Birthday Month

We’re in the beginning of September, the late home stretch of Summer. A few hot days left,  some warm, comforting rain coming soon. As much as I physically and emotionally despise the Winter I do look forward to early Autumn, that is at least until my birthday.

No, I’m not 6, though I often feel that way. I do act child-like  (ok kids, childish) in some ways but to me little things make me happy; especially things that I can do to entertain myself. I’m not needy, that way, I amuse myself all the time and I hope to be able to continue to do this until I take my last breath and die.

I laugh out loud to my own jokes with nobody around and sometimes I think I am absolutely hilarious. It doesn’t matter to me at all what other people think, as long as I am enjoying myself, and not hurting anyone, that’s all I need. I think I got this from my dad who often laughed at his own jokes but back then, as a daughter, things didn’t really seem that funny to me. They do now.

I celebrate and look forward to my birthday every year. I have no shame about age, I will be 58 in early October and I hope to be just as happy as I approach the so=called dreaded 60.” I admit sixty does sound OLD and it seems impossible that I will be sixty but I hope to celebrate that birthday with even more presents, laughter, family, flowers and friends. Key word : Hope.

A birthday cake

Why not? In the past, my mother always lied about her age.. For years she lied about my age and my sister’s age, we got younger every few years. She used to say and “this is my daughter.” It took us years for her to add-on  each name. She gets it now.

She doesn’t like me to tell people her age so I’ll just say she gave birth to me as a young teen mom. I’m really not coy about age or gray hair. At the moment I am trying to grow out a reddish glaze, not to cover my gray hair but to make it shiny. It didn’t work. Now my hair has three shades, all I want is for my natural brown and silver.

I buy myself little things, very little things, a few weeks before my birthday. It could be one cookie or something from a thrift shop, it by no means is expensive. It’s my birthday month and who knows better than me what makes me happy?

Think about this the month before your birthday, buy yourself something. Why not? I’m sure you deserve it. Wish yourself a Happy Birthday Month and all good things to come throughout the year.

PS Warm wishes on your special day from ME!

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Happy Second Birthday, Lexi

2/16/14

Dear Lexi,  Happy 2nd Birthday.  I love you, sweetie-pie. What a good, good dog you are,  so cute and affectionate.Lexi1

You were a nasty, wild, hurtful puppy, weren’t you? Don’t look so sad, you didn’t know better. I know you are sorry. You were just an oral devil dog, digging those demon sharp puppy teeth into our arms and legs and clamping down. We probably tasted better than all the chew toys we bought you. Our welts gave you texture, right? Grandma kept telling us to “give you back” every single day but I couldn’t do that. Many trainers tried but they all said “You’ve got a really willful puppy there but if/when she grows out of it you’ll have a really great dog.”And, sweet girl that is who you have become.(Thank God)

At about eighteen months, from one day to the next while we were busy doing other things you became a dog, an amazing dog. One that cuddles and protects us, hugs us and plays with us. You are the dog we always wanted, we just needed to give you and ourselves a little more time.

It taught us all about being more patient, didn’t it?

Right now you are sleeping with your head on my knee, nuzzling, a part of you always has to be directly on me.  You know each member of the family so well. With Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain I do spend a lot of time in bed and that’s where you come, leaping on the bed, to be with me, happily. When “Dad” is around you get the leash, go to the front door, and start whimpering. You get instantly wild when your brother comes to visit, but we know he provokes you. He allows you to be wild, we don’t. Yes, I know, YOU are WAY cool when you rough house together.

Oh, but when your sister comes home from college you hear her parking her car and you run to the front door and start crying until she comes in.  Yes, our daughter, your sister, will kneel down to your level and you hug each other while you cover her with kisses. That picture of the two of you on the ground stays in my heart forever.

Have a Happy 2nd Birthday, thank you for choosing us at the shelter to be your family.Lexi2

Love, Mom

Just One More Hug

Wednesday, November 13, 2013.

Screenshot from a public domain film The Littl...

Screenshot from a public domain film The Little Princess (1939) starring Shirley Temple and Richard Greene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today would have been my dad’s 90th birthday, he died eleven years ago. I guarantee you it will not be an easy day or night for any of us. I’m trying to use this day to remind me of what a wonderful father he was, how he loved birthdays and presents and food and more food and little presents that cost less than a few dollars which we called “shmonsas.”

I miss him, those feelings stab at my heart and reopen wounds I thought had healed. Apparently, there is no complete healing from death and pain.  Since we have talked about my dad lately I feel the pain, as if it was fresh, wounds ripped open, knives sharpened and stabbing pain. Tears are spilling down my eyes, in the catch of my voice.

