Three Fake Holiday Cards

 Dear Bill C,
I know, right?
Yes, Karma IS a Bitch.

Here is a new cigar.
Let me put this cigar where I want.
Now sit down, and smoke it.
It is fresh, I promise.


______________________________________________________________
Dear Kelly,
Are you SURE you don’t have an eating disorder?
How can you be superwoman all the time?
I’m more than a little worried about you.
Please have Mark or Regis call me or even the new guy.

You look high strung, very high-strung.

 No, you can’t do it all, all the time.
Your body and your mind can only take so much.
Please, slow down, you’ve already accomplished enough.
Enjoy life, just turn down the speed, turn the speed down WAY LOW.
***************************************************************************************************************************
Dear Robin,

You are the one we can’t forget, even though we didn’t even know you. We thought we did but you were deep beneath your laughing exterior.  We admired you, you made us laugh, you made us cry. We are still crying at the loss of you, suicide is so angry, so shocking to your fans. I remember gasping out loud and I couldn’t breathe when someone told me the devastating news of your death. By hanging. I’m even shaking my head now, as if was new all over again. It will always be new.

We are so sorry that you had to go through with MS but hey, couldn’t you have talked to Michael J. Fox first? I guess not, it’s a moot point, Robin, I hope you are not in pain, I hope you are romping around Heaven making people laugh, you are probably the best comedian up there that they have seen in a while. Say hi to Joan Rivers from us, the world is a much sadder place now. We miss you and Joan.
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Living A Good, Simple Life

Be at One.

Breathe in goodness, exhale worry.

Take your time, Walk as much as you can.

She's Got Beauty.

Treasure the details, a flower, a bird, a snowflake, a child’s smile.

Believe in whatever God or Spirit, Nature or Person you Love;

it is not for us to judge but to be compassionate and open-minded.

Keep good thoughts in your heart and soul.

Loving kindness to other people. It, karma, will come around.

Never be defined by others, especially those who smile to your face and turn around to stab you.

Move away from mean people.

Liars are everyone’s enemies.

Have the courage of your convictions, hold on tight to your values, your beliefs.

Try not to be influenced by outside people and know that all of us make mistakes.

Forgive yourself and others equally.

Oh how I love this sweet little girl

 

I need to listen directly inside myself, to follow my voice within, for every decision.

Stop, listen to your Heart, your Soul, Nature, Intuition.

Be gracious and patient, control your temper, monitor your mood.

Be compassionate and giving and even when you feel you have nothing to give, keep giving.

Everybody has a story

Let your heart be open to give and to receive.

Offer only what you have,

Honesty in its purest form.

Love.

 

 

Kellie Elmore: Favorite Ending of Song

Nobody Wants to Play With Me

Nobody Wants to Play With Me (Photo credit: tochis)

“And in the end, the love you take
is equal to the love you make “

“Life is a one big circle, that’s what I thought but at fifteen everything seems convoluted. My brain, practically has wires sticking out of it and one minute I was crying and the next I was mad as hell. I could be sitting on the couch with my mom not wanting any physical contact with her AT ALL and then a sappy commercial would come on and I would start to sob and wish that she would just take me in her arms and hug me like she used to when I was little. She didn’t because I didn’t give any sign of wanting to be hugged and I hadn’t given her any encouragement for the past three years to come anywhere close to me. But still, it hurt.

High School for a girl like me is hell on earth, I wasn’t one of those cheerleaders, one of the popular girls. I hated them. Or maybe I was jealous of them, I’m not sure. But I knew this, I would never be a cheerleader ever. My parents complimented me and said I was “wonderfully different” and “independent” “special” but the kids in school talked straight. They called me “weirdo.” That’s what I was, one big, tall nothing of a weirdo.

Sure,  I loved animals and volunteered at the dog shelter every day after school but that doesn’t make you prom queen or Miss Personality. It’s lonely being different, oh heck, I’ve been alone all my life. Even my over-achieving sports-minded brother didn’t care about me. He was too busy winning trophies and bragging about them. You should see his room it was like a shrine to him except he was still alive. You know, gathering more trophies and medals in college.

