Riding the Guilt Train at a Senior Discount

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Riding the Guilt Train at a Senior Discount

Why do I feel guilty for doing nothing? By doing nothing I don’t mean doing nothing to feel guilty about, I mean nothing in the purest sense of the world.

Like sitting like a couch potato staring at the television and eating a nacho kind of nothing.

I can’t seem to reconcile getting through a day without accomplishing something. I’m not quite certain if it’s my type A personality or just the DNA in my bloodstream from years of Jewish guilt.

Whatever the case I can’t go to bed at night feeling good without knowing what tasks I undertook and succeeded at that day.

So I imagine the question would be: what is an accomplishment?

Aha. There’s the rub, for at various stages of our lives the word task morphs into far different meanings.

When young a task might be doing homework, making your bed or taking out the garbage. We never considered reading a book, playing outside until the streetlights came on or buying a new comic book part of the task category. Those things were the fun things we did, the parts of our lives we felt total control over.

Then we became older and a task was far more defined. In college we did our homework, studied for exams, did philanthropic activities with our sororities and left ourselves time for the fun stuff like catching up with our favorite soap opera, partying, watching Charlie Brown specials and listening to music while we danced around the dorm. There was a definite disconnection between fun and work and we felt the difference as we accomplished both.

Marriage and children brought even more awareness of the lines between pleasure and production although our underlying motivations were slightly blurred.

Changing our baby’s diaper was work yet it was done with love. So there was that, a whole love work conundrum.

Of course housework, carpooling, shopping or cooking were all things a Mom undertook with love and tolerance because our choices to raise our family had been conscious and resolute.

Some of us worked outside the house as well and at times the work felt less like work and more like fun. At least it did for me when I was doing stand-up comedy.

The point to all this is the fact that we were all productive. Our days were filled with responsibilities that needed to be met and loved ones to care for as the days passed quickly by.

At night we didn’t ever wonder, “what did I accomplish today?”

We were too damn tired and our heads were usually swimming with thoughts of what we had to do the next day.

It was a far different time.

And now here we are at a very different point in our lives.

Most of us, and I can’t speak for all of course, but many have chosen to slow life down a bit. Like a horse that used to run races and now sort of wanders about the fields sniffing the clover and munching on hay, and if he’s lucky gets put out to stud occasionally.

Some still have significant others and husbands (I am in no way implying that a husband is not significant here) so we do have another person in our lives to answer to.

However, there are those who do not.

I no longer have to worry about meals. I can eat what I want, when I want.

I work part time at my own pace so I needn’t be so strict about that any longer.

Hmm. So what is there that I absolutely need to do now?

And I am not certain if playing maj jong is considered a task or fun as at times the lines have now completely blurred from simply okay-so-I’m-getting-out-of-bed this morning, to healing the oceans.

I’m brutally honest with myself, I can’t retire as I’d be bored out of my skull with nothing to do. I envy those who can retire, but are they really?

What is retirement?

Does that mean sitting idol all day or perhaps running from doctor appointment to appointment as part of the weekly routine. No, I’m not sure if those visits to the doctor count as work or pleasure. I guess we should invent a new category for that one. Perhaps pain in the butt would be applicable.

Some golf, the healthy ones tennis, swim, play canasta, hang with friends, maj jong, go to the gym, meet friends for lunch, write that screenplay or novel, volunteer for charities, see the grandchildren and all of the many things one can do to fill time.

Although we take on tasks each day, for me it has changed a bit. Where once I could get up in the morning and clean all day, now, I merely take on a chore at a time with even a respite in between.

However, I need to do something, anything to make me feel as if I’ve accomplished something.

For me it is a necessity and I feel incredible guilty if I have ended a day without being productive.

So let’s examine what is considered productive.

Could one consider binge watching the entire season of Mrs. Maisel or Grace and Frankie productive?

Is cleaning a drawer or your closet?

How about writing a blog?

Can I sneak in maj jong under than heading?

Is it perfectly okay to count going to the gym as a positive day?

Case in point: Would you consider sitting in front of the television all day binge watching NCIS productive? I’m not going to argue the benefits of looking at Mark Harmon for eight hours although I can see no downside there. I merely wonder if I should feel guilty because I didn’t invent the cure for cancer instead? Is having a non-productive day and merely enjoying oneself a bad thing? What is truly beneficial as an activity?

As we age shouldn’t we be grateful we are able to function, walk, talk, enjoy our children and grandchildren? Isn’t contentment and gratitude a goal; a benefit of being alive?

Where once we sought more days to spend on pleasurable uses of our time, now we are blessed with scads of it. Is taking advantage of those hours not okay?

Should one feel guilty about simply enjoying doing nothing in particular?

I still have problems justifying 24 hours without producing something, whether it be a blog, a cleaner house, a charitable endeavor or even a new recipe.

So I have found a way around this conundrum.

Each day I find one thing to do that I can feel is going to result in something positive.