Of all times, the day before his birthday I found myself making his favorite, home-made pea soup.  I hadn’t even realized that his birthday was coming up because I was focusing only on 11/11 my favorite day and time. That meant today was 11/12 and I realized my husband and I are having dinner with my mom on Wednesday, not even conscious that Wednesday, 11/13 was my dad’s birthday. The world works in strange ways, I still believe there is a reason for everything.

Every Saturday morning when I was a child, my dad and I would watch Shirley Temple movies together, just the two of us. He would take his finger and wipe his eyes quickly and I once asked him if he was crying. He told me he had allergies but soon enough I learned the truth. Every week, another Shirley Temple movie, The Little Princess, Curly Top etc. was on. Saturday mornings were very special for me and my dad.

When I was older we would get bagels which was not technically stealing since the store was not open and once he and I got off the tram in Austria to buy bratwurst thick with golden brown mustard and rolls and left my mother and sister on the tram-car (not realizing they had no idea where they were and that we were gone.) As sorry as we were, he and I still held unto our sides remembering my mother’s fuming face, nostrils flaring. Luckily, he was the one who got in trouble, not me.

We would all go to Pathmark grocery shopping while I still lived at home and we would put ridiculous sized items in the cart while the other person wasn’t looking, 5 gallons of pickles, 10 gallons of ketchup, we thought we were hilarious. Sometimes someone had opened up a bag of cookies (No, it was not us) but we would help ourselves to samples. Once when my mother was away ( working) we went to a Spanish restaurant and got a little tipsy on Sangria, toasting wall paper hangers that did not show up. My kids will be shocked to hear this!  Another time, I was driving home from my married life in Boston, pregnant with my first child and he had come down as a surprise to direct traffic wearing an orange helmet with a bright orange sign with my name and arrows so that I wouldn’t get lost. If I had one sentence to describe him, it would be that one. When there were mice crawling over my bed and feet in my apartment he would pick me up and bring me “home.” Nothing was too much.

My mom, my husband and I will eat dinner at a restaurant and try to celebrate his life instead of mourning it.  I thought I might want to put a candle on my dessert for him but I can’t kid myself, I’d burst into tears before it even came. I think I’ll just say my own few words, privately. He was a wonderful father to both my sister and me: nurturing, warm, supportive. I still miss his warm hugs the most, a true loss. Prone to educational talks that were a bit too lengthy what would I do now to hear one again. I could count on to him to at least understand my side even if we didn’t agree, it’s been so long, eleven years, that I can’t even remember what that feels like anymore. We were so similar, he and I, my mother and my sister, exactly alike.

He has sent me messages from the other side except for a brief interruption which was partially my fault but now those messages will be back. I am sure of it. In fact, I just found an angel that I completely forgot about and now she is hanging happily from my crisp, new bulletin board. There are no more words, except to say, Daddy, I love you, I miss you, I’ll always miss the dad that you were to me. I miss your bear hugs where I knew I felt so loved and safe. I miss you being in my corner supporting me. I will never stop missing that. Happy Birthday, Daddy. Love, from “The Little One.(8)”

Happy Birthday In Heaven

Delicious...........................

Delicious……………………… (Photo credit: ANDI2..)

Dear Lore,

It’s the day in the middle of our two birthdays. I missed your call to me yesterday and will miss my call to you tomorrow, but at least I remember your voice in my head and heart. It was a tradition for as long as I can remember. Every year we knew that our phones would ring, and every year, without fail, we would send each other a card. It was a tradition, a phone call and a card on two days, one day apart. I think I miss you more now than when you died. I really do. You understood me like no one else, we had the same temperament and you would give me advice. You were friends with my mother and I know she dearly misses you too. But to me, you were my favorite “Aunt” and a friend.

Tomorrow, I will not light a candle for you, you would hate that, but I will eat a lovely piece of chocolate in honor of you. You gave me my first job working for you in your European chocolate shop on Lefferts Boulevard in Kew Gardens. It believe it was called Mimi’s from the previous owner. People envied me that job and I can hear you say “and why shouldn’t they?” I pretended to dust, replace chocolate on the silver trays (while sampling in the back) and we talked a great deal and ordered pizza for lunch. I tell people now that “just because chocolate turns a little white doesn’t mean it’s gone bad.” I did learn something, see? .

