Friday, April 18, 2014

The Book of Elijah

Monday, April 14, 2014

I was off to an early and productive start in preparing for our annual Passover seder. Jordan had helped me with the Charoses and the Carrot "Shit" (aka simmis or souflee) the day before, and the brisket was sliced and marinating. The only hitch was that our extra refrigerator in the garage had quit a few days before, Andrew and Jordan had gone to Home Depot and purchased a new one, but the new one wasn't working! Repair guy was scheduled to come in the afternoon. Anyway, I had to do the potato kugel (those who are my friends on Facebook already know about my efforts to secure potato kugel mix), put the brisket in the Lohrs' oven next door, set the tables, etc. I had asked our guests to arrive by 6:30.

The table got set, the kugel got baked, and the fridge got fixed. Life was good. I was cool as a cucumber and looking forward to dinner. That's when my barn friend Briana texted me -- 3:46 pm: "I think she has milk dripping." (She also said: Her vagina is very large but no pink just looks engorged.) So, what I know about foaling is about enough to make a yarmulke for a flea, but I understood that milk dripping is a sign that the foal's birth is likely in 24 hours. I sent the picture that Briana had sent to my vet Dr. Smith: his response was "Oh boy."

That's when I started freaking out. I texted close friends and dropped just about every curse that can go with the word holy about 50 times. But it was afternoon, and 99% of mares foal late night or the wee hours of the morning. I figured I had time to have Seder with the family, and then go over to the barn at around 10 pm to check on things. The rare Blood Moon was due at around 2 am, and I thought that the birth would probably coincide.

So, I was a bit testy with my family (sorry family) but basically ready to start the Seder at 6:30 pm -- just waiting on father in law Murray and his wife Dee. We called to find out where they were -- they'd just gotten off the Turnpike and would arrive within 10 minutes. I was anxious with anticipation, barely holding it together, when my phone rang (actually it sang: Only the Good Die Young is my ringtone). A strange number. I picked up. It was Emilio, my 13 year old friend who lives with the groom's family at the stables. This is exactly what Emilio said: "Charm is walking around the stall with legs sticking out of her butt."


Emilio repeated himself, annoyed at my stupidity for not getting what he said the first time. Here's where my brain kicked in, and I asked this brilliant question: "Are they front legs or back legs?" Yup, I was asking a 13 year old boy whether two legs sticking out of my horse's V-Jay were front or back. Like he could tell. I am ashamed. But seriously, Emilio answered "Front I think" and he was right. At least the foal wasn't breech. I told Emilio I would call the vet and that I'd be there as soon as I could.

So what I have to explain now is why my lifeline to the birth of my foal was a 13 year old boy. Yes, Emilio lives with two adults (and 3 other kids), but neither of those two adults speaks a word of English. I do not speak a word of Spanish. (OK, maybe a word or two but I didn't think "dos cerveza" was going to help much.) And there you have it. It was 6:30 pm on a Monday night and no one else was there.

I called Dr. Smith and I guess I said something marginally intelligible because he seemed to understand me. He responded: "It's my birthday and I'm on my way to dinner. Hmmm." Yes, the vet who'd been working with me for an entire year on getting my healthy foal safely into this world simply had other plans. I get it. Birthday. But the timing was just unbelievable. Doc said he'd send someone and we ended our 5 second conversation. I turned to my friends and family who were within range and once again managed to communicate that something dramatic was happening and I had to leave.

I love my husband. I really do. But the next three words out of his mouth really could have ended our marriage. He said, "You are leaving?"


And here's where my BFF Paula comes in. She simply said: "Get your purse and a Xanax. I'll drive." Everyone needs a friend like this.

So we were speeding down 441 toward the barn, and Emilio called again. "She's laying down, there's this big white bubble thing coming out." A big white bubble thing. Okay. "I'm on my way. A vet is coming too." We hung up.

I begged Paula to blow the red light. She did consider it, but in the end decided it was more important to arrive at the barn alive. I had popped the Xanax but of course it was useless. God how I'd wished I'd have grabbed a bottle of vodka instead of my purse.

We were somewhere between Boynton Beach Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue when the phone rang again. Emilio. "It's out. It's on the ground." Me: "Is it breathing?" Emilio: "It's moving. It has white stuff covering it's eyes and face." Me: "Is it's nose and mouth clear?" Emilio: "Yes."

And there you have it. 6:54 p.m. Paula and I arrived about 8 minutes later to find Charm standing and the foal on the ground, seemingly alert, but caught up on it's hind legs in some of the amniotic sac. After quickly changing my shirt in my tack room (hey, good thinking having a change of clothes at the barn), I went into the stall and carefully removed the afterbirth. Within seconds, the foal hoisted itself up on wobbly legs. All I can really remember is Paula saying "She's a rock star!" (At that point we both thought it was a girl -- that's what the vet had said, and there did not seem to be any male parts that we could see.)

