Thursday, December 29, 2011

The one that got away


Mistakes and regrets are memories made....Someone like You 

At Thanksgiving I usually try and post for the week before Thursday all the things that I am grateful for...from the very insignificant yet it helps me in some way (makeup, shoes) to the very significant (my boys).  This year while driving from Whole Foods back home I heard the Katy Perry song "The One that Got Away".  I admit I like to listen to music in my car loud and can usually be seen dancing in my seat and singing like I am performing on American Idol.   Luckily the only people subjected to my voice are my boys who seem to have been born with a filter that makes them tell me that I am a great singer (I am sooo not even close..).  I alternate between my connected iPhone and the Sirius radio that I cannot live without, it came "free" for a year in our car and though I drive very little (when I drive long distances it is usually with my husband who has since the beginning of our relationship 20+ years ago commandeered it to listen to AM Sports Talk...for a brief time he did listen to alternative stations with me in our cars...but for the past 15 or so years it has been WFAN ..I sadly know the theme song for Mike and The Mad Dog and know that Mad Dog departed for Satellite radio as well as how many kids they each have...sad, scary information I, who is not a sports fan, never would have imagined having) I like Satellite with it's crazy variety.


That was the longest intro paragraph...but if you have read this blog before you will not be surprised ...interestingly in thinking about it I tend not to talk like this meandering writing.  Before I digress again let's get back to the topic of this blog.  I came home dancing, shaking my booty (yes even Moms shake their booties..secret Shakiras all of us) and decided that after listening to Katy lament about the one that got away well I was going to post as my thankful status for that the "Thankful for the one that got away".  Yes there is one for most of us, for some there are many but that is for a therapist to deal with, for others they got the one that got away (my best friend traveled continents and was no less than Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible to get her current husband...all worth it for both of them), but for many of us the one that got away is just that.   I did not expect the reaction to my post though to be what it was.  I got lots of comments about how it was good that he got away, that you can survive that mad, passionate romance leaving you for one that makes you a better person, etc.... The theme was the same and interestingly only women responded.  Is that because men forget the ones that got away ? There was a collective sigh from the females reading this hoping not !!! Is it because men assume they let you go not that you got away??? Not sure, it could be that men just move on differently. 


The one that got away is the one that will never really leave your memories because it is the time of your life that defined many future choices.  This does not mean that they replace the love you have currently or supersede it.  It does not mean it was better and if it does mean more or it was better maybe you need to ask yourself if you are remembering with rose colored glasses or if you current relationship needs some examination.  The one that got away is usually shrouded by drama, by lust that could burn a dirty book down, by that love that made you giddy, delirious, manic, depressed and scorched a memory onto your heart.  It taught you that you can survive living without the person or what you needed in a relationship.  For me the one that got away, if I was to be honest, I never tried that hard to keep.  Maybe I was afraid of the intensity of the feelings I had for him, I am one who understands herself and I am cautious with my emotions, or that I knew that what we wanted besides each other was not in sync or maybe we were just not meant to be more.  I never regret my past actions, learn from them yes, but regrets nope!!! Instead I am thankful for him...he taught me to be aware of how much I can love and lose and recover from. He taught me to be open and let go and mostly he gave me some of the best memories.  I will say though I do wonder if he (since from my post there were no men who commented) thinks of me smiles and says ....ahh the one that got away....play it again Sam!!

But in another life
I would be your girl
We'd keep all our promises
Be us against the world...The One that Got Away



Monday, December 26, 2011

....Goodbye 2011

I heard a great line from a colleague "Seems like the days last forever and the years fly by"....that is so true for this past year.  I cannot believe that we are already prepping for a New Year's Eve party and looking behind us at what was Christmas.  All that build up and you seem to blink and it is done.  Our Christmas was great and the boys remind me of that pure joy that happens so much more to children than we allow ourselves to have as adults. That smile of magic that lights up their faces as they think that Santa did hear them and did stop by and drop off presents.  


I look back on this year and think of the memories that were made.  The moments that I froze either by a picture in my head or in a photo that I will have to associate with the year that was 2011.  I will remember the boys learning to ice skate as the year started ...and politely telling me that they could take a break from it this winter.  The vacations that we went to as a family and the excitement that lead to them ....love that my youngest boy tells people he has many houses since he counts any hotel he stays at as his house.  Maybe the memory will go back to a book I read that I could not shake (Before I Go to Sleep, Caleb's Crossing, We Need to talk about Kevin, discovering Sebald as an author, Mudbound, The Help, In the Garden of the Beast, Pete Hamill (insert dreamy eyes and sigh here)...this was  year of really good books).  There were the movies I missed and had to see on my iPad and the movies I actually made it to.  The too many animated movies that I drag myself to just because the boys want to see them.  There is always the music - new or rediscovered that I cannot imagine any year without. The year I took up tennis...and loved it.


I will think back on the wonderful restaurants I went to and some meals shared with friends. This was a year of theme parties too...the Oktoberfest in the backyard with a polka band that my friend Dori had, the Prom where we 10, 20, 30+ years later managed to find those large shoulder pads, blue tuxes and dance as if we were 18 and breaking night for the first time again.  This was the year that I got back some of my time and for a Mom this is a huge thing....there is that period when you first have children when you have no time to manage anything more than being a Mom.  This year as the boys got a little older I could set up time and dinners to catch up with friends not seen for a long time, to linger over dinner with a friend who I always have so much FUN with, to not feel like I have to slurp my food and drink through a straw so that I could speed back to them.  


I took up writing this blog this year ....and was surprised that I could get over my fear of publishing it and that I had over a 2000 reads in less than 12 months.  I think I am still surprised when I see readers from Russia, Malaysia, Poland...places where I am not sure how they found me but they seem to keep reading (THANK You ....please do not stop).  My easel, canvas and paints came out again....and slowly a painting is actually shaping on there.  This was the year where we stopped, many of us cried, and found it hard to believe that it was 10 years since the Sept 11 attacks....there is an anniversary that no one wishes needed to commemorated....yet we got through the pain, again like on that day, with dignity and for me with the belief that living and loving is the best tribute to the victims of that day who were no longer given the option to do that for the past ten years.  This year was so tumultuous again in the news....Osama is dead, Qadafi is dead, common sense and striving to work together to better the USA is in a coma as far as I can tell in the government, the weather - well I know global warming is still something some people deny but really can you deny it was a wacky weather year and not wonder why?  This was a year when the EU seemed to be a top....tilting downward and sideways...still spinning for now.  The year the troops left Iraq and yet it is still not the year that I can say we somehow as a planet found a way toward peace....I wish I could.


I distinctly remember being younger and wondering what 2000 (that monumental milestone) would be like...sci -fi doom or sci -fi cool ...and it turned out to be really neither.  I still struggle with the notion that we are 11 years past that date.  The world lost some amazing people this year and I am sure gave birth or is grooming the next set of amazing people.....of course I think my boys among them.  I do not make resolutions but I do think of things I may want to try or do for a new year.  I have hope that 2012 will be  year of more memories that I can add to that treasure trove I have already in my life. Enjoy the last of 2011 with gusto and party like it's 1999.  Maybe you can reflect with a smile on the parts of 2011 that were great for you and breathe a sigh of relief for those moments in 2011 that you are glad you are not carrying to the next year.  Chances are 2012 will mean something different to each of us but that is good for change is what propels us forward....Cheers and Happy New Year.



