And The Award Goes To…

Recipe for long living, long ago. How many had grandparents who lived well into their 90’s? Maybe they knew Vic Tanny existed but they were too busy working hard, cooking and baking and smoking cigarettes to get to know him well. My Grandmother, (Bubby Chicken), for those in the know, led with an indomitable spirit. She had a startling  ability to push unpleasant thoughts down the block and across the street. She was too busy to worry about what so and so said or thought. With rolling pin in hand and her grater not far away she filled part of her days. I often wondered if she slept with her apron on as it was ever present and the first thing we noticed when we ran in for her endless Hug. 

We believe she was the prototype for the ” I’m gonna live forever, I’m gonna learn high to fly” lyrics. So, noodle and or potato pudding, apple cake, rugalach with raisins and jelly and her famous candy bowl filled with hard candies were things we came to depend on. We never knew how we would make it to dessert as we were left stuffed with carbs, salt, schmaltz and gribenes(for those in the know.) And- just in case, she had her trustworthy mylanta, gaviscon- or “here mamala have a tums” waiting on the counter next to the left over flour and right under an old plant that still had the ribbon and card on it from last Mother’s Day.

In the absence of probiotics, papaya enzymes, lactaid free whatever’s, Pilates, colonoscopies, portion controls, calories counts on products, my grandmother and her friends lived forever.

Were their stomachs better equipped? Was it not considered abuse to reach for the sugar and go for the salt first? Perhaps endemic to generations long ago who focused less on Vit. D levels and more on how good Halavah tasted, whether it was marble or chocolate covered. The conundrum eludes me, how about you?

A three pronged example of a lifestyle fast forwarded is a workout on the treadmill, a bullet green shake and dashing off to have our blood work tested after a 50,000 unit regimen to pump up the numbers. Bub, we all miss the high caloric, straddled with confectioners sugar way you celebrated life. By the way thanks for palming us the good luck gelt every time we left your side. 


To My 90 Year Old Self

I hope when I read this at 90, G-d willing, I am smiling. I pray that I used up whatever talents I had. I’ll then know my soul was soothed along the way by the things that gave me satisfaction. Whether it was a piece of writing, doing an art project or cooking a couple of great meals I will be happy knowing I did these things over and over again. Please let my loved ones outlive me. Biding adieu to the precious people who helped my heart skip beats would be treacherous. An octave of my music stopped every time I lost someone- the pain excruciating. Selfish, albeit protective. When my time with someone was up I hope I knew when to walk away. In turn, I hope I quickly saw their part in my journey was completed when they walked. Lingering wasted time- to be sad was not to be productive. Perhaps I learned a lesson, or just my share of bad luck. When given the chance to assist those who were less fortunate I would like to be reading that I paid it forward. Whether it was a hand me down of medical experience or protecting a beloved through a stormy moment; I hope I gave it with love and honesty. I hope my relationship with my sister’s ultimately became very good for longer than it wasn’t so good. I loved them indeed. I hope my husband got that I did my best as a refugee of lost wars emotionally. I hope he felt the love through my actions. I pray my nieces knew my love for them was fierce in every way. I can’t imagine our grandchildren won’t just know how much they helped make my life wonderful. As I am reading this fast forward- my desire is to see that I made people laugh. Perhaps not everyone got my humor or saw the funny as I did- but I loved to laugh and got a kick out of silly. I know it kept me healthier and happier then be-moaning a fate not loaned to me. 

As far as jealousy, I hope I recognized how blessed I was. No one gets it all, but I believe I had a dose of great that propped up the not so great. If I hurt people’s feelings I hope they knew it was out of insecurity and with no malice or forethought. If I am reading that I became a fan of exercise, ate more vegetables and bettered impulse control I will be thrilled.

With all this said I hope that I found a place in my charity of choice where a good deal of who I was lingered. Giving was more rewarding than receiving. Carrying that thought with me allowed for the powerful self concept that kept me focused on the prize of my Life! And if I am unable to read this I hope one of you are reading it to me. I held you dear.

Listen up Baby Boomers!

Boomer blogs are getting a reputation as self-help guides. So who doesn’t need help? Who can’t use some improvement? The boomer in us have boomed our way to figuring doing it better–Better. In the midst of a nightmare election on the front burner we are certainly living outside the Age of Aquarius. The war of words exhibits an affront to one and all. We end up temporarily siding with no one as we are stunned by the abuse and the disrespect through words. And you are having a problem showing your tax returns because? 