It was 1977 and I was going to my first year in college in September and you and Edward surprised me by buying me a pair of designer jeans that I picked out at the jeans boutique down the street. I thought that it was the most generous thing that anyone had ever gotten me, you crocheted me a blanket too and it was on my college bed. Yes, I still have it. You sent me home-made Krispie -like treats to college, big batches and I was so happy.

There is just ONE thing I take exception too and I’m sure I speak for Diane (your real niece) as well. You called us each  “Augustus” telling both of us we were the ONLY “Augustus.” I would call you up and say this is “Augustus.” Only at your funeral did your real niece (and doctor) Diane and I realize you fooled us both, it was rather a funny moment when two grown women acted like 5-year-old children saying “I was Augustus” no, “I was Augustus.” You cheated on us, but we both were well-loved by you, love for two very different, wonderful people. Leave it to you to find a way to make us laugh at your own funeral, I have a hunch you planned it that way.

So I say to you, beloved friend, beloved fake Aunt,  Happy Birthday in Heaven. I truly miss you and I love you.

Love,

Augustus (1 or 2)

angel

angel (Photo credit: M@rg)

Photo credits to above mentioned photographers,no rights of mine.

Writing @ LAF Publishing

Krispie treats  home -made

happy first birthday, lexi

nothing feels better and happier than my dog lying straight across my feet, her favorite position while i am in bed and its cold outside. i’ve been in my bright yellow with cherries pajamas for the whole day and i would be happy to be in them for another day or two if only i could.  it’s my dog, lexi’s first birthday, it’s truly a miracle how the time has gone by so quickly, ok, well it feels like it now. oh, don’t think I have forgotten the early days, no, no, no, believe me i haven’t. i remember the tearful puppy days when i cried out for help.  “she’s just a puppy”  my dear online friends would say soothingly and that was true but an active, stubborn and willful puppy with the strength of an ox. my family of friends would coo, “chew toys are good” but nothing was safe in our house from this fierce princess, our little warrior. furniture legs were eaten, chairs, tissues, my husband’s computer toys, sixty dollars, pants, shirts and sentimental items from the past. our arms and legs were riddled with red welts as lexi would grab on to our hands or legs, bite them with her sharp teeth and would not let go. there was always someone screaming from pain in our house.

Little Lexi

Little Lexi

Lexi

now, lexi, has a new habit she howls in the back. is it joy, is it for attention, does she spot an animal. we think it’s for sport. she looks like a young deer, red and long, she howls like a wolf. we just don’t know why she does this but i can practically see her grinning like a young teenager getting a real kick out of annoying her parents. i’ve seen that look before, many times.

i remember the first time i saw her it was love at first sight. she was curled up at the shelter, probably drugged, fast asleep having been shipped from north carolina or south. i thought she was mellow, she sure had me fooled. my best friend sarah drove and i had gone just to look, i had been at several shelters before but i knew i needed another dog in my life after my first dog, callie, died of pancreatic cancer. i was missing a part of myself, i think this made me a dog person officially. when i adopted lexi i told her that lexi has two mommys since sarah was there with me. i called my husband from the shelter to prepare him, he was not as enthused as me. he could easily have waited several years before we adopted another dog. i said “congratulations, it’s a girl” he answered with with a wry laugh. after 24 years of marriage he’s used to me by now.

i had a healthy, active puppy. the way a puppy should be. our last dog was very scared and timid and probably had been abused, all she wanted was to be comforted in my lap. i didn’t know what a real, healthy, energetic puppy was like. i learned quickly to substitute toys and the miracle of ice cubes but this girl was too fast for anyone. it has been quite the year with our girl. once in a while she still jumps on people with delight and we are working on that. this puppy is ridiculously strong, even second mommy and daddy agree so there have been times, like when we go to the vet, (she loves it there) she will drag me and all the people at the vet just shake their heads and laugh at me. we’re working on that too, suggestions are welcome. i believe she understands the command “come”” but it has to be followed with the word “cookie” that’s just so me. right? when there is someone outside our door lexi is our great protector, she barks and growls angrily and furiously, she becomes mean and proprietary.

at the end of the day, when the lights are off, having lexi in the house is comforting and sweet. not only did we find each other, we saved each other.

happy first birthday, lex. i love you bunches.

love, original mom

I’m An Ugly Owl, Beyonce And Ellen Degeneres

English: Ellen DeGeneres in 2009.