I guess I thought my life would be easier once he went away to college but nothing changed, In fact we had less to talk about at the dinner table. Except for my homework assignments. My parents always asked about that: For  English our assignment was: Write about every positive good feature we have. My English teacher was the only teacher I really liked and respected but this was going to be one short assignment. I sighed and rolled my eyes just thinking about it. Why couldn’t I write about someone else? Why me? I’d  rather write about my stupid older brother than myself. I put my pen to paper and started writing without thinking:

Dana: good person, helps others, kind, loves dogs, volunteers at dog shelter every day after school, tutors math to little kids, likes to write (but not about me) loves reading, don’t like myself, like my green eyes, hates nose and everything else, maybe not my hair, hair is ok. pretty good daughter, love my parents, don’t like hurting people’s feelings. love to watch people, hate being watched, or looked at, honest, fair.

I handed it to Ms. Wilson the next morning and quickly walked away.  I forgot about it until she had passed the homework back three days later and gave me mine with a big red SEE ME AFTER CLASS written on it. I thought I was going to throw up. I swear, I almost did.

I waited until everyone left and Ms. Wilson smiled,  ” Dana, she laughed, you are NOT in trouble, I just want to talk to you. I’m not Miss Wilson now, I’m Michelle. I wanted to tell you how much I admire you. Actually, you remind me a lot of me when I was your age. She laughed and said “don’t look so shocked I was YOUR age once!.” I couldn’t speak, I just sputtered. “Dana, you are one of the smartest, kindest  and most gifted students that I have ever known. You have a wonderful way with words AND a career in writing if that’s what you decide to do. I want to make sure YOU know that. I don’t feel you really know how special a person you are.” “But, But,  all the other girls…”she stopped me, “all the other girls? What the silly pom-pom girls with the fake blonde hair and blue contact eyes?” Nonsense, you, my dear are an original. One of my teachers taught me this and I’m passing it down to you because, I swear, it works. All you need to do is play the confidence game, smile even if it is pretend, carry yourself like you are the queen.

Soon enough, others will smile back and it will be natural for you. You are a lovely young woman and you give a lot of love to everything you do, it’s only a matter of time and self-confidence for you to get it all back, and you will, I promise. Do you know the word “karma” she asked me. Yeah, I said sheepishly, my parents are hippies.

“You promise, things will get better? I asked? Pinky swear, she said. So we locked pinkies and I felt better already. Miss. Wilson then  asked me for a hug which I gave her and I tried really hard NOT to cry but when I looked at her she was doing the very same thing. I left with a smile on my face and it was real.

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If I Could Banish Someone From My Life

Buddha

This has to be one of the stupidest prompts ever. Sorry. First, if you really wanted to banish someone from your life, would you actually name them here? I hope not. Second, there are people I dislike, one I dislike intensely but banish her? Why bother? I leave that up to karma; whatever goes around, comes around.

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ICD Jewelery Store – Meant To Be

This is a true story about how things sometimes work out the way they should. Oprah used to talk about that a lot.  Synchronicity, things happening because they are “meant to be.” Yesterday, I wrote a blog called “Saying Goodbye To Oprah” today I experienced what she has always talked about.

1) I had a new Doctor’s appointment and when I asked the new Doctor if she was ever in touch with the Doctor who had retired she said “in fact, I’m seeing him tonight.”  I asked her to please tell him about an article I wrote about the loss of my dear friend “Loving Dawn” that was published in a local magazine. She said she would but as I was about to leave I remembered I had copies in my trunk that I had just picked up from the editor the day before. I ran down and got the magazine, happy to show them.  No coincidence there.

2) I stopped by the florist to order my son’s girlfriend’s corsage, continued on to the library and decided to go to a shoe store.

3) I parked my car, (having no sense of direction whatsoever) where I thought the shoe store was. I couldn’t find it. It turned out that I parked in front of a store called ICD Jewelery. When I saw the name I remembered my son saying that he bought his girlfriend’s birthday present there. The door was held open and I decided to walk in and browse. In the past I had always assumed that it was just high-end stuff but it isn’t. It’s a wonderful combination of completely affordable jewelery AND beautiful expensive, sparkling pieces.

4) I  looked around keeping my daughter’s upcoming 17th birthday in mind, I even saw the lovely bracelet my son had bought. There were beautiful pieces in EVERY price range. After chatting with a nice woman named Sarah I softly said:  ” You are doing this store a disservice, you really should advertise more.” She smiled and said “can I repeat that?” I said “I guess so.” She called the owner over, an absolutely stunning and  beautiful woman (she should be a model) named Varda Singer and asked me to repeat my comment. I did, I asked where they advertised because I had no idea that this store sold things in all price ranges. I am the type of person that should live with focus groups. I try every new product, I can predict if something will work or not, I know “star” quality before others. If I really liked this store my friends would too. If I didn’t know about this store they probably didn’t either.