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Have I told you lately that I love you???

There is so much to do around this time of year ...I am pretty obsessed with the idea of the right gift for each person ... the cards and the personalized letter and the tree and the holiday menus (both Hanukkah and Christmas) and of course the planning for what to do with time off....why am I sitting here writing this blog when I still have so much to do?  


I was thinking  about all of the stuff that I have to do and the limited time I have to do it in while still taking kids to parties, sports, and my admittedly shameless enjoyment of the social activities I like to attend (not only but especially) during this time of year.  Somehow I took a deep breath and decided that I do not feel guilty.  I did for a bit ...what if the gift is not right? what if the gift I made was seen as something to be discarded rather than the vision I had when I made it? what if the kids did not have enough? what if ..what if...what if I start just  relaxing and remembering that the gift I chose was chosen with a lot of thought, that the gift I made was made with a bit of me and given to someone who I hope appreciates it, that the kids most certainly had enough. 


Instead of stressing I am enjoying the moment...they go so fast and I do not want to miss it.  I also thought maybe this is the time to start telling people who mean something to me that well they mean something to me.  I know we throw around the "love you" often but bet you we do not take it out to share often when it would mean something.  I know I tell my boys how I love them oh about a bazillion times a day but there are people I have yet to say it to and some that I just have not said it to in a long time.  I am not sure for me there is a greater gift than to have someone care deeply enough for me to tell me they love me ...must smile as I write this because I know I have been told at least once or fourteen times by men who were using the wrong L word...but alas they too meant something.  


So this week I am giving you all hugs and the big virtual kisses that go with a holiday message.  I am telling you that the fact that you read my blog means something to me.  I will not hesitate to whisper an I love you in your ear if I have not.  I give you the reminder that you should so pay this one forward because saying I love you and meaning that (not the fluffy I love these shoes...that has merit for inanimate objects only...squeal) is an amazing to give and get.  Mostly for this week I am all about enjoying life, the moments, the laughter and the people I love (there are not many as I take that saying seriously before I hand over that much of myself) as well as the people that I just love having in my life (there I will use the word blessed as not sure how I got so lucky to have met so many of you and kept you in my life).  


Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah....


Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there's no one else above you
Fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness
Ease my troubles, that's what you do.....Van Morrison

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dear Santa.....

 I like the idea of Santa.  A man who, historically speaking there was one just minus the flying reindeer, listens to children from all over the world and finds the time to give them something that will make them smile.  It could be Santa is a part of the Hanukkah story or Eid or Diwali or whatever but really can we listen to our children for a minute to hear what they want.  Usually it is frivolous and full of stuff they do not need...how I wish every child had everything they needed all the time so that they could have the day to get a few things they did not.  Many times the requests though include wishes for health or food or better housing or even actual housing for their families.  These letters break my heart...for a few years I have participated in a program that takes these letters to corporations and employees can choose to "answer" the letters with the gift being given.  I cannot grant the wishes for the family, housing, but I can buy that toy that they asked for...maybe it will be a source of comfort for that child for a minute or source of bartering for something.  The best part is that you get a thank you ...I have cried over these because you realize a little can mean a lot.


This year I thought I would write my own Santa letter ...because for no other reason putting pen to paper is the way I process well.  Maybe if there is a little magic in the world or karma then maybe some part of my list will come true...and it could be realized by the person dressed in a red suit who is wearing their day to day shoes or maybe we can try and give Santa the present of not needing magic reindeer to make our world a better place. Though I write this blog tongue in cheek I do actually dream of these things and wish that instead of sexting scandals, name calling, ranting, using religion as a weapon of mass destruction ...politicians would stop and try and work on this list instead...oh and by the way there is a lot of money to made from peace not just war in case you need that incentive!!! So maybe we should send our Santa letters to our politicians...maybe they need that flood of letters to come at them all over the world ...they will know that the majority of people want the same things and that they need to listen and do...rather than to talk and undo....


Dear Santa,


It's been a while...or maybe not since I find myself wishing for stuff all the time just not writing it down.  This year I have a few things I would like to get.  I have tried to be pretty good all year and my naughty periods ...well I have had a few of those too...but am sure that you expect that. Here are some things I was hoping you and the magic sled could bring;


World Peace...ok so a lofty and a big giant wish...but how about just maybe a little peace sprinkled in areas that really need it 


Solutions to the financial crisis ....this one am thinking you may be able to deliver ...after all you run a tight operation up there with what seems like incredibly happy employees...who all seem to share the responsibilities and you do not seem the big bonus (I mean dude you get paid in cookies and milk) type of CEO


World Hunger....again achievable...after all you do drive above the world in one night,...maybe some organic seeds sprinkled with a little magic in them ....


Respect for one another ....though this may seem like an empty stocking since you cannot really see or feel it...if Santa you maybe pushed for this actually it could possibly make my first wish for World Peace a little more likely


Bling...there you are thinking "that's my girl"...something I could actually get her...bling is the stuff that makes you smile, the stuff you do not need...because after all you can only enjoy it fully only if you are granted the ability to have your basic needs met.  Bling is the feeling you should have whenever you do something that is good.  Bling is the shiny stuff that you put on because you no longer have to worry about where your next meal is coming from.  Bling is not mined with the blood of children or made in a factory by underpaid workers or a car that costs more than an entire village in some areas makes in 10 years as a whole.  Bling is being content with what you have and seeing the gem even when you are only wearing the rhinestone.  


So there you have it Santa...my list....anything beyond that is welcome but not expected.  However, should you get a letter from my husband telling you to bring me an iron please deliver nice big NO yelled into his ear  as you are dropping off my gift of an iTunes gift card to buy some books.  


Love -- cookies and milk will be waiting...enjoy the night SC, 
Juliana ....

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one ....John Lennon


Monday, December 5, 2011

Tis the season....Open this one first

After Thanksgiving I know that Christmas is my favorite holiday. This may sound odd for me since I am not a believer, I think Jesus existed and was a really honorable, decent man who wanted to save the world but as for the leap to the whole son of God relationship is hard.  Please do not try and convert me ....trust me enough years of parochial education did not do it you will not be successful either.  However, this does not stop me from going totally bonkers for the season. This also does not preclude me from thinking the message of Jesus is a good one...call him a prophet if you will, a man if you must, but for me it goes back to someone who by all accounts did not nothing more beyond wanting to change the world for the better. Since I had children for some reason I also seem to get weepy at the thought of poor Mary and Joseph and being turned away...after all it is pretty relevant that she was a woman who with child, did not matter whose child mind you, was being shunned for being pregnant.  The whole reproduction debate will be part of much a later blog. I also cannot imagine how scared these 2 young people were yet full of love for the child she was carrying.


So it is at this time that I start to get a stupid smile walking through the city as the decorations go up.  You know it's coming since I make no excuses for being a New Yorkphile.....but there is something especially magical about New York during this time.  The Fifth Ave lights, the snowflake, the tree..The tree, the lights at Saks, the windows on Fifth, FAO Schwarts, the red ribbon on Tiffany blue, the competitive light set ups of the boroughs...some of those people must be the reason for an increase in Con Ed stock during this time.  In my family of choice, husband/children as opposed to the one I was born into, we celebrate Hanukkah too.  I like that story too...about people who refused to be put out of a place just because the evil landlord wanted them out (sounds a bit like foreclosure these days).  I like the dreidle song and getting small token gifts for the boys.  I cannot wait to buy and decorate our tree and the way it smells...well really there is nothing like it any other time of the year.  