Then the vet showed up. I swear he was 15 years old. He may not have actually said "I've never done this before" but he might as well have. He and I helped the foal toward Charm's udders but it didn't seem to be finding the right angle. Charm wasn't helping - she was very interested in the foal, nickering and licking it, but every time it tried to get underneath her belly to nurse she kind of circled around it. So, the prepubescent vet gave her a slight sedative (where was mine?). He then told me I would have to stay all night and proceeded to give me some complicated instructions about what to watch for and what to do but honestly only one thing really stands out -- he said I'd have to give the foal a Fleet Enema and he didn't have one so I'd first have to go to CVS to buy it. "WHAAAAAAAAAAATTTT?"

Now, this was not a surprise event. In fact, it was quite the opposite. And in the entire year it was in the works, not once did my vet or anyone else ever suggest that the culmination of all of this would be that I (me, Amy Beller, lawyer not doctor) would have to give a Fleet Enema to my newborn baby horse. I'm sorry, but don't you think that someone might have mentioned this? So I reacted as anyone would under the circumstances, and politely told Doogie Howser DVM that he was out of his freaking mind. I politely suggested he might stick around himself. He politely declined. A stalemate. He did say, tentatively in my opinion, that the foal was male. Then he left.

In the meantime, Charm seemed calmer and the little foal was making some progress on the nursing thing. Doogie left but visitors arrived: first Mona, then Marcy and Mitch, and Andrew and Jordan plus my mother in law and her husband. Charm and her colt seemed to be doing okay except that Charm still had afterbirth hanging out of her backside. I'd been told by Doogie that if she hadn't passed it in 2 hours, I should call a vet. (You mean one that shaves.)

Well, 2 hours later and that disgusting mass was still hanging out of Charm's back end, so I called Dr. Smith. He said he'd send Doogie back, and I didn't have the wherewithal to protest. However, it was Dr. Smith who actually appeared about 25 minutes later, and man was I happy to see that guy. Charm needed some veterinary assistance finishing the job, and while he was there, Doc Smith gave baby his enema and also a good dose of Charm's colostrum via tube to make sure he'd gotten sufficient antibodies. He then said I could go home and he'd see me there in the morning.

I stayed until about 1 am and was back before sunrise. Both Charm and baby were doing great. What a relief and a thrill! Not quite the same as when Jordan was born but pretty damn good.

So finally, the reason he's called Elijah. As most Jews know, it's a Passover tradition to set an extra place at the Seder table for the prophet Elijah in hope that he will attend. We leave the front door open and even pour a glass of wine for him. Elijah's arrival is said to herald the coming of the Messiah.

Now, I am not religious, but I do like the traditions of my people, especially Passover because it's all about appreciating our freedoms. Just about every Jewish friend and family member, on hearing that the colt had arrived just in time for Seder, suggested the name Elijah. It suits him, almost as if he named himself. Eli is a bright, bold and curious little spitting image of his Momma, and while there is no Messiah, I am truly blessed.

More photos here! 

Sunday, April 13, 2014


1. a period of waiting; pause, interval, or delay.
1. serving or being in attendance: waiting man;waiting maid; waiting woman.
1. in attendance, as upon a royal personage.

Synonyms: abide, anticipate, await, bide, bide one's time, cool it, dally, delay, expect, fill time, foresee, hang around, hang onto your hat, hang out, hang*, hold back, hold everything, hold on, hold the phone, hole up, keep shirt on, lie in wait, lie low, linger, look for, look forward to, mark time, put on hold, remain, save it, sit tight, sit up for, stall, stand by, stay, stay up for, stick around, sweat it, tarry, watch

Famous Quotes
We're waiting for Godot.
-- Samuel Beckett
Estragon: Charming spot. Inspiring prospects. Let's go.
Vladimir: We can't.
Estragon: Why not?
Vladimir: We're waiting for Godot.
-- Samuel Beckett
The waiting room
was full of grown-up people,
arctics and overcoats,
lamps and magazines.
-- Elizabeth Bishop
Waiting - Green Day
I've been waiting for a girl like you - Foreigner
Waiting on a Word - Jack Bruce
Right Here Waiting - Richard MArx
Don't Keep Me Waiting - Sharleen Spiteri (Texas lady)
Waiting - Madonna
Waiting So Long - Supertramp
Waiting In Vain - Annie Lennox
She's Waiting - Eric Clapton
Waiting on the world to Change - John Mayer
Waiting for the Big one - Peter Gabriel
Waiting for the Worms - Pink Floyd
Keep Me Waiting - Roxette
Waiting For You - Seal

