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Is Busy the New Lazy?

Hello everyone! I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had a chance to post on my beloved blog for the last two months.

Excuses. Excuses. Busy. Busy. Busy.  The truth? I kept procrastinating. I told myself I was “Busy,” but I knew there was more going on that I wasn’t admitting to myself.

And so, I wrote an article, which was published in this past week’s Binah Magazine and  the title of the article is “Busy No More.”

This Sunday is Purim when many of us get so busy preparing food packages for our myriad friends and acquaintances, cooking the food for the holiday, and dressing the kids up in the sharpest costumes ever.

Do we miss the points of the holiday (joy, gratitude, friendship) with all our busy-ness?

Can we just relax and live in the moment? Can we be present in the here and now and not worry about all the things we have to do in the future?

Since writing the piece, I’ve been trying to live my life without talking about the B word. (not breathing – that’s a good B word).  It’s a process for me, one minute, hour, day at a time.

I’m curious to know what my readers and followers  (who are no doubt just as B as I am) think about this idea of “Busy No More.” Let me know in the comment section below.

And now, I can return those phone calls I let go to voice mail because I was too Busy, I mean Focused on composing this post.

Hope you enjoy and don’t forget to Breathe!


My Grandson and His Step Stool

My two year old grandson loves to stand on his orange and yellow step stool.

He pushes the plastic stool over to a cabinet, steps on top of it and peers over the counter. He then comments on something he desires at the moment, or recites one of his newest vocabulary words while pointing to said item “up dere.” Some of his oratory includes words like  “dis,”  “cake,”  “milk,”   “cup,” or “Mommy, dat!”

Last week, on one such morning while his Mommy was preparing the other kids’ lunches at our house, when the little guy stepped onto his orange and yellow step, this grandmother (that would be me) walked by.

“Hey, Sweetie, could you just move over just a bit. Omi wants to get something from this cabinet?”

He stood there perched up on that stool and didn’t budge.

So, this grandma (me!) ever so gently moved his tiny body off the stepstool, moved the thing a tad,  took out the item from the cabinet, put it on the counter and then set the stool back in his place.

“Here,” I said, “Now you can go back up.”

He stepped back up onto it, but not before his lips puckered up into a  frown while he let out a roaring wail.

After a few minutes of soothing him, I got him to calm down and he became the happy babbly camper again. But I thought about the crying which I assume was  because he was insulted and humiliated. I mean, he had been high up on his pedestal and I had the gall to take him down a notch.

This incident got me thinking about our relationships as adults and how this “taking someone down a step or rung” is hurtful to others. My husband tells a joke and I say the punch-line before he has a chance. Ouch.

A friend shares exciting news and I jump in with, “yea, I heard already.” What for?

Or my son tells a story at the table and someone (not saying who) corrects him on a detail.

It’s all about the kid and the stepstool. There really is no harm in allowing others to stay on their pedestal. It doesn’t hurt them and it doesn’t hurt you.  Let it be.  I try not to jump in to change or move things around. It can wait till later.

Maybe I could have waited till his mom had taken him out for the day to get that item out of the cabinet. Or asked his mom to move him.

No need to rain on another’s parade. Step out of the way so they can enjoy their fun in the sun.

 

 

 

 


Saying Hello to Sending Greeting Cards

cards

In spite of the growth of technology in society, and explosion of social media, American Greetings and Hallmark cards are alive and well in our shopping malls and outlet stores. The last time I was at Target, K-Mart or CVS, I’m pretty sure I saw a few aisles of greeting cards, from birthday to anniversary to Thank you cards to funny cards.

The past few months, I’ve been on the receiving end of lots of kindness. That came in many forms, such as people bringing me food, running errands, calling, texting, emailing, and visiting. And people sent cards. I love getting cards, and it gives me warm and fuzzy feeling to read them. The knowledge that the person took the time to find the right card, fill it out and mail it, is very special to me.

A card takes a certain amount of effort. Let’s say you want to buy a wonderful birthday card for your favorite mother-in-law. Unless you have a stack of Hallmark cards filed away in your home, and you know exactly where they are when you need them (I know some people are annoyingly organized…ahem!), you will likely have to remember to buy a card when you’re shopping for milk or juice. Now, if you’re like me, you don’t exactly think of going down the greeting card aisle when you’re thinking about eggs and cheese (in my store, the greeting cards are not far from the eggs, but still..)

So chances are you have to make a special trip to get said birthday girl a perfect card. Then, you have to pull out and read through the various types of cards and figure out what fits the person you are buying one for. Not too mushy, not too serious, not too funny. Just nice. Simple. To the point. If you are really buddy-buddy with the person (we’re not talking about the mother-in-law anymore), you might opt for one of those really corny cards. You know the ones that have strangely exaggerated illustrations and somewhat in-your-face humor.