As I had kids we started watching the old Christmas cartoons, amazing that most of them are the same ones I grew up with, and they are quirky yet magic for my boys.  Then there is the music...oh it is hoaky and with few exceptions not exactly the thing that makes music lovers stop to close their eyes listen ....but it is catchy, admit it you have hummed at least a few tunes by the end of this season.  My favorite is Ave Maria as sung by Pavarotti. 


So yes it is materialistic...and yet so what??? I love buying presents for people, if I had more discretionary income I would buy more for more people, I like giving anonymous presents to needy children with different drives and really would hope that those with a lot of income share at this time of year with more than I can afford to.   I do not think you need to get in debt or go so beyond your means that you avoid the mail opening for most of January, you know who you are cause I was it once or twice in my life, and maybe later.  Those pesky finance charges are so not worth it....besides instead of paying them save a little money throughout the year buy for cash and you can use that finance charge money for a loved one...cause I for one have no affection for my credit card company.  I love finding that gift...the one that says I thought of you.  My biggest issue is that I buy gifts and I start chomping at the bit to give them...to see the person understand that the gift I gave them is not a gift card (thought please keep them coming Mom as I like the fact that we have understood one another's difference of opinion in clothing after all these years).  I love wrapping the gifts and seeing the look on my boys faces when they wake up first thing on Christmas day.  


I could go on and on...but even you bah humbug "I don't wrap cause I am green...you can use colorful newspapers and recycle", "I do not want my kids to get so much..so buy them less", "stores, malls, streets are crowded....ok they are but really you can buy on line or dedicate a little time to actually trying to enjoy the experience", and last "I do not celebrate anything ...well how about winter solstice and buy everyone a nice plant?"  people get over it ....it is a season of giving and I am giving you this....stop to smell the trees, love the lights, enjoy a menorah and a latke and most of all be a little more like the season is meant to be ...kind to your fellow man.  Buy from small business owners or buy from Target but buy with your conscience...which is pretty good at telling you when you are overspending....and your heart, the gifts may cost less and mean more.  


Well I am off...because I may not have mentioned I am a notorious delayed shopper...partially because I always think I have more time than I actually do and mostly because I have a hard time not passing the gift on the day I get it.  I wish you all  happy holiday...and Festivus...and Christmas...and whatever else you celebrate XOXO Me 



Monday, November 21, 2011

Not turkey day...thankful day


As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

I love Thanksgiving...for years it has been one of my favorite holidays.  Ironically it is for someone who loves food like me not about the food...there is very little I actually like at Thanksgiving to eat and so not the big pig out without boundaries that most people fear.  


I like the idea of Thanksgiving from it's very beginning...could it be part truth and part myth ? Sure, history is written by the victors and in recent times re-written without any verification by the media who leans one way or another and on the internet ('cause we all know if it is on the internet then it must be true).  That is why we have a Columbus that is vilified for being exactly what he was ...a man of his era who many feel that now can be seen through our 21st century ethics instead of the visionary and incredible risk taker he was (the world she's a round..she's a flat...a round...sorry cannot forget that Bugs Bunny one).  It is why we forget the absolute perfection of the Declaration of Independence (read it if you never have and re-read it if you gave it the old high school history reading only) and focus on what it should have said and again not judge the writers by the standards of our time.  There were slave owners ...sorry Michele Bachmann but I actually like history to learn from not improvise with....they were imperfect....but they wrote an incredibly simple yet powerful document that still resonates years later...it is one of the reasons I can take pride in being an American by choice and it is the reason I still hold out hope that our country, and maybe even the world, will not fall prey to fundamentalist, fearful despots that want to diminish choices and the pursuit of happiness.  There are those who look to destroy and find fault with everything, there are those who "forget" all negative and then there are the rest of us who understand that people are imperfect, wrong and wonderful at the same time ( historical and current sadists excluded of course). 


I think the ritual of Thanksgiving was one that I would like to believe, myth or not, as the a moment when the basic human need to share a meal, to share with someone you may or may not have chosen as your neighbor or  family (because both tend to be bit hoisted upon you) the gift of good food.  If the story is right the natives helped the settlers eat foods that would actually thrive in their new country and the settlers shared with the natives their own recipes.  This simple idea that has since grown into a holiday that requires no material exchange but requires us to share that which is most sacred to us...our time off and our tables.   It requires us to prepare the turkey for the most part ...a transcendent dish among all immigrants (recent and past)  that seems to grace the tables surrounded by everything from sweet potatoes, cranberries and other "traditional" dishes to traditions in the making of curries, beans and rice, lasagnas, Greek salads, Romanian sauteed cabbage, and other dishes that are as far from the first Thanksgiving as one could have imagined.  This is the holiday where even the most jaded can barely keep it up....yes we can complain about the uncle who burps at the table and tells poor jokes, the mother or mother in law who gives "helpful" hints on how you can improve your cooking, the traffic, eating too much ...but with all of that it still does not seem to stop us from looking forward to and inviting all these characters back every year. 


I host Thanksgiving, much like every holiday, and though it is tiring especially for a full time working Mother I cannot imagine giving it up.  I like the whole fancy china, menu planning (though could use a lot less advice and feedback from my husband in the process) and cooking.  I look forward to having people over and seeing them enjoy the things I made.  The passing of tradition and importance of being with family as well as the incredible reminder to be grateful is maybe the best gift I can keep giving my children.  The idea that we should have a holiday that reminds us to look around and make sense of what we should be thankful for, of what we could be without.  I wish for all those who are less fortunate, who may not have a meal, a home, a family, friends or who will not be able to even for this day stop just to take stock to have a better year in whatever way we who are fortunate to have these things can help with.  I donate to the local food pantry, am pretty sappy and buy a roll and coffee for any homeless person I encounter on these days because like the song says "there but for the grace of god go I" all of us can make a difference. I often wonder if for the days that people spend spewing hate, planning bombs, yelling, being pitiful for many who are not in pitiful situations and those who "have it all" we could instead engage in a world wide day of sharing of a table with recipes that help us understand that in the end we do not need to be afraid of one another but rather that we should be thankful to be sharing the same planet.  I wonder if we could forget dietary laws that keep us from enjoying our lives and for one day instead focus on the dietary pleasures.  I am thankful for the people who have touched my life, even the ones that negatively did so for I have tried to grow from those experiences,  but more so for the ones that keep making positive impressions. I remember fondly those who no longer are with us to share this meal.  I look forward to the memories that this next Thanksgiving will create for my future.  Mostly I am just thankful for my life...imperfect but hopeful!!!!


Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.  ~Native American Saying

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Things that make you go hmm

I had a whole other blog ready, written, edited, re-read, all set ...then Penn State news happened and I just felt punched in the stomach.  It is news items like that that really make me cringe, more since becoming a Mother, but even before.  The idea of abusing a child, or anyone or any thing, just is beyond my comprehension.  I used to a supporter of capital punishment but over the years even that idea has become one I cannot tolerate...we are better than that...but in cases like this or mass atrocities I have to admit to my own base instinct to say pull the trigger...the world will be better for it.  In the spirit of not adding to the news which is always so grim, murder, abuse, economic crumbles and in reverence to Andy Rooney's passing thought I would instead write this blog with things that maybe in all this will bring a small smile to your day.