So I blog, fix something, work on a project or charity, call a friend, or even just catch up on housework. Then after that I can feel good about my time with Harmon or binge watching Mad Men, which a friend has been urging me to do. So in a way this is very productive because I’m making my friend happy by simply watching the show. Two birds huh?

I once saw Joan Rivers open her date book and point to empty pages and tell the interviewer, “This is what terrifies me.”

Right on Joan, Having nothing to do terrifies me, also.

Yet, there are still those lazy days, but what the heck? I intend to live them guilt free and with no remorse.

At the end of our lives when we are faced with that flashback of our existence on earth will it be the individual moments we see or the totality of our achievements? Our children, grandchildren, the love we gave and received and the loved ones standing beside us to guide us into the next great adventure?

I imagine I won’t care at that moment how many days I just binge watched Netflix or chatted on the phone with a friend in lieu of saving the world. Hopefully I’ll just be grateful for all the moments I spent on this crazy ball spinning in space and sorry to have to leave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Getting Old is Really Getting Old!

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I’m really not one to complain, unless of course, someone is listening.

Okay, so I really need to stop answering my phone.

The other day I learned that two people I know died, one of my best friends in having surgery and the world is coming to an end on January fifth, 2088.

Since the world has ended numerous times in my lifetime that one is not really an issue, but this picking up the phone and finding out people are sick and dying really has to end.

Oh I know there is no way to stop the Grim Reaper. He does know where you are at all times, so I guess he’s the GPS for humanity. And there’s no blocking or turning off his signal.

Once upon a time long ago I actually got out of bed in the morning without stopping three times to check and see why parts of me weren’t cooperating in the effort. Now it’s a slow and painful process. When I actually make contact with the floor, it’s not exactly like a kiss from Prince Charming, and my feet spend at least the next five minutes complaining bitterly until they give up and just settle into a low hum of pain for the rest of the day.

Being from Detroit I know of what I speak. Just like cars are planned for obsolescence so are people. None of us is built to last forever, even if we are built Ford Tough.

Sure, you say, some people are full of piss and vinegar right up till the end, and to that I say bull crap. Even if one cultivates a good attitude toward aging, as we get older we are all just schlepping through life looking for replacement parts as we go.

I now know very few people that are not bionic in some form; new knees, valves, hips, stints,

shoulders and even wrists are as available as a sucked-up, tucked-up blond in a room full of ninety-year-old millionaires.

Dentures have been replaced with implants, hair plugs have it all over toupees and women tattoo their eyebrows on. It’s a world of new tech, new times and new inventions to keep us believing we are not actually aging.

Aha! Don’t be fooled because your body is laughing all the way to the plastic surgeon’s office. “Forget the neck lift,” it is saying. “I have a whole new hip in store for you soon.”

I know women who scotch tape their necks for an instant lift. I am thinking of inventing flesh colored duct tape to hold up my touchas every day. Bet it would sell great.

The newest great invention seems to be adult underwear, aka diapers. Oh sure they’ve disguised them with pretty little designs and flowers, but honey we all know they are Pampers 2.0. I thought that was the nursing home wardrobe. What’s the hurry to start wearing plastic panties? A few flowers and I’m supposed to get excited about this new lingerie? Ooh, I feel sexy.

Even though we look like we’re twenty years younger thanks to Botox, fillers, lifts and medical magic, inside our bodies are decaying faster than Senor Happy tooth in a sea of Godiva chocolate.

So what is there to do to reverse the aging process?

We could call Harry Potter to bring his wand, but I am too far gone for that. Magic can only go so far.

Some hang at the gym and believe they can walk faster than Father Time, thus beating him to the punch. Okay, I’m game.

I’m here at the gym and it’s very foreign to me. I’m not sure what language they’re speaking in this strange new land. Just a minute I can catch one word here, downward dog. Yes, I know that one; it’s a Yoga term. It means squatting like a dog until your toes break off on the mat. I remember even trying that once. Couldn’t walk for a week.

Just a second someone is climbing on a treadmill and wait he’s setting the incline. I thought just walking a straight line was enough of a challenge. Damn the man’s walking up hill. I’m getting heart flutters just watching him. I need to find somewhere to sit.

I feel the duct tape on my ass coming lose and I think I should go into the bathroom to fix it. If it falls off as I’m walking that would be embarrassing. Damn a piece is hanging out from under my shorts. I knew I should have worn spandex. I’ll just wrap the towel around my bottom and walk slowly.

Oy, they’re all looking at me now. Damn that man is cute and now he thinks I’m some kind of freak who walks around with a towel covering my tush.

Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. I think my retail cardio is better. I’m going to the mall and walk around shopping for an hour or two. Who needs this when I can just park a little farther away from the door and burn off those extra calories? Plus, I know the language there better.

Sale, twenty off today, escalator, food court; these are words I can work with and feel comfortable around.

Okay, don’t start writing letters and leaving nasty comments on social media, I know exercise is valuable as one ages, but fun? I don’t think so! If it were designed to be fun it would contain some type of chocolate as part of the process.

