Mattie Miracle 10th Anniversary Walk was an $119,000 success!

Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation Promotional Video

Thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive!

Dear Mattie Blog Readers,

It means a great deal to us that you take the time to write to us and to share your thoughts, feelings, and reflections on Mattie's battle and death. Your messages are very meaningful to us and help support us through very challenging times. To you we are forever grateful. As my readers know, I promised to write the blog for a year after Mattie's death, which would mean that I could technically stop writing on September 9, 2010. However, at the moment, I feel like our journey with grief still needs to be processed and fortunately I have a willing support network still committed to reading. Therefore, the blog continues on. If I should find the need to stop writing, I assure you I will give you advanced notice. In the mean time, thank you for reading, thank you for having the courage to share this journey with us, and most importantly thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive.


As Mattie would say, Ooga Booga (meaning, I LOVE YOU)! Vicki and Peter



The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation celebrates its 7th anniversary!

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation was created in the honor of Mattie.

We are a 501(c)(3) Public Charity. We are dedicated to increasing childhood cancer awareness, education, advocacy, research and psychosocial support services to children, their families and medical personnel. Children and their families will be supported throughout the cancer treatment journey, to ensure access to quality psychosocial and mental health care, and to enable children to cope with cancer so they can lead happy and productive lives. Please visit the website at: www.mattiemiracle.com and take some time to explore the site.

We have only gotten this far because of people like yourself, who have supported us through thick and thin. So thank you for your continued support and caring, and remember:

.... Let's Make the Miracle Happen and Stomp Out Childhood Cancer!

A Remembrance Video of Mattie

August 18, 2018

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Saturday, August 18, 2018


Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2009. Mattie was home briefly and that day he wanted to play with his toy motor boat. So we inflated his kiddie pool on the deck and Captain Mattie did the rest. One of our supporters gave Mattie this captain's hat, and he loved it. When Mattie was well, he would always tell us that he wanted to save his money to buy a boat. He did not mean a toy boat either, he meant a real boat. The notion of a being on the water was exciting to Mattie. 






Quote of the day: I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough, we must do. ~ Leonardo da Vinci


This was a sight that Mattie would have absolutely loved today. We had a freight train with 81 cars stop traffic. It was a real scene, as none of us could go anywhere for several minutes. I literally put the car in park and counted train cars. Which is how I can speak authoritatively about the count. 

It was a busy day of chores. I leave on Tuesday and want to make sure that as much as possible can be completed, especially as it relates to huge items and more complicated logistics. I will be planting some items tomorrow morning before it gets too hot here. So I will be sure to snap some photos of the things I planted while here. But I am happy to say that all framed pictures are now up on the walls. 


August 17, 2018

Friday, August 17, 2018

Friday, August 17, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken on August 12, 2009. It was about a week after we learned about Mattie's terminal diagnosis. We were in the child life playroom and Mattie was surrounded by a bunch of his hospital supporters. Directly behind Mattie is Jey. Jey met Mattie early on in our cancer journey, as Jey worked in radiology transport. Jey took an immediate liking to Mattie and seemed to understand that Mattie's situation was very serious, but he also appreciated his charm and wit. The lady sitting on the right hand side of the photo is Liz. Liz was an artist that volunteered her time at the Hospital. Over the course of that year, Mattie and Liz worked together often. They created all sorts of things together, such as poetry. Needless to say, all these individuals mobilized forces to help us during this extremely difficult time. 


Quote of the day: If you want to touch the past, touch a rock.  If you want to touch the present, touch a flower.  If you want to touch the future, touch a life.  Unknown


This photo was taken on Tuesday, August 14. I realized I never posted my parent's anniversary photos to the blog. August 14th is my parent's wedding anniversary and Peter and I started a tradition last year by taking them to Bistro Gardens. 

We do not go to this restaurant often, only on special occasions. It is a charming garden like setting, with live piano music, and in a very serene and elegant setting. 

