Table for Four Plus More

The feeling of being excluded stinks! We recently learned of a reach out program called #operationshabbotshalom. It was started by a lovely guy we know who heads a modern orthodox day school in Westchester. We met him 18 plus years ago through one the modern orthodox temples in New York where some of the grandkids attend school. He is renowned and in fact the son of the Rabbi Emeritus at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun. Shout out to Josh Lookstein. Fast forward, post (bh) pandemic and we are out and more about. One pervasive and lingering side effect for so many resulted from the feeling of being isolated. The common denominator was negotiating our safety from our own ships during the the many phases of the universal storm. #operationshabbotshalom was set up as an “effort to bring people together after a year of distancing.” Friday afternoons are designated to reach out to people who could use a call. Come one, call all. You in turn get the calls too. Social lives have an ebb and flow. There are times when we are inundated with invites to join the party. There are periods where empty calendars feel iitalicized in yellow marker fashion. Differentiating between alone and lonely is a tough call. In an attempt to make up for lost time we schedule our days and nites in bulk. Some days we almost look forward to cancelled plans. We can then get into our sweats, no make-up and hair pulled back mode. It gives us a moment to get off the treadmill of activity, tap into an evening of take-out Chinese food, netfiix and a Vodka we nurse through binging Mare of Easttown. We are tired. Tired of the reboot. Lots of time and sometimes tortured energy to create a syllabus that is new but contains components of what was. Unplug and hope we what we lost, was either no longer serving us any good, or in fact stored in the elusive cloud. So just for today, when you find the time, perhaps reach out to someone who may be going through a narrow calendar of events. Leave the door open and let them know in a more than merrier way, that they will never walk alone, as long as you are around.

A Penny For Your Thoughts!

Dodging bullets as we are racing through moments in time. Carly Simon said it best.“All those crazy nights when I cried myself to sleep, Now melodrama never makes me weep anymore, Cause I haven’t got time for the pain, Haven’t got room for the pain.”As upperclassmen tapping into the adage “older is wiser,” we are more challenged by change of any kind. Change seems to come in threes at rapid fire pace. When we were younger and they discontinued the lipstick color we used since our Sweet Sixteen, in a simple walk through the park way, we would just find a close match. As the inflammatory stage of Pandemic is circling the drain, we emerge cautiously looking both ways before we cross the proverbial street. With less steadiness and more trepidation as time marches on we find ourselves moving more slowly. Who remembers wearing silk stockings with bold seams down the back? The fashion statement looked best when the seams were straight and balanced on both legs. Now we find merely balancing both legs our goal. The palette as we know it has changed. It’s part of the deal. We are cool with different, just not accustomed to so many new obstacles. We learn quickly bemoaning our fate zaps our energy as to be sad, is not to be productive. Just for today, let’s brush away the flies at our picnic, change the table of play if one of the players bugs the you know what out of you and look both ways perhaps more cautiously, but cross that street. Who knows you might find a lucky penny, heads up, to adorn the front of your new loafers. Make it A Great Day!

Mazel Tov!! Bh

Dear Daren, I walk down memory lane, because I love running into you. So Jen and Ricky are having a wedding party. They are bringing your namesake, Julian Daren, (he’s very cute.) We were invited to join the celebration and we are going to dance the night away. Like we said as kids, “till the cow jumps over the moon.” Barbara and I have already talked about how we will bring our memories of you and our youth along that night. We will dress them up with style and panache. They will represent you properly and dance like you would, snapping your fingers and crooning to the music. The way you danced is a memory that has stuck in my head and is easily exhumed as if it were yesterday. We promise we’ll have fun and tell you over and over again how gorgeous Jen looks. Our imaging of you will add a glow and an over the top kvell of love and extreme pride. We truly believe you would love Ricky. He is a cool dude. He is handsome, kind and he loves Jen and Julian Daren something fierce. Remember that movie star kind of guy we would sing about yeah, well, perhaps prophetic, however- “he’s not bad.” Another one of our expressions when we would talk about “boys” we met. Anyway old friend, “Pinky swear” we will mix in nostalgia, smile big and dance like everyone is watching. We are bringing our piece of you next Saturday. You will recognize us- we will be sitting prominently next to one another, gasping on our astonishment at the wonder of your baby girl. You did better than good, dear Daren. Oh, btw- that movie star we would sing about, yep! you got that right it was your daughter after all. When I look at her I see you and it certainly feels well, like we never said goodbye. Love ya, Judy

Teach Your Children Well

We are proud to be Jewish
Traditional strong
Our heritage brings us to the place we belong
Our holiday feasts with candles, challah and soup
We sit as a family inviting strangers to our loop
Our world set on fire
When our people are hurt
Malicious and hate filled a.k.a. Dirt
We stand together and never alone
That extra mile we’ll go to reap what we’ve sewn
The proofs in the pudding
Our backs we will cover
As brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers
Hurt just one and you are hurting us all
Defending one another that is the call.