I think getting old is difficult because it creeps up on us like a Hari Krishna at the airport. You never see it coming until it’s too late and the wrinkles are there, staring back at you, smirking because they crossed the finish line while you simply blinked.

There is a way to avoid the sight if you stop using the devil’s favorite invention: the magnifying mirror. I’m sure he’s proud of that one. God took pity on us and made our eyesight worse as we get older, thereby not seeing wrinkles. Oh, but the devil said, “what a great opportunity to do evil.” and there you have it. You will notice that a Nobel Prize was never awarded for that invention.

I have never heard one person I know say, “I expected this getting old thing to happen sooner. What took so long?”

Nope, it’s more like, “when the hell did this happen? I never saw it coming. Yesterday I was young and swinging in the backyard with my kids, and now there is some strange, old person staring back at me in the mirror.”

I know we all would rather be here than somewhere else, destination unknown, but the journey always seems so short looking back.

I have no answers except maybe the duct tape if I can perfect it, but I guess we all have to be grateful to be here to complain and check out the new crop of wrinkles. If you find the fountain of youth, send me a map and I’ll pass it along to my readers. Until then, think young, stay young, enjoy life and throw away that damn-magnifying mirror.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Newest Grammy Décor

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Bring on those dirty little hands,

Microfiber is my new hero.

Anyone of a certain age understands life’s close relationship with enormous irony.

One that I recently discovered was the Grandma Décor Dilemma.

Every mother knows when babies become mobile, a serious redecorating effort occurs.

Glass is replace with wood or Formica, all tabletop items are wrapped for storage or placed on higher shelves. A great cover up is afoot to save at least a scintilla of worldly goods.

But now we have microfiber.

Ah microfiber! No, not micro greens, the new word for lettuce scraps on your plate. The new miracle fiber that battles chocolate, peanut better and sandbox residue lurking on adorable, busy, little hands.

A new practically indestructible fabric that resembles suede resists stains and was definitely designed with Grandmas in mind. I am smiling just remembering when my children roamed the house and valuables were secured and safely placed aside in high-placed locked boxes more inaccessible than my youth.

Living with sparseness of design as a Mom, has now been coined minimalist, I believe just to up the price tag.

I recall the tumult of more toys than Santa’s workshop covering my floors, while I dreamed of house beautiful.

Perusing home magazines with a sad sigh, wishing for a time when I could actually consider a white sofa and glass tables was sheer heaven.

A toy-free zone to display my crystal and fine pieces openly and freely far from their storage prisons.

Lalique, Daum, Waterford would dance across my dreams carrying rainbows of champagne and canapés onto regally appointed buffets and glass, cocktail tables.

As the years flew by, and as we know they do fly, my children grew to adulthood.

My new adult child home was filled with white sofas, glass tables and matching towels in the guest bathroom. Ah, all those forbidden fruits of décor.

What fun!

The years passed in a haze of entertaining with “good” china still bearing the flakes of sawdust from the original shipping container, crystal glasses and silver flatware.

I felt like the Queen of England and as strange as it might sound to Meghan Markle, life felt pretty damn good in the royal palace. Paper plates were verboten and I could even hear the sound of fork hitting china when I cut my chicken.

Ah, but then the tide turned once more. Suddenly a new arrival signaled the end of all that opulence. The splendor, the elegance destined to disappear from the landscape once again.

“He” had arrived. My first grandson, the new king and now the palace became all about nothing more than “Him” and what suited “His Highness’s ” needs. Suddenly there were Sesame street plastic dishes and tippee cups, organic cloths and toys, and green smoothies with unknown ingredients that my daughter insisted enhanced life.

The boxes appeared once more. Bubble paper and bubble bursting filled quiet moments between emptying tables and glass shelves filled with delicate chachkees.

Once again my life was filled with toy-filled corners, empty tabletops and baby step stools. Shelves that had once displayed French Limoges, now flaunted frames filled with baby pictures.

Over lunches, my friends and I discussed how to make room for storage cabinets and redo a bedroom with a toddler theme. Discussions of new colors and designs that were the rage in baby world replaced the latest handbag, new boutique opening, vacation spot or Pilate’s injury.

Our iphones overflowed with the latest photos of Halloween costumes, petting zoos and hugging grandma pics.

Cars sported baby car seats and books, toys and hand cleaners were shoved in seat pockets.

Some of my wealthier friends hired designers and muralists to create a special theme. Shimmer and Shine, Paw Patrol, Dora the Explorer and Bubble Guppies were hot. We discussed singing groups like Yo Gabba Gabba recalling how our parents had laughed at our obsession with the Beatles.

Rainbows, dinosaurs and computers were also on board as décor stalwarts.

A new vibe hovered over our regular get togethers as toys, pictures and brilliant baby quotes took center stage. It was toddler town all day every day and we were proud residents reveling in our new roles.