Though Peter is in Washington, DC, he was with us in spirit. Joining me at the dinner were my parents friends, Gary and Marie. We have known them for years and they are loyal supporters of Mattie Miracle. 

A photo of the three of us!

August 16, 2018

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken on August 22, 2009. Mattie was home and on that particular night one of his teeth fell out. You can see that Mattie was holding his little tooth fairy box. He always put a tooth in this box and placed it near his pillow for the tooth fairy. Mattie did not want money from the fairy! On the contrary, he always wrote a note asking for something specific. The asks ranged from a hotwheel car to a even a necklace made out of pasta! I remember buying this fairy box with Mattie (pre-cancer) on one of our trips to Florida. 




Quote of the day: I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. ~ Edward Everett Hale


My parents and I went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Outside the museum is a wonderful artistic display of LA light poles. I can't tell you how much attention these lights get. You can always find people taking photos here. So we joined in and took a selfie. 
One of the exhibits we saw today was entitled, Chiaroscuro Woodcut in Renaissance Italy. Displaying exquisite designs, technical virtuosity, and sumptuous color, chiaroscuro woodcuts are among the most striking prints of the Renaissance. First introduced in Italy around 1516, the chiaroscuro woodcut, which involves printing an image from two or more woodblocks inked in different hues, was one of the most successful early forays into color printing in Europe. Taking its name from the Italian for “light” (chiaro) and “shade” (scuro), the technique creates the illusion of depth through tonal contrasts.

Over the course of the century, the chiaroscuro woodcut underwent sophisticated technical advancements in the hands of talented printmakers such as Ugo da Carpi, Antonio da Trento, Niccolò Vicentino, Nicolò Boldrini, and Andrea Andreani, and engaged some of the most celebrated painters of the time, including Titian, Raphael, and Parmigianino.


We lucked out because as we were entering the exhibit a docent was starting a tour. Thank goodness we bumped into Lois, because she helped this exhibit come alive for us. She started her tour by a glass enclosed cabinet. The cabinet visually walked its viewer through the woodcut process. The process involves a specially hand crafted paper and pigments mixed in oil. 
Here you can see a block of wood that has been carved by these tools. The round thing at the top was used to blot ink onto the wooden block. 
These are examples of pieces created from the wood blocks. Understand though that one wooden block is carved for each color that you see here. So in order to produce the final product (on the far right of this row), four other wood blocks had to be created to capture each of the colors you see from left to right. Can you imagine how difficult it was to create this small print? It involved carving four wood blocks that are exactly the same. Multiple wood blocks were needed because each block represented a different color. The way I think about this is from my experience using rubber stamps.

Picture a butterfly ink stamp. You stamp the butterfly on a piece of paper, using black ink. Then you grab a second butterfly stamp (that is the same size and shape) and drip it in red ink and stamp it directly over the black stamp. Certainly we all know that it is very hard to accurately restamp the same shape you made on a piece of paper. But this is in essence what these artists did. They did multiple strikes of the image on the SAME place on a piece of paper. That alone took an incredibly gifted eye and hand. It was only be doing multiple strikes that the right color balance was achieved to illuminate the subject matter. 

Aeneas and Anchises (Ugo da Carpi, 1518)

This woodcut used two different blocks. One for each color. It depicts a scene in Troy..... as the Greeks ventured to rescue their Helen. In this woodcut, you see a man. The man was carrying his disabled father and his son was trailing alongside. Notice the father was carrying a statue. Apparently this was a statue of a Greek god that the family identified with. In this case, he was carrying Athena (the goddess of war). 
Sibyl Reading (Ugo da Carpi, 1517-1518)

The dark interior of this subject matter set the perfect stage to display the light and dark talents of this woodcut. It is hard to see it in this photo, but the flame from this little boy's torch (YES a boy), illuminates this woman's book and skirt beautifully. It was hard to believe this was done with a carved wood block and ink.

This is the most copied Italian chiaroscuro woodcut design.