Repost- for our mama- Arthur Gordon Kelly


A.K.A. Art Linkletter was the consummate raconteur through media. He collected and shared other people’s stories. What made people laugh was his forte and in turn created television shows to encourage laughter. A feel good quote of his was ” things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” He lived a long, ingratiating and from all accounts well integrated life. Adept at putting people at ease, his pronounced talent. He worked with his son, how cool, spent lots of time in his career discovering the underbelly of what makes people tick. He was the straight man to children and brought out the unposed honesty that spills “out of the mouths of babes.”

He was a belly laugh enabler. “Kids Say the Darndest Things” was a show that he hosted from 1945-1969. It then had an encore performance from 1998-2000 co-hosted with Bill Cosby. Don’t get me started about character malfunction. Anyway, back to laughter.

Laughter is…the best medicine. Belly grabbing, breathless, endorphin producing and free. Sit next to the funny person. Grab moments watching re-runs of Sid Caesar, Red Skelton and Carol Burnett. They were funny and knew it. When Jon Stewart said good-bye a large group of us were dismayed. The Rodney Dangerfields and the Andrew Dice Clays stood up with silly, gross humor- none the less funny.

When Jack Benny cradled his chin with his hand, we laughed, based on postulating talent.

Happy Mother’s Day! My husband and I are blessed to share moments, days and sleepovers with lots of Grandchildren. Nobody creates laughter in us like they do. Not only their silly behaviors or the result of tickles, but the Art Linklater-esque questions they ask. The bi-products of first time experiences, sheer innocence and delightful naivety are priceless.

Last week our 3 and 4 months old (ask her she’ll tell you) asked to see her baby pictures.

As the consummate picture hoarder I gathered a few to show her. She looked at an early one where she has several months old hair. Her startled look, borderline confusion and the question that followed had me on the floor grabbing my stomach. She looked up at me and asked with extreme sincerity- “JUDY- I’m a boy?” I caught my breath, grabbed a chair to help get up and asked why? She then said “my hair is so weird.” Case in point. Art Linkletter, kudos to your renowned production of splendid insights. That interaction added moments of joy that linger and linger. With euphoric recall I am still laughing.

As we watch these beauties grow (8) to be precise- through first time- lots of things moments we get to be young again. So just for today, when Lucky Lady taps you on the shoulder, say Happy Mother’s Day to one and all. Hold tighter, laugh harder and Shout Hallelujah come on get happy, chase all your cares away.

Dreams Really Do Come True!

The well that won’t run dry- unicorns, golden rings, mile high pies and Babies. When things go in one straight line, grab the rope in bungee like fashion and Coast. Yes, fly across the sky, dream a little dream and let the glitter cloud your eyes. Life on life’s terms and away we go. We sat and watched one of our three baby girl nieces- now all twenty-something go thru early labor last night. On the brink of a miracle about to unfold we sat looking at her as the pain set in. No pain, no gain well in this case watching this baby girl, we cradled at birth go thru this was very difficult to put it mildly. This was about to become clamorous- less than glamorous.

My baby sister a Grandmother. She has always been a Grand- Mother and now about to be a Grandmother. 

The strength of family as a community is incomparable. When pooling together to share the joy, divide the sorrow or set the table there isn’t a match. With familiarity eclipsing respect there are lapses in consistency. When “push” comes to shove- we weep, we mourn and Carly Simon move over when we celebrate.” Nobody does it better, nobody does it half as good as you baby you’re The Best.”

One very long, hard, life lesson hopefully learned— we don’t always fit into people’s lives the way we would like to or expected. Take the best of the fit, drop expectations along the way. When the water breaks and a new life emerges make peace where you can, raise the glass a little bit higher and pray that when G-d fills the waters again that Noah, his family and the animals make room for you too. 

“Sail on silver girl, sail on by,. your time has come to shine. All your dreams are on the way, see how they shine. If you need a friend, I’m sailing right behind, like a bridge over troubled waters, I will ease your mind.” Winged and cliched it today! Oh and to quote Bettie Ann- sister, mother, aunt, friend “it’s all good.”

A Time For Every Season

Gardening situates you in a different kind of time, the antithesis of the agitating present of social media. Time becomes circular, not chronological; minutes stretch into hours; some actions don’t bear fruit for decades. The gardener is not immune to attrition and loss, but is daily confronted by the ongoing good news of fecundity. A peony returns, alien pink shoots thrusting from bare soil. The fennel self-seeds; there is an abundance of cosmos out of nowhere.