Instead of the latest gallery opening, we exchanged news about children’s exhibits and virtual play areas. New ideas about what to do days we had, “the little angels” were passed around like refills of champagne at a Beverly Hills gala.

We wore the name grandma as proudly as couture and shamelessly bragged and repeated baby stories ad nauseum.

Our computer screen savers were full size pictures of smiling partially, toothed grins that changed with each new development.

It had finally happened—we were grandmas—and our homes had gone from chic to child friendly in a heartbeat.

And strangely enough none of us seemed to mind a bit.

Our priorities had shifted from fabulous to fun and we were happy to forego our designer duds for jeans and sweats for crawling and wrestling when necessary.

I suppose life is ultimately about surrounding yourself with the people you love and yes, that means with the things they love as well.

So, until my grandsons develop a taste for Waterford and other such finery, it shall be unbreakable and easy if you pleasey.

 

 

Driving in L.A. Dating Schmating

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Driving in L.A.—Dating Schmating

What is love? Do we have a soul mate or true love like Wesley and Buttercup, or do we simply blindly stumble through life with our arms open, seeking the “one,” eyes closed and heart vulnerable to all attacks foreign and domestic?

My husband now passed on, once told me we were soul mates. I never probed further to find out why he had drawn that conclusion since at that time we were divorced and he was happily ensconced in the arms of a new girlfriend that seemed like a good fit.

Begs the question were we soul mates? Or if we were than why weren’t we together forever? Isn’t that the meaning of a soul mate, the joining together of two parts of a soul to complete one?

So I imagine that if you don’t meet your true soul mate you are doomed to walk the earth with half of you missing. Although half of married couples would gladly be missing that other half, hence the divorce rate, I still choose to believe in that ancient myth about knowing immediately you have found your other half. Despite the fact I have been wrong on too many occasions, I remain a hopeful romantic.

Dating in what is laughingly referred to as the golden years is not for the faint of heart. There are few opportunities to meet a significant other save for dating sites or hobbies. Perhaps through a fix up by friends or just randomly minding your business and like in the movies you run into a building out of the rain, your eyes meet and you instantly know that’s it, they are the one and you live happily ever after.

Of course no one tells you that on your wedding night your husband drops his pants and leaves them lying on that floor for the next fifty years. Oh I’m sorry, am I corrupting the fairy-tale ending? I often wondered when Cinderella rode off with her prince; did he snore, pick his nose in public or hold the covers over her head when he farted in bed? Guess they left that part of the story out.

There have been moments when I was swept away by the notion of a soul mate. Not for the obvious reasons of a glorious exciting affair dancing through Paris at night in a montage of starlit skies and clinking wine glasses. No, because of the fact it seems it would be so damn easy!

Being of a certain age I have little patience for the so- tell-me-about-yourself bull crap that has become a necessity for getting to know someone. Then you must figure out if they are dating three other women besides you, if they are lying about their age, are after your money, a serial killer or whatever other horror stories one hears every day. If you knew right away you were soul mates how easy is that?

Okay, let’s forego all the other junk, get married or be a couple and move forward.

Easy peasey and made for the lazy at love.

I imagine that’s why many people hook up at class reunions because it’s so easy. Whew I don’t have to ask you a single question cause I know everything about you. My Aunt Marcia played bridge with your cousin Sue and I’ve heard all about you; simple yet effective.

But what if you have a soul mate and he’s a serial killer or drug addict or thinks monogamy is a dirty word?

If this man is your destiny or perhaps a lesson you are here to learn then is there a way to say, no thanks I’ll pass?

Or is everyone who comes into your life in a meaningful way actually your destiny? If we are here to learn lessons as so many believe, then a soul mate can be a real nightmare if there is a lesson to be learned from living with or loving them.

Wouldn’t life just be easier if could just use an x-ray machine on every man we went out with to see what’s going on inside his head?

Or perhaps a lie detector test would be appropriate on a first date?

You say your ex wife was a nightmare? Oops lines off the charts.

Okay, so you say you never would cheat on a woman. Lines again.

Uh Huh and you never take drugs. Running out of paper here.

So you are very wealthy and need no one’s money. Oops running out of ink here, guess that one is off the charts as well.

You spent how much time in prison??

That would be a short first date, but a productive one.

The trouble with the process is that one never learns these truths until it’s way too late.

Although it’s true some men are up front about their shortcomings because, believe it or not, they have no remorse for their misdeeds.

I actually went out for coffee with a man who’d been arrested and charged for swindling people in the penny stock scandal of the nineties.

He complained bitterly about how the government had taken away all his toys, money and other goodies.

I asked, “ What about all those people whose pensions and savings you destroyed and stole?”

“Shit happens,” he responded unapologetically. End of date.

I, as most others, would like to believe that a soul mate has to be the perfect person for us. But what does that really mean?

Maybe we’re far too trusting and we need a man to wake us up to stop our romanticizing everyone we fall for. So that soul mate may be someone who ultimately comes into our life to hurt us…in a good way of course. But can being hurt be good?

