God help us all as we struggle to keep the faith.
December 14, 2012 | 8:06 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I am 46 years old and I have a boyfriend, which is ridiculous. Not ridiculous I am in a relationship, but that he is my "boyfriend". By definition a boyfriend is a frequent or regular male companion in a romantic or sexual relationship. That sounds like a grown up thing, but the label sounds very young and frankly, silly.
Calling him my "lover" seems weird. I am not going to introduce him to people as my lover. It seems almost vulgar. At my age it is a given that I am having sex with him, but still, I don't need to announce it. Plus, the implication could be that we are lovers and nothing else. Lover is not an appropriate label for him.
I could go with "partner", but that sounds more like business than love. He is certainly my partner, but this is not a deal or a dance, so partner is cold. I asked my son what another name for boyfriend was and he suggested, "Dude I'm dating". Really? Labels in relationships are important but at my age, also lame. Is he the dude I'm dating? We are not even dating really. The courtship is over and we are actually in a relationship, not deciding if we want one. He is more than a boyfriend, more than a lover, more than a partner, and more than simply the dude I am dating. Who is this man, what do I call him, and does it matter?
I feel weird calling him my boyfriend yet he calls me his girlfriend. He actually takes pride in the label, tells everyone I am his girlfriend, and he is 53 years old. Is it different for men? Is it just women who care about placing labels on relationships? Is it about women always wanting something more? By women of course I mean me. Do I want more? I honestly don’t know and certainly don’t want to make this about something deep and complicated because its not. This is about me not being a teenager and therefore not wanting to call the man I share my life with my boyfriend. It is just that simple.
My son is about to turn 17. He and his friends have girlfriends and boyfriends. How is it that a relationship for teenagers is labeled the same way as it is for people in the 40’s, 50’s and beyond? Don’t even get me started on the fact that my boyfriend is taking me home to meet his parents. Oy Vey people! Maybe that is the issue! Am I freaking out because after years of being alone, I have a boyfriend, who I love very much, and he is taking me home to meet his family? Might I feel that having a boyfriend is for teenagers because the emotions of having a boyfriend are making me feel like a teenager?
The truth is I am more nervous about meeting his mother than I was about meeting his kids. Dear Lord, I am a teenager. I am giddy about this man and that has turned me into a teenager. Love as a teenager was horrible the first time around and here I am going through it again. Dear God give me strength. I am leaving for London in 7 days. The Englishman, his two daughters, my son, and me, are heading over the pond and I am very happy about it. I know his parents will love my son because he is perfection. I also know they will love me because I love their son. I know these things, but I’m still a little scared.
When a man can make an old woman feel like a teenager, perhaps that is love. I’m not that old, but being 46 and feeling 16 is enough of a jump to qualify me as old. In the end the label I place on the man I love is simply “My Englishman”. That is what he is. He is mine, and I am blessed and proud to say it out loud. A week from now I will be packing for England and stressing about flying. Two weeks from now I will be sitting in his mother’s kitchen having a cup of tea, and stressing about flying home. I am a 46 year old woman with the heart of a 16 year old girl so all I can do is counting my blessing and keep the faith.
December 10, 2012 | 10:48 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I have worn glasses since I was five and have such severe Keratoconus I had both of my corneas transplanted. Keratoconus is an eye disease that affects the structure of the cornea. The cornea is the clear tissue covering the front of the eye. The shape of the cornea slowly changes from the normal round shape to a cone shape, which causes vision problems.
I wear contact lenses most of the time, but do occasionally use glasses, which are truly horrible. They are super thick, change how my eyes look, and are too embarrassing to wear any place other than in the privacy of my own home, and only when I am alone. If I could change one thing about myself, it would be my vision. I’d love to be able to see better.
I have always been grateful for sight. It has gotten worse as I’ve gotten older, and while my new corneas have been a blessing, my eyesight is deteriorating and that makes me see things a little differently, both literally and figuratively. I have spent most of my life worried that I will one day lose my vision, so I take everything in and try to memorize it.
Sidebar: One of my corneas came from an 18 year old boy who died in a car accident, and the other from a 22 year old boy who was shot in a robbery. I am able to see because of the generosity of these young men and their families. I am an organ donor and have kept these two boys in my prayers since the day they saved my sight.
I can describe every inch of my son’s face to you. The truth is I can describe the faces of all the people I love in great detail. I take pictures of them with my mind so that I can see them in my minds eye when my vision is gone. It could plateau of course and I could maintain my current sight but the truth is each year gets just a little bit worse.
This morning I woke up to see my cat sitting 5 inches away from my face. She was staring at me as if she was memorizing how I look and it made me sad. I am leaving for England in 11 days and I will be away for 2 weeks. I wonder if she knows and is preparing herself. Perhaps she is hoping I memorize her face so I don’t forget. She’s sweet like that.
I never take my vision for granted and while I hate my coke bottle glasses, I also treasure them. I went to my son’s school yesterday to watch a holiday performance. As I sat there watching this divine child and his friends, I was overcome with emotion. I feel so blessed to see him grow up. Not just be with him, but to actually see what he looks like everyday.