5) The owner, Varda, said “she pays so much in advertising in publications it’s sometimes not worth it.”  After talking with her about the jewelery, both high-end and inexpensive, she fell silent. She looked at me, took a gorgeous pink beaded bracelet off the display, handed it to me and said, “word of mouth: this is how I like to get people to the store.” Before I knew it she took the price tag off and presented the bracelet to me as a present.”If people like it and ask where you got it, you tell them.”  No one had ever given me a present like that and I was shocked.  I said “No, no, no, no… ” but she insisted and put it on my arm.

6) All she knew was that I was a mom window shopping for her daughter. She had no idea I wrote a blog.  We laughed and talked some more and out of the blue she threw in a Hebrew word that I recognized immediately.  The word “Beshert” it’s meaning:  “meant to be” or “destiny.”

7) I told them I wanted to blog about this experience (I am not a paid employee nor am I a sponsor or a PR agent and I am not getting any kind of kickback!)  I asked Varda if we could tie this special day in with my blog. If people read this blog and wanted to go to the store, perhaps they could get a $5 dollar discount? She thought about it, shook her head and said with a smile said:”please tell people that if they just drop by the store and mention your blog, they will get a free “bracelet” too.”

I will REPEAT THAT: Mention that you read this blog and get a free bracelet. Stop by there, look around, you won’t be disappointed.  They are located in the town of Chappaqua, NY, 75 South Greeley Avenue. You can reach them at 914-238-3646 or at ICDJLTD@aol.com. or visit:  http://www.icdjewelry.com/

Thank you again, Varda, for my pink bracelet.

My free gift from ICD Jewelery in Chappaqua, NY

Waiting In A Too Still Moment

Thunderstorm - NOAA

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There are a lot of things going on but except for the doctor’s appointment I had today, with a breast surgeon ( I’m fine) I am waiting for things to happen.  My dog looks unwell, tired and scared, she is not eating. Is it the upcoming thunderstorms she feels approaching or…..is she too old?  She won’t come up the stairs, that is very unusual. I changed my own doctor’s appointment next week because I noticed my dog’s exam with her veterinarian is scheduled for the same day. I will go with her; I have always gone with her, every year for nine years. She needs me and I need her. She is nine and sometimes I look at her and want to quietly weep. My pup. I’ve had you since I rescued you at six weeks old.

I am waiting for test reports to come back, not for myself; the phone is quiet, not shrieking, loud and  jarring as it usually is.  It is never this quiet here.  I feel a pause in the universe and inside myself.  There are no sounds in the house except my fingers clicking on this old keyboard. I am concentrating on the stillness and it feels surreal.

Will it feel like this when both my kids go off to college? My son, is going to college in September; my daughter, my baby, next year. Prom is the day after tomorrow and I am still in disbelief  that time has passed so quickly. Even though I have seen the handsome tuxedo and the grin on my son’s face I can’t believe it is here. I am afraid I will cry when I see the sparkling young couples posing together for their prom pictures. I will bring sunglasses and not let it show although my son only has to take one passing glance at me and he will know. I will NOT let him see.

I could pick up the phone but I don’t want to ruin this eery quiet with unnecessary noise. The silence and solitude, I fear, is meant for a reason. I am breathing deeply. I sip from a small, green Pellegrino bottle, it seems to be the only color in the entire room. I never liked to drink water before but I enjoy this. Maybe it’s because we drank bubbly mineral water, every day, when we were in  Spain.  Our Spain vacation with my husband, for ten days, now seems like a dream I had; it is getting cloudy in detail, in texture, in color, in my memory.

I would like to keep everyone safe and healthy but I have no control. I am  gathering up courage in order for me to help others. I am trying to come from a centered place. I am controlling anxiety by breathing but it is beginning to be hard to swallow. My dog, my son, test results, weather, change is coming quickly, but it isn’t here yet.

It is getting cloudy now, maybe the thunderstorms will come and relieve the awful, suffocating heat. The thunderstorms are supposed to make the weather cooler; I know that but my dog doesn’t. I will keep her near me, my arm around her fur and wait for the storms to come crashing down like glass shattered by a young boy’s errant baseball. Everything can change in a moment, I want to be ready.