Things that make me go hmm..


Well for one I love a good oxymoron ...is that one in that saying? 
         - Slow Down get ticket...one of my favorites...so I should speed, speed, speed right?
I also (though admire the fact that they even tried) get a kick out of non-English speaking signs in their countries- and yes I am the dork that wrote these down
         - We have die livery and fried lamps...Greece
         - Meat is fresh with you....Spain
         - Tie you up for free ....France (OK so knowing the sexual freedom we attribute to the French this was gift wrapping not anything else)
In the US I chuckle at menus, in this day and age of spell check, that are still incorrect
          - We are open 24 hour
          - Massage give you good headache
          - Buy one get one (not free so am assuming you just got the one you bought)
Spell check itself has given me many a laugh especially these days with my iPhone
          - Text that I wrote too fast ...My posse and I cannot wait to see you.....yes change posse to a "u" for the "o" and the "e" for a "y" and you will know why my friend had to call me and say in all the years we have been friends this was the first time that offer was on the table....
Politicians - actually do not have that much space or time but here are 2 pretty consistent ones
          - Their continuous, cross party ability to "not remember" or "not identify" themselves in incidents or pictures
          - Their lack of learning from the guy before them...um he got caught sending naughty letter, email, text, voicemail...so will you...
My husband still doesn't see it but I can laugh for a long time when certain letters are out in neon signs leading to
          - Dick's Sporting Goods....Dick Ting Good
Security Ties on toys 
          - Tom Cruise could do a whole new Mission Impossible on trying to open as many of these small, clear, tight, sometimes need a screwdriver bolts that they put on toys...weirdly enough not on expensive electronic devices but on something that I am going to say cost as much to make as the additional security packaging....
America's Home Videos - not even the videos which sometimes are ridiculous but the fact that people actually send them in for national viewing
Reality TV.....kind of like a car accident you have to take glance but at some point you just shudder and are glad it is not you
Shake Weight...I was not convinced not a gag until I actually saw one for sale in CVS - if you have not seen this well looking for on YouTube


These things well they are silly and light but once in a while do we not all deserve to read or hear something that just makes the dreadful background noise quiet?  I will have a heavy heart for a long time over the Penn State atrocity, I worry all the time about the EUs financial collapse (cause we are all connected in case that is being downplayed), I do not see any politicians that inspire me or are inspired (though I do vote for the one that has some glimmer of rationality) and most of all I worry about the world around my children and their peers.  In all of this it is easy to forget to look at the ridiculous and funny around us, the beauty of the trees changing, the wonderful feeling in the pit of the stomach when you are about to kiss someone, the wonder that the children see the world with....I do not want to give that to the negative news...I love to laugh so instead I will too choose to keep smiling at the things that make me go hmm.......

Monday, November 7, 2011

Political Correctness...not

I really like public television.  I don't say that in the "I am an intellectual snort, snort way" but in the "sometimes they just have the coolest stuff on" way with a giddy smile.  Recently they had a program on the evolution of the family as seen on tv.  They went back to "Father's Knows Best" to current shows.  I think I have 2 blogs out of that one show.  This one is about political correctness and how it has worked in the reverse of it's intent.


"All In the Family"....say that to anyone who has ever watched a sitcom from 1975 on, to TV Land, and you will get a reaction.  The network then was brave and scared.  They thought the show would last maybe 1 -2 shows, they hired extra operators for the influx of calls they thought they would get.  The creators and actors were also unsure of the reaction...and years later funny enough it is the same.  There are those that are so politically correct that they want to say, with that intellectual snort, that they would never watch that racist show.  There are those who are so racist they embrace Archie for all the reasons he was created to dispel.  There are those who love it because they get it, snort omitted.  They get that Archie was the perfect vehicle to use those ugly words and say those things some people were thinking so that get this ...ready -- super radical...people could talk about them.  Archie was a man who was losing his very essence...everything he believed to be true, everything he based his belief systems on, everything he thought "should be" turned out to be at every corner to be wrong.  This had to be the case for so many people, for those of us who would like to keep evolving, it should still be the case.  If you are never willing to think of your prejudices, your beliefs, then how are you ever ready to confront them and move forward?  Archie Bunker allowed the network to create a show to be able to say those ugly words and much like the bogey man -- open the closet door and poof he is nothing but a myth.


Political correctness has led us to the point where we stop thinking now though.  It is a good concept, after all words whether said in jest or seriousness, that make someone feel badly and are based on their skin color, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, intellectual capacity, appearance, etc....should not be said.  That does not mean though that we need to go the other way without ever facing our issues which is kind of where we are.  To me that is keeping us from moving forward...do I ever fear a gang of teenage boys on a subway?...sure because a gang of teenagers empowers them to do things one would never do alone...but that is based on their attitude not their ethnicity.   We actually do not need to demean the accomplishments of a people in order to make things more "equal" but we need to understand that those accomplishments often came with moral, ethical wrongs that we hopefully have learned from.  I am a history buff and I will not lessen the empires by dismissing their marches forward, that does not mean that the Romans, Greeks, Turks, British were "right" in their methods but their discoveries, their contributions can benefit all today.  I do not support any organized religions but will respect your rights to do so, however, do not expect me to not share with you my observations on their flaws through the centuries based on what I have read in the bible, koran, and parts of the kabalah.  There are many stories in these books that are of a vengeful, wrathful people who can cause havoc on anyone who does not ascribe to the same doctrine....and at the same time there are beautiful passages of forgiveness, reconciliation and love.  Please do not censor me from having these discussions because asking a question is offensive ...it is not....it is only offensive when it is not a real question but an insult with a question mark at the end.


I am scared of the way the world seems to be moving toward ultra conservative movements (be they in Islamic countries or the Tea Party).  They are empowered by the political correctness which they count on not to call them out as the insane, hate mongers they are.  These conservative movements are based on the theory that people should only have no choices and no questions, they thrive on xenophobia which occurs when the "other" is unknown and unreachable.  Since we can no longer say certain words, or we start to choose to think of history in terms of moral judgement, or are able to face our own uncertainties about others we have stopped moving toward integration and stepped often into uneducated segregation which is kind of why we needed political correctness to begin with.  .   Maybe we need the next step after political correctness and to revisit how we want to move back toward integration.  I would rather be Edith who in her shrill voice and immense kindness touched all those who met her with a smile then to have Archie call me a Meathead and be right.

Edith Bunker: What's wrong, Archie? 
Mike Stivic: It's just indigestion. It comes from eating his own words. ....All in the Family

Pro choice because I value life

Let me start by saying I am not pro abortion...outside of a fringe few (the genocide dictators who do it based on race/ethnicity/tribe/etc) I cannot imagine anyone who is pro termination.  I find it highly ironic that the extreme right wing who is so adamnatly anti-choice because of their supposed belief in the right of life (I chose to not say to on purpose) seem to often been adamantly pro capital punishment.  These right wing people, to quote an old cynical cliche which sadly is so true, seem to think life begins at conception and ends at birth. This is why they have no trouble cutting back on all financial assistance to those who are already born. If they care so much about a non-viable life form, because I am not sure if it is "alive" but I know it is not a "living" thing at this stage, how can they care so little for how this child, when it is a living person, lives and thrives?