There is an expression I have heard countless times…You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet Prince Charming.

Well I assume that many of you, as I am, are covered with so many warts we have to wear long-sleeved shirts all year long.

And if that is true when is enough enough?

Are there a set number of frogs we must endure before achieving love nirvana? Who decides that amount? Is it ultimately up to us to decide when we’ve had our fill of warts?

I am a firm believer in two very crucial elements to this puzzle.

One: some people are just born smarter than others on this subject. They seem to know at an early age what they are seeking and ultimately need to make them happy.

And two: there is luck involved here as well. But I do concede that part of that luck could be attached to the smarts part of the equation.

Yes, I admit some people take longer to learn lessons than others. As my daughter has pointed put on numerous occasions, “Mother, lessons not learned will be repeated.”

And as an aside, yes we all want our children to be smarter than us, but it does come back to bite you in the ass sometimes does it not?

Anyway I digress. So what can we do to ensure we can get smarter and thereby luckier where love is concerned?

Perhaps it helps to reexamine a problem with a fresh perspective.

If you are always attracted to a certain type of man, maybe changing things up might work in one’s favor.

I am a sucker for a sense of humor in a man, but I always found after the laughter stopped the crying commenced.

So maybe someone sullen and serious is the ticket. I’ll do the jokes here, thank you.

Of course I have no idea if I could survive a man without humor, so that might not be the answer.

I guess what I’m ultimately saying is that there is no answer.

I suppose you must go with your gut and hope for the best. Perhaps we also need to understand that as we grow and change so does what we need in another person to make us happy. Then begs the question, shouldn’t we already be happy within ourselves and not look for someone else to complete us?

Dating at any age is brutal and the older you get the more set in your ways you become.
If true love is in your future I applaud you and I am one who believes the more love you have the better life is.

Good luck with finding Mr. Right to enhance and add more happiness to your life.

I will spend my time creating and building that frog-revealing lie detector machine. I’ll let you know when I’m ready to take orders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resolving to Remember Sara Lee

 

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Resolving to Remember Sara Lee

With the New Year comes resolutions. Yes, we all make them whether silently or out loud they creep into our mind with the stealth ability of a Russian spy satellite. And they are there, embedded into our psyche lurking and smirking while we valiantly attempt to live up to our goals.

Good luck with that one.

Talk about setting oneself up for failure. Of course we all wax nostalgic at this time and, of course, the smartest resolution would be to break all your New Year’s resolutions, thereby setting oneself up for achievable success.

How do you keep a resolution? If you ask most people, they don’t.

Because of all the craziness of the last year, one might ponder the best way to ease into 2020. A new decade filled with new hope, but for what? How easy does life get when one finally realizes that the force Obi Won wished would be with you is gravity, and it is no friend to anyone over the age of 35.

The passing of time, thankfully, usually goes unnoticed. Most people mark the passage of years with key events in their lives. A wedding, baptism, Bar Mitzvah, divorce.

Yet looking back, it’s sometimes the small things we remember most: a smile from someone we love, a first kiss, the first time our baby writes on the walls with a marker, the first insult from our mother-in-law.

If it’s true we don’t realize what we’ve lost until it’s gone and never wake up until it’s too late, this may be a good time to take stock of what’s important, what makes us happy. Things we have previously taken for granted, like privacy. Hold on, I have to re-tape the front of my computer because they, whoever they are, are watching.

Okay, I’m back.

Taking for granted the friends who are there for us through bad times is a normal human characteristic; some more than others are guilty of this transgression. Perhaps a good resolution would be to just love and appreciate the people in our life who make it better and eliminate the toxic energy.

Oops, just a second, there is a drone outside my window and I need to close the blinds. That’s better.

It used to be automatic to just reach into the freezer at the grocery store and toss the Sara Lee Brownies into my basket. I never thought much about the process. (We all do it—hoping no one notices that you are buying something fattening when you should be dieting.)

Once home, the brownies were always perfectly melted, ready to open and scrape the chocolate off the lid.

You’d cut a small square, but sometimes you found yourself cutting too deeply and making a slit in the aluminum tray. No problem, they never leaked through once back in the freezer.

So many memories, so many bad moments, so many broken things Sara Lee fixed.

She was always there.

Those chocolate brownies existed for a reason; they served a purpose and worked. They comforted and caressed each weary problem with a chocolate snuggle.

I can’t remember the exact moment I reached into my grocer’s freezer to grab a tray and they were gone. Maybe they’re out of them, I thought. I’ll try next time.

I searched the store for a substitute.

There was none.

How could this be happening?

The next week I tried again.

Not there.

A week later a different store.

No Sara.

I was filled with a sinking feeling, an inkling of doom that perhaps something bad had happened. Yet it was true.

No more Sara Lee Frozen Brownies.

No more help for a bad day, PMS, tight jeans or a haircut from hell. No chocolaty friend to comfort me in my time of cocoa need. No brownie shoulder to cry on.

I hadn’t appreciated what I had and now it was gone.