English: Ellen DeGeneres in 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t care if Beyoncé lip synced the song, at President Obama’s Inauguration.  It was freezing outside and I’m surprised she could even move her pretty lips that well. What more do you want from a person? I would have been out there with my puffy brown down jacket, my puffy head covered with my puffy brown hood, my eyeglasses sticking out conspicuously and I would have looked like an overfed owl. An ugly owl. Not to mention, I have NO singing talent at all. Picture this, a wide gray and white owl opening its mouth to sing, off-key, not a pretty site. Beyoncé? She could wear a paper bag and make it look gorgeous, because SHE is gorgeous.

There are people I think I know when in truth I don’t. I think I KNOW Ellen Degeneres. I happen to be a good judge of character. I know she is warm, and real, and giving and gracious and a terrific human being on stage and off.  How do I know this? Gut feeling. I have never met Ellen, never talked to her, we have never had been  introduced but I just feel in my heart she is all good, maybe she gets cranky once in a while. Basically, “what you see is what you get”, it’s that simple. I would be best friends with Ellen with one exception: I HATE practical jokes( on me.) No, seriously. I scream, I pee, I have a startle reflex and I get scared by anyone who dares try to prank me even in my family. A quick darting mouse scares me and I freak out hysterically, it puts me in a panic and yes, I have been know to climb up on a chair or furniture. You are probably too young to remember but those of us who are old will remember “Eek, Eek.a mouse!” That is so me.

I have a game I play with myself. ( I lead a fairly dull life) If I was famous or had just become FAMOUS for some wonderful deed and was picked (okay, it’s my fantasy, sought after) to tell my GREAT accomplishment and all the talk show hosts wanted ME and I had offers from Oprah, Ellen, (Gosh, I don’t know who is out there any more) Barbara Walters, (Barbara, I am worried about you, a bruise on your forehead should NOT be keeping you in the hospital this long,  what are you not telling me?) The View,  Ricky Lake, Jeff Probst or Anderson Cooper (just cross them off if I made them up) who would I choose to talk to?

I admit, pre OWN, when The Oprah Winfrey show was on, I would have said Oprah, in a heartbeat. I grew up with her and I did worship her and her show. I learned so much from Oprah, the teacher, but everything has an end and when she decided to leave no one could have been more gracious. Not to mention that stunning dress! Now, I would pick Ellen. Because (there would be a-no scare tactics allowed in the contract) I feel that she is real and lovely and nice, funny, easy-going and not a diva. I would like to meet Portia and Mama ( how are you feeling Mama, did you get my Get Well card?) and we could all go out to lunch and I would pray that there would be non vegan options. Mama, please tell me you’re not vegan too. (we should chat.) But, I am flexible, I mean I’ve never had vegan food made by a private chef or anything.

I’m back to reality, Ellen’s real birthday is tomorrow and I won’t be in the studio audience and that’s okay because I just want Ellen to be happy on her birthday and Mama too.Hey, everyone else: even though we don’t have the money for lavish presents, one should always celebrate our birthdays in style because our birthdays are special to us.

Happy Birthday, Ellen!

Love Is Love In Any Language

It doesn’t take much to make another person happy. I’ve been actively trying and going out of my way to make sure I give extra smiles, be extra patient while driving (I never said it was easy) and generally be a nicer, better, human being. It has to start somewhere so random acts of kindness and going out of my way to do good has always been part of my life’s plan. I’m just doubling the efforts now. Maybe the people I am doing little things for will actually do something nice for another person and then another person….I hope so. In any case, it certainly can’t hurt.

I’m not the most patient person all the time, me of the rolling eyes and the heaving sighs. Yes, it’s true, I have been known to do that when I get aggravated or annoyed (ask my children they will certainly tell you) but at least I’m aware of it now and if I catch myself while I am doing it, I may look like a lunatic but I try to change that behavior mid-stream. I’m trying. Success definitely takes time.

This isn’t a new 2013 New Year’s Resolution, I frankly don’t believe in those. This is a general way to feed my soul and hope it helps other people. I just want to be a nicer human being and hope others want the same thing too. I want to go out of my way to do something I normally wouldn’t do. At the supermarket I am guilty of leaving the grocery cart near my car, that’s not nice. So, I will make an effort to roll it to the nearest stand, it will only take me an extra minute. I might complain about the cold weather to myself but it’s the least I can do.  If I do something nice for you, please pass it on to someone else. This country needs this, especially now.

If even one person reading this decides that he or she wants to do the same thing, it would make a huge difference. Check out the video below, you don’t need to know the language, you will understand the thought and the kindness immediately.