Having said that I am decidedly pro choice.  This label has been demonized by the anti choice movement, because they are so not going be called right to life by me - their whole mantra is about ending rights.  They depict the people who support this choice as baby killers bent on ending world reproduction or something equally crazy.  There are extremes even within this extreme who believe that rape, incest, death of the mother are not viable reasons for termination.  This is an attack primarily on women who are poor, and families who are poor, since they will be the ones without access to free medical care from places like Planned Parenthood which provide pre-natal care, they will have the illegal abortions that could kill them, they will have NO choice...are we now a nation that believes that our poor deserve nothing...not even the simple choice they have had for the past 50 years??  This has silenced many who believe in the right to choice.  This silence is what scares me and I find I can be silent no more. 


I am pro choice because this decision should be available for each indvidual to make.  Contrary to propaganda machine from the religious fanatics and the current right wind government factions ...it is not fear of hell fire that scares people who make this choice but the personal trauma this causes to anyone who has ever had an abortion.  Furthermore, I came from a country where first they banned abortion, then they banned birth control, since people were not having enough children mostly by choice.  Most people did not want to bring a child into that grey tinged oppressive enviorment since as a parent the thing you hope most for your child is that they will be better in life than you and hope that they will make life a little better for the generations to come.  Yet people were having children because for the most part humans are hopeful even under the worst of circumstances it is just that they were trying to have only what the family could hope to feed often.  When the decrees went out ...shocker...abortions still happened.  Only now they became life threatening for the mother if she was without a lot of money and do not kid yourselves even in Communism there are the 1%ers.  If she did have means or connections the abortions were still dangerous for her and potentially for the person who performed them.  The lack of birth control added to this by actually making abortions birth control...the fear and myth the far right loves spreading here now. The stories I have heard growing up from women from the former Eastern bloc nations where this was a rule sadden me...tales of abortions that left families without mothers, women without the ability to have any more children, and the trauma and fear that went with it.  Not the fear of a wrathful God but the real fear of being found out and imprisoned.  Yet for those of you who may read this and be anti choice you may have no sympathy because your belief is that these women were committing a mortal sin anyway...for those of you who feel that way just ask yourself since when is it not a sin to think you have the right to condemn someone as if you spoke for whatever God you chose to worship -- yes you chose?  Yet I guess for those of you who believe this way it is your choice to make...and unlike you I believe you should have that choice.  Historically speaking when abortions were illegal they were still done...less have been done with access to education than with threats of imprisonment. 


So do I think abortion on demand with no counseling and discussion should occur? NO ...this is a matter that will impact your life and the choice you make will be with you forever.  It is a medical procedure, and again am struck bit dumb by the fact that somehow the "right to life" finds no issue with terminating the life of the doctors who perform these procedures, with physical and emotional consequences.  If we want abortions to be on the decline and rare, which by they way they have been since the advent of more birth control options for women, then let's teach people about birth control (real not the I've got no rhythm kind), abstinence, protection against diseases, and of course adoption as a CHOICE.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Is it time to retire yet?

The challenge of retirement is how to spend time without spending money.  ~Author Unknown

Due to all the stress going on at work I casually made this comment the other day to my good friend "I am so ready to retire" to which he nicely responded "You are too young to retire".  That is the kindness of friendship....the real statement should be at the rate of what things cost, should your boys want to go to college or even scarier graduate schools, then well you will never retire...or will when you are past the point of being able to do those things that many of us dream about.  It may be dreams of languid travel not when the working/school calendar rest of the people are on vacation but those off season ones that do not need to be scheduled around work or school.  It may be thoughts of writing, painting, reading, golf, tennis, insert your activity of choice here.  Maybe you are just looking forward to not having to leave the house at a certain time or chasing hours in the day between when the kids leave and they come back.  


All these are wonderful things to do and yet with the economy, current cost of living and thoughts on the opportunities I would like to provide my children I am no longer sure what the "number" is that I need to be able to say "gimme the cheesy gold tone watch and see ya later".  Part of that comes also with the uncertainty of working in this era because even the self employed cannot guarantee how long their jobs will last and "lifers" will be a term only seen in historical context for my and future generations if they work in corporations of any size.  The Europeans seemed to know how to do this at an age when they could do the things mentioned above or simply nothing if they chose as they retire earlier....well that too is probably only to be seen in history books.  The current debt crisis in Greece, and spreading to many other countries, along with expanding life expectancy and lower birth rates show us that they may have been able to do it in the past but have destroyed the same opportunity for many future generations.  


It is a pretty bleak picture...or is it?  I dream of retirement mostly because I am tired and stressed with current times but let's face it I am a self admitted Type C (yes there is one) personality...I like things to move fast, love New York for this reason, and am usually pretty done with the languid life within 48 hours.  I do not really want to retire and have really always been bit dismissive of the early retirement of many of the European countries. I do not think either the EU or the US model actually works...a blend but that would take getting out of crisis on both continents for long enough to be able to proactively plan a future.   I do not say that with judgement but because I actually like having something to do that requires timelines and commitment.  I would like to be able to retire in my late 60s or at latest 70 but that is partially because I see people who still work and have a purpose seem to be able to maintain their faculties for longer.  It is a self-awareness that comes from many years of therapy that has made me comfortable with the fact that I take pride in my work and like to work at a chaotic pace.  I do not like the uncertainty that current work situations have put me and the rest of us in.  I believe we need to find a way to keep older people engaged and the way to put their incredible experience to use while allowing them to potentially part time retire.  I want to be able to travel, paint, write, cook, and appreciate the down time without worrying about my financial existence at the end of my life.  


I am not sure when retirement will come or if it will be imposed upon me by a workforce that does not see the value in keeping older employees.  I am not sure if I will have the "number" needed to maintain the lifestyle I thought I worked my whole life to retire toward.  I am sure that I will enjoy the time I have every day instead of only worrying about this because some of it is so out of my control.  I will keep planning my Golden Girls with an apartment in Manhattan discussions with my best friends (hey dreams are free at any age).  Mostly I will keep trying to be active in my mind and body so when I do "retire" it will be at least somewhat on my terms and with the minimal regrets of what I should have done or said before I retired.  

Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save... Anonymous

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The other men in my life...

Recently during a conversation with a work colleague she mentioned how much she missed one of her friends since they had not spoken in a long time, when I asked her why they lost touch I was a bit surprised to hear that it was because her husband did not approve of her having male friends.  I can put up with a lot in a relationship but have to say jealousy is a manipulative trait disguised as childish insecurity and I cannot tolerate it.  I am not a jealous person, though will admit like almost every person I can get a small pang here and there if I feel the one I care for is giving away their affections.  I do not buy the whole "Harry Met Sally" logic that men and women cannot be friends because the men always want to sleep with their female friends, boy would I be flattered if that was true but my many platonic friendships with men say "ahh...ahhhh...yes....yes...oh God.." (sorry hard to mention that movie without that scene) nonsense.  Besides even if it was true some of the time it does not mean it will lead to anything...it is friendship people that is all and if both people treasure that friendship it will remain so. Friends with benefits is a whole blog that am not writing today.  