Saying Good-Bye To Oprah

Signature of American television personality, ...

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I loved the peachy-pink dress you wore on the last show, Oprah. I didn’t think this last show would be your own last lecture, a love letter, a synopsis from you to your adoring fans but in retrospect, it was what you were all about. Teaching. I admit I wanted to be able to cry, with you, for you and for me and the rest of the world but you saved that, and rightly so, for the last ten minutes.  Your walk from the stage out was like watching a play, with emotion, but not with regret. How wonderful to be you.

I imagined I would get to see an emotional Oprah, one that showed your vulnerability, any slight doubt you had, any separation anxiety. But, I, was the one with the separation anxiety and loss, not you. I was the one who needed an emotional good-bye, you didn’t. Truly amazing. For the last twenty-five years I have grown up with The Oprah Winfrey Show. Today, even though I tape the shows I had to see it live.  “I have to watch Oprah from 4-5pm today” I told my children. They understood and at 16 and 18, they have their own favorite shows, their loyal friends, their own lessons to learn, their own truth to find. We will have to teach them what we learned from you.

Oprah, you have been a friend to me and to people all around the world. “Your life is speaking to you, what is it saying…?” For me, it is saying that I will miss you, that I have learned so much from you, that 4-5pm will feel empty without you. You told us that “when it was the right time to leave, there was no regret, not bittersweet, just sweet.”  I know I couldn’t be like that. Sometimes, I second guess myself but I know how to listen to my gut, to my feelings, to search inside my soul. I always knew that but you validated my feelings; you cheered me on as a woman and especially as a parent, as a stay at home mother.

Oprah is a teacher, an educator, a spiritual and religious woman, that was very clear today.  You were on our own, to thank us, the audience, for making you feel special and loved and validated.  “We too can find our own passion, in whatever way we choose. We can help people, be kind to one another and stave off bad karma by putting forward only good karma.” Yes, we have heard it before but it was good to hear it one last time. To remind us all of what is important, to be kind and give to others.

We will spread the love, we will spread the joy and the passion. You were the love of our lives too, Oprah, as we were yours. After 25 years, I have to say good-bye to a friend who has been on television all of my adult life. I grew up with you and I have learned a lot of lessons from you. I feel sorry for this new generation because they will not have you in their lives to teach them. We will just have to pass down what we have learned from you; as you see, you will be in our hearts forever.

I will say good-bye, because I have to. Thank you for all that you have done for this world. I will truly miss you.

The Ugly Side of Karma

Do you know the feeling when some thought, usually a guilty and  bad one,  creeps into your mind but you’re not ready to accept it yet?  It flits in and out and by the time you are ready to accept the thought, grab it,  and call it your own, you’ve pretty much learned the lesson you needed to learn.  The lesson may be learned at that very second, but for me, it’s usually not owned until it has been written and most probably read.

Our whole Christmas vacation in Aruba was first discussed  over a year and a half ago. Times were tough, I had been very sick with numerous illnesses, one after another, for over a year and a half.  Our marriage had been in trouble the whole summer.  My husband and I were miserable both together and alone and I felt betrayed. The key factor that used to hold us together was trust, but I felt that trust was broken. Verbally. At that time,  I remember vividly asking my mother “if this all works out and we can make it through together, do you mind if the four of us go away together over Christmas break?” Knowing what we all were going through, and the fact that the children were very upset,  she reassured me that it would be fine: “You definitely deserve it! ”

That was then, a year ago. After getting through the summer and my husband and I working our problems out, again, I asked my mother if it was still ok. “Yes, she said, definitely.”  What I had forgotten to do and this was totally my mistake was share these plans with my sister which was my fault. We talked and I apologized and she was gracious.

Going to Aruba had been a yearly discussion since my seventeen year old son had been invited a multitude of times to stay with his best friend at his best friend’s grandmother’s house in Aruba. Huge house. Ok, mansion. We  had never seen it but all of my son’s other friends had been there with their families.   Tim was not able to go several times because we all had plans and, I didn’t want Tim to be away without us at Christmas.  It just never felt right.

The tradition of Christmas with a Jewish family is an unusual one. My parents raised us with no religion, other than culturally Jewish, but we celebrated Christmas.   When I was very small I remember having a Christmas tree, ornaments;  Santa Claus, reindeer, the stuff that dreams are made of.  The only real tradition in our family was that we spent it together. It wasn’t easy all the time. People would fight, or act immature, gift-giving and receiving became an angry or sullen event at times, my sister would think we gave too much or not enough but the 4  cousins were together and that, at the time, seemed enough.