Unhappy Birthday To Me

birthday

I generally savor my approaching birthday all year-long. As soon as I have one birthday I start the countdown to the next. I love birthdays, anyone’s birthday, it’s a celebration of Life. I had thought briefly about having a party for my 55th birthday in our house; there is no way THAT is going to happen. First, I don’t have a house. We are homeless at the moment. It’s under construction, five minutes away from demolition if you ask me. Second, I’m a little depressed and I don’t feel like celebrating now and third, while I like being the center of attention once in a while part of me is very shy. The side of me that loves attention is totally unreliable and generally lasts a mere five minutes. Fourth, I HATE surprises. I plan to skip my birthday totally this year and it is not because I am turning double nickels, I don’t care about age; I care about feeling happy.

Our tiny cozy house is not a home anymore. What started as a kitchen renovation became a total house renovation. We are not living there but carpenter ants and mold are. Not healthy living conditions for us, and the fact that there are no bathrooms that work makes it just a little more complicated. There was a lot of hidden damage in our house, unbeknownst to us, so imagine our horror when one room after another needed work. Long ago, there was a movie called “The Money Pit.” Basically, we are those people.

This year, my birthday will be just  another day. My husband will still be on crutches after his Achilles Tendon surgery, we won’t be back in our home and overall, it’s been a very rough year. In addition to the non-house situation my birthday falls on the most solemn holiday in the Jewish religion, Yom Kippur. While my family does not belong to any temple, nor are we particularly religious, celebrating my birthday on the most solemn day, the Day of Atonement, just does not feel right. Besides, my mother would kill me.

I hope some day I will get back that child-like feeling about birthdays. It seems so sad to have lost that. Our house? I hope that I can also love it again the way I used to. Our house betrayed us, people we’ve trusted have ignored us. I accept that not being happy on my birthday is okay. There’s always next year.

My Favorite Month

German chocolate cake from a bakery

Image via Wikipedia

Happy Birthday To Me

October. It’s based on what SHOULD be a national holiday. My birthday. ( It’s also the month of our anniversary and the birth of our son who will be 19.)

I admit it, I am like a complete baby when it comes to my birthday. I look forward to my birthday as if I was 5 instead of turning 55. Here’s the thing, I don’t care how OLD I am (and I am old) I still love my birthday. My daughter refused a candle on her cake on her July birthday at the restaurant and she’s 17. I would cry if there was no candle on my large slice of some vanilla, coconut cake or some gooey milk chocolate cake preferably with pink edible sugar roses and raspberries. Birthdays thrill me! I enjoy everyone’s birthday probably more than they do. Some people say “it’s just another day” but it isn’t to me, it’s special! Besides, Libra Girls Rock.

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My Most Memorable Birthday- 25!!!

bouquet of roses

Image by Muffet via Flickr

IT was my 25th birthday, my parents, sister and I went to a fancy restaurant in New York to celebrate. The food was smorgasbord style but I remember looking at layers of thick orange lox, plump, green, salty capers and huge layers of white onions. I had no idea what I was going to eat. I had always been a picky eater so I’m sure I had bread, butter and an assortment of cheese, which is still one of my favorite meals. The only thing I do remember vividly is the end of dinner when our plates were cleared off the table.

It was dessert time, my favorite time, and my favorite chocolate layer cake had been brought in by my parents from The Homestead Gourmet Shop in Queens. Every year I looked forward to MY annual, traditional chocolate layer cake with raspberry jam filling and creamy milk chocolate frosting with perfect, pink script writing that said HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Roses, pink and green, made out of frosting, adorned the perimeter of my cake.

There were three black and white-clad waiters singing “Happy Birthday” to (an embarrassed) me. All of the waiters were smiling, each had a bright white starched napkin draped over one arm. I remember looking up after I blew out the candles and saw the waiters singing and smiling, reminding me of the penguin clad waiters from Mary Poppins. After a minute, my eyes saw something so unreal that time stood still. One of the waiters was NOT a real waiter at all. It was my beloved “Uncle Teddy” who lived far away in Israel. My father knew he would be in town and my family had arranged for him to surprise me for my birthday, waiter outfit and all. I remember the moment it registered in my brain and I jumped up from my seat and cried with happiness “Teddy!” He came towards me to give me a big hug and from behind his back he produced a bouquet of roses. I will never forget the feeling I had, the sound of my voice as I screamed his name and the sobbing as I stood motionless in time with my very own special “waiter.” He hugged and kissed me, tears streamed down both our cheeks. It was the best birthday I have ever had and one that I will never forget.

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