The other thing I thought of is how much I need and flourish from my female friendships but that they are not any different than my male friendships.  As far as I can remember, and I mean to when I was a little girl, I have always been friends with boys.  This is on top of the fact that I remember having a major crush on boys since I can remember ....even then I liked them differently.  I remember in Romania my neighbors who I befriended while living with my great aunt while my parents were in the States had 2 boys and 2 girls in their family and I know I really liked playing with all 4 of them equally, though the sisters sometimes wanted to get rid of their brothers and vice versa I was pretty content playing with all of them.  My first friends in the States were a boy named Fernando (who walked me to and from school and spoke to me before and after I actually understood English for the whole walk) and Anthony (who was the son of the super in the building we lived in...he tried unsuccessfully to teach me baseball via Yankee games on channel 11).  In middle school the boy - girl thing could get weird but I was not the class knockout which in turn allowed me to be friends with most of the boys in my class, though since I developed fairly early there were some odd moments of silence when I realized my friend was talking to my boobs (sorry boys they do not respond even now).  I seem to also be able to be friends with all the boys that I hung out with outside of school... sometimes the ones I wanted to be more than friends with never saw past that but the friendship still is full of great memories.  By college men were study, travel, drinking, dancing, wedding invite + 1s, concert dates always there for a good laugh, a hug, when the boyfriends came and even more when the boyfriends left.  


I think it is really a shame when men and women cannot be friends whether for a personal issue or even more so from a societal/religious reason.  To me this genuinely stifles societies because banning friendships cannot but lead to oppression, hate, distrust and lack of understanding of anyone who is not you.  There is something so good about learning about each other and trusting one another as friends...it makes us better people.  It is easy to make jokes about men and their annoying habits, am sure there are jokes about women and their nagging, or whatever stereotypes are out there but in the end I cannot imagine my life with the men in my life.  I have learned from them, mostly how to be more self confident, not to hold on to things for as long as we women seem to like to hold on to, that usually there is no meaning to a look/a call or lack thereof, to understand that they are not always as brave as they "appear", to rely on these friendships for the advice that sometimes does not come with the emotions that my female friends attach to it.  I cannot imagine my life without the times I have spent listening to music, crying over another man, trusting them to get me home safely when I was not in the position to make good choices, discussing with them everything from politics to books to sports to food.   I love men...there it is...because they are not like women, they add another dimension to my life.  My husband knows that in my life there are men I turn to, sometimes to get a perspective on him, sometimes to give a perspective on their partners, but mostly to just enjoy their friendships with the same passion that I put into my female friendships.  I am all Team Boy since having my sons as I hope they become like the men who I call friends.  I think about my colleague and her sadness at losing the male friend she was talking about and I cannot imagine having to live without the other men in life.

“Your friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you.”
– Elbert Hubbard

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Occupy Wall Street...

The news has been flooded with the Occupy Wall Street protest.  I would like to call it a movement but a movement should have an agenda and as much as I have tried to listen, read and understand what the group's final one and even what their actual demands are I cannot seem to find it.  There is understandable anger among this group as well as among many people.  The statistics and history of the last 20 years have been unkind to the worker across the world.  The least represented of these groups actually is the middle class. Yeah remember the middle class??? 


They were the class that poor knew there was a possibility to get to, the class that could vault a little higher with each generation.  They were the working families who were proud to be able to buy a house, or a car, or go on vacation because they had built this lifestyle themselves.  The middle class that wonder of America ...where it was not dependant on what you were born to but only what you could dream of becoming.  I do not see this discussed in any protest.  I see a lot of young people, many who rightly are wondering what jobs they will have, wondering if they could maintain being middle class or even hope to become that.  We should stop demonizing the rich as if we know every single one of them (I know I do not know them all personally and I do not judge based on stereotypes).  I wish that ridiculously bigoted attitude would stop.  It is doing nothing but stagnating the discussions that need to actually start to happen NOW.  There are crappy rich people just like there are crappy poor people, oh of course there are crappy middle class people too.  There is nothing wrong with working and achieving wealth and being proud of that achievement.  This is not the debt achievement theory - hell rich, poor, in the middle anyone could do that - it is the pride in building a little more than what you need, getting something once in a while just because you want it ...I do not want to live just for what I need I am too complex a thinker for that. 


The middle class --- to me this shrinkage may be the scariest, saddest component of this whole economic crisis.  The poor will always have government subsidies, the rich do not need them but the middle they are taxed (literally and figuratively) with somehow supporting not only the government programs for the poor but also somehow paying a higher percentage of their wages than the rich.  They have no money to lose to write-off, to invest in tax free havens, they have not enough deductions so instead they have to pay.  This is moving many from the middle to the lower middle with the prospect of becoming the working poor, that is wrong no matter who you support in this battle.  The working poor are becoming the working poverty stricken that is even more wrong.  The goal of any parent is that their child should live slightly more comfortably than they did...this descent we are witnessing is unprecedented and if not stopped immediately will become the catalyst for catastrophe. 


There is no shame in poverty, there is no shame in wealth as long as both of those populations have equal opportunities.  I am not sure what the Wall Street protesters want but I do know that there are some pretty obvious fixes that no one seems to be mentioning; the highest tax bracket should be paid at that percentage by those at the top of the bracket just like it is by the folks at the bottom of that bracket, corporations should pay at least 20% in taxes (going by what they pay in countries like Sweden where yes they do pay less than the average person), that CEOs should not get bonuses when they causes losses, that politicians should not gladly accept lifetime positions as even the best among them will build debt to powers they have no respect for, that people should vote, that we should reward those who help build the job market in the US as much if not more than those who outsource, and most of all that it does not mean the wealthy have to give up all they have today but that they need to be part of helping everyone financially underneath them have the opportunities to get there too.  If every multi-millionaire/billionaire in the US gave up 10% of their wealth tomorrow we could wipe out most of the debt, if they gave up more and still kept most of it we could all remember that there is wealth in helping out your country men that cannot be measured by bank balance books.  If we pulled out of wars without meaning we could save lives and oh yeah money.  If I could think of these where are the folks in DC?? Not partisan, not brilliant..not heard yet from anyone in public office.  Communism failed, capitalism is wobbling so let's try something that is more balanced than these 2 extremes ..and no sorry I do not want to be any of the Nordic countries (they too have their share of problems) but something new that is built from knowledge of diverse systems.


So to all those who have the time around the world go and protest, without violence particularly since the police are union workers who represent the very class you are determined to get better financial impact for, to remind everyone that right now the economy is skewed and that we need to re-energize that middle class. That middle class is our salvation, it is what moved America forward, it is what every other country will only succeed with by implementing...without it we will all occupy a very scary place.  


How many times must a man look up,
before he sees the sky?
And how many ears must one man have,
before he can hear people cry ?
And how many deaths will it take till we know,
that too many people have died?

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind,
the answer is blowing in the wind. BOB DYLAN

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bullies!!!

Bullying ....big topic, all over the news, tragic headlines showing suicides all linked to kids who just did not want to deal with the bullying.   I have to say as a Mom bullying is one of the bigger fears I have.  My sons are nice kids, the older one is friendly, social and yet he is a child who is different.  He may have his "quirks" contained but it is because he knows that other children may not understand that he flaps, walks on his toes, talks to himself...that is reserved for the safety of his house.  The outside world need not know he has these....he knows and he is only 7.  My younger son has the personality that says "I do what I want and if you don't like I really do not care"...he is the kid who will continue to play with an activity regardless of the peer activity around him.  He likes friends but really is mostly interested in being validated by his own needs.  