The thought still plagues me that perhaps more than Sara Lee Brownies have slipped out of my life.

What else have I missed? What other treasures have escaped my notice while I wasn’t looking?

Where am I most of the time? Where are we all? What are we paying attention to anyway?

What’s that? Oh my Lord, a pop up just jumped up on screen with a picture of a blouse I looked at online a week ago. “Get thee gone, Google!”

Okay I’m back, so if Sara came back, would I appreciate her now? Can any of these questions ever be answered?

Probably not, so I’ll just move on.

New Year is always a time to look back and take stock of what was, and plan for what may be.

How to best do this is a great feat and yet I shall attempt to do so.

I will strive to:

Start off the year happy. Make resolutions that are easily doable and resolve to be nicer to me and everyone else.

We all make mistakes; I have a list longer than Harvey Weinstein’s victims. Next time I want to beat myself up, I’ll remember there are enough people waiting in line to do it for me. Call someone to beat you up and there is always someone to oblige.

So how do we make it a great year, even without Sara Lee?

I’m going to download a favorite song from high school or college then play it in the car extra loud with the window down.

Reinvent myself. This is something so easy for a woman to do. A new hairstyle or color, a new lipstick, nail polish or new Spanx and I’m good to go.

Men well, not much to do there, but the proverbial new red sports car is still a good choice.

I won’t resolve to lose or gain weight! Pressure is the worst thing for diets. I have embraced what I call retail cardio. I go to the mall and walk around shopping for hours.

Great exercise and it’s fun. I don’t even realize I’m moving around and doing something healthy.

I’ll call someone with whom I’ve lost touch and wish them a ‘Happy New Year.’

I imagine it’s a good thing to take stock of the things that aren’t as I’d want them to be. If there are changes that need to be made in a job, home, appearance or relationships, make the changes. Nothing has to move in an instant; change does take time so I’ll have to practice patience.

Know the difference between what can and cannot be changed and find a way to deal with what cannot. That’s a toughie for sure.

Start each day with ten minutes for myself. Do yoga, meditate, pray, listen to a favorite song, have a special blend of coffee, but start each day on a positive note.

I always try to combine unpleasant or tedious routine chores with favorite things. While paying bills, I play a favorite CD or watch a favorite movie.

“What’s that SIRI? No, I don’t want to make a call right now!”

I shall attempt to eat one—only one—forbidden food a week and once a week won’t play havoc with my diet.

I’ll save a five dollars a week and at Christmas time buy some toys for needy children with the money.

I will compliment strangers, because they may be having a bad day and kind words may be just what they need to feel better.

Maybe a new hobby; it’s relaxing. Take up painting…what if Picasso had put things off this long?

I’ll buy beads and make that amazing necklace I’ve been dreaming about.

Eat more chocolate and try a new dessert recipe.

Resolve to see the glass ‘half full.’ Negative thoughts breed negative results. Life shouldn’t be such a battle. I’ll lay back and let life happen sometimes. The earth will revolve without me controlling it each second.

There is a lesson to be learned from the demise of Sara Lee Brownies. This year I’m stocking my freezer with Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia.

I must promise myself to appreciate the people I love and care about, before they too are taken off the supermarket shelves.

Just a minute, Alexa wants to tell me something. “Excuse me! I do not look especially bloated today.”

Sorry everyone, but I have to make a trip to the garbage to throw something away so have a fabulous new year.

“Come to Momma, Alexa, I just want to take you on a little trip…”

A very happy and healthy New Year and new decade, everyone!

 

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Driving in L.A.— Kobe’s Death

 

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Driving in L.A.: Kobe’s Death

As I was attempting to drive in Los Angeles this morning while cars refused to let me turn, blocked intersections, cut me off, or refused to acknowledge when I let them cut in front of me, and everyone sped through traffic like they were a brain surgeon with a patient lying waiting on an operating table, I was taken by the amount of coverage about the terrible and untimely death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. As a writer I turn to my words to express my feelings in response to tragedy and I am grateful to share them with you.

It struck me that when a celebrity dies, especially young ones, there are two kinds of grief, public and personal. Most of us only experience personal grief when we pass away. Our demise is shared with family and friends who hopefully will mourn our death and passing from this world with sadness and a sense of loss.

Yet when a celebrity dies, his or her family and friends must share their pain with the entire world.

I wondered if that enormous outpouring of grief affects a family’s ability to deal with tragedy.

There are many who believe prayer sends out energy into the world. Healing thoughts and prayers actually make a difference to the mourners and enhance their strength through the difficult process of losing a loved one. Or in Kobe’s family two loved ones. Is their healing magnified by the energy from all the prayers, or is it perhaps the same for everyone whether they have millions of prayers coming toward them or even one.

What is the power of prayer and how does it increase exponentially by numbers?

I’m not a member of the clergy or a faith healer so I can only go by my own personal experience.

I do believe that in a celebrity death the process is helped by the community prayers and healing in the form of shared pain.