If you’re cutesy, you’ll buy a Peanuts characters cards or a Ziggy (remember those?) card or some other cartoon strip. And if you think your person is extremely serious, you’ll buy one of those long winded poetry cards with flowers all over the cover and inside, and long, flowery messages.

Then, the question is whether to put your own message in the card. Hello, you can’t exactly send a card and just write, “Dear Mom,” (should you say, “Dear?” or just “To,” or just “Hi?”) and then sign off under the printed message. You just can’t. That would be really insulting, wouldn’t it? You have to write something like “Happy Birthday, Mom!” Now, that’s very personal. Right? Better than leaving all that blank space.

Finally, you have to decide how to sign the card. Should you write, “Love,” or “Sincerely,” or “Yours truly,” Or xoxoxo… or “Love and kisses…” I mean these are important decisions. Really crucial. You really don’t want to mess up, do you?

So after all that, you have to look up the person’s address and zip code, find a stamp (again, if you’re organized that’s a cinch), and get to one of the 2 mailboxes that exist in your entire neighborhood (because the USPS has ripped out those friendly blue corner mailboxes, which are now few and far between). Otherwise you drive by the post office and mail the letter there.

Now you’re done. Hopefully you’re pleased and proud of what you’ve done. You’ve accomplished something amazing, especially in this era of text, emails, and singing e-cards. Yes, you’ve risen above the temptation to send an e-card, and you’ve gone the old fashioned way of sending a greeting card.

You’ve made someone happy by thanking them, wishing them a Shana Tova or Happy New Year, a Get Well, Happy Birthday, or whatever occasion. And that’s something to be proud of.

How about you? Do you send greeting cards? Or do you use e-cards, texting, or emails. Or do you sing Happy Whatever on the telephone message machine?

What is your mode of greeting carding?


Can we change other people’s minds?

israeli-flag

As someone who was born and raised in the U.S., I identify as an American. However, as a Jew, I feel close to our Jewish Land, Israel. I have followed the history of our Jewish people who have been attacked in many wars, beginning in 1948 (before I was born) and more recently as Hamas attacks Israel by sending rockets into their country from Gaza.

Without getting into too many politics, I have this to say. No one ever is going to convince the other side of what we believe to be our truth, the truth. The enemies of Israel consider Israel to be the aggressor, even though all they want to do is live peacefully side by side with the Palistinians. Still, when they defend themselves by attacking back, they are criticized. Even though they take precautions not to kill civilians, they are still condemned. No matter what they do, they are condemned.

Even as I write this, there are probably people reading it and thinking, “ridiculous, Israel’s response is disproportionate to the amount of damage done to them,” and I can answer back. And they will answer. Back and forth. Back and forth.

But why bother?

People will believe what they are going to believe. But one thing both sides believe and know to be true:

At the end of the day, the Arabs want Israel out. Gone. Kaput. Finished. They say so themselves.

And Israel wants to survive. They want to continue to be the Land that they are. To grow and to flourish, to build and to generate, to help and to create, to invent.

So here’s my proposal and question: why, oh why, whenever the Arabs were offered to live side by side with the Israelis, they tossed it away? Why do they shun peace? Why do they start fights when Israel even pulled out 9 years ago from Gaza?

These are questions I ask. I know I won’t change minds. No one could. Not when you’re dealing with an enemy that has such definite goals of annihilation.

And that is the sad truth.

Photo Credit

 


A Lovely Party

Remember cliques? Those little groups that formed in high school, usually amongst girls?

Cliques were when little clans of two or three girls would gather in hallways, bathrooms, lunchrooms and the gym.  Anyone who wanted to enter their exclusive group was given a non-verbal look that said loud and clear, “you’re just not cool.”

Fast forward to a group of 30-something women (never men – they are just not into cliques!). These types of scenarios occur with adults as well, unfortunately. Snobbishness, exclusionary behaviors, talking only to folks from one’s inner circles and not trying to expand horizons and meet new people. Intolerance, prejudice, elitism. It’s all there.

But last night, I saw none of the above. peacesign

Last night my husband and I had an amazing, warm and fuzzy experience at a lovely party. Continue reading


Reflections on a Special Person

These days, with the Internet, social media and other forms of news, there is no shortage of information coming at us. In fact, much of the news is bad and sad. After all, does happy news sell? Not quite.

The truth is that in the community where I live, several people I know have suffered terrible tragedies the past few weeks. One woman, Avigail Rechnitz, an extremely kind, sweet, benevolent, intelligent and beautiful person, has succumbed to cancer last week after a two year battle. Continue reading


On Joining a Writer Mentoring Forum

Today I opened my stats and saw the following phrase used as a search by someone who found my blog:

“Do Carol Tice’s Tips Work?” (for the short answer: YES, they do!)