Bullying...I swear bullies were just not this cruel when I was kid, or is that the beauty of memory helping me block out the bad and remember it through a better lens?  I can never be sure but I do know that bullying did not follow kids home via social network and mobile devices..no respite from it in the sanctity of your own home.  I do know that having something written about you on a bathroom wall could be erased or unknown to you but it was contained.  I do know that there were kids who somehow attracted the negative attention...was it a hair do, clothes, demeanor?  I do not remember bullying anyone and I am sure that I never tormented anyone but I was not so noble as not to have laughed when a girl in my HS known as Penny Pencil was made fun of, not so noble as to befriend her when she may have needed a friend, was not so innocent in adding to the gossip about her (behind her back) and for this I am ashamed.  I am sure someone made fun of me but I was always lucky I had a very social personality that usually did not lend itself to making fun of me, I was too self deprecating and let's face it nothing you were going to say to me was not something I may not have thought of already about myself.  I was always funny and friendly and saved from being an outcast by these traits.  I always was able to make a lot of friends, and they were and are wonderful and somehow think more of me than I ever will.   I did suffer for about a year when I transferred to private school in 6th grade, my tormentor teased me about being poor (am pretty sure we all were blue collar kids so bit ironic in retrospect) since I had not been in private schools my whole life, seems so ludicrous now but was so terrible then.  She was tall and blonde and had the perfect flipped hair.  I learned that being pretty outside and ugly inside could live in the same person. In that one year I learned to cry at home and shrug off Ms. Perfect at school. I found my own friends there and have since learned to feel bad for her ignorance. Funny I tried to be "adult" about it when she friended me on FB...but then thought nope do not need you and no ill feelings about it.  


I am really uncomfortable with compliments, I am insecure about my appearance, my worth to people...I know my closest friends love me and do not judge me...I haven't often or with ease told men if I loved them madly for fear of rejection...yet without fail I get a lot of comments about how I probably was not bullied because I am so self-confident (ha...guess the Oscar goes to me).  I am more confident today then I ever was and less vulnerable because of it.  We need to teach our children to embrace the fact that people are different and not to delight in making those differences into outcasts.  The old adage is "children are cruel"...probably due to their lack of editing but we can help them grow into the adults who will want to learn that cruelty and fear of differences will stagnate them, that from those differences they can learn together to make the world a slightly less scary place.   I cannot protect my children from bullies and that frightens me but I can arm them with self-confidence. I cannot stop someone from hurting them with words or actions but you better believe I will contact those parents and tell them about their kids' behavior as often as needed until they know it is not "over reacting".  I cannot change the pathetic people who can only gain happiness and validation at the expense of other people's pain but I can help my children know they always have a place to come and talk about this.  I will not allow my children to be bigots, bullies, not embrace differences or in any way think I will show them any tolerance for friends who want to be like that.  In the end I can do all that and hope for the best for my boys.  If you as a parent think your child is a bully step in...it is not OK, it is not cool and it can be deadly.  If you as a child are being bullied tell your parents and make them understand how this hurts...they will listen.  If you are a bully ask yourself why ?  I cannot change the world but I can tell you that I for all my fears of being rejected, being afraid that others will think I am not the person worthy of their affections, will be the toughest adversary you ever meet to protect my sons....bullying ..NOT COOL


“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.” ~ Harvey S. Firestone

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Goodbye Steve Jobs....Welcome Kids to the 21st Century

I am very saddened by the death of Steve Jobs which is really surprising to me.  I am not one to usually mourn famous people, I feel badly for their passing but mourning is reserved for people I actually know and have feelings for.  I also am surprised by how much this has affected me because I, while I love my iPad and  various other "i" things, am not the Mac (there I go dating myself) aka Apple cultish follower.  Yes, you know who you are...can't say a bad thing about the product even when it is true.  I find their products good but I find many PC products good also.  So why am I sad about the loss of Steve Jobs other than on a human level?  I think it is because I so admire his innovation, his leadership, his ability to be Willie Wonka of the tech world,  willing to never think "No" is an the final answer.  His management style has now made the lexicon of many a consultant charging high fees to make others as devoted as Apple employees seem to be to Jobs....with little or no success.  His style is called "guru" management (am sure there may be other terms) and it is the idea that the people who you manage follow you because they believe in your vision...yeah good luck trying to teach that.  By many accounts he, like Willie Wonka, was not necessarily the nicest, warmest, fuzzy type of boss.  He could be hurtful, abrupt, harsh on any ideas that did not meet his genius level of accomplishment and quite the bully.  Yet his employees were loyal and continued not to only work for him but to want to work for him.  You cannot buy that from a consultant because it is the antithesis of what consulting is...it is saying "I believe in me not what others tell me".


I am sad by his passing because he was my real Willie Wonka ....the man who could dream it and somehow it got made.  I loved his innovation, his ability to see a 3D cube where we all saw a 2D square, to make technology that was people friendly....he is the reason I carry my music in my phone and buy it on the go, the reason I read electronically (and we all know I was not a convert...still not 100% one), the reason for so much enthusiasm before he would speak and share with us those many hours spent in secret which were sure to thrill us, make us line up and feel like the tooth fairy/Santa Claus colluded to give us the best present ever to wake up to just for being asleep when we were supposed to be .  He, and yes Gates and the Google guys and even Zuckerberg, made super smart super cool. He was the child with the power to make a world, that the adults who are doing such a good job screwing up,  rally together and embrace his vision.  Someone pointed out to me that he was the man who was admired and mourned by both the rasta haired Wall Street Occupiers as much as the white collared Wall Street occupants.  I mourn his loss because at first I thought we had no one who could or would replace him, that we in some way had come to a standstill in the people driven technology development area.  However, in speaking about it today with a friend who said these same things to me I realized that no one thought there would be another Edison, Einstein, Ford and there weren't because there should not be, that would be stagnant and repetitive....we need their next generation which will bring it's own greatness and developments to the world.  Jobs was the quintessential blue jean wearing American...slightly brazen, unwilling to follow rules, not married to old world traditions, eternal optimist..he showed us that though kids here do not score as high as they do on standardized tests in other countries...a fact that makes me smile...you need to understand the why,  not memorization, to say "why not?".


The day after Jobs died I went to a program at my 2nd grader's school called "Teaching in the 21st Century". It was about the new curriculum that the 48 internal state governors agreed to starting next year.  We heard how education has not changed in it's core since 19th century, designed for many jobs that are now obsolete,  and this new curriculum is about getting them college and career ready.  It was so exciting to hear about it and how the education system finally is changing from "we have always done it this way" to understanding that the kids know what they need and how they need it.  They mentioned that this generation is made of "digital natives", which is so true, so we need to have a school system and teachers who are comfortable moving in this direction.  I am excited because they are embracing the Steve Jobs, Google, Gates personality ...welcome kids to the generation of endless possibilities,  the generation of innovation, the generation that maybe just maybe can find common ground and a place to fix the world using this new curriculum which is all about Community, Creative Thinking, Collaboration, Communication...These are the kids in that famous 1984 Mac commercial who will not continue to accept black and grey as the colors of their vision but create a rainbow colored apple.