I shall use as an example the death of John F. Kennedy since that is the most public grief I have ever witnessed in my lifetime and personally affected me so greatly.

How did Americans and the world deal with Kennedy’s death?

We sobbed, we watched the television and cried even more as we witnessed his family’s grief. I don’t believe I will ever be affected by any public grieving as much as the sight of John F. Kennedy Junior saluting as his father’s coffin passed. If there is a definition in Webster’s for heart wrenching I’d say it was John John, an image of that week which every American will forever carry in their memories.

The grief I felt couldn’t be dissipated due to the countless times his death was replayed on TV screens, in photographs and countless conversations with everyone and anyone.

Even to this day I still tear up whenever November 23rd nears, remembering vividly that day, that moment when Walter Cronkite, removing his glasses unsuccessfully fought back tears while making the historical announcement. Anyone of my generation can tell you with pinpoint accuracy where they were when it happened and how they felt.

Of course a presidential assassination is quite different from other celebrity deaths.

Most of us do however recall hearing the bad news of a high-profile death.

When John Lennon was killed, John John, Princess Diana, Ronald Reagan was shot, Frank Sinatra succumbed to a heart attack or even when Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson succumbed to their addictions.

Does public grieving help heal or is it merely a shared pain with others and does nothing to minimize one’s own? Watching William and Harry following their mother’s casket at the funeral was a painful sight, yet it was her sons that have lived without their mother and obviously in light of recent events, still suffer the pain. I’d like to believe that the outpouring of prayer for them helped at that moment, at least a bit.

In most religions there are mourning periods to help the family process the loss before returning to their lives. I imagine therein lies the difference. While there is always some comfort in the communal sharing of pain and grief, when the mourning period is over it is only the family and closest friends that are left to deal with the gaping hole in their existence.

As his many fans and friends mourn Kobe’s death still it is his family that must live the day-to-day moments without him and his daughter.

It was Jackie Kennedy, her children and the Kennedy clan that were reminded moment to moment of his loss. Yes the American people mourned him, but we went on with our lives and daily routines, sadder, but still carrying out business as usual while his family could not.

I don’t pretend to be an expert at understanding grief, I only know that it is a great equalizer in the human condition; one of the emotions that transcends culture, religion or gender. A broken heart has no color, political bias or religious affiliation, and reacts to pain exactly the same in every human, unless of course they are seriously mentally flawed.

I try valiantly to avoid involving myself in politics for I am quite aware that today’s enemy is tomorrow’s best buddy and the winds of affiliation shift with the frequency of a Kardashian husband. Yet, if Kobe’s death brings one point home it is this…in times of pain and suffering it is our fellow human beings we turn to for comfort, and perhaps we must keep that reality in mind when living our everyday lives.

Not in a preachy way, but I am so aware living in a city like L.A. so misnamed as the city of angels, that we need to smile more at strangers, say thank you when someone lets us cut into traffic and speak nicely to people who pass through our lives each day. A kind word or compliment to a someone can go a long way to brightening a day.  I try to silently repeat to myself at least twice a day, I am grateful for all I have and especially for the people in my life.

If we live each moment as though it were to be the last this would be a more loving and giving world. These are thoughts shared over and over by almost everyone, yet seem too quickly forgotten,

I have always believed the grim reaper has the largest Rolodex in the universe and when it’s your time to leave he knows where to find you.

I hope for all of you that when he does, he will find you smiling and with a heart filled with love.

Rest in peace Kobe, Gianna and all of those who’ve left loved ones behind. Perhaps we can best honor the dead, by embracing and revering all the good in life.

 

 

 

 

 

Driving in L.A.

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                                             Driving in L.A.

 

 

Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”   Sun Tzu

 

Yes, life is a battleground. Or is it love? Actually I’d say both. I’m originally from Detroit and tough is part of what I am and why I have fought so hard to overcome the numerous obstacles we all find in our way when we are seeking another road to travel. Being born in Los Angeles is almost a handicap of sorts since it is a land of suspended reality.

But on to new roads that seem fraught with unknown debris and challenges, that at times seem almost insurmountable. And I suppose that is the point of it all, to move forward and slay greater and more illustrious and star-studded dragons.

In Detroit we build them Ford tough. It was never mandated in the charter of course, but for some reason in the DNA of Detroiters there exists a piece of its history. The toughness that created an industry that moves the world. Hard work innovation and steely resolve is what floated in the air and seeped into each of us.

There are days I wonder if even a great and wise warrior like Sun Tsu could navigate the streets of LA.

Sure the saying goes if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere, yet I have come to believe New York is a city of pussies when compared to Los Angeles.

Navigating Lalaland is a metaphor for overcoming the trials and tribulations of life. The roadblocks, sinkholes, sheer volume of traffic preventing you from reaching your appointed destination, perfectly describes what we all face each day. Yet L.A. magnifies all the craziness that is the human condition, the joy, struggles, pain, passion and heartbreak. Driving in L.A. is an exercise is sheer determination and one that requires a strength and humor beyond human endurance.