When I was at school I lost my car key. I looked everywhere but it was simply gone. I must have dropped it on campus at some point and I was so sad. My friends Naomi and Karen helped me look for it, but we could not find it. Karen was going to drive me home to get my spare key and bring me back to school to get my car. I was very grateful.
We went to the school office to check one more time if the key had been turned in and no luck. I said a prayer and asked God to please help me find the key. I told him I knew it was there and could he please just help me. I left the office with Karen and told her how sad I was. Karen is a lovely woman and has a strong conviction to her faith.
We do not practice the same religion, but we have a deep and profound respect for each other. Karen is big on prayer and I told her I prayed to find the key. She told me that she prayed too. What was interesting is that we both told God the exact same thing. Independent of each other we used the same words and then within minutes, the key was found.
Some will think it is silly, but I don’t care. I believe in the power of prayer and our joined forces found my key. As I drove home I thought about Karen and faith. We follow very different teachings in terms of faith, but we pray to the same God and it left me feeling very peaceful. It got me thinking about what I am able to see and what is invisible.
I am always worried about my eyesight. I worry about the health of my eyes and pray I will not only see my child grow up, but his children too. When I close my eyes I can see all the pictures I have taken over the years and so I worry a little less. Vision is a powerful thing and I learned today that I see some wonderful things when my eyes are closed.
I will probably always worry about my sight and maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to try some of the new options available to people with Keratoconus. I will always pray, always respect faiths different from my own, and always be grateful for what I am able to see when my eyes are open, and closed. I am blessed to have perfect vision when I keep the faith.
December 7, 2012 | 7:56 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I watched the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show this week and can I just say, WOW. These women really are spectacular looking and I watched in amazement as each one strutted her stuff. I would like to live in a body for that for a day. By for a day of course I mean forever.
I would walk around naked just staring at myself all day long. I would actually go to the market in only my Victoria’s Secret underwear. Do I sound jealous? Well I am. These women are spectacular looking and I hate them for it. Not hate them really, just envious.
Miranda Kerr was especially offensive to me. This chick had a baby 5 minutes ago and looks amazing. I am working on losing the weight I gained when I had my son and it is very hard. How old is my son? He is almost 17. Don’t judge me. Eat a sandwich Miranda. With mayo!
I thought the show was really great. Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber were all great, and the women wore pieces of art. As I watched, and fantasized about having a body like theirs, I also imagined how it would be to write bitch on their foreheads with a Sharpie. Not kidding.
I am leaving for London in 15 days! We’ve been planning this trip for months and to have it now be so close is exciting. I will be there with my son, the Englishman, and his two daughters. As thrilled as I am to be going on this holiday, I am freaked out by flying and dreading the flight.
I have travelled extensively in my life, but it has only been in the last 15 years or so that I have been afraid of it. I need to be seriously medicated to get on a plane. Taking off and landing are scary for me, but the actual flying part freaks me out and requires some cocktails.
Medicating yourself for a flight is a serious science. I need to be looped enough to simply get on the plane, but not so hammered that they think something is wrong with me. Then I need to be relaxed enough to fly, but not so zonked out that I would be useless in an emergency.
It has been a long time since I went to Europe and so I’m not sure how I will do. There will be medication involved, and cocktails, so all I can do is pray we all arrive safely and hope I don’t humiliate myself. God willing I land not drooling when I meet the Englishman’s parents.
I find it fascinating how easy it is for people who don't agree with my blogs to say it is because I am Jewish. The amount of hate that is directed to me for my faith is sad and hurtful, but also very interesting. People of faith, hating on people of faith, is a very interesting thing.
The Internet gives people courage to say what they want when they are hiding in the shadows. It is rare that people will use their real names when they call me a dirty, stupid, or evil Jew. If they want me to take their hate seriously, they need to own it, not throw it and run.
It is cowardly, in my opinion, to email hate to me from a fake email address, or tweet hateful to me from the protection of a Twitter egg. These haters know who I am, yet they are not brave enough to let me respond to who they are. Probably because they don’t like who they are.
My name is Ilana Angel. I am Jewish. I am 46 years old and could afford to lose 46 pounds. I am smart, beautiful, and funny. I am a great mom, friend, daughter, writer, and girlfriend. If you don’t like me, it is okay. My opinion of myself is not changed by your opinion of me.
It has been a long week and the next two weeks before my holiday are going to be busy. There are a million things going on with my work, my kid’s school, and my family and friends. The holidays are crammed with shopping, parties, and deadlines. I’m just trying to get it all done.
Shabbat matters to me, but today I find myself needing it. I am going to embrace it and allow the peace of Shabbat to wash over me. With so much stress and hate this week, it will be nice to be home, be quiet, be calm, and be able to have a conversation with God.
I am a very blessed woman. I may not look like a Victoria’s Secret angel, but I am an angel. Literally. When I say I am beautiful I mean it, but I would take a body like that in a heartbeat. I may not be a good flyer, but with the help of Xanax all will be fine in London.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. If you celebrate Hannukah, enjoy the holiday. It really is a magical time. As the year comes to a close I am happy, reflective, and looking ahead. Thank you for reading and sharing. Shabbat Shalom. Be safe, be kind, and keep the faith.