Not to tout the corpulent ego of Barry Goldwater, however and I quote “extremism in the pursuit of the truth is no vice.” The feeling of being overshadowed by an elitist enterprise, feels too close to the truth. How many billions does it take make you reel it in? Hey, the pre-millennials and your grandchildren are viewing this as the prototype of candidates running for the highest office. Really, boys and girls! This political stand still moment in time will be remembered as two bully’s fighting in a back ally. Don’t they know to let the other one at least feel they are winning. This was one well versed theorem of lyricist Richard Rodgers when he collaborated with verse and music. Let’s do it your way, no let’s do it yours. The strength of someone who has lived a very successful life cannot be overestimated. Well, you would think so. So where is Dale Carnegie’s book, or Erma Bombeck’s guide when we need them? Simpler times when “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” was a mild warning. No longer do you see people dressed in evening garb at theater. Going to the Ballet and Opera was often a black tie evening and not just on the weekend. What happened to the dinner dates when it was no cell zone nights? How about the folks who gaze at the phone placed next to them every 17 minutes or every time an email, perhaps political in nature comes through? With the uproar in our everyday from the top down we have choices none the less. As the millenials are choosing to bunk in their parents basements over ramen noodle dinners, we are choosing to have ramen noodle dinners at home over sitting at dinners with people more interested whether Donald is over the Hill and why Bernie is still standing, than us. Make it a Carnegie and Bombeck day and like Bettie Ann suggested last week, download “Turn it off,” from Book of Mormons. Self-helped!

And the Punishment Is…

“Your honor” I heard the representative say it was clearly a Crime of the Heart. 

Not an optical illusion. They come running through the door looking for what they call ” the usual.” Consistent, knowing and dependable. If we could sign up at 10 yrs. old and know that pretty much carries you through the gaps, the holes and the unpredictables we would ask to see the dotted line. We want to teach them everything we know about avoiding the pain. Fat chance. Advise them they will do foolish things but to do them with enthusiasm. Seek adventures as experiences- it works out best that way. We want to share that they will be surprised how un-lonely being alone can be. If only we knew how transitory physical beauty was sooner- less fuss less muss.

As a pre- Memorial Day remembrance a dear, no longer with us friend comes to mind. He was a benevolent despot with high honors. 

Yes, he was birth right endowed, but never begrudged one moment of that chance. He catapulted a family real estate company by prodigious proportions and never ran for President. Being in a position of hoarding his wealth or sharing it he chose the later. He spread it around to all the people who worked with him. His staff were never appendages to his self esteem, they were part of his team. He was revered and adored for his simplistic posture of ” the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” Lies are too difficult to follow and end up following you around. Creepy feeling too.

From his long standing right hand assistant, whose children he helped school,  to the people who shined the piano that helped croon Bobby Short he was kind and kinder. 

I was lucky to jump on an opportunity to make his aquatintance through a chance meeting. He owned the buildings that housed apartments I sold. It was during the fuss and muss years when being a shareholder in good looks didn’t hurt. The life he could and did have, which he had his friends join in was delightfully laced with privilege. 

Back to those lessons I dear say. So fun,through art, music and good cheer were a few things imparted to me through his generosity. However, it was so much more than planes, trains and automobiles. He honed his capacity to zero in on our individual long suits. His ability to make you feel special through the talents perhaps you hardly knew you had, I’ve seldom seen again. 

When Toby likes to do an art project and Jack and Alexei like to plant flowers we get out the gear, no instruction book needed and Peter Sharp our way through. We focus in on Liam’s passion for sports and kvell during his tennis lesson. Zachary lined our refrigerator door with his sticker designs and we gaze upon them when we grab the milk. James- you want to plant a watermelon on the terrace- here you go buddy, seeds in hand. Lucky to have met Peter and luckier we saw things his way! For today let’s really live the moments and 24 into a great one.

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.”

Hickies and Dickies 

My mother was the Northeast Distributor of Guilt. As she drove me to school one day she noticed on the left side of my neck, a hickey. I thought it was carefully hidden under my turtleneck Dickie. However- it was visible and her comment was “I can see the only course you’re going to pass in high school is biology.” Thump- started my day on that note. Don’t get me wrong once my teenage years were long gone I really enjoyed my mother/my self. To know her was to Love her so. Once she was living in Florida I would visit often. We would fall into routines and the sense of trusted knowing with an immediacy reserved for mothers and daughters. We laughed a lot and saw things very similarly. Our simultaneous sentences often ended with pinky wishes. Oh, if we could have one more pinky wish. Forget dancing with my father again as the song goes- I would take the Lindy with Sophie any day Even our mundane discussions about our shared interest in Lifetime movies were as valuable as our slant on politics. For years and it’s been -almost 8 unimaginable ones, I could not look at her pictures. Now I am writing about her for the very first time. The first of my three cherished nieces is about to have her first child. The lineage of our family is imminently about to add a link and form a longer line. The connection to this about to be new member of our family is stirring palpable emotions in us all.

There is a book called Feathers Brush My Heart- by Sinclair Browning. One of my sisters, the grandma to be, gave me this book many years ago. It’s a compilation of stories of mothers touching their daughter’s lives after death. My sister and I send text pictures of found feathers and call them Soph. We are stunned and delighted every time a random feather just “appears.” Theresa Caputo, the legendary medium, brings attention to coins and their connection to loved ones. “Look I found a dime.”

Ok- too heavy for 7:15? Well then, let’s flip it and bring in everything Pink.

With no coincidence the new life about to pop into ours, offers the longed, welcomed increment of healing I needed. Mom, I’m not leaving you behind- just relocating your place in my mind. Hey, Bella Sophia will need you closer to her- so go cutie. Stand next to your about to be first great- grandchild. We are not leaving you out of this monumental happening. I’m good- the seeds you planted and the message you sent through yesterday’s feather allows me to see- you are never far from heart- all of ours.