Amy B. Beller

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Guests Hail Charm’s Baby Shower as a Great Success

Fifty-four guests (who had concluded that insanity isn’t catching) attended Charm’s Baby Shower at
Barn 18, Golden Gait Stables, this past Saturday. After a brief torrential downpour (see “FRAIN” – n., Florida rain, as in the kind that makes you pull over on I-95 because you can’t see a damn thing but it’s sunny across the street and it only lasts for 10 minutes) required relocating six yellow linen-clothed tables to the shed row, the weather was relatively cooperative but humid. Team Charm was in great form, getting everything ready for the distinguished guests. Charm was expertly braided in purple and pink (Rona Platt, whose day job is General Counsel of a large company) and her hooves were liberally bathed in glitter (later obscured by a self-applied mud wrap). Table centerpieces of multicolored Gerber daisies in vivid spring colors were expertly arranged (by Lori Hochman, daytime office administrator) in cowboy-boot vases anchored with sliced carrots for use later as an equine snack. Pink, purple and turquoise cowboy hats and bandanas adorned tables festively sprinkled with tiny plush ponies, set off against mare-and-foal themed tumblers and serviettes. 

The event commenced with modified Bingo, requiring guests to mix and mingle to find out who had had plastic surgery, who could do a cartwheel, and who had unpolished toes. The winner was Jorja Williams, Esq., although Yoshimi Smith, Esq., was a close runner-up and protested the judge’s awarding of the top prize to Madame Williams. Next, guests enjoyed a delicious lunch of gourmet salad (two choices), artisan rolls, tender chicken piccata, and fresh pasta primavera, complimented by a lovely champagne punch. After the repast, guests competed in equine-themed trivia, which they reported was quite challenging. The winner, Kim the Classy from Barn 18 (dressed to the nines), scored a record 17/20, perhaps surpassing the crowd with her knowledge of Mr. Ed’s owner’s last
name (Post), as well as her literary expertise (Anna Sewell as the author of Black Beauty; Boxer as the male horse from Animal Farm). Dessert consisted of a delicate carrot cake and fruit a la table, with a
special chocolate offering to Table 2 in honor of Rona Platt’s 50th birthday. To end the fete, guests enjoyed Pin The Foal On Charm (Nancy Nassau, designer; photo credit copyright Briana Hassibi), and left with numerous mementos including miniscule feed buckets filled with jelly beans and tastefully wrapped in cellophane with multi-colored pipe cleaners (Paula Albright Creations). Guests also enjoyed contributing their name suggestions for Charm’s foal-in-utero on a three-dimensional multi-media presentation (special effects by Lohr Family Enterprises).
Throughout her celebration, Charm was the model of, well, charm and humor, delighting attendees with a run and attempted-buck, as she nibbled on a centerpiece and tried to sample the punch. Although hesitant at first, Charm did seem to enjoy her carrot cake dessert, and then topped that off with the feather boa from Ms. Platt’s birthday chapeau. Charm posed for numerous pictures with guests, and proved that she is as photogenic as she is charismatic.

As a result of the guests’ generosity, many essential dollars were raised for animal-related charities throughout the US.

The human hostess asked to express her gratitude to all those on Team Charm who assisted in making the event a success (in no particular order): Briana Hassibi, Denise Molina, Jessica Toresco, Denise Dorchak, Paula Albright, Susan Stutz, Rona Platt, Nancy Nassau, Wendy and Katie Lohr, Tiffany Child, the proprietors of Devine Bistro, Elizabeth Hollman of Everlasting Events, and last but not least, Jonathan and Emilio.

Slide Show of the event 
Amy B. Beller, Esq.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


As of March 3, we've made it 310 days into the pregnancy. According to my very sophisticated
Google research, the fetus would be viable if born now. Whew! Charm is really getting LARGE, which is either the foal getting bigger or the 24/7 hay. (Or the pumpkin bread from Starbucks that she loves so much.) We can feel the foal moving and on the last sonogram he/she actually winked at us. Winky?

So when can we expect the foal and what's the plan? Apparently mares are not always cooperative in scheduling delivery to coincide with predictions. (Imagine that.) Most foals are born between 320 and 350 days. We hope to see signs of impending delivery -- bagging (filing up) of the udder, restlessness, packing an overnight bag and cursing at the baby daddy -- so that we can be there for the big event. My guess is Charm will fool us and do her thing quietly by herself. We are installing a camera so if we're not there in person, at least we can go to the videotape. And no, if it's a boy, there will NOT be a bris.