Now here’s the long answer:

As a blogger, I often check inside the blog stats  to see how people get to my blog. It helps me to know who my audience is so I can target to those people.

For example, there are various phrases people will type into search engines (such as google), and search engines will produce/pop up my blog in those cases — if I have used those phrases in my previous blogs.

Now, anyone who reads my blog pretty much knows the topics: grandmothers, mothers-in-law, grandchildren, music, networking, self-improvement, and a few side topics like writing as it pertains to being a grandmother of course!

A lot. But did you know that the topic of Carol Tice has recently been on my mind – and in my blog?

Here’s a phrase that I found in my stats today:

Do Carol Tice’s tips work?  

Continue reading


A Not so Serious Look at Guilt

I used to be a huge fan of Erma Bombeck, may she rest in peace. My mother read most of her paperback books – filled with humor about raising children and running a household  in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  So naturally, if my mother read them, I read them too, and we laughed together at Bombeck’s inimitable and self-deprecating style.

One thing Erma Bombeck talked a lot about was the G word. Yes, guilt. No, she was not Jewish, but yes, she understood guilt and how we moms (and grandmothers) tend to feel guilty all the time.

I want to banish guilt from my vocabulary. That is not to say I don’t want to change and grow and improve and all that good stuff. But hello – what can be good about “Oy, I should’ve, could’ve….what’s wrong with me? I’m soooo bad….oy – I messed up, ….” ????

I know that Bombeck once wrote that as housewives we make more decisions in a day than judges in the Supreme Court!! Now, that’s very true. I’d like to draw a parallel.

As a middle aged mother and grandmother, I use the word “guilty” more times on myself in a day than the D.A. in a court of law does in a month.

Seriously, let’s give examples here: a) Oy, I might have asked a personal question to that friend after shul. b)I mistakenly excluded that person from the community project we were working on. c) I forgot to wish so-and-so mazel tov on her recent simcha d) I was too tired to go to that person’s event on Shabbos. d) I spoke gossip about so-and-so….

You get the point….notice the pattern here? I, I, I, I…
Hey – how much power do I really have over other people? (rhetorical question!)

And that’s only referring to the self-inducing guilt. We have not even begun to talk about the guilt-trips many put on others (hey, you grandkids never call me!!) — but that’s the subject of another article…..oy vey iz mir! (wo is me! in Yiddish)

Basically, (and I’m going to use the royal “we” here…) WE all do our best with our interactions with other people. We try really hard to be nice and kind, and good citizens as our mothers and fathers and teachers taught us. Remember the song, “Let’s be friends, make amends, now’s the time to say I’m sorry…” (usually sung during the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by children in Jewish Day Schools.)

Yup. It’s all about treating others the way we would like to be treated.

And the rest is really not up to us. We can only do our best. And really at the end of the day, we have to just be kind to ourselves, and forgive ourselves for being human.

No place for guilt here….right Erma?? Move forward, carry on, and smile!!


Another Chance

Second Chances are great; we just have to know to use them.

I didn’t make that slogan up. I read it somewhere (And I don’t remember where!), and the author expounded on that topic by explaining how after awhile the excuse or plea to pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease give us one more chance (remember as kids we begged our parents — or more correctly, “I” begged “my” parents…??)  is lame and stale. Eventually, we have to pay up, suffer the consequences, so to speak.

When I played piano for my professor back in college (or at weekly piano lessons as a younger student), I had the urge to start my piece of music a few times. Usually the refrain I would say would go something like: “Wait, let me start again…that doesn’t count..” and with a wave of my hand, I would take a deep breath, and begin the song again on the piano – from the beginning.

Until one teacher said to me, “hey, Miriam, start the piece one time, and keep going….”

Wow. What a concept. He was one tough teacher, but I did learn from that person to move forward, not backward.

So sometimes, we want to go back and correct our mistakes. Other times, we just move forward, and improve the future songs of our lives. Never mind the past. That is history.

On Rosh Hashanah, our rabbi spoke about how this holiday was two days – not one day. Even in Israel, where many of the Jewish holidays are celebrated for only one day, Rosh Hashana is still celebrated for two days. And why not? We need another chance, another gift to be able to pray better, articulate to G-d our praise and feelings, and to just do a better “job” at talking to G-d.

As our rabbi said, just in case we feel we “blew it” on the first day of the New Year, and didn’t get a really good “davening” (prayer session) in to our Hashem (G-d), we get a second chance.

Second chances work for me. I need that extra gift of time to process things, and improve. Revise, edit, and fix things up before turning them in.

And knowing that we (I) did our best is  all we can really want. When we feel secure that we did our best, we know we can move forward with confidence.


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