This is three different versions of Sibyl. The two on the left were done by Ugo and the one on the right is a copy of Ugo's work (again this photo doesn't do it justice, but the details and illumination in the copy are poor). 
Venus and Cupid (Nicolo Boldrini, 1566)

Unlike typical Venus paintings or prints, this Venus was portrayed in a more maternal role. As she was depicted cradling cupid in her arms. 
Ugo da Carpi, "Hercules and the Nemean Lion," circa 1517-18 

Ugo was indeed prolific: 19 prints of 12 subjects are here, several showing different interpretations of the same image. One of the most arresting is “Hercules and the Nemean Lion,” based on either Raphael or Giulio Romano. An indigo-blue ink casts a twilight spell over an exquisitely refined drawing of the grappling man and beast. Hercules prevailed by choking the lion in his powerful arms — a scene that Ugo makes simultaneously ferocious and oddly tender.
Ugo da Carpi, "Diogenes," circa 1527-30, four-block chiaroscuro woodcut 

Diogenes, the contrarian beggar-philosopher, is seated before the big storage barrel that he lived in. The figure, wrapped in a swirl of billowing cloak, is powerfully muscled. Next to him dances an ungainly plucked chicken. The juxtaposition — robust muscleman and gawky fowl — is a wonderfully sarcastic rebuke to Plato’s description of humans as featherless bipeds.

Hercules and the Nemean Lion (Nicolo Boldrini, 1560)

There was a bird and two squirrels carved into this woodcut. It is hard to see in this photo, but the details were so intricate and fine. 

Massacre of the Innocents (Marcantonio Raimondi, 1513-1515)

Raphael collaborated with Marcantonio on a number of engravings to circulate his designs beyond the confines of Roman churches and palaces. These woodcuts demonstrated to an international audience Raphael's command of design and Marcantonio's technical skills. 

August 15, 2018

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken on August 20, 2009. This was what our living room looked like almost a year into Mattie's treatment. There were THINGS everywhere. I literally couldn't keep up with the amount of gifts coming into our home. All of which we were grateful to receive, but we had no energy to organize and process the items. In this photo, you will see Mattie and Peter holding up a 747 Lego airplane. A plane they built together! These large Lego kits occupied Mattie for hours and kept us all working together, which Mattie wanted, without dialogue. Mattie found comfort in our undivided attention, and Legos provided the perfect outlet for all of us. 




Quote of the day: The great use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it. ~ William James



We went to see an exhibit entitled, "Genghis Khan." This exhibit will be rolling out of LA on August 19th, so we wanted to see it while it was here. 

What do pants, the pony express, cannons, paper money, skis, violins, bakhlava and “hooray!” have in common? Answer: Genghis Khan introduced them all to the West. Not Genghis the brutal barbarian of Western history books, but Genghis the great civilizer and lawmaker, whose empire brought each of these innovations to the west, including 13th Century Mongolian-style democracy.


Named "The Man of the Millennium" by TIME Magazine and CNN, Genghis’s reputation as the greatest conqueror is well-deserved – he dominated three times more land in his lifetime than either Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great, a conquest attested to by the formidable array of swords, bows, arrows, saddles and armor included on display in Genghis Khan. In fact, the historic exhibition showcases hundreds of artifacts from Genghis’s 13th century Empire, the largest such collection ever to tour.


Genghis not only created the nation of Mongolia and its written language, but his lineage established the modern borders of nations from India to Iran, Korea to China as well as opened the trade routes that united East and West forever.

The Mongolian Empire stretched from present day China to Turkey, and from Russia to Pakistan. 


The exhibit tried to give the viewer a more balanced view of Genghis Khan.... as illustrated in this STATESMAN placard, which said:

There is another side to Genghis Khan - that of gifted, innovative leader who brought stability and unity to his people. Although he ruled with an iron fist, he rewarded loyalty and merit, established the rule of law, and opened trade and exchange across Asia. Mongolians today still revere Genghis Khan as the spirit of their nation. 