So why you ask do I brag about my Motown roots? Selfishly I am sick and tired of telling people I am from Detroit and having them look at me like I’m about to pull a gun on them.

Of course we all look fondly back on our childhood homes and a part of us wants to run back and hide under our bed to make the world disappear. It seemed safe and cozy when we were young and even for a short time, innocent. So I imagine it’s the temptation to return to that time before we knew what life was really about and how badly we could be hurt that draws us home.

The mislabeling gods are hard at work trying to convince us that there is something called the golden years. This is a time in our lives when we’re supposed to be able to reap the benefits of a life long lived to relax and enjoy. But is simply filling our days living? Is it enough to keep busy finding ways to occupy our life and is filling our days equal to filling our potential.

Of course there are many among us of a certain age that would argue that they are happy indeed simply filling their days as they choose. Playing golf, taking wine classes, maj jonging, bridging or mall walking and lunching with friends. So many women in their golden years are alone now and many many by choice I might add, that the filling of days are far different from my mother’s generation.

I had always supposed the golden years would be spent in Boca where Jews once went to die while happily decorating the condo, fighting with the condo board and schlepping to early bird specials and out with friends.

But are the best-laid plans actually the best plans after all? Are the different parts of life the same for everyone and if we could choose a certain life does that necessarily mean it will come to pass?

When I was a child it seemed plans were easier to carry out. I saw my parent’s generation plan for retirement and achieve their vision. There was far less divorce, and widows and single women seemed to pair up with perfectly acceptable husbands in a very rapid time span so most weren’t alone for long. Today it is quite different. My single friends are still single. Cruises are filled with groups of friends traveling together and enjoying their freedom.

I suppose that begs the question what is freedom and is it good for everyone?

Because of the Feminist Movement it is now acceptable to travel alone, dine alone and generally live your life as you choose. Single women are not cast upon suspiciously as they once were and I will be the first to say I applaud the change.

Dating sites are filled with men and women who pretend to be looking for love, but are they really? Or are they simply trying to fulfill some ancient mating ritual that has outlived its usefulness. Men on these sites are like butterflies that flitter from one woman to another when a brighter one catches their eye.

When I first moved to L.A. a woman I met in a consignment store while I perused a divine pair of earrings said she would absolutely not become a nurse or a purse for any man.

At the time being naïve I wondered, are these the only two choices a single woman has? The options seemed as limited as the train schedule from Detroit to Cleveland

Is being alone as scary as our mother’s believed or is freedom actually preferable”

In this new age is a woman foolish to want to be unbound and free to choose how to spend her own time?

Is it ironic that in a time when the world is totally unsafe and scarier than ever women choose to plod about it by themselves? And if the old feeling of being protected by a man is truly archaic than what caused such a seismic shift in our golden year choices?

Navigating through life is much the same as sitting in the car with a husband that will not consult a map. Frustrating as hell as I recall, torn between winding up in some frightening deliverance scenario on an uncharted back road or becoming a nag of gargantuan proportions as you watch the road become more deserted and the gas tank move ever closer to empty.

Is it important to share your life with someone if that life is an unhappy one? Are too many women willing to give up too much of themselves to be with a man and if so is this a new phenomenon?

Questions, questions, questions. Is part of being a liberated woman the freedom to ask the questions our mothers never would or could?

Am I enough for myself or do I need a man to complete me?

Will my life be lonelier and emptier without my husband?

Can I live a rich full life alone or is it some ancient human instinct to bond and be part of a pair?

Adam and Eve I guess. After all weren’t they the first evidence of the fact that marriage is nothing if not compromise? Even after she opened the door to Mr. Snake and got them thrown out of paradise, Adam was willing to stick, although there were obvious perks for him in that arrangement.

Is it easier to compromise when we’re young and still believe we have all the time in the world to make things perfect and right? Or as we get older do we more readily accept the fact compromise in a marriage or relationship is as rare as a supermodel downing a giant helping of bread pudding?

If as Kris Kristofferson says “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose, is it actually so much more to gain?

And what the hell does “Me Too” mean anyway? It’s truly a belittling phrase. It implies that someone comes before you and you are nothing more than a hanger on or Johnny-come-lately to the party. Much like a girl screaming at her big sister to take her along on a play date. Me Too! What genius concocted that one?

My generation called ourselves feminists and burned our bras. Well I confess I couldn’t burn mine because with my breasts I would have kicked myself to death. But I digress. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say, Me First?

I have wrestled with the whole should I shouldn’t I become a part of a set again for years and as close as I’ve come to answering yes to that question something inside says run at the prospect. I’m not certain if that’s me, or just the new Los Angeles part in me talking, but I know it’s much easier here to be single. I can’t say how I’d feel if I lived somewhere else, but I don’t, so I needn’t worry about it. For the time being this girl is on her own and loving it.

And as Frankie Lyman once sang…why do fools fall in love? Sorry but you’re on your own for that one.