Hanukkah Texting

LevinsonHanukkah

I do so love my group texts with my kids. I meet their expectations by always having typos.

Tonight I was feeling a little sad that I had spaced out on the whole Hanukkah thing with the family. For some reason I did not juggle a celebration into the schedule for all of us. This is utterly ridiculous since it is the first time in 7 years that all 4 of us live in the same place. Just another example of my Rock of Gibraltar-ness cracking. Let’s face it, this has been going on since 2008, I don’t think I can stake any claim to supermom status anymore.

Whatever, I did a dive save tonight.

You have to love Danny’s response.

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Filed under danny, family, holidays, Jana, moms, technology, texting

Time to Cry Tuesday – Olympic Ribbon Curling

ribbon-curling

If ribbon curling were an Olympic sport, my mom would have surely taken home the gold. This woman lived to wrap packages. When the holidays came around she was in all her glory.

Today, being the first night of Hanukkah, I needed to do a little last minute wrapping and went in search of a scissor. There in my kitchen drawer I found one that I had rescued from her house when I was cleaning it out. I thought to myself, ‘just like Elaine to have a floral scissor.’ And then I remembered that I had bought it for her. Perhaps as part of a Hanukkah present one year. This actually looks like her!

At that moment I was so thrilled to have saved this item. There were so many things I had to let go of, but there are special little everyday items of hers that I have sprinkled around my house to remind me of her. Every room has a little bit of Elaine in it. My brother and dad notice when they are here. Hopefully it gives them the same comfort it gives me.

There is no real need to have her ‘things’ around, other than to make my home feel like hers did. She is everywhere I go, in everything I do. So much of her lives in me now. And I am proud to carry out her traditions, both big and small, to honor the type of mother she was. Again, I hope this gives my family comfort.

Let me tell you, that crazy ribbon curler would be damn proud of what her scissor and I turned out on that package tonight.

How lovely to share a little bit of Elaine on the first night of Hanukkah.

Happy and healthy to those of you who are of the tribe.

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Filed under holidays, moms, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Mom Texting

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For a mom with high digital engagement, it always amazes me how much I suck at texting and IMing. Actually, I probably just suck at typing and it translates to those mediums.

Danny, my adult son, has moved home after college and commutes to the city. His schedule changes as he spends nights in the city often. Wanting to plan for dinner, I usually text him during the day to get his status for that night.

The beauty of my relationship with my kids? They have inherited the appreciation for the absurd. Second gen MFTA*, if you will.

Do you think I could start #pimpmom trending?

mfta moment

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Filed under absurdities, advice to my son, conversations, danny, humor, parenting, technolgy

Bowling for Ebola

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I don’t mean to be flippant about something so serious as Ebola, but sometimes I simply think in NY Post headlines.

This little jewel of a title popped into my head during today’s most delightful early morning dog field banter that starts my week days. (I love these people!)

Today’s topic? Why would Dr. Spencer, who had just returned from Africa treating ebola patients with Doctors Without Borders, ever think it was a good idea to go BOWLING within a week of his return? AND, when he was already feeling ‘fatigued’?

Bowling? Really? Was this urgent. ‘Damn, I have been out of the country for weeks, I really need to bowl!’

Here’s a little tidbit from the NYT Well blog that might make us all feel a little better about all of this:

If someone left blood, vomit or feces on a bowling ball, and the next person to touch it did not even notice, and then put his fingers into his eyes, nose or mouth, it might be possible.

Ok, do I need to comment on this or does its total absurdity speak for itself? Of course I do, that is why I am here! Because, you know, sometimes I am so damn focused on my bowling score that I totally miss the blood, vomit or feces on that ball and go right on playing. And then of course lick my fingers or pick my nose.

The consensus? Those with the greatest amount of education are sometimes the least intelligent amongst us. Or perhaps he did not work for Doctors without Borders, but instead Zach Galifianakis’ favorite charity, Doctors Without Diplomas.

#bowlingforebola… what do you think. Could this trend?

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Filed under absurdities, health, sports

Happiness

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I am never comfortable seeing the word ‘seminar’ before the word ‘happiness’. Following it with the tagline: Stop Thinking & Start Becoming surely did not help. As a friend commented when I posted this photo this morning, ” Becoming what?”.

I assume the answer to that is becoming happy.

What I found even more amusing was the idea of finding happiness in the Best Western Bayside Inn. In the East Room, of course. In blue type. Assuming that you could never find happiness in the West Room.

I sort of hate the ‘I just want to be happy’ declaration. I subscribe to the notion that misery gives happiness context. You have to do a little suffering to get what happy is, right?

Wanting to not just be flippant, I felt it was my responsibility to research this a bit. That and I am working through a full-blown bout of procrastination this week.

At first google all I could fine was a bunch of event site listings stating that this had no age limitations and was categorized in ‘Other’. The age thing? OK, happiness is not age dependent. But other? Hmmmm…

Further investigation brought me to the Maum Method. Ah… clarity. Meditation. Cool. I have practiced TM on and off for years and can relate. It has surely helped my family members a great deal and I am know a more consistent practice would do me a world of good. (note to self: meditate more regularly)

I read more:

The human mind is an accumulation of pictures that is stored within your mind and body… Through the Maum Method you will become free of pictures and free of the incessant recording, as a result, you will become free of the illusionary false world which is the human mind. No longer trapped in the human mind, you will find your true purpose and reach the state of happiness when reborn in the universe mind.

Ok. No judgement. Whatever gets you there. But for me… life IS all about pictures and sounds. Art and music are what make me happy. Oh wait, that is probably not what they meant. Perhaps it is the directive to lose the self and be part of the whole that never works for me.