To celebrate the anticipated birth, we are having a ladies-only baby shower for Charm on 3/22. Silly, yes, but hey, it's original! If you're a fan of the blog, feel free to stop by Golden Gait Stables between 12 and 2 pm. Food, games, and party favors ... and of course a photo op with Charm!

And by the way, Charm's baby is not the only cause for celebration. Jordan turned 18 on 2/10 and a few days later, he was accepted to UF! Go Gators! We're very proud of him and we know he will have a great experience in Gainesville.

Big events, exciting times, and wonderful friends and family to share it all with. Life is good, and I am grateful.

And finally, just a little plug for Green Motion Tours. I finally got out there on the Segway tour of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Everglades Habitat. Wow, it's awesome. We saw so many birds, gators, and even a coyote. It's really special -- check it out.

Stay tuned for THE BIG NEWS....

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Third Trimester Revelations

Third Trimester Revelations

As anticipated, the holiday season was busy and festive. Thanks to everyone who sent chocolate and other goodies to my office. Which leads to a question: why isn't there a Chocoholics Anonymous? (Don't tell me if there actually is one, because I'm not going anyway.)

In the short time since my last blog update, there have been a number of revelations which coincide with the start of Charm's third trimester. They are random and mostly unrelated, so here goes:

1. Charm is not a good neighbor. We learned this when she meandered up to Captain's stall at dinner time (okay, she was loose grazing, which I guess is my fault but I was watching her, just couldn't react quickly enough). Captain did not want to share his grain, and he promptly bit Charm in the face. He caught her on the bone above her left eye, and opened up a pretty deep gash. This was the day of the barn holiday party, and Dr. Caputo was out holiday shopping. We called Palm Beach Equine, and who should be on call but Charm's fertility vet, Dr. Bob Smith. Dr. Smith drove down from Loxahatchee and did a top-notch stitching job.

2. Dr. Bob Smith's daughter, Jennifer, is a 3L at UF Law School who actually has experience in probate litigation. I wouldn't have known this if Charm had not tried to snatch Captain's dinner. We will stay in touch with Jennifer as she finishes school and takes the Bar Exam. If any of my Florida lawyer-colleagues is looking for talent, you will want to meet Jennifer.

3. My uterus was 30% smaller than an average uterus, despite the fact that I carried Jordan to full term and he was born at 7 pounds 10 ounces.

4. I say "was" because said smallish uterus and I parted ways surgically on December 23. I feel entitled to a Guinness record because I rode Charm exactly 5 days after surgery. The revelation here is that robotic arthroscopic surgery is MUCH easier to recover from than traditional surgery. Thanks Dr. Andrea Bayer!

5. Yoshi and I had some personality profile analyses done for everyone in our office. I was told that I should NEVER work for anyone else. Thanks, Einstein. It would have been helpful to have that little tip 20 years ago. Continued apologies for all those who attempted to supervise me over the years -- you know who you are.

6. Charm, who is usually lazy and happy to be part of the herd, can run like a bat out of hell back to the barn at suppertime when she thinks she can get away with it. So ends Charm's career as a p/t trail hack.
Meet, "Esther Uterus"

7. My knee, which I twisted slipping and falling in the shower in December, strangely hurts worst in my sleep -- unless I sleep on my back with my legs propped up. So, Andrew finally gets that adjustable bed. (Tom Cunningham, a neighbor, calls it the "Medicare Part D Bed").

8. On the website, one can actually purchase a plush toy uterus, or pretty much any organ. Check it out. Picture of Esther Uterus (thanks Rona and Bob) is attached.

9. The movie version of Wolf of Wall Street was not as interesting as the book. I actually worked on the legal team for brokerage Stratton Oakmont when I was an associate at Squadron Ellenoff in NY. Interesting times. The movie was entertaining but there was a lot of artistic license. My biggest issue with the movie was that while Leonardo DiCaprio is a great actor, his portrayal of Jordan Belfort lacked the Jewish ethnicity that I think was required. He seemed more Italian than anything.

10. Totally random but I learned last night (thanks to Google) that the Guiness Record for World's tallest living horse is held by Big Jake, a Belgian from Michigan, who stands at 20 hands 2.75 inches. That's two feet taller than Charm. He weighted 240 pounds at birth! His dam surely did not have a smallish uterus.

Two and a half months left and counting down ... stay tuned!!!

Amy B. Beller

Friday, December 6, 2013



I feel like once you're in December, you blink and you're in mid-January. So before this holiday season gallops by, it's time for another blog update.

