Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday Friend or Family Feature...

Today's feature is:


My brother-in-law Mark is the person who inspired the Friday Friend or Family Feature.
As I mentioned in November, Mark made a very eloquent speech at our wedding. Here is an excerpt:

“I would like to suggest that as they go down the path of life together, as they face obstacles and problems and questions and difficulties, that, as they had in the past, they turn to each other for the answers, because chances are the other person has the solution to the problem that they have, and you should know that you have a room full of people here, all of these people, this is a lot of people, who support you and love you, and are on your side. Derive strength from each other. Derive strength from us.”

Well Mark, I can’t tell you how many times I have thought about this speech, and how many times I have reached out to these people for support. Whether it was asking Phil Farrell where to go for cancer treatment in Los Angeles, or asking Aunt Mary about her two adoptions, or Aunt Jeanette about canine cancer, or Heather about everything else, the moment before I called these people has often been," Remember what Mark said at our wedding.” I always go back to your words. You were right, there have been challenges that have been just too big for Steven and me to get through alone. We are so lucky to have so many people to turn to for love and support. We are especially lucky to have you.

My brother-in law Mark is a tonic. Feeling like you can’t go on? Feeling full of cynicism and despair? Feeling dark and down and stuck in your own wheels? Spend a week with Mark. Just being around him makes you feel better about the world.

Mark is an actor, A HIGHLY UNDERRATED ACTOR. He lives in New York, but travels all across the country for work. You can see him here.

If the world were a better place, this picture would be true...

Mark would have Hollywood in the palm of his hand. Mark is an excellent actor. He is that very rare talent that can be both moving and “big” as an actor.

Hamlet continues, "Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus".

Mark never saws the air, nor does he chew the scenery. When I went to acting school there were two kinds of actors. There were the big, Shakespearean, Musical Theatre type actors, and the naturalistic, Stanislavski trained actors. I always gravitated towards the more realistic style of acting. It is rare that an actor can combine both styles of acting. It is rare that an actor can portray a larger than life character while maintaining a connection to the material that is both honest and revealing. One of my classmates can do it, so can Mark.

Mark’s thesis in Graduate school was a one man show based on the life of Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky. Mark wrote, directed, acted and played the piano in this performance. He was phenomenal.

Mark is also a singer. He has a music degree and can sing opera. I believe that, because of his singing, my Irish Catholic grandfather decided it was okay that I was marrying a Jew. Mark sang two songs at our wedding, one in Gaelic and one in Yiddish. My grandfather was quite moved.

Mark is known to burst into song in everyday life. He will sing out, in a rich deep baritone, “Julie, Julie why won’t you tell me, why oh why is your dog Moses so smelly?” The most mundane words will suddenly sound appealing and hilarious. (That last ditty is a poor example because I wrote it and Mark didn’t).

Although he doesn’t saw the air on stage, he is a complete ham in real life.

As he would say, “That is just part of the wonder that is me.”

Random facts:

Mark loves to read. He is always stealing my books...

Mark naps like other people sneeze; randomly, often, and anywhere. It is downright narcoleptic.

Mark can eat...a lot...

Mark likes to hike.

Here is a picture of me on one of Mark’s hikes...

Yep, I am collapsed and weeping.

I like to hike too, but he is a hiker. I don’t usually break down and cry like a baby on a hike, but between the Coloradan altitude, and my screaming calf muscles, I just couldn't go on. Notice how sympathetic Mark is. This hike will be forever known as "Death Hike 1999."

How will my adoption impact Mark? Mark played a pivotal part in our decision to adopt from Ethiopia. How? Ethiopia offers the opportunity to adopt siblings. Mark, (and Kate and Bubs for that matter) have shown us how very fortunate we are to have brothers and sisters. We want our children to have a relationship like that. We think it is important. Our kids will have already lost so much.

We want them to have each other to lean on...

We want them to have someone to share peanut butter with...

We want them to have someone to be silly with...

We want them to have someone like Mark.

Steven said that of all the people we have told about our adoption plans, Mark has been the most excited. I guarantee that Mark will be "The World's Greatest Uncle."

I can't wait.


  1. This is really making me want to rent "The Namesake."

    Mark rocks! That photo of the boys' back is the sweetest thing I have ever seen.

  2. I love these entries!
    They really make me want to meet these people, and you! You guys seem to have so much fun, and have so much love!
    Can't wait to hear the big news!

  3. Julie, Your posts are simply too wonderful for words! Thank you.

  4. Now I love Mark too! You went to school with Phillip Seymore Hoffman AND went on a date with Adam Sandler? His sister is a dentist who pulled out one of my teeth and did a crappy job and was rude to my husband. I was not surprised to hear he was a jerk.