Ok, that sounds like judgement. Honestly, this post was really about something that made me laugh at 6AM on the bagel store bulletin board.

But hey, Woo Myung, the founder of Maum Meditation, was awarded the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Price by the UN – NGO, International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP) and was appointed a World Peace Ambassador by the same organization.

I love how a funny siting led me down a road to self-actualization.

ish.

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Filed under absurdities, happiness

Time to Cry Tuesday – On Doors Closing and Opening

doors

I always loved the phrase: When one door closes another one opens.

Last week I experienced an uber (no, not that Uber) example of those proverbial doors. I tried my very best to keep my emotions under the drama bar and go with the flow. This, by the way, does nothing more than exhaust you beyond description and is simply a control freak’s illusion, but I seem most comfortable in this state.

As with most of my life, the sequence of my doors were reversed. But this saying made for a nice thread for this post, so let’s go with it.

On Thursday, a door opened. Big time. The one to my daughter Jana’s new apartment. The apartment that she will be sharing with the love of her life – the young man who she has spent many long years waiting to live in the same city with, let alone under the same roof. In reality, the door to this apartment made it a challenge to get a queen-sized box spring through it and up the stairs to her bedroom, but this was the small stuff. (Rectified, btw, by sofasurgery.com. Quick plug for an amazing service that solved the problem in less than 2 hours from call to completion).

The opening of this door was one to the beginning of a wonderful life together and the joy I feel for them is beyond description. (And contrary to those who question this, his mother and I will not be living with them)

On Friday, a door closed. Big time. After many months of listings, contracts, deals, stops and starts, boiler and oil tank replacements, clean-outs, boxes, yards of bubble wrap, sorting, reminiscing, sales, dumpsters, tears, laughs, one broken toe and one tennis/schlepping elbow… we closed on the sale of my childhood home. With each stage of this process, no matter how much stuff we took out of this house, it still felt like the home of my childhood. My family is embedded in the walls of this place. Even that very last day, the one when the house was completely empty except for the bottle of Stoli in the freezer that we toasted one last time to my mom with, we could not help but feel that she would somehow come walking out of that kitchen.

The closing of this door? Well it certainly carries with it a bag of mixed emotions. I walked out of that closing (both the real estate deal and the door) with an odd sense of calm coupled with an overwhelming exhaustion. I certainly have said my goodbyes to that house, that life, that anchor. I am happy to be rid of the process. But there is a lingering phantom pain surrounding never being able to ‘go home again’.

Ok, so maybe I crossed over the drama bar for a moment.

The net of all this (other than my overuse of cliché and devices)? I am a women who loves signs and juxtapositions. I thrive on the meant to be and the alignment of stars. To close on 10.10 at 10am at 1010 Northern Blvd. rang that bell big time. And it was my grandfather’s birthday to boot.

But nothing rang the bell more than the site of my girl in her beginning as I was tying up an ending.

One door opens and another one closes… maybe it is ok to reverse that saying, after all.

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Filed under aging parents, childhood, cliches, doors, family, sentimentalites

Happy Birthday Elaine

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Today would have been my mom’s 83rd birthday. Now that she is gone I guess it’s OK to let her real age out of the bag, right? I always wrote her a birthday blog post, some of which she had framed, I might add. So it only seems right to keep up the tradition.

In celebration of who she was, I decided to grab one of her many journals off the shelf and open to a random page. You know, so she could send me a message. And yes, I do believe in that crap now. Just go with it.

I suppose you will too, after you read this. No lie, this was the page I randomly opened to. (Click on this image and blow this baby up to read it, you won’t be sorry). This is a list of tactics for discovering pleasure and satisfaction in every day moments. Elaine practiced these her whole life. Genuinely. And with commitment.

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Of course this came from her favorite – Prevention Magazine. And I see from the date that it was February 2008, a time of her life that was filled with chronic struggles.

Elaine was the Queen of this way of living most of her life. She was the Grand Puba of the glass half full. The Crowned Royal of be here now. The absolute over-achiever of carpe diem. She appreciated every person, moment, experience, flower, friend, color… well you get the picture.

In light of all the depression and anxiety awareness this week I took this as a sign of Elaine piping in on the topic from the other side. She never hid her illness when she was well. She would speak freely about it hoping to help others.

The last 10 years of her life were a brave, selfless, many times torturous struggle with the symptoms of depression and anxiety. People think they have seen the depths of this disease, but only those who suffer – or love someone who does –understand what severe clinical depression looks like. Like many who know this first-hand, I was outraged by the words ‘coward’ and ‘selfless’ used this week. They are spoken out of ignorance, for there is nothing braver or more selfless than a person who struggles to get back to the other side of depression. 

Elaine did this each and every day. She did not always succeed, but she never stopped trying. And though it could have been what would finally take her life… it never won. Of all the things I am proud of, this is the biggest one.

She fought to be herself again when she felt she was not. That is my best way to describe depression in one sentence.

She was my hero. 

So today I do not grieve (ish). I celebrate the woman who brought me into this world and chose not to kill me through those difficult years. Who held my hand, always listened to my woes and made me laugh till I cried and cry till I laughed again. She taught me how to be a mom, a wife and a friend. 

But most of all she taught me how to enjoy the moments.

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Yes, she saved this too. What? You are surprised?

In honor of her day of birth, take a lesson from Elaine and vow to take on one or two of these every day. 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under aging, aging parents, childhood, depression, family, health, mental illness, moms, parenting, Uncategorized