It seemed to be enough until 8 years ago when  6  days after Christmas on New Year’s Eve, my dad passed away. It was also the day before my parent’s wedding anniversary on New Year’s Day.    After that, nothing was the same, ever.   Christmas for me, and probably  others was absolutely depressing and horrible.  I wanted to move Christmas to my house but apparently there was no wiggle room for any other alternative.  In my estimation that was a major mistake.

Once my sister and her children went on a cruise paid by our mother but in the end, my mother and brother in law decided not to go. My family stayed behind to be with our mom on Christmas, we didn’t want her to be alone. Surprisingly,  she was furious at our decision.  It was another one of the countless, “we want to be thoughtful and be with you actions” that always seems to blow up in my face and I become the evil one. Part of my life back then. Part of my life when I accepted it. Not anymore. It was a pattern and I tried to crush it with every bone in my body. Progress.

The Fessler, then Fessler-Bernsein, then Fessler-Friedmann  Christmas tradition in our family,  is that we have store-bought, refrigerated cinnamon rolls that come in a tube with  a container of vanilla icing; the best part.  This has been a tradition since my sister and I were children and we finally passed down the tradition of icing the cinnamon buns down to our children many years ago. We also had scrambled eggs and bacon, hard rolls that now have turned to bagels and presents; too many presents or too few, name in a hat, no way. Just for the children? My sister and I were jealous, after all, we were children too. But not having the sound of the Christmas bell ringing in the holiday by my father was key. One can’t replicate a tradition if a big part of the tradition is not alive anymore. But so it went….until this year.

This brings us to the present when we were scheduling our flights, the four of us, to go to Aruba. The grumbling started gaining momentum and soon my mother was hysterical trying to make us cancel it at the last moment and “guilting” us beyond belief. It wasn’t fair to anyone but when feelings are hurt, fairness flies quickly out the window along with the early morning singing doves?

So, we are here in Aruba, having a lovely time, entitled to have a good time after my health problems, our marital problems and now my husband’s unemployment status.  We had paid for the trips many months ago and we decided we did not want to cancel; it had already been paid for.  Our son, Tim,  is staying with his friend Aaron in his grandmother’s mansion and Jillian, Dan and I are staying at the Marriott and enjoying ourselves immensely.  The sun is hot, the breeze is beautiful and the water, my most beloved element, is light blue and sparking. Everything is great here. Except it isn’t.

I miss Tim. I actually am a little upset, sic, hurt, that Tim wants nothing to do with us.  Kind of like my mom probably feels about me? I have no idea.   These are the lessons we are  born to learn the hard way. Tim is probably doing all sorts of things I probably don’t want to know about living in the Bachelor Pad with Aaron, aka “the pool house.”   He stopped by unannounced once with his friend to say hello because his friend’s dad gave them a mini-lecture on how it would be nice to see your family on Christmas Day.

Ouch.    These are the lessons we are  born to learn the hard way.  I do mind that my son is acting invisible, a little arrogant, and very much cool and distant. The irony is not lost on me. His age, 17, is not lost on me  We gave him permission to go and to have fun, not fully thinking that he would,  to the extent of not even sending an e-mail or picking up the local phone to say hello.  It burns and it stings and I feel like a complete idiot. What did I THINK would happen? Well, actually, not this.

We try to teach our children good lessons, life lessons. What have we taught our son about this trip? Yes, we felt he was owed this vacation, yes, my mother said we should go, yes, we love it here in all it’s beauty…….but the truth of the matter is at this moment, I feel like I want to cry. I want to cry as my disappointment as a mom and begrudgingly as a daughter who now feels just the tiniest of guilt.

The Christmas tradition in our family, which is the most traditional thing we do, is that we have store-bought, refrigerated cinnamon rolls that come in a tube. This has been a tradition since my sister and I were children and we have passed down the tradition now to our children who now frost the cinanmon buns.  It really isn’t anything much, the store buns are the same every year, every year we fight about how crispy the bacon should be or how many presents we should buy. But, we’re together and while I love being on vacation, anyplace warm, watching the four cousin  battling over which cinnamon bun to ice and how much wouldn’t be so very bad. We learn from these experiences.  Whatever goes around, comes around, the very definition of karma. It bites.