Charm is now in month 7 of her pregnancy. Thanks to my law partner and friend Yoshi, Charm had a professional photography session recently -- one of the photos is to the right. (Photographer is Barbara Bower.) Charm does look wider to me, or at least fuller in the belly, but it could be all those holiday parties. Foal-to-be is now between 9-17 lbs and 14-28 inches, and has hair on his/her tail. Planning for Charm's baby shower (March 22) is under way. Yup, I'm really having a baby shower for a horse. It did occur to me that I should consider also having a graduation party for my son, Jordan. After observing that I have been planning a horsey baby shower and hadn't even started a plan for my only child's high school graduation (what's your point, Jordan?), he declined. Drew has promised him a graduation cruise, so don't feel too sorry for the boy. College apps are in, and we are waiting on responses... Gators? 'Noles? We'll see. (The Seminoles have a HORSE, Renegade, as part of its mascot ... need we say anything more?)

For Hanukkah, Drew and Jordan gave me a Breyer's Horse Mystery Foal Surprise set, which has a mare, a stallion, and a "surprise" foal hidden behind a closed stall door. (Picture attached.) Drew picked out a set with a black and white stallion, but he had to buy a second set to try to match Charm's coloring. (He picked a palomino -- there were no buckskin paints.) The "surprise foal" is a black and white overo paint. We might get close with a black and white tobiano foal -- since Mr. Bo Buttons is homozygous tobiano, we will definitely have a tobiano baby, which means color and white across the body, white legs, color face with possible white markings.

I am strangely nervous about Charm's pregnancy -- more nervous than I was when I was pregnant myself 18 years ago. I had an interesting pregnancy, with my mother going through cancer surgery and treatment, and Drew spending a month in a hospital being treated for MRSA. It was a stressful time but I had a strong bond with Jordan (we called him Cubby when he was in utero) because he and I went through all of that together. I never really worried about his health though -- not the way that I worry about Charm's baby. Not sure what that's about, except that maybe it's that Charm cannot communicate (at least not verbally) how she's feeling. Maybe I should not have picked now to re-read All Creatures Great And Small, James Herriot's autobiography of his life as a country vet. It's a great book -- funny and well-written -- but A LOT OF STUFF HAPPENS with animal pregnancy and birth. Charm seems happy and healthy and I will just have to go with that for now. And, I'm going back to junk TV instead of reading. Masters of Sex, anyone?

Wishing everyone a fabulous holiday season and the very best New Year. Cheers.

Amy B. Beller

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Charm had her five month sonogram on September 28th by Dr. Bob Smith. All looks normal – heartbeat, backbone, and clearly only one baby in there. I hope Dr. Smith isn’t following this blog, but considering what he has to do to complete a trans-rectal sonogram on a horse, I don’t think he charges enough. I may have to deal with a lot of horseshit in my profession, but it is the theoretical kind, and when I say my hands are full of it, I don’t mean it literally. Anyway, according to my internet research, the foal at five months is between 6-11 lbs and 8-14 inches long – roughly the size of a human baby. Jordan was 7 lbs 10 oz. and 19 inches at birth. (See the below attached chart – pretty cool stuff.)
Size of Fetus (unborn foal)
Period of
Weight of
Fetal Length
1 month
¾ inch
Vesicle 1 diameter
2 months
1/6 oz
2-3 inches
Vesicle football sized
3 months
2-4 oz
3-6 inches
Vesicle basketball size
4 months
2-3 lbs
5-9 inches
Hair on lips
5 months
6-11 lbs
8-14 inches
Hair on eyelids
6 months
7-15 lbs
14-24 inches
Hair on nostrils
7 months
9-17 lbs
14-28 inches
Hair on tail
8 months
9-33 lbs
20-32 inches
Hair on mane, back, ears
9 months
37-44 lbs
24-36 inches
Thin hair throughout body
10 months
55-99 lbs
28-52 inches
Mane and tail developed
11 months
66-132 lbs
30-58 inches
Normal hair coat

To celebrate the great pregnancy check-up (not really), Drew and I went off to Freeport, Bahamas, for a few days, where I unashamedly cheated on Charm by riding a gorgeous buckskin mare, Fiji, in the ocean. Fiji is the one on the bottom (looks like I have to recommit myself to my diet). She was great, although she did share Charm’s penchant for trailride eating. If you find yourself on Grand Bahamas, make sure to visit Linda and Chris at Pinetree Stables for a really fabulous riding experience.

Finally, congratulations to third-time-grandma, Mona Fisher, and the entire family, on the birth of Aria Gem on 10/7. I don’t have Aria’s birth weight, but safe to say she’s about the size of a five month old foal-in-utero!