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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 can use colorful newspapers and recycle", "I do not want my kids to get 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 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