The exhibit highlighted some great quotes by Genghis Khan. Quotes that highlighted the man behind the name....

I am the wrath of God. If you had not displeased him, he would not have sent me to destroy you. 
If you wish to have friends..... allow them to feel their importance. 











Genghis Khan's father was murdered when he was 8 years old. The tribe abandoned Khan's mom and all her children. So at an early age, Khan learned the art of survival and living a nomadic life. 
These spear like structures, with hair coming off of them, were featured through out the exhibit. They are called Sulde, or spirit banners. They symbolize rank and serve as guardians. They are made out of horse or yak hair tied to a spear. 
This medal medallion served as a passport. One such as this was given to Marco Polo. This enabled a person to freely traverse the Mongolian empire without question. Here is what was written on this passport....

I am the emissary of the Khan. If you defy me, you die.  




Mongolians were considered nomads. In fact, a third of their current population still falls in this category. 

They lived in yurts, felt lined wood framed tents with peaked roofs. Bathing was infrequent, and washing clothes even more rare. A Mongol might wear one shirt continuously until it disintegrated. 13th Century nomads consumed not only their livestock and dairy products but also the wild animals they hunted. In times of near starvation, Mongols would drink the blood of their horses and eat their own body lice. 
A example of a yurt. Keep in mind that half of the yurt was occupied by the male figure head of the family. Then the other half of the yurt was for the women, children, elderly, and favorite animals. 











Within the exhibit, we heard traditional Mongolian music and got to observe  
different traditional dances. 
My mom and I took a selfie in this room that was a recreation of Karakorum, the walled city, which became the capital of the Mongolian Empire after Genghis Khan’s son inherited the kingdom. 
The role of women went beyond home and child care. It also included milking the animals, to produce the family's butter, cheese and yogurt. Women contributed to the Mongols' military success. After each battle, they collected arrows and finished off wounded enemy soldiers. 
Without horses there would have been NO Mongol empire. The Mongol cavalry was one of Genghis Khan's greatest advantages. The horses' speed and maneuverability gave his army the upper hand over much larger armies of foot soldiers, who could march only a few miles a day. On horseback, the Mongol army could cover as much as 100 miles a day. 


 Typical male attire. 
 Typical female attire. 
Genghis created the nation of Mongolia's written language. To the untrained viewer, the words look characters and not letters that are read from up to down. 

















This is replica of the Chinese palace of Xanadu, the center of the Empire of Genghis’s grandson, Kublai, who united China for the first time.
There were several placards highlighting Khan's strategies. This one was a list that says ten ways to conquer a walled city. 

One of the items on this list says.... Fill moats with dead bodies from previous conquests. 
















Khan also generated a Yasa, or laws that regulated his empire. Some of these caught my attention such as:

No taxes or duties should be imposed upon lawyers, physicians, scholars, and people who devote themselves to prayer and asceticism. 

or

Whoever takes goods (on credit) and becomes bankrupt, then again takes goods and again becomes bankrupt, then takes goods again and yet again become bankrupt, is to be put to death after the third time. 


Though the exhibit was marketed as showing us the Statesman behind Khan, I would say it provided very little evidence of this. Instead it highlighted the savage nature of his army, his philosophies, his conquests and desire to claim territories so that Mongolians could led a peaceful life (a rather ironic statement).  

August 14, 2018

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 -- Mattie died 465 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken on August 12, 2009. By this point Mattie already had his sternotomy to remove tumors in his lungs. However, despite all the best efforts to treat Mattie medically, we knew that he was losing his battle in this photo. Nonetheless, Mattie's care providers encouraged us to work Mattie's lungs, which was what this photo captured. Mattie wouldn't do it without one of us doing it with him. So Peter joined in..... illustrating two boys on a spirometer!



Quote of the day: When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.  Eleanor Roosevelt


This photo was taken last year, as Peter and I celebrated my parent's wedding anniversary. Though Peter isn't with me this year, we are both taking my parents out to dinner tonight with friends. I am taking them back to the same restaurant we went to last year, because it is a beautiful garden setting and a special experience. 