Rest in Peace Steve Jobs.  I am going to miss you, I am thrilled to have been part of the generation that first met you and your wondrous ideas and I wish to extend a warm welcome to your successors whoever they may be...I cannot wait to see what he or she unveils!!!!!!!

‎"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes ... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. ... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things. ... They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do." Steve Jobs upon his return to Apple in 1997

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall..Autumn...here it comes

Autumn in New York
Why does it seem so exciting (inviting)
Autumn in New York
It spells the thrill of first-nighting....Billie Holiday
Considering how much I love summer I must admit that I actually like Fall a lot.  Probably after summer it is my favorite season for a host of very silly reasons as well as some that are not.  It is the time that it gets chilly enough to break out some nice toasty outfits without having to be so cold that I dread going outside.  The food can start to be cooked slowly and it is the kind meant to be eaten warm so it can heat you through and through as you eat it.  Comfort food...I mean really enough said based on that description.  The magazines have my favorite issues, big fat, fashions that for the most part cannot be worn by the average person but can be admired for their creative intent.  I love Fall clothes, they lend themselves to my more classic side while allowing me to add some racy tights or boots  so that I do not feel too lady who lunches.   My favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, is during this season. Every year I get a little thrill when we occasionally have those days of pure warmth (they used to be called Indian summer but am sure some politically correct annoying person will correct me on that one).   I missed the changing of the seasons when I lived in San Francisco, felt like one long same season out there.  I love drives up around the Hudson Valley and warm fireplace inns where we could stop after apple picking, have a cider donut (or more if my boys have their say), and even drink a nice red wine to warm us through before we head back.  


One year the boys asked me why the leaves changed while we were driving on one of our Sunday food shopping morning runs.  Since in our house I usually make up stories to tell them, either about adventures including themselves or to explain something, I made one up for this too. Now every year they ask me to retell it and here it is;


Mother Nature knowing that winter was coming and the fragile leaves would not make it went to the trees and said "We need the leaves to fall and stay away for the winter, this way we will have room for the new leaves to come out when the spring comes" and the leaves on the trees swayed in the wind and said "No".  Mother Nature thinks about their response and comes back the next day and says "In the fall I will make you the most beautiful colors of yellow, gold, orange and red. More beautiful than you have ever been. To make sure I do this I will leave the pine trees as green guardians. However, after you have turned into these colors you must fall off ". The leaves think about it and realize that people will always remember them this way so they agree and that is why the leaves change.  


I hope for a prolonged Fall as I do not like winter...the cold just really drains me though am a big sucker for buying Christmas presents for everyone and getting the house ready for that holiday so for now I will enjoy the crisp nights and the beauty that Fall brings. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Girls....

The phone rings in the middle of the night
My father yells what you gonna do with your life
Oh daddy dear you know you're still number one 
But girls they want to have fun .............................Cyndi Lauper


Once upon a time there were 6 girls who were not bound by blood but by choices.  The first choice being that their parents had all left their native Romania to come to the US.  The second choice was that their parents had chosen to settle in areas that were close (walking distances) to one another, except for 1 and we will get to her.  The third choice was that they chose each other to be friends with in a strange land, to stay friends with in life, to forgive each other when they were not their best and to let go of one of them when they knew they had lost the thread that bound them to her. 


I was one of those 6 girls, the others were Margaret (who lived in NJ which seemed so far to us at the time), Mary, Liri and her sister Mireille, and Gabby.  We were exactly one year apart (me oldest and Mireille youngest).  Mary and I (when she was 6 and I 8) somehow "babysat" one another by walking together home from school, it was a different era and kids did that so it was not that odd.  We were known to "forget" our keys ( a ruse that involved going to our respective apartments and leaving our keys there) so that we could spend time together.  Mary and I took vacations together, only children, and were Be Fris (if you are a child of the late 70s you will remember those gold hearts that split in two they spelled Best Friend and you each wore one Be Fri St end) and blood sisters (got that from some after school movie am sure).  Liri and Mireille joined us often and we spent endless hours at the movies, walking to every where, playing handball in school yards and talking for hours.  Mary's Father was a master at tracking us down, in alleys with boys we liked, in candy stores playing video games (hoping said boys would come in) and his famous line to us was "fetele" which is "girls" in Romanian.  Everyone knew him and we knew better than to try and not go when he came to collect us.  Gabby joined us at some point too and she quickly became our close friend.  She was cooler than us, she was more willing to to push the limits.  


We girls grew up together, fighting at times to the death (aka crying our eyes out) but quickly understanding we could not live without one another.  We went from ponytails to flipped hair (better for Mireille and Mary with the straight hair), crazy Ozone depleting giant hair (better for me and Liri) to current ahh this is the look that says me more than my era.  We pined and asked for Sasson and Jordache jeans, Reeboks, boom boxes, walkmen, to iPads we let our kids play with.  We cried for each other when any one of us got in trouble and were mercilessly blackmailed by Mireille to taking her along with us even though she was younger.  The girls shared stories of first kisses, 7th grade groping, high school make out marathons, THE first time, the best time, and now we are share our comfort in our own sexuality, no longer afraid of and aware of our needs and likes.  We watched boys to see if they were looking at the one of us who liked him as we walked out of our way by that boy (sometimes he looked and it was cause for hours of talking and dissecting that look).  We learned to smoke together, to drink together(oh the horror of thinking we drank a mixture of all that my parents bar had in small amounts snuck into via not so well cleaned Wella shampoo bottle to family party - Margaret's basement a novelty that afforded us a freedom small apartments could not).   We were there for one another with crushes, trends and heartbreaks.  At some point we drifted apart.  For each of us that meant expanding our friendships with others, having new experiences, and growing up as individuals not as only "the girls".  


We never parted ways completely though, somehow always connecting here and there.  Margaret got married while we were all in colleges and had no inclination to do so.  Mary, Mireille and I went to college in New York, got jobs and enjoyed the sins and saves that the city has to offer.  Liri decided she wanted to live in Europe.  We had no emails or Facebook or even cell phones for a while (I moved a lot within New York, outside of New York) but somehow we always found each other.  We found each other to recommend each other for jobs, to be there when my Dad, Mary's Mom and Gabby's Mom all died within the same year and none of us were past 30 (or even close to it).  We lost each other to lovers, to moves, to lack of time. We knew we could call each other when those lovers, moves did not work out and we needed help.


We lost Gabby, maybe she needed us not to drift apart more than any of the others.  She was a little lost from the day we met her and somehow others pulled her farther and farther to the place she had been heading before she met us ....it is a dark place and I think most of us have realized we are not to blame, cannot save her. Gabby we love you but you must find your way back on your own.  The rest of us now are married, and have more children than we ever thought between us.  We have a bond that stretches between Westchester, Romania, New Jersey, Massachusetts and South Carolina that is unlike any other friendship.  We try and do a get together with our families at least once every few years which is bit like planning the Olympics logistically.  When we do get together though we laugh at each other, we cry for one another, we hug and kiss a lot, we look at our families and cannot believe how old we are all getting and mostly we look into each other's eyes and see only "fetele".  

Some boys take a beautiful girl
And hide her away from the rest of the world
I want to be the one to walk in the sun
Oh girls they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have ...Cyndi Lauper