Meanwhile, this afternoon we went for a light lunch. We went to a landmark tradition in Toluca Lake, called Paty's. Which is basically a 1960's coffeehouse, which has been serving local celebrities for fifty years. 

While we were eating outside today, two fire trucks pulled up and parked right by the green umbrella you see in this photo.  

Out from the trucks came about six Los Angeles Department firefighters. You could just see the camaraderie among them as they sat down together to eat lunch. In addition to that, they were all clean cut and very respectful men. How do I know? I know because I observed how these responded to patrons in the restaurant. Literally when patrons passed them on the way out of the restaurant, they stopped to thank these men for their service. Not just a thank you, but some people went on and on about the heroic feats these men perform on a daily basis. The firefighters listened and thanked them, but it was clear that they love what they do and helping their community. 

On our way out of the restaurant today, my mom stopped to talk to the men and thanked them for all the work they did to put out the fires in the foothills. Hills that are in the backyard of my parent's home. They responded with smiles and appreciated my mom's comments. As she was talking to them, I went back into the restaurant to track down their waitress. I told her I wanted to pay their entire bill. She was very sweet and thanked me for my generosity to them and to her. She then took it upon herself to tell the firefighters what I did. So when I left the restaurant, they literally asked me if I was the person who paid for their lunch. Several of them said I was too generous and they couldn't accept this gift. I told them to drop it, as I strongly believe in supporting people who freely give of themselves to help and serve others. With that, the fire chief got up to shake my hand and was visibly moved by my gesture. So much so that he could hardly talk. 

So here's the moral of the story..... sometimes the greatest gift you can receive is the feeling one obtains from giving to others. I know how I felt when a stranger bought dinner for me and my parents on Saturday at a dinner theater. That was a random act of kindness and the funny thing about an act of kindness.... it is contagious. 

August 13, 2018

Monday, August 13, 2018

Monday, August 13, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken on August 25, 2009. It is hard to believe that this photo was taken about nine years ago, as I can remember this moment in time like it were yesterday. It took me a long time to be comfortable enough to let Mattie ride "Speedy Red" on his own. As you can see, I was taking photos and actually running along side the car just in case my attention was needed. Given that Mattie had oxygen and a pain pump connected to him, I felt the need to be extra cautious. Mattie absolutely loved the feeling and freedom of driving on his own. He was a natural, using the steering wheel, gas pedal, and brake beautifully. 


Quote of the day: Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. ~ Will Rogers


I found several photos today in one of the bureaus in my parent's house. I posted several of them below. As many of you know, this is a photo of our cat, Indie. Indie is a tortoise shell type cat and the reason Indie caught my attention on the rescue kitty website was because I grew up with an Indie type of cat. 
This was Allie! Allie came into our lives when I was in high school. Allie was a fantastic cat and like Indie was easy going. Yet very vocal and had a way of making her needs known. 
When I was in high school, I was living in Los Angeles. We literally had three cats! All of which were stray cats. The cat on the left was Rusty (and we brought Rusty with us when we moved from NY), the cat in the middle was Whiskers and the one on the right was Allie. Both Whiskers and Allie were strays who came to our doorstep and were quickly adopted. 

I can't say I remember ever seeing these photos. So finding them today was a real surprise. I was outside our home in New York during a snow storm. 
Myself and my grandma, trying to do some shoveling! My maternal grandmother lived with my parents after her husband died from cancer. So she was an integral part of the family and a great side kick. Despite our age difference. Do you notice the dog between us? That was our collie, Heidi. 
My grandmother and Heidi (the collie). My grandmother was 71 years old in this photo and as you can see, the snow did not slow her down. My grandmother believed in doing things herself and was very nurturing. Two qualities I shared with her.  
A photo of myself and grandma, when I was in college. 
I found this photo of Peter and me (my mom was sitting to our right) on our first Princess Cruise in 1994.